Now, I may make a lot of waitstaff mad when I say there are occasions in which it is OK to NOT tip your server, but hey, I was a waitress for over a year so I know that tips are a bonus, not a demand. If your server is not giving you quality service, you should tip accordingly. Which means if your server treats you like total crap, you shouldn’t leave a dime.
Why? Because they don’t deserve it. I don’t care if they are making $4 or less hourly by their boss, if your server wants tips then they need to work for them. Also, for those of you who feel guilty about not leaving a tip when the service is terrible, don’t. By law, the establishment they work for has to at least make sure they are making minimum wage, so even the world’s worst server who never gets a single tip is still making the national minimum wage.
That’s not to say don’t tip at all. Tip for good service, and be generous for great service. As a rule, I’ll leave $5 on the table for all service, good or great. I don’t believe that just because you eat somewhere with more expensive food, that I have to leave a higher percentage tip. If I have a cup of coffee, I leave $5. If I have a $60 meal, I leave $5. If the server has to split the earnings between other staff, like bartender, cook etc, then I’ll throw in an extra $5 so my server gets a decent cut.
Here are the reasons NOT to tip, based on my experience. If your waitress brings you the lemon for your soda and drops it by her bare hand right in front of you then wipes the edge of the glass on her apron as she’s setting it before you, no tip.
If you have to interrupt your server flirting with the delivery boy or dishwasher to get the green Tabasco sauce you already asked for (twice) and she holds up a finger and says, “Yeah, in a sec”, no tip.
If your server double-charges you for your meal and then claims that your single meal really WAS over $80, not only will there not be a tip, but the manager will get involved.
If you hand the server your cash for your meal and they fail to bring you your change, you guessed it, obviously no tip, as they seem to have already tipped themselves.
If your server leaves you alone for more than 5 minutes with an empty glass, provided you have it on the edge of the table, or if she/he walks by without acknowledging you, no tip, or at least, not a large one. Unless they’re so swamped they can’t see straight, they need to man their tables.
If your server yells loudly enough for everyone to hear that “Hey, that short lady on table 5 wanted ranch!” yeah, that tip is SO out the window.
If you have to repeat your order over and over (and over) to the server and they still don’t get it, the tip factor goes down. Learn the menu.
If your server doesn’t ask you what you would like to drink and brings you water without even asking what you wanted, no tip.
If your server outright is plain rude to you, no tip. My boyfriend and I went to a nice restaurant and wanted to order a drink. Our server snottily replied that the restaurant was not a bar, and that we’d have to at least order a dessert. We politely asked for a dessert menu and asked her how the chocolate turtle cake was and she jumped down our throats. After yelling at my boyfriend that he was raising his voice to her (he hadn’t said a word), I interfered and asked her why she was treating him so rudely when all we did was sit down. In fact, we were trying to order a dessert to accommodate the rules of the restaurant. After a few choice words and a near cat fight, we left confused and laughed about it all the way back to the car. In case you were wondering, no, we were not drunk, nor had we been drinking, prior to entering the restaurant. It was just one of those weird situations where we still to this day don’t know what she had in her bum. He wasn’t even rude to her, and nor was I, until she started verbally attacking him (in which case I had to be pulled back in my chair because he thought I was going to hit her). I still don’t know what that gal’s deal was.
And finally, don’t ever tip a server who demands or asks for a tip. A tip is a bonus for a job well done, and the amount (if any) is up to the patron. I went to a bar once with friends where we started a tab and intended on tipping when we settled the tab with our server (which is a common practice). We had not even finished our first drinks when she stormed to our table demanding that we tip her and she “doesn’t work for free”. Unfortunately, all of us were in the bar service at the time, either as cocktail waitresses or bartenders, so the gal got lined out good for the do’s and don’ts of running a tab and when (if ever) you get tips. She tried to sick her bartender on us, and we left, leaving behind untouched drinks that the house would have to take care of. Not only did she not get tipped, but she got her bum chewed good by people in her own field who knew better.
These are all personal experiences of mine in which I have never tipped. I always tip unless I am so grossed out or annoyed by a server who could care less that I just don’t leave a dime. Otherwise, I always tip fairly because servers for the most part work their arses off and really do deserve the few dollars their patrons leave on the table.