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Thread: What's the smallest tip you've left, and why?

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    What's the smallest tip you've left, and why?

    Two Canadian pennies, upside down.

    This was at a restaurant in Buffalo that my friends and I back in our post-college years occasionally frequented. The waitress, who we never saw before, was completely, totally silent with us -- never uttering a word -- but she was friendly with other customers. She also took much longer to take our orders and deliver our food than other tables she had. We have no idea why; we weren't a group of ponytailed geeks loudly reciting lines from Monty Python skits, or frat boys just being obnoxious, but rather didn't look or behave any differently than anyone else in the place.

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    $1.50 on a $150 meal. Three people eating and the waitress came after 20 minutes of us being there talked to us for a second... quite snidely I might add... and was gone. She came back 10 minutes later to take our drink order. 20 minutes later she came back with our drinks and was "ready" to take our order. We ordered and almost 45 minutes later got our food. In that time we did not get a drink fill up once. We ordered a bottle of wine and finished it, hoping to buy another... when dinner came we finally had the opportunity to do so, with no help from the waitress (we went to the bar).

    I am not a complainer. I do not see how me talking to the manager helps the situation. He will probably just tell her to try harder. But this was an upscale place, and I really expected much better. Three hours was not exactly the time we wanted to spend in this place. She got a 1% tip. Exactly what she earned.
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  3. #3
    0.05˘ at the Howard Johnson's in Coxsackie, NY. My then-GF and I were on our way home from a concert in Saratoga Springs, NY (to Central Jersey) and we were tired and hungry. The waitress was lazy. We wanted to get on the road and moving, but she wanted to sit around and ogle the chef. It's wander I didn't turn on some real 'Jersey-lovin' on her as we left.
    Batter up!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    .01 US at a chain place in Myrtle Beach SC. The waiter was a rude prick who seemed more interested in watching the young things coming in off the beach than deal with paying adults. He got angry after we asked for a refill on our waters that he sloshed a pitcher of water on the table with an 'tude and walked off without pouring our glasses. He flung the food down on the table without regards to who ordered what.

    A group of cute girls came in and had to wait to be seated, he told them he would have our table clear in a moment and they would be served by him (we had just received our food)

    He had the guts to come out into the parking lot and yell at us over his tip
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    I went through a phase in high school where I did not tip at all. I was (still am, actually) fundamentally opposed to wait staff not being paid at least minimum wage before tips, and back then I was trying to buck the system to show them a lesson. It's sort of backward thinking, I suppose, trying to incite a worker revolt as a consumer. Anyway, I live with it now and tip at least 20% whenever I eat out.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    This one time at a national "Diner" chain, i was so pissed off with the service because the waitress would just look over at us, ignore us, and go to the next customer, even though we where just talking amongst ourselves not being rowdy or anything like that. She took 20 minutes to take our order, an hour for food and only 1 coffee refill. My buddy and I bought then bought a sunday paper, went to the coupon section and clipped out a $1.00 off coupon for shampoo, paid in exact change, and we were on our way.
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    $0.00 which was equivalent to the service we got. The situation was similar to what PlannerGirl described, although it did include a drink spilled on one of us due to carelessness, unaccompanied by any sort of even insincere apology. I have tipped well when the service was good and food was shixxy, and explained to the waitress that I appreciated her good service but the food was awful, and that I hoped she didn't have to share the tip with the kitchen staff.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    You guys are rude! I'm glad I was never a waitress in one of these restaurants.



    My grandmother was a notoriously bad tipper, not because of poor service, but because she seemed to think she could get away with it ("I'm a senior citizen"). As a result, I have always tipped well. If the service is ok, I tip 15-20%; if the service is great, I leave at least 25%. The last time I experienced truly abysmal service (at an IHOP!), I walked out... before ordering. No service, no tip.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I have only stiffed the waiter once. It was last year. The family was having a vacation on the Olympic Peninsula. We were in Port Angeles and I had been waiting to have one good seafood meal.

    We stopped at a place someone recommended. The service was awful. The prices were outrageous. The oysters on the half shell were admittedly pretty good, but the rest of the food was mediocre - given the toneyness of the place and the prices charged we expected something good. The waiter was slow getting our order, slow getting our water and bread and we waited forever for our food. People who came in long after us got their food before us. The waitstaff ket telling us our food was coming. I was so pissed.

    We finally got our food. It sucked. We ate it. My complaints fell on deaf ears. I paid my bill but stiffed the waiter.
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    $0.33 to an absentee waiter in San Francisco who we saw twice, once to take our food order and once to drop of a check. We spent and hour and a half at lunch flagging down other wait staff to get our drink order, refills, a waiter to take our order and for someone to drop off a check. I did not want to stiff him because IMO most managers will remove something off the ticket so the server gets something. I figured $0.33 was an indication of the poor service.

    Usually I complain to a manager which the wife hates...since it was our honeymoon I to let it slide.

    In other cases of bad service I complain and then leave a 10% tip based on what the manager comps if the poor service was server related. Most of the time it is because the cheap @ss restaurant is understaffed. If that is the case I make sure to tip the waiter well because its not his fault that he has 7 tables 4 of which are large parties.
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I leave no tip at all if the wait staff is inattentive or rude. If it's something they really can't control, like a bus full of needy old people just pulled up, I'll leave a decent tip and then ask for the manager and ream him/her out (which usually results in a nice gift card for a future visit).

    My (now-deceased) sister used to up-end a full water glass over two pennies if she had bad service. I never got the hang of doing that.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    I leave no tip at all if the wait staff is inattentive or rude. If it's something they really can't control, like a bus full of needy old people just pulled up, I'll leave a decent tip and then ask for the manager and ream him/her out (which usually results in a nice gift card for a future visit).

    My (now-deceased) sister used to up-end a full water glass over two pennies if she had bad service. I never got the hang of doing that.
    I'm pretty much with you here. Mostly I complain and either get the meal comped or a future freebie. Leaving a meager tip generally doesn't solve the problem for the future. In my many years as a restaurant manager I would always prefer to know if poor service was given so I could correct it for the future and make amends.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I like to give the restaurant a chance to make up for poor service. The manager of a Legal Seafood (good chain in Boston area) comped us a meal after the waitress forgot to put in the order. The food was good, the manager showed he cared, and I would readily go back. By comparison, I was served a pizza with glass in it at Giordano's in Chicago. I was offered a free drink. Fare trade for nearly sending me to the hospital? No. They did not even offer a new pizza.

    There are many times I have not left a tip because of poor service. I do not leave small tips though. Usually, its fifteen percent, but especially good service may go as high as 25%
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    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    $0 because I was young and stupid and didn't know you were supposed to tip the pizza guy.

    Almost all the times I've under-tipped have been unintentional. Someone would really have to piss me off to make me not want to leave an adequate tip. If a place is busy, then it's busy, and I'd blame the place more than the server.
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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    The website to a customer service training business on the line for the tip.

    The service was beyond pathetic. Not only did it take forever (15 minutes before she took our drink order, 45 minutes before we got our food, and 30 minutes before we got our bill), the order was wrong and we were overcharged. It was not that it was busy, it was because the waitress was too busy flirting with the Bartender.

    It was at a locally owned restaurant when I lived out east. I sent a letter to the store manager informing him of the situation. He returned the letter with a 10% off gift certificate and informed me that the waitress no longer works there. Apparently, I was not the only to complain.
    "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism." - George Washington

  16. #16
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    $0 because I was young and stupid and didn't know you were supposed to tip the pizza guy.
    I got that t-shirt too!

    More recently in response to exceptionally slow service combined with surly 'tude, I emptied out my spare change at a Carraba's, strategically distributing the dimes, nickels, and pennies around the plates, napkins and glasses. Total 37 cents. My only regret is that i didn't have any Jack Chick Comics to leave as well.
    Last edited by Maister; 09 Jul 2008 at 9:35 AM.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I have left $0.00 a few times but I always accompany it with a note on the receipt letting them know that a) I didn't just forget to leave a tip, and b) what they did (or didn't do) to receive no tip.

    The most recent occasion was at a Ruby Tuesday when a friend and I went in for dinner. We had ordered an appetizer and when the waitress brought it, she did not bring me a small plate. I asked her to bring a couple of small plates out for us (I mean, come on, we're not animals!) and she promptly told us, very matter-of-factly, "No." I thought she was joking but when we didn't have plates a few minutes later I caught her when she walked past and asked her again and this time was told that, "You don't need individual plates to eat an order of potato skins (or chicken wings or whatever we had ordered)." I was angry enough to get up and leave then but unfortunately the friend and I were too hungry and it was too late in the day and besides an Applebee’s (which I gave up on years ago), Ruby Tuesday was the only game in town.

    And yes, my OCD does in fact prevent me from eating my food off of my own individual plate.
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  18. #18
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    I've always left something - from a couple pennies to some loose change if the service was bad. Same stuff as most of you have said. One time really sticks in my head when the place was slow after the lunch rush. The waitress clearly was done because her three other tables had left and she just wanted to talk with the hostess. Food took longer to come out and it was luke warm, drinks were not refilled. I headed to the restroom and overheard her say "I wish those damn tourists would just leave." and this was in my hometown. Good thing I had enough cash that day. The bill was something like $29.82 and I left $30.00 to cover it.

    You can generally tell who's fault it is for bad stuff, management, kitchen or waitstaff. I "slung food" a few times and some people are just bad tippers. I tend to start about 20% and work down form there if the service sucks.
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  19. #19
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I've never had service so bad as to leave next to nothing. One time I saw my dad leave a nickel, after terrible service. Another time my friends and I walked out of a place after waiting for almost an hour after we had appetizers. We told the hostess we were taking off (and not paying) and she didn't care.

  20. #20
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Two Canadian pennies, upside down.
    Is this where the myth of Canadians being bad tippers began?

    I have left no tip in a couple of rare instances where I've had truly bad service and/or food.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian MD Planner's avatar
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    I waited tables for over 10 years including in a beach resort area and in my hometown so my usual tip is at least 20% for good service.

    That said, I have NO problem leaving a very prominently placed shiny penny to demonstrate my unhappiness with the service. I like to leave something so they know I just didn't forget. I don't get upset with servers because of bad food, it's not their fault. If they aplogize, take it away and try to make it right I'm fine with that.

    And don't be afraid to speak with the manager. A good manager will listen to what you have to say and try to satisfy you. If they are unsympathetic, I simply tell them I won't ever be returning and I'll be telling all of my friends about my experience.

    The flip side of course is the customer who is known to the restaurant as a regular but still will complain every single time they come in. This one lady was so bad we would play rock, paper, scissors to see who had to wait on her. Probably the highlight of my restaurant experience was the night the manager told the lady, "I'll take care of your bill, but don't come back to my restaurant again. It's obvious we can't make you happy so why keep wasting everyone's time?" That was sweet!
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  22. #22
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    I worked as a waiter and bartender, so I'll tip well for good service. Conversely, well, you know...

    The worst service I recall was in a pizza joint. We were one of two tables in the place, and the waitress was either in the kitchen gabbing, outside smoking, or just sitting. We ordered a pitcher of beer, and it came up from the kitchen onto the pick-up area under the heat lamps! Not a big deal if they grab it quick, but this sloth just let it sit there. When I got up to get it myself, the guy wouldn't let me have it because of some regulation, so I had to call the waitress to get it... and walked her to the table. I actually went up and grabbed the pie when it was ready. I told the guy I knew there wasn't any law against me getting my own pizza!

    In the end, we tore the corner off a $20 bill, and slid it under a plate... and for just a moment, I bet she thought she had gotten a great big tip!
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  23. #23
    Cyburbian
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    More Ruby Tuesdays... Some coworkers and I ate lunch there during training, and the service was awful. When I mentioned this to the manager, she excused and defended (lame defense) the waitress. One coworker and I told her that we would not return, and we promptly went back to the table and retrieved the generous tips that we DID leave. I guess that makes my answer $0.00.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    For 2 years in college I was a third shift waiter. Drunks are notoriously bad tippers. After that, I always tip 20% or more no matter what, but will tell management of problems. Good managers will comp meals to get you back.

    That said, third shift in the Milwaukee 'burbs in the summer also meant I got rock stars post show. I waited on Billy Joel, Billy Idol, The Kinks, Erasure, Duran Durnan, Whitesnake, U2, and others. They tip WELL beyond the need.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    The website to a customer service training business on the line for the tip.

    The service was beyond pathetic. Not only did it take forever (15 minutes before she took our drink order, 45 minutes before we got our food, and 30 minutes before we got our bill), the order was wrong and we were overcharged. It was not that it was busy, it was because the waitress was too busy flirting with the Bartender.

    It was at a locally owned restaurant when I lived out east. I sent a letter to the store manager informing him of the situation. He returned the letter with a 10% off gift certificate and informed me that the waitress no longer works there. Apparently, I was not the only to complain.
    NEVER wait that long. If I don't have a "wait person" at my table within a couple minutes of being seated, I'm all over the map with anyone who looks like they work there: "Hello, do we have anyone covering our table??? Could we get some service, like NOW???" "Hi, I know we haven't met, but we've been waiting 10 minutes for drinks and haven't seen our server, please check on this". RJ sinks lower and lower into his chair....

    And yes, I know what it's like. I was a waitress for two summers.
    Last edited by Zoning Goddess; 09 Jul 2008 at 9:20 PM. Reason: waitress disclaimer

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