Tip bad service? Nobody got time for that…

“Let’s see, 20% of $10 is $2. Multiply that by 3 since the ticket was almost $30. Might as well make it even and give her the change too. Man I’m thirsty, wonder if I can get one to go. If I could just get her attention, she’s been at that one table all night. Probably why she had to ask for my order again. Why am I tipping her 20% plus a round up & change to make it an even dollar amount? But, she could also have a lot on her mind, maybe it’s her family. Besides, I just moved here and this place is walking distance to my place. Can’t burn bridges here. Guess I’ll just keep her tip the same. Sure wish she’d look this way soon, I’m ready to go.”


After high school I dated this young lady from New Orleans named Deltonial. She was highly experienced at waiting tables, the art of being a great waitress, and the embrace of pertinence of passionate customer service. I credit a ton of my restaurant etiquette to her; “Always refer to them by the name they use when greeting you. When you’re done with dishes stack them to give your waiter/waitress an easier pick up. Sweep crumbs off the table and into dirty dishes. Say please. Say thank you.” To me, it was all home training but you’d be amazed how often improper eating or social habits can rub people the wrong way.

She told me the amount of food (apps, entrees, desserts) you order, how busy the restaurant is, whether it’s just you dining or not can all be noble factors in deciding how much to tip. One things for sure, she taught me to set a baseline for tipping (10%, 15%, or 20%) and allow the experience to increase or decrease your tip. I stand by the logic behind this method. Problem is, although I see no color (we’re all made in GOD’s image) & I try to live unapologetically black, I’m aware of the stereotypes. So when i get bad service i dont have the heart to only tip 10% for mediocre service or not tip at all for bad service.

Here’s my dilemma, if I dont tip then I’m just another cattle herded into a perceptive closet filled with people who look like me all accused of being a “bad-tipper”. Unfortunately, I find myself weighing the burden of changing a narrative I made no knowing contributions to. Compassion takes over & now I wonder, “Did she not give effort to offer great service because she thought I wouldn’t tip her anyway?”. “Maybe I should just tip her decently anyway and hope that today was an off day.” “But why should I even remotely spend my hard earned money and risk the same thing happening again?”. What’s worse is all along I’m troubled these questions and factors are more of a distraction to the issue at hand.


Therefore, it seems logical to rest on controlling what you can control. If the service was bad enough that you dont feel warrants a tip than you should absolutely alert the manager. This can not only hopefully prevent the next customer from enduring this but it surely alerts the manager that you’re lack of tip was indeed a reflection of service rendered. If this is your first trip to an eatery and the service warrants something but not an exemplary tip, but you live closeby and may return then tip lower than your baseline. However, you may want to sit in a new section the next time you visit and see if the experience changes. All in all, restaurants need customers and customers need the food & service restaurants provide. Great customer service can be impacted by the workforce used to supply the wait staff. So, if a waiter/waitress shows a trend of not bringing in tips and no one likes to sit in their section than any manager should proactively address those issues.

Be sure and visit your local restaurants and businesses during these trying times. I’m sure they’d love to see your smiling faces!!!

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