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Is it rude to go back and add to someone's tip?

Ok, I don't know if I should post this, but just can't help asking...
I have seen quite a few people state that they didn't think someone they dined with tipped enough. In these cases the person says they went back and added to the tip. In one example someone said they added to a 30% tip. Though, I'm honestly not trying to pick on any one person I have seen this come up a few times.
I'm not talking about large group dining where someone keeps part of the intended tips by undertipping. But rather, for example, I go to lunch with my Mom a lot. I tend to tip closer to 20%, Mom tips at 15%. Mom picks up the tab. Do I double check her tip and then add to it when she's not looking? Now I may get flamed for this, but to me that would be very rude and I would never do it. However, a lot of people seem to say that they do just that.
Thoughts from The Peanut Gallery?

Edit: To answer my own question further. Even if Mom (Or Dad, Grandma, Auny Maizy, Uncle Joe Etc ) tips 10% or 12%. I don't know exactly what anyone in my family really tips, but I would never dream of checking the tip of someone that just bought my lunch, dinner etc. I was always taught that if you're not paying the bill, you don't pick it up, or look at it for that matter.

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  1. This is a good example of something I think is situational.
    There is no generic answer.

    Mom=clueless. I dont see the problem. Your relationship dictates whether you
    discuss it, do it behind their back, just get the check yourself etc.

    Your boss's boss takes you and some colleagues out. Probably you dont
    ask what the tip %age is. You dont get involved.

    Salesman/business contact takes you out: you probably dont get involved.

    Dinner with some friends and friends of friends ... you discuss the a fair
    paritioning of the bill and tip.

    You are the host for a dinner where the bill is split and for some reason
    there is some undertipping [in one example a couple had to leave early
    before he bill came nd left maybe 60-75% of what they owned] you
    probably are on the hook.

    1 Reply
    1. re: psb

      I agree, it's situational. As long as someone is tipping 15% or more, I'm not sure there's really call to put them in an awkward situation by adding to it. One might disagree about the "proper" percentage to tip, but 15% was (is) the standard for a very long time.

      If you can do it _knowing_ they won't see you, I think that's probably OK but it's hard to know that. I think psb is also on track with the business relationships....you wince and move on.

      If it's someone you know well and eat with repeatedly, you might start trying to establish that since they've been picking up the checks for all this time, you'll pick up the tip. Again, though, I think this would only be worth broaching if they're tipping 8 or 10% or something like that.

    2. I don't know how it would be rude if the other person don't know about it. I have done it plenty of times.

      1. I think Mom is ok for tipping 15%. The standard is 15-20%. Now if she was tipping $2 on a $40 lunch, I would tell you to add to the tip, but I wouldn't bother if she's tipping 15%.

        1. My folks, being depression kids and all, are tight with money. Sometimes, I actually would be embarassed at them leaving only 15% for let's say, a breakfast that cost 18 dollars for the three of us. I know their going to undertip so I never bother trying to check the tab.

          Instead of saying anything to them though, I would just find a way to slip a few extra bucks into the tip pile or even slip it to the server on the way out the door.

          Down here in Floriduh, I think waitresses get kind of use to the early bird, 2-for-1 coupon toting blue-hair crowd and their cheap, or should I say frugal, ways.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bkhuna

            Depends on the family.

            My brother and I always made up for the shortfall of Dad.

          2. What has worked for me, with chronic under-tippers in my family, is to allow them to pick up the tab when they insist, but ask if I may leave the tip. So far this has worked. I always go out with them prepared with a bunch of cash to make up any tip needed.

            1. The rudeness only arises in the situation of a host who pays for the tab entirely, under the rule you cite as the last sentence of your post.

              That said, if your host is a notably difficult person to serve, you may discreetly add your appreciation to the server for having helped make the meal a pleasant one. In other words, as a technical matter, this is not to "gross up" the likely undertip, but merely to add your own appreciation (discreetly, to avoid it being confused for the other thing). It's an attitude, shall we say...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Karl S

                I think you put it very well. I have done this a number of times, always discreetly.

              2. Ok well I have done it with business relationships. Out of town co-worker comes to town and wants to go to lunch. I take him to a favorite place of mine, where I go very often to have lunch. After the meal, and the bill comes he says he will expense it. I notice he leaves less than 10% tip. Food was great, service was great, and I would like to be able to continue going back to this restaurant. So, I don't say anything to him, but as we are leaving I (discreetly) throw down money to make the tip 20%. Have sinced noticed he is a chronic low tipper, 10% or less.

                1. The Short answer: NO! Provided it's done discreetly.

                  1. I think in the situation described by the OP, it would be rude. OP's mom tips strictly 15%, which, while not generous, is still acceptable. If I was leaving a reasonable tip, I would not appreciate the person I am treating declaring it not good enough (that is, if I found out). I think someone who leaves a reasonable tip deserves that respect. Someone who does not tip adequately does not deserve that respect and then leave extra discreetly.

                    1. I don't "check" what someone else is tipping by like opening the book after they've signed or something, but if they sign and I happen to be able to see what they're tipping and I don't think it's enough, I will be the last to leave the table and, as we leave, throw an additional X number of dollars on the table if I have them.

                      I just went through this tonight. I was dining with a distant relative who is visiting from out of state and, after picking up some of his previous meal costs during this trip, at dinner he said "how about if leave the tip?" so I said ok. It was barely over 10%, in cash (he did see the total of the bill). I paid the check with my credit card and when signing my name, quickly added an additional amount so that we would be at a higher percentage. I put the original tally slip over my sig slip and the bills on top of that so he had no idea I had added to the tip.

                      1. Clearly its rude, everyone who replied knows its rude, thats why everyone has said to make sure the original person doesn't find out. The question is, is it less rude than stiffing some poor hard working server? And that depends o nthe circumstances as has been illustrated.

                        1. This actually comes up sort of frequently in my life, since I often dine out with people who come from other countries where tipping 20% (my own personal standard) is unheard of. My father comes from a country where tipping is just a bit of extra change (rounding up to the nearest whole unit of currency) - and although he has been in the USA for 40 years, and prominent in the business world, he still thinks that 10-15% is the standard amount (maybe it was, back in the 1960's, when he first learned to tip?) The problem is that I work in the service industry, and a lot of my friends do, as well. And when my Dad insists upon picking up the check, which is really kind of him, I just cross my fingers and hope that he has decided to go with the 15%...and then I point out (subtly, I hope!) that Server X was nice enough to bring Mum a fresh pot of decaf, that they went out of their way to see if Dish Y could be made without the bacon, etc. - and hint that we ought to give a bit extra for the special service...and this seems to work out fine, with my Dad, at least, since he is family. With friends, it gets a bit stickier. We went to lunch with an Australian the other day, and he wanted to treat us - I said, no, it's our treat. He said, okay, then, I'll leave the tip - and pulled out a handful of quarters (the bill was around $25). What to do? I grabbed the quarters, said, "Wow, it's my lucky day - I have to do laundry later!" and slyly replaced the quarters with a five dollar bill.