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Jan 8, 2007 02:13 PM

Messed up on a tip

Looking through my credit card bill recently I realized that I had undertipped at a meal. It was a fairly upscale place and we had a decent bottle of wine; however, I inadvertantly left a 10% tip. If you exclude the bottle it came out to 20%; however, we had a great wine steward and had all the intentions of tipping on the entire meal. What's the etiquette? It was a special occassion meal so we won't be going to the restaurant again soon. And even more embarassing, the restaurant manager was the manager at my favorite watering hole (albeit not a dive watering hole) and he treated us to champagne after dinner! Help!

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  1. There is no shame in making an honest mistake. If you do make a special trip to supplement the original tip, the waiter would be very pleased!

    And congrats for being so thorough in going over your CC statement!

    1 Reply
    1. re: The Engineer

      second this--you didn't mean to short them. You could write a letter.

      Serious props for being so fastidious.

    2. I would write a nice letter to the manager of the restaurant, explain the situation as you have here, and include a check for the full amount of the tip you intended to leave. Include as many details of the evening as you can remember, and mention the people who were especially helpful. This happened to me a few times when I worked as a cocktail waitress in college, and it always made me very happy and relieved to find out that my poor tip was an oversight, not a reflection of bad service.

      1 Reply
      1. re: phofiend

        Yes, a nice note is the best way to handle this. Makes the waiter feel better, lets the management know that you follow through, and is just a generally good way to handle many of life's screwups. I'm on a campaign to ressurect b&b notes (emails just don't cut it).

      2. As a server, I've had people call later upon realizing the mistake, completely apologetic and embarrassed. (Meanwhile, the server is wondering if they did something wrong serving them) If you paid by credit card, they can change the tip. If too much time has gone by, definitely send in a check with a note. I can't tell you how much this kind of thing is appreciated!

        1. We did that once (too much wine I guess) and I went back several days later to drop off additional $ and an apology and was glad I did. It feels good to everyone when you do the right thing.

          1. Yes, I've gone back and left money in an envelope for the server before.

            Besides doing the right thing, it is part of their earnings. Servers get taxed on a percentage of their sales reported by the restaurant - this amount is just assumed by the IRS, whether they actually get a good tip, or stiffed. For anyone who thinks servers don't get audited, it certainly did happen to me!