Tipping: Rules of Engagement

13 Oct

Here it is folks, another fantastic guest post from our buddy Julian at Comedy Landfill.  Listen to this wise man, my loyal readers, for he has something very important to tell you.


How You Should Tip From Now On

No Tipping

Tipping is an odd phenomenon, and I apologize to people reading this who live in Australia (where tipping is not done), but the goal of this article is to create a standardized method for tipping. Why does tipping need to be standardized? Because nobody actually knows how to do it correctly, and most people just do it as an afterthought without any actual regard for what a tip means or the negative effects it can have on everybody else’s service.

Isn’t it a bit of a piss-off to see someone tip for something terrible? I’ve been with people that could have been served afterbirth by Dick Cheney, and they would still feel guilty about not leaving a tip. These people are stupid, and they are badly, badly missing the point of a tip. A tip is not a meal tax. A tip is not mandatory charity for the poor waiting staff of the world.

Here is the point of a tip:


That is the point of a tip. The reason we tip is this: if the server kisses your ass sufficiently, brings your food out in a timely manner, and the food doesn’t taste like it was shat out of a mystery creature, they get a little reward for their good job.

Here is graph of what your tips actually mean:

TippingSeriously, people tipping 30+%? Stop. Please stop. You are making the rest of us look bad, and making yourself look overbearingly kind in that “Yeah, money doesn’t really mean all that much to me, so I’m going to give you this pile of money to make myself look like an awesome dude” way.

That guy probably also has his collar popped.

What needs to be done is create a system that standardizes how tips are given, to prevent the egregious mistakes being made by so many people. Here is the system:

Tip-O-MeterThat’s right. The limit is 21%, and only in very rare circumstances should you ever break that upper limit, like if the waiter successfully performed the Heimlich Maneuver on you, or if he miraculously delivered your baby inside the restaurant using salad tongs and a spatula.

You should actually print out a bunch of these and carry them around with you, so you can leave them at the end of your service like a report card. It’s a win-win thing; if they suck, and their tip is small, you can let them know why! If they get a high score, they will be happy when you come back! Hooray! Yes, this is the best invention ever. You can either keep it private, or let the restaurant know in what way they are fucking up.

There has been a bit of confusion lately: in what situations is one expected to tip?  I was surprised recently when I went to my local corner store and discovered a tip function on their debit card machine that pops up when you purchase an item. I actually informed them they had set up their machine wrong, and there was a step that asked the customer for a tip. The guy said “Oh, okay.” AND IT’S STILL THERE. It still asks you for a tip when you try to buy a Snickers bar.

Tip Jar

Under NO circumstances should you ever tip at a corner store. No circumstances. I’m sure there is some sort of namby-pamby justification for tipping that guy, but if you don’t have to give a tip, don’t fucking give the person a tip. It’s a slippery slope, and eventually we’ll get to a point where homeless people will be expecting a tip on the change you just gave them.

Grocery stores? No tip. Fast food restaurants or over-the-counter food restaurants? No tip. Clothing, coffee, computer repair, dog walking? NO TIP. Paying for sex? Kill yourself. Tip the funeral home in advance.

Here are things you should tip on:

Sit-down restaurants. Alcohol at bars. Car repair. Food delivery. Taxis. Service at hotels. Hairdressers. AND THAT’S FUCKIN’ IT. Even some of these piss me off.

Now, some of you may be thinking “The tip calculator doesn’t work for some of those things.” But… IT DOES. Think about it. That’s right, just remove the 7% you would tip for the food and rate the rest. Bam.

You may consider this blog coldhearted and miserly. I disagree. There are some countries on this planet where tipping isn’t even expected, and things are just hunky dory there. What I’m trying to do is save you a bit of cash and allow you to be decisive and sensible when it comes to giving a tip. I’m sure that at some point you’ve said to yourself “Why in God’s name did I give that idiot extra money?” The goal here was to show you that no, you do not have to give

in to tipping expectations and conventions. Take my hand and head down the path of freedom. You are now free to tip based solely on your expectations.

You’re welcome.

13 Responses to “Tipping: Rules of Engagement”

  1. missannakay October 13, 2009 at 2:01 PM #

    <3 loved it.

    but i'm not printing them out; that'd make me a complete toooooooooool ; nice try at persuading me though ; annakay

  2. Jim Fairthorne October 13, 2009 at 2:02 PM #

    Mr. Pink: I don’t tip because society says I have to. All right, if someone deserves a tip, if they really put forth an effort, I’ll give them something, a little something extra. But this tipping automatically, it’s for the birds. As far as I’m concerned, they’re just doing their job.

    Mr. Blue: Hey, our girl was nice.

    Mr. Pink: She was okay. She wasn’t anything special.

    Mr. Blue: What’s special? Take you in the back and suck your dick?

    Nice Guy Eddie: I’d go over twelve percent for that.

    Mr. Pink: Look, I ordered coffee. Now we’ve been here a long fucking time and she’s only filled my cup three times. When I order coffee, I want it filled six times.

    Mr. Blonde: Six times. Well, what if she’s too fucking busy?

    Mr. Pink: The words “too fucking busy” shouldn’t be in a waitress’s vocabulary.

    Mr. Blue: Do you have any idea what these ladies make? They make shit.

    Mr. Pink: Don’t give me that. She don’t make enough money, she can quit.

    Mr. White: So you don’t care that they’re counting on your tip to live?

    Mr. Pink: Do you know what this is? It’s the world’s smallest violin, playing just for the waitresses.

    Mr. White: You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. These people bust their ass. This is a hard job.

    Mr. Pink: So’s working at McDonald’s, but you don’t feel the need to tip them. They’re servin ya food, you should tip em. But no, society says tip these guys over here, but not those guys over there. That’s bullshit.

    Mr. Orange: They work harder than the kids at McDonald’s.

    Mr. Pink: Oh yeah, I don’t see them cleaning fryers.

    Mr. Blue: These people are taxed on the tips they make. When you stiff ’em, you cost them money.

    Mr. White: Waitressing is the number one occupation for female non-college graduates in this country. It’s the one jab basically any woman can get, and make a living on. The reason is because of tips.

    Mr. Pink: Fuck all that.

    Mr. Pink: I’m very sorry the government taxes their tips, that’s fucked up. That ain’t my fault. It would seem to me that waitresses are one of the many groups the government fucks in the ass on a regular basis. Look, if you ask me to sign something that says the government shouldn’t do that, I’ll sign it. Put it to a vote, I’ll vote for it, but what I won’t do is play ball. And as for this non-college bullshit I got two words for that -learn to fucking type. ‘Cause if you’re expecting me to help out with the rent you’re in for a big fucking surprise.

  3. Ryan October 13, 2009 at 2:11 PM #

    People should NEVER expect a tip. It’s VOLUNTARY on behalf of the customer. If a certain culture demands tipping to be mandatory, then it’s no longer a tip; and include it on the final bill. And yeah, I’ve had experiences at corner stores where I’ve been asked if I want to tip on a chocolate bar too… outrageous, I say!

  4. JP October 13, 2009 at 2:29 PM #

    Also, keep in mind the waiter did not cook you said food, nor did they have any say or stake in its preparation. Having worked in kitchens, it is the cooks and chefs who determine whether or not your food tastes like it was just given birth to by angels or whether it tastes like it just fell out of the north end of a south bound mule.
    The waiter is essentially a drone designed to ferry things from one end of a restaurant to the other and as soon as is possible I would like to see actual robot drones performing this job.
    Nothing pisses me off more than snotty waiters at fancy restaurants who make more than I do busting my ass at a bank and still they have the audacity to complain if someone only tips them 10%.

  5. Shayla October 13, 2009 at 2:45 PM #

    I tip because my sister’s a waitress/bartender and I know she gets paid, legally, below minimum wage because it’s expected that she’ll make money in tips. Her workplace also has a certain percentage of “tip sharing” so that the cooks, etc., can get in on the tipping. That means that if she has lousy customers who all don’t tip, she pays the kitchen out of her own pocket. So yeah, I always tip except so long as the service is adequate.

  6. comedylandfill October 13, 2009 at 2:56 PM #

    Shayla, I’m not saying to abolish tipping completely, I just want to make it more representative of the service you receive.

  7. Ashley October 13, 2009 at 3:41 PM #

    Oh boy… this is one topic that annoys the hell out of me! Having worked in the service industry for almost my entire working career, yes, I am all for tipping and tipping well. Yes, I have been guilty of expecting tips and making those who don’t tip me wait until I’ve served everyone else who does. However, I also understand that a tip should be earned based on the level of service I give. I’ve worked in bars where I ONLY make tips and get paid nothing else. I’m not saying that the money hasn’t been good and this IS the industry I choose to work in. The majority of the time, I like my job, which is the main argument I give to people who want to tell me to get a ‘real’ job if I don’t like the way people tip. That being said, there are a few reasons why you should tip, at least something, on every bill or drink: 1) Tip Out. It’s not your fault and it’s not mine, but I’m expected to give a percentage of tips to the bussers/barbacks/kitchen/house etc. The amount and whether it’s a percentage of tips or percentage of sales varies by place to place, but the fact remains that every time you don’t tip me, I have to pay my tip out out of my pocket, so it costs me money to serve you. 2) Not tipping or leaving a small tip to indicate you were unhappy with the service. You may think not leaving a tip is a clear indication to the server/bartender that the service was crap. Not so. Most likely, the first thought going through their heads is “That cheap fuck”. If there’s a problem with the service, let someone know. The earlier the better. If there’s a problem with your order, don’t wait until after you have paid the bill/finished the incorrect drink or appetizer or whatever to say something, because the problem can’t really be fixed at that point. I can’t be a mind reader and mistakes do happen, but if you let me know, chances are good that I’m gonna do my best to fix it and try even harder to impress you for the rest of the night. Just a couple things I think people should keep in mind.

    After all that, if you’re in a crowded bar that’s 4 deep and I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to serve people and stock my own fridge because my barback has decided it would be a good time to go smoke a joint, but I still remember what you’re drinking every time you come up and you STILL don’t tip me… expect to be waiting a while on your next round. Cheers. ;)

  8. comedylandfill October 13, 2009 at 4:12 PM #

    Hi Ashley, thanks for taking the time to reply to my post. I have a couple of issues with what you are telling me, and a lot of that comes from what the purpose of a tip is.

    What is the purpose of a tip? As I mentioned in my article, it’s a reward. It’s something that is NOT mandatory, that is awarded to people for giving you what you want, which is nice, timely service and good food. It is not a service tax.

    If you get poor, untimely service, and bad food, you should not have to tip anything, because nothing about that deserves any sort of reward. If that is the case, then I WANT you to lose money. I WANT you to feel bad, and I don’t particularly care what the excuse is, simply because when you spend money, you expect to get something for it, and you didn’t.

    That said, I will always tip for good, or even average service and food. That is why I made this article, because people do not understand how to tip. If someone gave you average service and food, you tip somewhere in the region of 10-15%. If someone gave you great service, you give them a larger tip. It’s not really that complicated.

    And now, instead of thinking “That cheap fuck!” you can leave behind a little note that explains why they got such an awful tip! And then you don’t go there again, because they were so awful.

  9. aljuk October 13, 2009 at 4:39 PM #

    I had my first trip to the States recently (NYC) and the tipping culture surprised me. In Europe you tip if the service is better than good. If it’s average you wouldn’t tip. The rate is 10%. In America if you don’t tip it’s taken as some kind of insult to the server, but personally I think it’s insulting to the customer to be “expected” to tip as a matter of course. But it also seems that restaurants take advantage of that, and pay their servers a pittance.

    What was a real eye opener in NY is the tipping in bars, the buy a beer for $5 and leave an extra $1 on the bar. The more I did it the bigger the drinks measures got, and the quicker the service. I didn’t mind, cus after all, what’s $1 right? But anywhere outside of the States, tipping for drinks is totally unheard of.

  10. Ashley October 13, 2009 at 6:14 PM #

    I think my point was more that if you get bad service, not tipping isn’t the way to solve it. Speak up and give the person serving you a chance to fix it. Your little “service report cards” aren’t entirely a bad idea, because they let the server know why they’re getting what they did. Occasionally, there may be a very good reason not to tip. Not speaking up and giving someone the chance to fix a mistake isn’t one of them. If they keep fucking up and offer no way to fix it, well… no tip or very little is understandable. And probably quite reasonable.

    I think it’s very admirable that folks try to educate the masses on tipping because quite a lot of people just don’t get it. My theory is that if everyone had to work in the service industry at some point, it would solve alot of problems. Customer service too.

  11. westcoaster October 14, 2009 at 11:05 AM #

    brilliant! finally, a clear cut guide on how to express your appreciation for a job well done or not done well. thank you!

  12. Ben October 20, 2009 at 1:05 PM #

    Hey, just wanted to throw in my quick opinion. I’ve worked a fair bit in restaurants and i’m all for tipping, but I think it depends on where you are. In some places your server is paid minimum wage, or more, and in that case I don’t think tipping is quite as important. I’m already getting paid to do my job, if I’m awesome, give me something extra, if not, well you are already paying for your meal, and through that, paying me. Fine, that works. I should have to earn that extra money. But other places, other states, I get paid essentially nothing. I get paid enough to cover the withdrawn taxes, my paycheck is for zero dollars. And this is legal. In those places I depend on tips. If you come in, I take your order, bring you food, entertain you, and you don’t leave a tip, I’m doing that for free. Or maybe even paying as I have to tip out off of my sales. Now maybe they should just change the laws there, but until they do, if you don’t tip, I am working for free. So before not tipping when you go out to dinner, or being stingy with those tips, check the laws in your home state, make sure your waiter is getting paid a real wage. You don’t work for free, why should I?


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