18%. That’s the bottom-line tipping rate in the United States.
More for really good service.
If you can’t tip, you can’t eat out.
Let that be your mantra.
Here are 16 reasons why, as recalled by servers on AskReddit:
#1. The Breast-Man
I worked at an all night diner for a year. I have a story for every night I was there, but one really stands out in my memory.
There was an old guy who came several times a week. He was very quiet, and always sat in my section.
One night, he confessed that he came in just to see me.
That same night, he also went into detail about his job before he retired. He was head of a breast milk research facility, (they have those?!), and swore that he could guess the size of any woman’s fun-bags based on his previous experience.
He guessed my size perfectly. He went on to explain the uses of breast milk in healthy adult life, including his habit of drinking donated colostrum to prevent illness.
He asked if I was currently lactating.
Not me, but a friend of mine who was a waiter at the time had a guy shush him, (including putting a finger to his lips), while he was trying to rattle off the day’s specials to him and his party because they were too rude to stop bullshitting with each other.
#3. The Shutter-Bug
I work at a buffet. One night we had this middle-aged guy come in.
I thought nothing of it and, you know, went on with my business as usual. That is, until he pulled out his phone and started snapping pictures of the waitresses, me included.
After he was politely asked to stop and didn’t, our manager kicked him out.
Fast forward a few hours to closing time, look out the window and guess who’s standing there?
That’s right, the same guy. We called security, and they showed up. To get to my ride I had to walk right by the security van and him.
As I was passing, he waved and creepily said, “See you later alligator.”
That phrase is still stuck in my head.
#4. Not so Good, if you ask me.
I got dined and dashed by a priest on Good Friday.
#5. The Bennigan’s Brawl
I was a host at Bennigan’s.
Two couples sit in the smoking section. All seems to be going well: the men are on the inside of the table, women on the outside.
Their appetizers come out, and the women start laughing loudly about something.
Not sure what was said, but next thing I know, one of them men stands up in the booth, screams “BITCH!” at the top of his lungs, and backhands her to the floor. The booths in this area are elevated, so she fell hard, at least 5 feet.
She’s crying and cowering, the servers and managers are starting to notice something is wrong, and I’m aghast, having seen the whole exchange.
The man then grabs his woman by the hair and drags her out, kicking and screaming, the other couple following sheepishly.
Myself, another host, a couple servers, and a manager follow them out to try and keep them from leaving – not only did he just assault a woman in our store, but they’re also skipping their check.
All four people pile into the same SUV, peel out of the parking lot, almost run over a server, and disappear into the night.
We of course called the police, but no result.
#6. “What do I do with it now?”
When I worked at Starbucks, someone pooped on the floor right next to the pastry case…
A perfect turd, (Seriously- I thought it was a fake/joke turd from Spencer’s or something.)
A coworker of mine then put gloves on and picked it up in his hand and said, “What do I do with it now?”
#7. The List
I’ve had drinks thrown on me, been called a stupid bitch (for charging someone for two shots… when they ordered a double… had to clean up baby puke and dirty diapers, been stiffed on $200+ tabs, and deal with rude and cheap customers daily.
I love my job…
#8. Well played…
I used to tend bar at Caesar’s Tahoe. I had this deadbeat come up and order a snifter of our best cognac and pay for it with a keno drink comp ticket. (One of the few comp tickets that would cover a drink of any price.)
He leaves the bar after about ten minutes leaving his snifter with less than a quarter inch of cognac left. No napkin over the glass. (No tip either, but you saw that coming, right?)
After the better part of an hour the drink gets tossed.
Re-enter our hero shortly thereafter who loudly proclaims: “You threw out my drink!” With feigned apologies and perfectly concealed disgust I pour him a second cognac.
It is shortly consumed and he leaves.
–[fade to black, fade to next week]–
Our hero returns and orders a snifter of cognac, consumes all but the last few milliliters, and leaves the bar. I place a napkin over the snifter.
An hour has gone by and it’s starting to get busy. All the seats at the bar are taken except for the one behind that almost-empty snifter. My barback sees that someone would like to have this seat, picks up the snifter and asks me if he should toss the drink.
I say “No”, take the snifter from him and place it behind the bar.
In less than ten minutes our hero returns. It’s busy, the bar is full, I see him standing there, and I make sure everyone seated is happy before he gets any attention.
“You threw out my drink!” he again declares.
With magician-like dexterity, the sad little snifter is materialized and slid between two seated patrons on the edge of the bar before him.
“No, I didn’t.”
His look was priceless. I did my best to hide the triumphant gloat.
Every Sunday night this large church group would come in, about 20+ people. They would come in at the tail end of the dinner shift, just as I was about to pull myself out of the weeds, and they would ask for me to be their waiter.
Then, if they couldn’t get five tables near each other, they would spread out all over the restaurant into other waiters’ zones but still insist on me being their server.
They would act disappointed (and in some cases annoyed) that I didn’t remember their drink preferences from previous weeks. They would place their beverage and food orders, then get up and change tables. Not to fuck with me, mind you; they were just being sociable with each other.
Then they would get fussy with their orders. This or that was wrong, this is undercooked, I didn’t think it would look like that so can I order something else, etc.
It was hard for me to tell if I had gotten an order wrong, or if maybe I had the right order for the wrong guy because they wouldn’t stay in the same seat throughout the experience. It went on and on.
They were, per capita, the neediest customers I had to deal with all week, and there were 20 of them all at once.
Every. Fucking. Sunday.
So here’s the kicker…
That’s what I got tipped every week, plus about $5 in change.
#10. Horrible bystanders
One night a family consisting of mother, father, teenage son, and two small children come into the restaurant and order a chicken sandwich (among other things).
When they get the food back, the woman insists the chicken sandwich was ordered without lettuce and is upset that it has lettuce on it.
My co-worker insisted that she didn’t order it without lettuce and a fight ensues.
The mother, father, and older son proceed to go behind the counter and beat the crap out of my coworker, giving her a black eye and breaking her arm.
Yes, over a piece of lettuce. Talk about fun things to do together as a family…
My other two coworkers that were working with her that night went into the dining room to avoid the confrontation.
There was an entire dining room full of people enjoying their meals. Not one person stepped in to help her or even call the police.
After the family was gone, the police were finally called– by the woman that was beat up.
#11. 35-cent wing night
Until recently, I worked at a restaurant with a 35-cent wing night special.
One of the “rules” of wing night is no boxes, so I would always inform my tables from the get-go that they should only order as many wings as they can consume in the one sitting.
I was waiting on a guy and his girlfriend, and when they had finished, he still had wings left over and asked for a box. I said no and reminded him of the no-box rule I had already stated at the beginning of our lovely time together. He then asked for some extra napkins, so I brought some.
I watched in disgust as he wrapped the remaining wings (about 6-8 extra hot/bbq flavor) in a napkin, placed the wad of greasy paper-napkin-covered chicken wings in his pocket, and walked out.
#12. Problem solved
I worked at a soup & sandwich cafe for 3 years while I was in undergrad. Good job, easy money. Anyways, we offered quick breakfast options- bagels & cream cheese, breakfast sandwiches & burritos, and a quick 2 egg breakfast with toast, hashbrowns or grits, etc.
We offered a $1 small cup of coffee because Starbucks was 2 blocks down and my manager was like that. We broke even on the coffee, not really hoping to profit. Just trying to get people in the door and serve quick, good food. That kind of place.
A super-yoga soccer-mom started coming in every morning to buy a coffee. She would bring in her own bagel and her own cream cheese. She would purchase the coffee and then ask us to toast her bagel and put her cream cheese on it for her- and expect us to run the food out to her like we did for every other paying customer.
While she was purchasing her coffee, she would ask that we put on new gloves while preparing her food.
Okay, fine. Not a big deal the first few times- because the owner (a working manager) was trying to keep his customers happy all of the time. However, this budding new cafe was starting to increase in business, exponentially.
This Bagel lady started coming in every, single day. The boss grew a little tired of her request, because after all, he isn’t seeing the benefit of selling her a $1 cup of coffee and having us prepare her food for her.
She didn’t tip either.
However, because my boss always lived by “The Customer is always right” method, he did this.
She came in on a Saturday morning once- thinking she got special treatment, because she was a regular customer, and she decided she would skip the line and put her bagel on the counter near the register.
She waited in line, purchased her $1 coffee and noticed her bagel was right where she left it, untouched.
“Excuse me, I expected this to be toasted and ready when I purchased my coffee. I come in all of the time, you should know me by now. I am one of your most frequent customers.”
“Yes Ma’am. I apologize, I did not see it. Here is your coffee and I will bring it out to you in a moment.”
“I just don’t understand you people sometimes- so incompetent and rude to your customers. This is the kind of behavior that leads to disease and sickness in restaurants.”
I didn’t realize my boss was standing over my shoulder during this encounter. He sort of pushes me out of the way, grabs her bagel, (ungloved hands), takes a bite, goes to hand it to her, drops it, and asks her to leave while chewing a mouthful of bagel.
He goes to his office and closes his door still chewing the bagel.
He comes out and says “Coffee is now $2.”
#13. The cheeseburger
I once had a family of 4 come in: a wife, husband and 2 kids. The wife ordered a cheeseburger.
Everything seemed to be going well. I asked if they like their food and if there was anything I could get for them, and they said everything was fine.
The wife finished her burger and got my manager. She told her that the burger was absolutely horrible and wanted a refund for the whole meal.
My manager almost laughed at her and told her if she hadn’t finished the burger and had said something at the beginning she would have gladly gotten her another burger, but there was no way she was getting a meal-for-4 for free.
#14. Don’t leave us hanging like that…
I used to work at a coffee shop.
A homeless guy came in one night and started picking his face with a knife, taking chunks of skin out and getting blood all over the table.
#15. “I quit a week later”
I used to work in a restaurant in Columbus, GA that was decorated well and had moderately good food but was priced cheaper than freakin’ Applebee’s.
This led to every bad tipper in a 3-county area using this restaurant for their fancy date nights.
A lot of servers pick certain demographics that they find are the worst tippers. But at this restaurant, I quickly learned that if you are the kind of person that orders a steak well-done, you are a poor tipper.
Anyway, one night I get a table of two people. Its a very obvious date night for a couple that very obviously doesn’t get out much.
They’re acting like they own the damn place. Two glasses of house wine and an appetizer are ordered at the first go.
I put the order in but the kitchen is running behind, and the app is taking a long time.
For entrees, they both order the most expensive item on the menu: a couple of $25 sirloins. I’ll let you guess how they wanted them cooked.
So I put the sirloins in, and 15 mins later, they come out. I take them to the table only to realize that the appetizer never came out.
Turns out, someone in the kitchen dropped the ticket on the floor and never made the appetizer. They’re pissed about that, the steaks are “under-cooked” and they want to speak to the manager immediately.
I gladly get the manager for them, but he takes their side and tells me that I have to pay for their entire meal.
I tried to take that in stride, but the kind of tips the servers got at this restaurant weren’t worth the trouble.
I quit a week later.
#16. Wait for it…
One night, I was serving an extremely feeble-looking old man (probably around 85-90) and his two middle-aged children.
The old man ate a big bowl of Manhattan Chowder and one glass of red wine, while his children were busy eating their meals.
Not 30 seconds after finishing his last spoonful of soup he stood up. As did his daughter, who had a worried expression on her face.
The man took three steps toward the washroom, then turned and took a couple steps toward the (much closer) patio doors. At this point, his withered body convulsed, and he projectile vomited a mix of stomach acid, fish, clams, and tomato broth, (all mixed with red wine), all over the tile floor.
I rushed over to see if they were alright, and the woman ushered her father to the washroom. The son asked for the bill, and I brought it.
At this point I went and got the mop bucket. When I got back to within sight of the table, the family was on its way out of the restaurant, and I started mopping up the putrid-smelling mess.
As I was wheeling the bucket back towards the back of the restaurant, one of the wheels got caught on something, turned sideways, and got caught on the edge of a tile and tipped over, dumping all the vomit from before, but now with four times the volume, (due to all the mop water), all over the tile floor.
I looked up and saw a few of the servers staring, stone-faced, at me and the vomit-inducing 30sqft puddle of partially-chewed fish, puke, and wine.
Quite exasperated by the situation, I just sighed and said it was okay to laugh, which they immediately did.
And the kicker…
10 minutes later, after I’d finally finished re-mopping up the mess, I went to reset the table for the next guests and opened up the billfold, where I discovered $70 for a $69.90 bill.
Not only did I get to clean up all the vomit twice, but I had to pay to do so as I have to tip out 5% of my sales to the house: roughly $3.50 for this particular bill.
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