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10 tips for tippers: Don’t be cheap

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By Jazman Patterson
Every day, millions of Americans dine out at their favorite restaurants. However some of these Americans — especially college students — have not yet learned how to properly tip their server. Assuming that people are good-hearted and only tip poorly out of lack of understanding why tips are important, here are 10 simple rules to help ensure that patrons are taking care of the people who are taking care of them.

10. Always Tip.

A thank you is not a tip. An invitation to your church is not a tip. Candy is not a tip. A compliment to the manager is not a tip. None of these can pay rent. That tip line on your credit card slip isn’t a suggestion. Always tip.

Servers only make $2.13 an hour, most of which is used to cover the taxes on their income. Because of this low wage, servers should be tipped a standard 15 percent according to the price of the check. Servers today tip out to the bar, the hosts and bussers. So if you decide to skimp on the tip you could cause your servers to actually lose money serving you. That’s just rude.

9. Your friends don’t tip for you.

Just because your friend decides to tip well doesn’t mean you are allowed to be cheap. Next time try to be more like your buddy instead of trying to pocket a couple of bucks off of your pal‘s kindness.

Likewise, if you decide to let your comrade pay for the meal and you’ll leave the tip, look at the bill. Make sure you are always tipping appropriately even when those around you aren’t.

8. Be considerate of your server’s time.

If you decide to be what those in the service industry call a “camper,” take into account your server’s time. Most servers expect for a table to stay in the restaurant 30 to 45 minutes, and of course with each new table comes new income. Therefore if you’re that person who gets to the restaurant 36 minutes before your friends to hold the table, or you like to stay and chit chat for two hours after your server has cashed your check, you begin to cause your waiter or waitress to lose possible income. Make sure you show your gratitude to your server for letting you hang out in their section by throwing in a few more dollar bills.

by Johnny Blevins

by Johnny Blevins

7. $5 isn’t always a good tip.

Yes, $5 is a wonderful tip when your check total is $11.48; however, if you have a $62 bill, and you tip $5, you’ve just become the most hated person in that server’s life. Likewise, $20 isn’t always a good tip. If your bill is $187.92, you need a few friends to accompany Andrew Jackson. There is no such thing as a set amount for a good tip, and that is why there is a standard percentage for tipping.

6. Being bad at math isn’t an excuse for not tipping properly.

If you aren’t skilled enough in arithmetic to calculate 15 percent of your total, there’s an app for that. Use the calculator on your smartphone. Or try doubling the tens place on of your bill. For example, if your check is $32.71, double the ten’s place (three) to find how much to tip; in this case $6. For higher amounts, just add the place values in front of the ten’s place. For example, if the bill is $161.83, double 16, so that you tip $32.

5. If you’re a pain in the butt, tip more not less.

It’s not your server’s fault that you drink as if you just returned from an odyssey to the Sahara Desert and feel the need to drink with zero regard to your bladder. If you decide to consume two strawberry lemonade’s before your waiter or waitress can even take your order, don’t be upset with him or her because you’re ridiculously thirsty. If you choose to order one chips and queso appetizer for your family of seven, don’t be upset with your server when you have no chips in two minutes. If everyone at your table orders a house salad, don’t be upset when you don’t see your server again for a while. If your party of 14 wants the checks split 16 ways, don’t be upset when your server takes a few minutes to process your checkout. If you’re a pain in the butt to wait on, don’t take it out on your server if they struggle to keep up with your high list of demands. Surprisingly, you’re not the only person in the restaurant.

4. Don’t choose the most expensive thing on the menu and not tip.

If you think you’re being generous when you hand your server a $50 bill for a $48.96 check from the steak and lobster and say keep the change, you’re not. If you want to act like a high-roller, tip like a high-roller.

3. Put the shoe on the other foot.

If all the money you would make for the day depended on what people decided to give you, you would not want people to skimp out and be cheap when repaying you for your hospitality. You want them to reward you for your hard work. Be a positive presence to your server’s day. Remember the golden rule, and tip others how you would like to be tipped.

2. Not everything is your servers fault.

If your food is late, it probably is not because your server took too long to prepare your meal. Likewise if your food tastes like cardboard topped with dog food that is also not your servers fault. The bar was backed up so your third house margarita during happy hour didn’t come out swiftly. The server wasn’t in charge of making it. Cooks, bartenders, managers, hosts, bussers, and everyone else in the restaurant will make money regardless of how well or poorly they perform, so if something didn’t come out exactly as expected. You’re not taking it out on the people responsible when you don’t tip. You take it out on the one person who was trying to help you have an enjoyable dining experience.

1. If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to go out to eat.

Your date is not impressed when you buy drinks, appetizers, an extra salad, a high-priced entrée, and dessert, but you unjustifiably give your server a meager tip. If you can’t afford to tip, go someplace else to eat.

Tipping your server always says more about you than it does the service. Make sure you are taking care of those who take care of you, and giving your server a proper tip. Aim for 20 percent, and your waiter or waitress will appreciate the opportunity to take care of you.

Patterson is a graduate student in education and a server at Chedders.

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4 Responses to “10 tips for tippers: Don’t be cheap”

  1. Joshua Scribner on January 15th, 2014 8:37 pm

    Very well written Jazmine. I would agree with the points made, however what I would add is for servers to please try and meet their guests halfway. I have been places where waiters or waitresses have been rude and felt entitled that I should still tip them. As a customer, if the server is entitled to a tip, I am entitled to have good customer service.

    Does that mean I expect everything to magically appear right when and how I want it to? Absolutely not, because I know that’s not always gonna happen. However, I do expect to be treated with dignity and respect and not like I’m just a wallet in a chair. Rudeness will close said wallet, and I will not feel bad about it. If you are rude to me, and don’t treat me with respect, I don’t feel the need to worry about how much money you do or do not make.

    On the other hand, if you are nice and try your best, I have no problems being generous.


    Jazman Reply:

    Hey Josh! Thanks for reading, and eh, everyone spells my name wrong at least once. Yes, this article was not meant to attack everyone, and there are indeed waiters and waitresses who are absolutely horrible and therefore deserve to be tipped accordingly. I just based this upon my personal experience as a server along with my friends and coworkers experiences who are also servers, and for the most part we are in fact good at our jobs. Unfortunately, the patrons of many restaurants don’t tip according to performance whether good or bad, and when you spend an hour of your life serving someone and taking care of them, it gets rather frustrating when they don’t show their appreciation. So hopefully people just don’t know any better and this article can be used to inform them!

    Thanks again for reading and I appreciate the comments!


  2. Joshua Scribner on January 15th, 2014 8:37 pm

    And I misspelled your name…. My bad


  3. Michael Russell on January 18th, 2014 3:56 am

    Good article.I have been a waiter myself and their were some wealthy people that would stiff the staff.If you are going to eat at a full service restraunt.expect to tip.period….


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10 tips for tippers: Don’t be cheap