Today's Top Five List


Introduction:

Unfortunate dining situations happen to everyone occasionally, and can sometimes make an evening out thoroughly unpleasant. However, sometimes skipping out on a tip will not do anything to improve your experience, and it can in fact harm the waiter or waitress for a problem that they are unable to fix. Waiters and waitresses often make their entire paycheck from tips, and leaving no tip will significantly hurt their earnings for the evening. While some do earn $2 or $3 per hour for "waitress minimum wage," they will still have to tip out the busboys and other staff at the end of the night. If you don't leave them a tip, they might end up having to cover the costs with money from their own pocket. Generally, waiters and waitresses want you to have a fun and enjoyable dining experience, and are willing to address any concerns that you might have. Here are some situations in which it is inappropriate to forgo a tip, but definitely appropriate to bring up the issue with your waiter or waitress.

The Food Is Poor Quality

This is an error made by the chef; your waiter or waitress is not the person who prepares the food, so they should not be the ones punished for this mistake. You can tell your waiter or waitress to relay the message, but it is a bad idea to avoid tipping because of something that is not their fault. Leaving no tip or a small tip will likely make your waiter or waitress assume that you're rude or inconsiderate; they will have no idea that you did not enjoy the food. It's best to let someone know.

The Food Is Expensive

The waiter or waitress has no control over the prices, and it's not their fault if you didn't do your research before arriving at the restaurant. If things are more expensive than you'd like, either leave soon after sitting down, or grin and bear it for the present, and choose not to return in the future. Leaving no tip is very inconsiderate. Chances are, your waiter or waitress is poorer than you, and needs the tip money more than you do (if this isn't the case, then maybe you shouldn't be going out to eat at a fancy restaurant). By serving you, the wait staff is missing out on the chance to serve someone who will pay them fairly, but they are totally unaware of this fact until you leave and don't pay them. If the service is good, they are doing their job and deserve to be paid as such.

The Restaurant Is Overcrowded

Likely your waiter or waitress will be scurrying around and unable to provide the same level of attention as when the restaurant is at a manageable capacity. Unless they are deliberately ignoring you to chat with their friends, chances are they are incredibly busy and you should know that they are doing the best they can. Understaffed restaurants are usually the result of poor scheduling or sick employees. If you feel you are getting inadequate attention, politely address the issue the next time they swing by to check on you. This way you are able to communicate the problem, get more attention, and have a better overall experience. Communicating the problem after the fact with a smaller tip is less effective; if you're feeling resentful and want to stiff the waiter because you're not enjoying yourself, consider being proactive instead. That way they will know there is a problem, and you will enjoy your night out a little more.

You're Stuck In a Corner or By the Door

This is an error made by the hostess or simply a result of a crowded, busy evening. If you are uncomfortable and having a negative experience, you can ask to be reseated. However, if it's not possible to be moved, it's best not to blame the waiter or waitress, who is not in charge of seating. A surprising number of diners often skimp out on the tip when they have an uncomfortable experience, but this only hurts the individual waiter or waitress. Speaking to the manager or owner will make sure that the problem gets addressed; they, not the wait staff, are able to move that table away from the door in the future, or address the issue with the host or hostess.

Your Coupon Is Expired or Not Valid

Unfortunately, sometimes a discount or coupon expires when we don't read the fine print. Your waitress or waiter will likely get in trouble if they honor the invalid coupon if it's against the restaurant's policy. There's nothing they can do, and as such, you shouldn't punish them for being the messenger of bad news by forgoing a tip. It is a frustrating situation, but the best way to express your displeasure or perhaps get the discount after all, is to speak with the restaurant's owner or manager. You can explain the situation to your waiter or waitress, who can find the manager for you. They are usually the only ones who can fix the current situation, or prevent that from happening in the future (by making the coupons clearer, or removing the expiration date from certain coupons, for example). Just a hint: politeness and friendliness are much more likely to get you a discount than rudeness or making a scene. Restaurants love friendly, regular customers, and will enjoy pampering them a little. Many times restaurants are secretly hoping that rude customers will pay, leave, and never come back, as they make the dining experience negative for their friendly regulars.

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Comments

  • dashboardc33 1/20/2012

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    I agree. Its not always the waitress' fault

  • pamperedpen 6/11/2011

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    Great list. H5

  • MiddleSister 1/9/2011

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    Servers and former servers unite! I always tip, and try to make it a decent one.

  • goodselfme 1/7/2011

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    We all have had something happen out of our control. these well thought out thoughts are good to make us aware of loss of control somewhere along the line when it should not affect the tip.

  • JulieMcMurchie 1/7/2011

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    Good list. Servers should be tipped fairly and not be punished for circumstances beyond their control.

  • workhomeunion 1/6/2011

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    Very good list and you're right, there's no valid reason for not tipping.

  • ListMaker 1/6/2011

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    This list should make the front page as it contains very important information. The only time I leave a 10% tip (I never stiff them) is when the service is really poor (or they're on the cell phone while they're serving me - yes, that's happened).

  • hummingbirdee 1/6/2011

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    This is such a good list for why people do not tip. My eyes were opened when my son worked as a server at a popular restaurant. He had some terrible experiences to report and people do blame the server for everything.

  • Traqqer 1/6/2011

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    All good points. I used to work in a restaurant doing double duty as the cook and one of the waiters. I guess then I would not receive a tip for bad food quality. Fun list!

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