Friday, September 30, 2011

Ticky, Tacky, Tipping

This conversation comes up from time to time because there are some people who honestly have no idea how much to tip. I cringe whenever the tipping issue is discussed, because, while I pay close attention to where I spend my money, I am a good tipper. I compare going out to a nice dinner, to buying an expensive car; if you can't afford the maintenance of the expensive car, then you can't afford the car. Going out is essentially the same; if you can't afford to leave a decent tip (I describe decent as at least 18%-20%), then you probably shouldn't be going out to a nice place to eat.

Tipping is a very personal thing, but what some people fail to understand (or maybe they understand, but just don't care), is that the person doing the serving actually is working for that money - it's their job. I am, at least, a 20% tipper, and if it's really great service, it is significantly more.  I have been in heated debates with friends regarding the issues of poor service, etc, and what I always recommend is simple, "Don't go back." If you experience an anomaly of poor service at one of your favorite restaurants and want to continue frequenting the establishment, then I highly recommend speaking with the manager on duty. If you are a regular, they will want to know about your experience, and they will want to rectify it. I typically am not a person who complains about poor service; I figure me not going back again speaks for itself. There are literally hundreds of restaurants that would want my business, so complaining about a select few that are sub par is not worth my time nor energy. I'd rather just go to another establishment that acts like they want my business, by providing me with great service and atmosphere.

In the general scheme regarding the actual amount to tip, I have a few tactics that are easy to remember and make tipping a breeze:
  •  Double the tax amount
  • If it's just a drink, and the amount is less than $10, a dollar or two is fine
  • If you are not a mathematician, and you want to make things easy on yourself, roundup. If the amount is $74.69, roundup to $75 and leave a tip of at least 20%; which would be $15
Group tipping is always a nightmare, because you have the generous tippers who are surrounded by those who feel throwing a dollar or two down for a $50 meal is perfectly acceptable (which it's not - by the way). That's not to say that a person who buys a $12 salad should have to absorb the cost of their friends Filet Mignon and multiple cocktails, that's not fair either; personal accountability and common sense needs to prevail, so the person who eats and drinks $100 worth of food and beverages, should definitely tip the larger amount than their $12 salad eating friend.

In our current economy, we all are watching our pennies a little more closely, but when you treat yourself to a nice dinner, make sure you tip your waitstaff the appropriate amount, because they are just trying to make a living too.

Bon Appétit!

*photo of calculator from:; photos of cash:

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