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My friend is a BAD tipper

Since it seems tipping is a hot topic right now, let me add this. I have a girlfriend that I go out with, that I have had to educate about tipping. We used to work together and run up to a salad bar for lunch. It was always dutch treat, and you pay before you get your salad. The first time, at the end of the meal, I pulled out a buck for the server (meal cost $5.49) and she asked why did I do that. I was dumbfounded. I explained that the server kept our drinks full, cleared our plates, and went in search of melba toast when there wasn't any in the basket. So she says "well that can cover both of us." I told her it would be fair if she at least pitched in a bit. Now this is a woman who made good money, and her DH made tons, so it's not that she didn't have it to spare. I explained the way it works in the restaurant business and I thought it took.

Then we went out with another friend to a bar to see a band. She started a tab, and I figured we would split it at the end. When we did get the tab, she volunteered to treat us, but left a measly tip. I slipped away to the restroom, and then took the bartender to the side and slipped him my share of the bill. He was very appreciative. Now that I know she is a cheap tipper, I always make a point to add the tip amount when we figure out how to divvy it up, or if she treats, then I leave the tip myself. I do it in honor of my daughters who have both been servers and bartenders!

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  1. I am applauding you but wondering why you would continue to dine out with this person? I'd drop her like she's hot.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Tay

      I go out with her for two very good reasons. 1) She is my "chowhound" buddy. My DH is very picky and doesn't like ethnic foods. His idea of ethnic is fajitas, lol! She is adventurous, and knows cuisines better than I do, so I get to try things I never would without her. 2) She is a blast! We have such a good time.

      She is learning, with the help of my gentle nudging, and has gotten far better than she was a few years ago. And if she goes cheap on me, I just tell her that I will make up the difference, and that usually works. She was just totally ignorant, in the beginning, about what servers were paid, and how they depend on tips. But I really do have to watch if we go to a bar or club. I think after a couple T&T's she loses her math abilities! LOL!

      1. re: danhole

        If she is a sophisticated "chowhound" buddy, she should be sophisticated enough to know how to tip.

        1. re: bronwen

          I think that she became that way from men taking her out, so she never even thought about it. My MIL is like that too. After her husband died, we went out to eat, at her treat. I said that since she was treating I would leave a tip. She looked so surprised and then told me that she had never left a tip in her life - that was his job!

    2. In this case, you've got a couple of examples in which people vary widely on what they think is an appropriate level of tip. A lot of people, if they pay at the counter when they order, aren't going to tip. This includes people who may tip well in a traditional sit down restaurant.

      People also tip very very differently in bars. Some tip a couple of dollars per mixed drink and a dollar or so per beer or glass of wine. Others will tip a percentage much as they would at a sit down restaurant at which they've had a full meal.

      My point being, there are places where people just have different ideas about whether and how much they need to tip. When you go out with this person to a full, sit-down, table service restaurant, what percentage do they normally tip?

      1. I dine with family members that are cheap tippers. I usually stay behind and throw an extra 5 bucks in there as they're walking out. Its embarassing when they leave 10 percent...sometimes less!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Xericx

          My MIL is a crummy tipper. 10% would be a generous tip from her. I try to make up the difference, but it's hard because she's touchy. You dare not say anything to her about the tip, and you have to try and figure out a subtle way to leave more without her noticing. I was out with her once and went to the bathroom, got additional tip ready and managed to slip it onto the table as she was leaving under the pretense of wanting "one more sip of water" or something. But she figured it out and was snotty with me for quite awhile afterward.

          1. re: Xericx

            My brother wouldn't tip over 15% if the meal was free. The man is a cheapskate (however a great brother and a serious Hound). I always overtip to make up for his tip if we go to lunch together. If we go to dinner, my brother rarely pays (with our blessing).

          2. I can do you one better. 3 of us were out to dinner at Applebees. Service was fine. When the check came, my one friend and I paid cash, including our tips. The third friend was going to card it. No problem, we do this all the time. UMMM....the tip she left on the card was less than the combined tips my friend and I had paid in cash...and yes, she pocketed all the cash. I "accidentally" left my sweater behind and left extra money to cover it. At a future outing, my other friend, who is rather blunt, pointed out the tipping issue. Her justification was that because she was in a low salary job(we all were at the time), she skimped on the tip. Having been a former waitress, it started a huge fight....why should the wait staff suffer, when the service is fine, because you did not properly budget for the tip....That was the last time we asked her out.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rHairing

              And no explanation as to why she pocketed some of the money that you and the third person put up for the tip? Also, I agree with your thought as to the staff not being made to suffer because of the patron's economic circumstances.

              1. re: rHairing

                Hah! I have almost the same issue with a friend who also cites her "lower salary" even though her paychecks are actually bigger than mine due to hours. She always has cash, me a card, and so gives me her portion minus enough to cover her own portion of the tax and tip. And, of course I always covered even though she's the ex-server. I now insist on separate checks and you should, too!

              2. Here's another jfood rule of thumb:

                If jfood receives the food standing up then there is no tip, if he is seated when the food arrives, then a tip may be in order. There are always exceptions to the rule but let's stay within 2 SD's please.

                This past weekend jfood orders a couple of sammys in a sammy shop. sammy maker wraps them up and delivers to the end of the sammy counter where the register is located. $35 is total, and $35 is what jfood paid, no tip as jfood is taking home. Now in the same place if jfood orders at the deli counter then sits and someone brings them to his table jfood would tip.

                17 Replies
                1. re: jfood

                  What about coffee shops? I'm on the fence and inconsistent on this. Sometimes I drop my change in the tip jar, sometimes I use a cash card and don't want to dig out change. I feel more inclined for complicated drinks or if I'm planning to stay and they'd need to clear off the table when I leave, but not for a "tall-bold" or "regular double-double" to go.

                  1. re: jinxed

                    coffee shop = the sammy place jfood referred to. no tip in a jar. Think about it? they have a tip jar that means that a tip is not normal but t hey have to beg for it. if it was customary to leave the tip there would be noneed for the jar.

                    1. re: jfood

                      There is also, very tellingly, no tip line if you use a credit card or (more tellingly, even) my well worn Starbucks card. I use the SB card almost every time I get a coffee or something else at a Starbucks and since there's no tip option, and I don't often have any cash, there's no way to tip. If tipping were expected, I'm certain that Starbucks would make it easy for people to do regardless of how they pay for their coffee.

                      1. re: jfood

                        I agree jfood. If you make me a sandwich, wrap it in wax paper,shove it in a plastic bag - no tip. Hand me a cup of coffee - no tip. If I have to refill my own drinks or bus my own table - no tip. Other than that I tip.

                        1. re: jfood

                          Jfood, are we about to agree? The coffe shop workers make at/over minimum wage, so I don't find a tip necessary, unless I have a bit of change left over.


                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                            twice in one day, gotta buy a lotto tkt.

                            1. re: jfood

                              Two sandwiches at a counter-service shop to take home and the bill is $35?!? Something is not adding up...

                              1. re: nosh

                                sorry for the incorrect use of the "couple." order was two grilled chickens, 1 veggie, one salad and a tomato croissant. sammys were 7.50 each, salad 9.50, croissant $3.

                                1. re: jfood

                                  thanks jfood -- was thinking the counter guy must've steamed and shucked a lobster for a roll and seared up some foie for the other. LOL

                                  1. re: nosh

                                    from your mouth to God's ear.

                                    i ate the veggie on ciabatta. although it was outstanding some foie gras would have made for a happy jfood on a beautiful afternoon.

                      2. re: jfood

                        thank you, jfood, for the statement:

                        "If jfood receives the food standing up then there is no tip."

                        That simple mindset would resolve so many of the ongoing tiffs on this board.

                        In the event that it's not clear...I agree.

                        1. re: jfood

                          I was thinking last night about the norm to tip a bartender $1 a drink. What is your opinion on this? I personally find a $1 tip on slinging a $2 bottled beer over the counter excessive but, with so many stories of bartenders calling you out on it, I wouldn't dare not to.

                          1. re: Lixer

                            jfood does not go to bars since he does not drink so he has no dog in that hunt (hate when he uses me for an analogy).

                            But jfood, off the top of his head would say $1 for a draft.bottle/straight/simple drink and maybe a little more for a mixed (and he means something more than scotch and water) drink where the tender uses his skills.

                            If you go to a bar where a bartender calls you out, you gotta be kidding even going there.

                            1. re: Lixer

                              If I'm going back to the bar for repeated rounds, and paying cash, I usually leave a buck per round. If it's on a tab (credit card) I'll tip on the card according to the total bill.

                            2. re: jfood

                              Ok, what about this?
                              You call in an order to a place where if you were eating there, you'd tip. You arrive and pick it up at the bar. I used to not tip on this sort of order until being told that the waitstaff usually have to put these order together, put the plasticware, napkins. etc. in the bag. Not to mention, having to squeeze it in between the normal waitperson stuff. So now I tip on these. Not 20%, but usually around 15%, my rationalization being that once I get my food, they are done with me.

                              1. re: TroyTempest

                                no problem answering because it happens all the time.

                                scene - resto with great bar and olives at the bar. sit down with apps in $13-20, pasta $14-22 and entrees $22-37. jfood just wants downtime with mrs jfood and some quiet relaxing dinner in front of the fire. Get the drift. Likewise, do not want dishes to clean, hence let's call ABC.

                                Mario, the tender knows jfood on site because of the regularity and the following. Jfood always slips him $5. whether its $20 or $75 for the to-go. it's $5 for walking 8 feet to pick up the bag that the kitchen (non-tippy people put together) and for ringing up the tab and accepting the charge. And while all of this is going on jfood has a few olives, yum.

                                it's amazing how much quicker jfood gets his food, how the error rate has gone down and how much more enjoyable showing up, having mario say hello mr jfood and have the order go to the front of the queu.

                                Now down the street at the chinese place where 80% of the business is take-out, jfood stands on line, gives them the last four digits of his phone number, is handed a plastic bag, asks for extra chopsticks and pays. No tip here.

                                Personal service gets a tip, the phone number service gets zippy.

                                1. re: TroyTempest

                                  10%, same as a buffet. but then again if I'm ordering something to take home it's nothing complicated.

                              2. Just call her out. "Why the low tip"?

                                OTOH I gotta say, I'm not thrilled about leaving a dollar tip for somebody to crack open a single $4 can of bud light.

                                edit: no glasses involved and no sitting there involved, and often waiting a long period of time while many women are served first is involved.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: luniz

                                  But let's remember, the bar tender or bar back is not just opening the beer. S/he is often washing the glasses, keeping the inventory stocked, keeping the bar and area clean...a well run bar is a pleasure for patrons, and after watching competent folks behind bars for many years, I've decided it is a demanding job (at a busy bar) and one that I probably couldn't do well!

                                2. Maybe I'm missing something, but instead of asking her to "pitch in' or explaining the restaurant business, what if you'd just said, "Well, 15% is standard"? That would both inform her, in the unlikely event that she didn't know, or alert her to what you expect.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Lady Grey

                                    I have, and she know, but she is a bit forgetful. My DH is also but he has a little plastc tip card he keeps in his wallet, so he gets it right. I just do math!

                                  2. In CA the sales tax in my county is 7.75% so if I was dining out with friends at a casual place and figuring out the tip I would say, "well double the tax is ____, so that would be the minimum tip." Even at salad bar places, even if I get my own food, I leave a few dollars because that few dollars could really help that person out.

                                    1. Oh my goodness! Your story reminds me of an old co-worker I knew years ago. We went to CPK (her choice) and the tab came to $25 something. Anyhoo, when the check came I paid my share plus tax and tip but she only paid for her share of the food! I called her out on it and she said she doesn't believe in tipping. She said they are already getting paid (salary) so there's no need to tip. What the hell?! She also said if she's feeling "generous" should would leave 50 cents and no more. Dang, she's generous! EGAD! Anyway, I slipped a couple more dollars to cover it. I never went out with her again. Can't stand stingy people!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: hungry_hippo

                                        I think it would be interesting to explore the pathology of your
                                        "old co-worker who does not believe in tipping'.

                                        in addition to being cheep, i wonder if the explanation is:
                                        1. mere IGNORANCE .. say they are foreign, dont realize many employees
                                        are paid sub-min wage in expectation of tips etc.

                                        2. too STUPID to understand the nuances of what a tip is in the restaurant
                                        context. i.e. You *can* not tip but you MUST have a reason beyond "sic volo,
                                        sic jubeo, stat pro ratione voluntas" ... typically a reason related to the service.

                                        3. completely DISINGENUOUS ... show knows this is nonsense but realizes other people
                                        will cover for her, she wotn pay any cost for this behavior etc.

                                        4. i suppose there might be some other pervere explanation involving extreme
                                        cheepness and some kind of cognitive dissonance ... but it's hard to systematically
                                        speculation about something irrational.

                                        >I never went out with her again.
                                        good job. i think people who dramatically cross the line like the villain
                                        in this thread:
                                        out to pay some kind of social/reputational cost for their freeriding or sociopathic

                                        >Can't stand stingy people!
                                        i wonder if she doesnt "believe" in Xmas, Tricker-or-Treating etc.

                                        1. re: hungry_hippo

                                          I used to work with someone like that. She was new to our group as an intern and we all went out to lunch and she informed everyone that she did not tip. We told her point blank how rude and unprofessional that was. She insisted and was told point blank that, unless she tipped 15% she was not invited to any more lunches. She didn't get the job after her internship was up and one of the main reasons was the no tipping thing. We thought it marked her as an extremely unflexible and inconsiderate person and would likely extrapolate to her refusing to do tasks that she considered to be not in her job description. If you are difficult to dine with, you are going to be even harder to work with.

                                          1. re: dalaimama

                                            Not to mention, especially given the showdown at the table, she probably was
                                            stupid too.

                                            >She didn't get the job after her internship

                                        2. What I don't understand about all of this "outrage" is that if somebody is a bad tipper, they will continue to be a bad tipper whether they are in your presence or not... So if their other qualities are redeeming enough, why not just ignore the bad tipping?

                                          If somebody you didn't know was leaving a bad tip you wouldn't take it upon yourself to make up for the difference by leaving more money, so why would you do it just because you know the person??

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mrgaga

                                            Do you mean a stranger at another table or someone you're dining with you don't know? Because if it happened at my table, I'd definitely sneak extra.

                                            If the service is fine, there's ZERO excuse for bad tipping. Karma knows. :)

                                          2. Just get separate checks. It makes it a lot easier if you dine out with someone who tips much differently than you do.
                                            BTW, the salad place sounded kind of like a salad buffet. I'd normally leave a buck or two per person for buffet things, so sounds good to me.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: yumcha

                                              That doesn't address the fact that your dining companion is still going to tip comparatively poorly on their portion. The concern here seems to be that the server should be getting X amount as a percentage of the total bill at the table. I'm still having trouble with the idea of calling someone who tips 15% "cheap." As I noted above, that has been the standard for a long time and, to my mind, is on the low end but just sneaks in as OK in most situations. A consistent 15% tipper speaks more to someone who has in their head that 15% is what to tip, not someone who is looking to save a couple of dollars here and there by leaving a lower than acceptable tip and knowing it.

                                            2. Kudos to you for a) taking care of your server, and b) being such a good friend. I do hope she isn't a regular at any local establishments. If she is, she likely has been labeled by the waitstaff as a "bad tipper" and probably at best receives less than stellar service. At worse, well let's just hope that stuff doesn't reallly happen! As a former server, I remember all to well when the dreaded low tipping regulars would come in. We'd begin to tease whoever had to wait on them and they were basicly the back of the house joke for the front of the house staff. We never did anything ugly, but I would never want to be perceived as a bad tipper/cheap.

                                              1. I think that diners who don't tip the going rates are cheaters. I'm not talking about a bad dining experience so please don't reply with exceptions. I'm talking about going to a restaurant in a community where a standard of tipping and dining exist and the restaurant meets the standard but the diner doesn't think s/he has to. Wait staff and other some other restaurant workers are paid largely with tips, as their salaries are minimal. Restaurants have to budget and non or low tipping diners eat into other costs which are passed on to all of us. I won't play tipping games when I eat out with friends and am relieved when the restaurant adds an automatic gratuity to parties of 6 or 8 or larger as it solves the problem of the cheap co-worker or relative who isn't willing to pay his or her share. And yes I have family members in the business so I know how common a problem this is.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: ginnyhw

                                                  "standard" is such a qualitative term as you have seen on these boards. jfood has a "standard" at restos where he is a regular and "standard" at others, while some have a standard, no matter what, whether great or bad service is received. And lots of people are paid on "tips" but the other industries call them commissions. As jfood has stated inother threads, he has a friend that multiplies by 15% and places the tip, rounded to the nearest penny. jfood looks at the total does a quick calculation of 15% and 20% and that gives him the range and then rounds up to the nearest dollar.

                                                  But jfood does scratch his head a little on one of your comments about the resto budgetting for "non or low tipping diners". jfood was under the impression that a resto does zero "budgetting" for tips in their business models. so what costs might be passed onto the custo wrt tips?

                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    I think you answered your own question in replying to Troy T- you wrote..

                                                    'it's amazing how much quicker jfood gets his food, how the error rate has gone down and how much more enjoyable showing up, having mario say hello mr jfood and have the order go to the front of the queue"

                                                    The quality goes up, fewer mistakes made and tossed, staff is happier when tips are standard - tipping can promote good service for the customer and the owner's profits will increase rather than decrease.

                                                    1. re: ginnyhw

                                                      I think we should keep in mind two potential fallacies:
                                                      1. "double taxation" ... everyone is entitled to a error free order. i dont think
                                                      you should have to incentivize something like that. we dont typically pay
                                                      not to be abused.

                                                      2. the bundling fallacy: it's not necessarily reasonable that the waitstaff
                                                      decides to give me super platinum service and obligates me to pay for that.
                                                      like say i am not in a big hurry and i dont really care how quickly i get my
                                                      food. anyway, in this setting it's not a big deal. it's more relevant to the great
                                                      "uncapped linear tips on high end wine" debate. i.e. if you order a $500 bottle
                                                      of wine, can you request $200 bottle of wine quality service to go with that?
                                                      thus your 10% tip on $500 is quite fair compensation for the level of service
                                                      appropriate for the $200 bottle.

                                                      beyond a certain point, the "tip for service" philosophy starts to resemble
                                                      extortion and does not account for the fact that the food and service are not
                                                      totally a la carte but there is a certain level of service built in to the "bundled
                                                      good". any other tricky issue is when you are compensating the good tipper
                                                      "on the back of another patron" ... .e.g. say you seat him before somebody who
                                                      got there before him. [note that this "bundling" also works in favor of the server
                                                      against the people who feel tips are voluntary. you can opt not to pay $5 for a
                                                      backed potato on the side, but i think you are obligated to let the waitstaff
                                                      earn their 15%].

                                                  2. re: ginnyhw

                                                    Well said, ginnyhw. I hate it when people make excuses for bad tipping. Typically, those are the same folks who had their server jumping through hoops to accomodate all their special requests. I've often thought it to be a control issue. And to those who think tipping is just the restaurant's way to get out of paying decent wages; well, maybe so but it is what it is. Give your server a good tip and be happy. S#@t.