Let’s talk about a basic matter of manners and decency.
Take this scenario: Say I want some pancakes, but I don’t feel like making the pancakes myself. Fair enough — I make shitty pancakes. So maybe I decide, “Hey, I know. I’ll let someone else make me pancakes.” Great idea. So I go to a restaurant, where someone else will make me pancakes and yet another person will serve them to me on a plate. Super.
Then the bill comes. Do I…
A) Pay just the cost of the pancakes, nothing more?
B) Pay the cost of the pancakes, plus a standard tip amount or even a smidge more if the server was super adorable and/or nice and/or helpful?
C) Pay the cost of the pancakes, but instead of a tip, write a note on the receipt in which I make assumptions and express opinions about my server’s personal life?
The answer is B. Always B. Not A. And never, ever C.
I’ve never been a waiter. I can barely carry a napkin from one end of a room to the other without wounding myself and others, much less four plates of delicious breakfast. But in a very unscientific survey of my friends who have worked as waiters, I have come to understand that the pay is such that gratuity makes an essential difference in whether the job is liveable. So it seems like a basic part of the arrangement is that if you decide to go to a restaurant, you pay. Food, drink, tip. All of it. That’s how it works.
So why are all these anecdotes flying around about people stiffing their waiters or leaving horrendously presumptuous notes instead of tips? Do people not know better? Are they deep-down evil, stingy scroogedonkeys? Or perhaps just tragically math-impaired?
Personally, I don’t like doing math. Never quite sure if my calculations are right, I prefer to let my more number-savvy dining companions do the figuring for me. (When left to my own devices, I tend to spaz and throw a few extra bucks down at the last minute. I end up overtipping a lot.) Such is life. Not everything is easy.
But you know what I don’t do?
I don’t skip leaving a tip entirely. And I sure as hell don’t write some ridiculous diatribe regarding what I imagine is my server’s religion, sexual orientation, or marital status — or about my server’s pregnancy, wardrobe, hairstyle, or anything else. Because THAT’S ASININE and has NOTHING TO DO WITH PANCAKES. It’s just not part of the deal. People work for tips, not life tips.
Here’s how I figure it:
“But it’s my right to decide whether I want to tip!” Freedom! America! Yes, it’s everyone’s right every day to choose whether to be an assbag or a decent human. That’s true. But hey, non-tippers? Just be sure you realize which one you’re choosing.
PS: A Bible verse won’t pay anyone’s rent; so no, that doesn’t count as a tip instead of real money, either. Save it for the stone tablets, Moses.