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Tipping

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 in Q&As

What’s an appropriate amount to tip? Does it change on a date?

Invariably, everyone ends up debating on this one- people who have worked in service positions will say more, cheap jerks will say nothing, and everyone else tends to be in the middle. Here’s the low-down:

First of all, like it or not, tipping is optional and wholly based upon your perception of service. While it is entirely true that many servers rely on tips for income, if they do not make enough wages in a month in tip revenue, generally laws force the employer to pay more per hour. Still, the pay is rather low anyway, so a lot about tipping is paying the server for their effort- and, in some unfortunate cases, essentially bribing them to not be a jerk.

As a general rule, anywhere between 7-15% is appropriate depending on the locale, situation, your perception of the service, and the like. It doesn’t have to be an exact figure, most of the time- don’t feel like you have to bust out a tip calculator. For a bill under $50, for obvious reasons, anything around $4-7 USD is probably appropriate, $10 if you feel as if the service was warranted. On a date, it doesn’t change, but for obvious reasons you want to treat the waitstaff as nicely as possible.

If you really feel like your waiter/waitress was a complete jerk and you want to make a statement, don’t merely not leave a tip- oftentimes, they think you forgot it. If you absolutely must be rude, then leave one cent. Generally, however, in this instance, you are much more justified in merely asking for the owner and explaining the situation than being passive-aggressive.

Oh, and when you do leave a tip, it’s sometimes best to do so discreetly via the receipt. Leaving cash on a table is nice and ensures it goes directly to the server (some places split the tips left via credit cards at the end of the day), but doing so is often considered slightly showy and can tempt other customers to take the money off the table for themselves. Yes, this does happen.

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