Tipping

In this post at the Thinklings, Jared points to an article detailing reports of poor tipping during the recent Southern Baptist Convention. My wife and I both did our time in the service industry, she as a waitress, me as a pizza guy, valet and doorman. We both have talked about how Christians are known as poor tippers.

Frankly, that's pathetic. Didn't Jesus say we would be known by our love? Didn't Paul call us to give generously? Didn't Jesus say (paraphrasing) if someone asks for 15%, give him 20%? Didn't the early church sell their things to give to others? So why can't we tip well?

Jen, one of the commenters said perhaps Christians are confused about what being frugal is and instead are just being cheap. Even if it is frugality, it's misplaced. Here's my reply:

On frugality: Christians need to understand what frugal is. Frugal is clipping coupons, buying on sale, shopping for better prices, buying cheaper brands - all good things. In all those cases, the seller has offered you a better deal, either better than his normal deal or the other guys deal.

Frugal is not cutting someone else's pay to balance your budget. When you skimp on the tip, you are deciding that the food is on sale today, not them. Frugal means I get by with less, not that I make someone else get by with less.

You want to be frugal? Skip the drink and give the $1.25 to the waiter. Eat at Steak N Shake instead of Applebee's and give the difference to the waiter. Order a burger instead of an entrée and give the difference to the waiter. Or do any of those things and keep the difference, just tip well regardless. Skimp on yourself not them.

If you're a Christian, show them Jesus by tipping well. Particularly on a Sunday lunch, when the church crowd goes out to eat. If you need to skimp, skimp on yourself.

2 Comments

Great Post! I too worked in the service industry; and I also agree with your thinking as far as increasing the gratuity. Tipping should be based solely on the quality of service, and a sense of respect for the person serving you. These people are serving you, and they are doing it for the sole reason of making a profit. IF they provide good service, tip good; if they are providing excellent service, tip excellently, and so forth. The whole 15% thing is now a passing concept in most metropolitan communities. Some even say that the tip that you leave shows the quality of the person tipping, and how much respect they have to give, and gratitude. Hmmm, gratitude – gratuity?

If my server, whether in a restaurant, or bell hop, or valet, whatever, I have tipped as much as 50% for good service, and we're not that well off (really we live in poverty level), but I consider the tip is just a part of the cost. The price of whatever is being supplied (parking, dinner, concierge, etc.) is covering the establishment's expense, the tip is for the quality of service. Well, now I'm just repeating myself.

But, if I get poor service, then I tip poorly. There is no excuse for poor service. I've even had poor service intentionally. That is when the management needs to be contacted. Anyway, that's all I gotta' say…

Thanks Paul. At that post on the Thinklings, the general consensus was taht teh 'standard' tip was now 18% instead of 15%, but who can figure 18% in their head?

The tipping on the quality of service is a good theory, and I think is the idea behing the practice. But in reality, I wonder if it's effective for a couple of reasons.

First, wait staff are grossly underpaid if they don't get tips. So when you drop your tip in response to bad service, you're really taking a bite out of their income. It's hard to justify hurting someone who's not making much already just because they didn't serve me well. Now, at pricey restaurants it's a differnt story, but I don't go to pricey restaurants that often.

Second, I wonder how many bad waiters get a bad tips and think, "Hmm, I better do a better job with the next customer." More likely, they think (or even say) "What a jerk, he only left me a 5% tip." and then serve the next guy the same. This is made worse becasue I suspect most folks tip what they tip regardless of service so the tip begins to reflect more on the tipper than the waiter.



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  • Thanks Paul. At that post on the Thinklings, the general consensus was taht teh 'standard' tip was now 18% instead of 15%, but who can figure 18% in their head? The tipping on the quality of service is a good theory, a...

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  • Great Post! I too worked in the service industry; and I also agree with your thinking as far as increasing the gratuity. Tipping should be based solely on the quality of service, and a sense of respect for the person s...

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