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Tipping a Shrewd Waitress

January 13, 2017

So a while ago some friends came in from town and we decided to go to the new local Asian fusion restaurant. I’m not really sure what exactly they were trying to fuse together but as near as I can tell they had a pretty good mixture of Japanese and Chinese food on the menu.

Long story short, the check for the entire meal was around $69. I took a hundred dollar bill from my wallet and placed it in the check folder. Then the waitress returned with my change. She left me ten dollars in fives, a twenty, and a one dollar bill. For those of you not great at math, this is exactly 31 dollars in change- but also a very calculated move.

I was pretty much forced by the denominations in the change to either leave a somewhat fair but smaller tip or a somewhat more gratuitous tip instead. Eleven bucks is roughly a 16% tip but the recommended tips at the bottom of the check started with 18% as a minimum. This left me questioning things.”If I only tip 16% will this waitress think that she didn’t perform her duties well? Will she think that I was dissatisfied with her service? Or would she just think I was a cheap asshole?”

However if I tipped the waitress a twenty which is about a 29% tip, would she think that she did an extraordinary job of waiting on us? Don’t get me wrong, she did do a fairly good job. But there were a few times I had to ask her to refill my water. Did these oversights warrant a 29% tip? I think not.

But then I also remembered that my wife said that she wouldn’t mind going there again. So I tipped the 29%. I figured in the long run, while it might send the wrong message, I guess I would rather be seen as a gracious tipper as opposed to a cheap ass- even if the service didn’t merit it.

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