There’s something I do often, and it makes my husband mad. I have friends who make fun of me, because they think it’s ridiculous. I’m a chronic over-tipper.
It probably started in college. When we’d go to bars, they’d ring a bell if someone gave a good tip. I loved hearing that bell ring. Unfortunately, the bartenders were often inebriated, so it’s not like they’d recognize you when you came in the next time. The only perks were the bell and an occasional free shot, poured from the leftovers he was making for someone else.
I went through a phase after college, when I wasn’t making much money, and Dad was no longer supplementing my income. My tipping waned, but it never disappeared. Even for the worst service, I can’t bring myself to skip the tip. If the food doesn’t come in a timely manner, it’s rarely the server’s fault.
There was the time when we waited, and waited, and waited some more for The Girl’s dinner. We got our pizza. We ordered more wine. We thought about dessert. We ordered more wine. The girl’s pretzel roll burger was nowhere to be found. When asked, our server told us it was “on its way.” After a certain number of minutes, “on its way” really changes meaning. It’s kinda like “in a sec,” when you’re a mom. It doesn’t equal anywhere close to a second. When our On the Way Burger came right before the check, we could’ve been really mad, right? She comped it. She apologized and, to be perfectly honest, The Girl wasn’t hungry anymore. She’d eaten all of our pizza crust anyway. I have a hard time penalizing our server — even if she did simply forget to put in the order. The rest of our meal was great, and the restaurant was slammed. Everyone makes mistakes. We all have bills to pay.
I’m not some sort of restaurant hero who leaves a thousand dollar tip on a six dollar burger. I wish I could sometimes, though. I try to honor good service and reward even better service.
The problem is that “good” service is rather subjective. I like a server who has just the right balance of leaving us alone and getting to know us. I don’t want to wait too long for a drink, but if it’s busy, I’ll completely understand why we waited. I’ll probably (because I’m an over sharer) tell the server, too.
I wonder sometimes if giving good tips is an ego thing. It does make me feel good to leave more than my standard 20 percent. However, and more importantly, almost all servers work hard for the money.
It’s nasty touching plates with other people’s food. Just the thought makes me gag. I don’t even like clearing the table at my own house. It’s part of the reason I’ve never waited tables. Patrons send back half-eaten food, demanding a refund. Babies throw food everywhere. Kids run amok, even if it’s not a family friendly restaurant. And you know what else? People are a-holes.
I’ve been known to get in a cab with a $7 fare and leave the driver with a $20. Laugh all you want, but the next time I need a ride, I can text our driver, and she’ll pick us up within a few minutes. I may not get extra pepperoni on my pizza, but the Papa John’s guy leaves smiling. I swear he skips down our front walk.
You may be inclined to argue with me, but tipping is not optional. If you think it is, you’re one of the jerks I mentioned about a minute ago. Before you overreact, think about it. Your server isn’t trying to ruin your life. She has to keep the lights on and buy dinner for her kids. Besides that, she’s human. Do you live an error-free life? Probably not. Bear that in mind next time. Tip your servers, people. If you don’t, there’s no telling what her buddy in the kitchen might do to your order the next time. It’s not worth the risk, so throw down a couple of extra bucks next time. Then, smile to yourself, knowing you did something good today. Maybe you’re not an a-hole after all.