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Nov 25, 2011 02:35 PM

By drunken mistake, i later realized i slightly undertipped...what to do? (long)

So a few days ago, i went to one of my absolute favorite restaurants (an elegant place w/ an 8-seat sushi bar in NYC)...went there on a date w/ a girl whose birthday it was...

Food was stellar, service was stellar...long sashimi/sushi omakase, paired w/ white and red wines (half-glasses, tasting portions, a couple full glasses), small dessert...before my date arrived, i told the sommellier to really knock himself out on the wine pairings since my date likes/knows wine and it was her bday and she would appreciate the varietals and combinations: and the sommellier did great (e.g. soft red Austrian Blaufrankisch w/ saba?? -- counterintuitive but great - who knew?!; a sublime white Mersault to smooth out the edges of various shellfish and white fish sashimi courses? -- awesome) ...i bought the sushi chef a glass of fine white wine...i don't go there super-often, but i know the sushi chef well from the previous place he worked, and i intend to continue going there at least somewhat frequently, maybe once every month or so, (some of the time solo)...

When the bill came: a) we'd each had the equivalent of about 5 glasses of wine, so i was a bit buzzed, b) we were in fun mode and i wanted to walk in the rain, head back to my home with her, continue the bday,, i signed the credit card fairly hurriedly...and i only noticed the next day, that i'd slightly undertipped...

The bill w/ tax was $ my drunken haste, i rounded up to 500 and tipped 65....which is just barely 15%...given the wonderful meal and vibe, i would have normally tipped at least just north of 20%, maybe a little more, if i'd been thinking/adding clearly..

i considered stopping back in (the place is right near my home) and giving them 40 bucks to add the night's tip jar: but that prob would have seemed tacky and/or overly eager...yet, given the absurdly good quality of the meal, i'd hate to say/do nothing and be thought of as a cheapskate/low-tipper...another option would be to return solo soon (perhaps sooner than i might have otherwise), mention my drunken quasi-error in passing, and tip 25 or 30% to compensate...i'm leaning towards the latter option...

First-World Problems, i know...but what do people think?...

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    1. I find it hard to comprehend that you consider there's an issue here.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Harters

        It's a Yank thing. Better leaving them to it.

        1. re: stilldontknow

          Fair point. Although I'll never understand this American obsession over tipping.

          1. re: Harters

            It's not really an American thing as much as a CH thing. I don't think I've had many discussions IRL about tipping.

            1. re: Harters

              It's not an obsession, per se. It comes down to the fact that bars and restaurants pay almost nothing. It's expected that the servers will be paid primarily from tips, so tips are their primary source of income. In most of the rest of the world, or at least in most of Europe, the servers are paid from wages that ultimately come from slightly higher menu costs.

              I'm not saying one is better than the other, but it's Just The Way It Is in the states.

              1. re: Harters

                Why weigh in at all John, if you don't understand?

                1. re: scoopG

                  Well, I weighed in because the OP asked for opinions and I had an opinion to offer the OP.

                  And, no, I certainly will never understand why anyone would be the slightest bit concerned about *slightly* undertipping. Or slightly overtipping. Or tipping to the exact amount that represents the tipping custom where they are. I try to understand foreign customs but this one, which appears regularly on CH under slightly different guises, always beats me.

          2. "i considered stopping back in (the place is right near my home) and giving them 40 bucks to add the night's tip jar"

            Do it. The staff lives on their tips.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Meann

              I second this. Go for it! I'm sure they'll be pleased.

              1. re: Meann

                I third this. I've accidentally stiffed/under-tipped a bartender before. I've gone back the next day and apologized in person (and with the intended cash).

                Go back when you can, and hopefully when you know the waiter and sommellier will be there, and make up the difference.

                1. re: Meann

                  Agreed. Hopefully much of the staff that was there your night will be there the night you toss in the extra tip.

                  1. re: QuirkyCookery

                    Its a very small place: we were served almost entirely by the sushi chef and the sommellier, with other staff clearing plates discreetly. I'd say there is not much diff in staff from night to night.

                2. Go back. Explain to management and give them some more money.

                  1. I can't imagine the staff would be anything but pleasantly surprised if you went back and made it right.