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Don’t Complicate Other People’s Lives Unnecessarily…Pay The Freaking Tip, Dude!

This just happened today and I thought I’d send it in to see what the E-Hellers thought! I already have a prediction about the opinion split but will keep it to myself until the results are in 🙂

I work in an office of about 14 people. When I started last year, we were only 5 in this particular office and we got into the habit of going out for lunch together on Thursdays. Now that we’ve more than doubled our headcount, we still keep to this tradition. We work in a rather hipster part of town…old factory buildings, a lot of low-rises, beautiful exposed brickwork and smaller spaces. The restaurants also mostly independent and there are almost no chains. Lunch is harder with so many people. We rarely all go out at once but generally, we have between 7 and 10. Advance reservations are a must.

Service charges are fairly common in our area for a group of our size. The number varies; some restaurants add an automatic tip for parties larger than 6 (rare), others for 8 or more and yet others for 10+. At today’s restaurant the magic number happened to be 6. We were a group of 8. The waitress was pleasant and there were no complaints about the service. The bills arrived and of course, a service charge had been added. We weren’t told about it (not when we made the reservation, not when we were seated) but I believe it was printed somewhere on the menu. I say “I believe” because even though I didn’t notice myself, that’s standard practice. Most of the group didn’t bat an eyelid; we proceeded to pay our bills. One member of the group didn’t like being told how much to tip. To add geographical context, we are in Canada where he has not lived for long. He hails from Eastern Europe. He is not against tipping and I haven’t known him to be a poor tipper but the “automatic” part of the service charge really got his goat. He complained only to be told that it was restaurant policy. He asked to speak to the manager (who I know is also the owner) and was told that she wasn’t there. The waitress offered a business card saying he could call her. He did. The phone rang in the restaurant bar right behind us. At this point, a senior colleague took over and after a discussion, presented a new bill having redacted the gratuity. The waitress asked whether the service had been unsatisfactory and my colleague assured her that it had not; he just doesn’t like being told how much to pay for discretionary amounts. He was about to settle the bill but checked the total more carefully and realized it wasn’t correct. He asked for another bill and one was presented, this time with the correct total and the assertion that they weren’t trying to rip him off.

On re-reading, I can see how bland the text sounds even though I’ve listed events as they occurred! Therefore, I will give some additional insight. The waitress was polite enough through the transaction if a bit curt. This was probably through stress rather than rudeness. Another colleague later reported that she was close to, if not in, tears after we left. My tip-shy colleague was also not rude or abusive. He merely stated his point. He did actually leave a tip but one that he added himself. I believe the mistake in his bill was a genuine one but by then tempers were frayed and the confusion only added to the unpleasantness of the whole thing.

I’m not sure what to think! On one hand, service charges are expected for large groups. It’s a(n irritating) reality of the world we live in. On the other hand, I support his right to not have arbitrary charges added to his bill because the restaurant feels he will stiff the waitstaff. I believe the law states (I haven’t been able to find proper confirmation anywhere) that if the customer is clearly advised before hand, service charges are legal. It’s a bit unreasonable to expect that a customer will read a menu from cover to cover before ordering. Many restaurants I know will advise the person making the reservation of any service charge.

In any case, we’ve learned our lesson. In order to avoid a scene for the rest of us in the future, we will be sure to resolve this issue before we go to lunch with him!   0929-16

I’m of the opinion that none of us has a right to complicate other people’s lives unnecessarily.  Your co-worker, despite his calm demeanor, created drama and unnecessary work simply for the right to determine his own amount he was willing to tip and having wasted time, emotions and more drama, he ended up paying what he would have paid in the first place.   In essence what he did was make an issue of “how” the tip was derived, i.e. the process, and not the end result.    So, in order to satisfy his personal need to have control just so he could end up at the same conclusion, he complicated life for the waitress and his co-workers.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Waltzing Matilda October 17, 2016, 7:50 am

    Agreed that the drama wasn’t intentional, it’s still an unpleasant situation for everyone to find themselves in. I know that in the US (and apparently Canada), tipping is mandatory and because of low wages, wait staff rely on them as a part of their salary, but….. as I can see exactly where your friend is coming from. As a foreigner (Australian) visiting the US, the whole tipping system gets right up my nose. In Australia, we tip only for exceptional service or to round the bill up ($30 for a $25 bill etc). Our minimum wage is one that people can live on and the idea of being told what to tip is one that just goes against everything. And I’m sure that goes for lots of other countries and nationalities as well. So write it up as a cultural difference and factor it into Amy future dining experiences. Having said that, your friend is living in Canada, not just visiting, so it’s something he’s going to have to come to terms with sooner or later.

    • Waltzing Matilda October 17, 2016, 7:55 am

      Don’t you just love auto-correct? Any future dining, not Amy. *big sigh*

      • Dee October 17, 2016, 12:39 pm

        Tipping in Canada is not mandatory. It is a gift, always has been and that hasn’t changed. Minimum wage for restaurant staff in BC is only a few pennies below minimum wage for everyone else, which currently stands at $10.85/hour. A couple of years ago a restaurant in a major city near me decided to pay staff a large wage (about $20/hour) and eliminate tips. It didn’t take long before staff requested to go back to the old system because they were losing money compared to getting tips. Depending on the restaurant you work at you can make very good money. Family restaurants not as much but still a healthy wage. You work very hard for that money, as I’ve experienced, but with tips at just 10% you are the envy of other minimum wage workers in other fields.

        I’ve never experienced a service charge at a restaurant in order to accommodate a large group. The server is compensated the same as if he/she had two smaller tables if the large group tips (and assuming the smaller tables are tipping, too). He/she is not working only that large group unless it is extremely large; he/she is likely working other tables, too, and so any tip lost from that large group does not mean he/she has lost all tips for that time frame. It can be easier to work a large table than several small ones.

        I am on the side of the discerning coworker. As long as he behaved politely he was perfectly in his right. The restaurant is pulling a fast one on its customers, one I’m sure they’ve gotten away with many times before and so feel emboldened. It is simply illegal for them to charge over and above the listed prices unless they’ve warned the customers and/or it’s for necessary taxes. It should be assumed that this policy is not to “protect” the staff and their earnings but that at least a small portion (often not so small) of the tips are going into the owner’s pockets. This is common now and means tipping has lost most, if not all of its meaning and purpose.

        I tip 10-15%, if the service is very good. I have tipped nothing before (and a couple of times have left pennies on the table as the well-known message of complete disgust of the service). 10% is a healthy tip and used to be the standard staff were happy to receive, before the hype about it being too cheap. If you do the math you can easily see how 10% would add up to a nice bottom line for a night’s work, even without the minimum wage.

        I have friends in the restaurant industry and they feel the same and are sometimes the pickiest customers of all, as they don’t tip easily for basic service. Restaurant servers work really, really hard for their money but there should be no illusion about how “poor” they are in Canada. Particularly when working the mid to upper scale places that OP and her coworkers seem to be frequenting.

        • Queen of Putrescence October 17, 2016, 3:25 pm

          A service fee is very common in the United States for larger groups, usually 8 or more. (I realize this takes place in Canada) But there are many states where the minimum wage for servers is around $2.50 (which I think is stupid). I would only tip 10-15% if the service was mediocre. Usually I tip 20% if I receive good service. If they are exceptional and go above and beyond, then 25 or even 30%.

        • Mitsouko October 17, 2016, 3:26 pm

          Actually, in BC as here in Ontario, wait staff minimum wage is $9.60/per hour which is significantly lower than the regular minimum wage of $10.85. Right away that is $2,500/yr less based on a standard year of 2000 hours. Certainly not a few pennies.

          Perhaps you are in a small town, but in Toronto 20% is a standard tip for good service. I am genuinely surprised that your restaurant industry friends don’t tip easily. Anyone that I know that has worked in that industry is usually adamant about paying 20%.

          If you have enough money to go out to eat, you have enough to tip properly.

        • Rebecca October 18, 2016, 12:24 am

          I live in BC too. 10% hasn’t been the standard gratuity for many years; nowadays 15% is considered the bare minimum, though I am not sure who gets to decide that. I have seen plenty of restaurants charge a 15% gratuity for larger groups. I am sure it’s because of the number of parties that have come up short in the tip; we’ve all been in the scenario where you’re dining in a large-ish group, and a couple of people will slap down a $10 for a sandwich that was $10.95 before tax and tip, and say, “Here….mine was about $10, gotta run!” and the people left counting it all up at the end find themselves short. Mind you, I haven’t felt too sorry for servers in fine dining establishments ever since a friend who works in such a place one day told me what a bad night she’d had, because she’d only made $300 in tips (plus her wage, which is the same as other minimum wage earners). Yes, serving is hard work, but I don’t see why it should pay more than highly skilled, specialized occupations.

          But….in this case, yes, Mr. Difficult was well within his rights but what a PITA he was being and a total embarrassment to his coworkers. When you join an established group like that, just go with the flow and if you don’t like it. don’t join the group for lunch.

          • NostalgicGal October 18, 2016, 10:22 am

            $300 in tips is a major fantasy I could have dreamed of. When I was in the trenches, and minimum was $2.65, that was a whole month of tips hard earned (our top steak dinner was $7.95 too)… Now days if you have $1500 in rent alone, that would make $300 seem paltry.

          • Dee October 18, 2016, 11:32 am

            Mitsouko and Rebecca – I live in a medium sized city, within commuting distance of a very large one. It is SAID that it is now customary to tip at least 15%, more like 20%, but that is not what is necessary. 10% is still the base line. Like the diamond industry, there is the advertising and then there’s the reality.

            My restaurant friends DO tip easily, but only if the service is quite good. And only 10%, because they know how much money that translates to. If a couple spends $40 on a meal (that’s about medium for a family restaurant here) and sits for an hour and a half, and the server has 12 people to serve over that hour and a half, at $40/couple that 10% tip adds up to $24. If the server gets half of that, added to the $10ish/hour wage that becomes about $18/hour. If the server receives less than half then the restaurant is taking too much off the top and the customer should know this. Personally, I am against anyone receiving the tip but the server, that’s the person who has served me and my needs. Knowing that my tip is being shared makes me feel less generous but I still participate because I want to give the server something if the service has been great. But it’s still a racket and those who work in the industry know it and don’t like it. 10% is a healthy tip but the management/owners don’t want you to know that because then they don’t get much for their share.

        • ant October 18, 2016, 6:15 am

          I am in the UK and large table service charges are becoming more common and would argue it is because it is rarely “easier to work a large table than several small ones.” Larger tables require setting up, take longer to decide (e.g. how long does it take 2 people to decide if to have a starter, 10 seconds? When I’m in a group of 6 or more it usually takes a good 5-10 minutes), longer to order, people often go missing (toilet, smoking outside) and you have to co-ordinate all that food and drink arriving together. Plus larger groups tend to linger and chatter both over food, and at the end of the meal. Then, at least in the UK, with tips not part of the culture, tips may be smaller percentage wise (i.e. people look at a £10 thinking that it is fair when really it may have been just £1 each rather that £5 per meal if it was a couple). Both the restaurant and the server tend to be better off with smaller groups.

        • Lacey October 18, 2016, 10:11 am

          I used to work as a server, and 10% is not a healthy tip. What people don’t often know is that servers must tip out other staff – based on their gross sales, not their tips – at the end of the night. It’s at least 1% to each the bartender, hostess, busboy/girl, and then at least 2% to the kitchen. If you tip nothing (which I agree with in circumstances of extreme rudeness), then the server is actually making money on the tip.

          And besides the current debate about whether anything less than $15 an hour is an actual livable wage (which the minimum wage was originally meant to be) – the fact that restaurant servers do better than most minimum-wage employees based on tips is the ONLY reason anybody works as one. It was easily the worst job I’ve ever had due to the demands and attitudes of most restaurant customers. People who complain about tipping would be way more upset if they saw how much less willing restaurant employees became to put up with their crap if tipping were eliminated.

          • Lacey October 18, 2016, 10:13 am

            The server is actually *NOT making money on the lack of tip, but losing money on the bill* is what I meant to put in there!

        • Booklover13 October 18, 2016, 10:56 am

          ” that at least a small portion (often not so small) of the tips are going into the owner’s pockets. This is common now and means tipping has lost most, if not all of its meaning and purpose.”

          Just want to make clear, this is straight up illegal in most US States. A owner is usually explicitly disallowed from touching tip money(the only exception being if they actually participated in servicing the table, which does not appear to be the case your speaking to.) So it may be common in Canada, but it would not be in the US.

          • Dee October 18, 2016, 4:30 pm

            Booklover13 – I believe it’s illegal in Canada, too. But, like everything else, it seems the sin isn’t in doing it but in getting caught. It’s also illegal for owners to make servers pay for dine-and-dash customers’ tabs, but it’s fairly standard policy at the higher end restaurants. The staff have to weigh the advantages of working a job that may pay well vs. one where the owner follows the law but the tips aren’t as great. The staff stay quiet about the law breakers because the remuneration is usually good enough that they don’t want to lose that job.

          • bern821 October 19, 2016, 9:40 am

            There was a recent legal issue here in the US with a popular chain restaurant on the East Coast – the owner took part of the servers’ tips. It was actually called the “Pete Tax” by everyone who worked there. And it was completely illegal. The owners were sued and paid a HUGE fine and ended the practice. So yeah, no part of any tip should EVER end up in the owner’s pocket, that’s just horrible!

          • Anonymouse October 19, 2016, 6:49 pm

            Very much illegal in Canada. I also don’t think it’s very common. I don’t know anyone who has experienced this.

          • NostalgicGal October 20, 2016, 12:42 am

            When I was on the floor, it was whoever served the table got the tip. If the owner personally took care of a table, they got the tip. Otherwise NOPE.

      • Lomita Momcat October 17, 2016, 6:50 pm

        Autocorrect is the devil. Hate it.

        A tech-savvy former coworker told me that it is possible to “edit” autocorrect, so that if a certain word is used, autocorrect will insert whatever you tell it to. He told us that he borrowed the phone of someone he knew and didn’t like, and edited autocorrect so that every time this person used the word “love” in texting or email, autocorrect would insert the word “lick” instead. Apparently the results were pretty uproarious.

        After he told me this, I made sure nobody but me ever touched my phone out of my sight.

        • NostalgicGal October 18, 2016, 10:23 am

          You can override autocorrect but it’s massively tedious…. I agree, you don’t touch my phone.

    • Anna October 17, 2016, 12:24 pm

      I believe that it is the case in Canada that waiters are paid at least minimum wage. In the US, they are not paid min wage by the restaurant (or some are, but it’s not required). It is supposed to be that tips make up the rest of their wages (although if they don’t manage to get tips, it is supposed to be that the restaurant gives them money to make minimum wage, but I’ve heard that they often refuse). While the practice I think probably migrated to Canada from the US, the underlying reasons for it haven’t.

    • Calli Arcale October 17, 2016, 1:02 pm

      Actually, tipping is not mandatory in the US. It is customary, but no law requires you to pay it. However, in most states, restauranteurs can underpay their staff on the presumption that they will earn enough in tips to make up for it — it’s called “tipped minimum wage” and it can be as low as $2.50 an hour. It’s extremely shady, and gradually individual states are banishing the tipped minimum wage policy.

      But all that said — you still are not legally required to tip, and the restaurant cannot force you to.

      They *CAN*, however, require you to pay a service charge. This is because a service charge is not actually a tip. This is another thing that is not often understood.

      If, in OP’s story, the service charge was paid but no additional tip was added, then I’m afraid the server may still have gotten stiffed. It will depend on the laws in that particular state and city, and how that particular restaurant handles service charges, but in general, if it doesn’t say “automatic gratuity”, then there is no guarantee it’s going to the server at all.

      • NostalgicGal October 17, 2016, 4:28 pm

        Tipped wage can dip as low as $2.13 an hour. And if you’re only pulling 3-5% of your gross in tips (the amount is based on what the ticket came to) you can still be hurting bad. Places that pay like that, the only way the employee CAN hope to make a living wage is tips.

      • koolchicken October 18, 2016, 12:43 am

        Actually, there’s something called “theft of service”. Tipping in the US is not a “gift”. If you received adequate service (or better) you ARE required to tip. My sister has been a server for years and this was an issue in some of the bigger chains she worked in. People would complain, make something up, and get the bill waived and stiff the server. Or they’d grossly undertip the server who’d gone out of their way for that table (apparently it’s common for elderly people to ask for everything under the sun and then undertip, I had no idea).

        There are very few instances of restaurants calling the police on customers because of the bad press. But I do know it happened once at UNO’s. There was a family (who had apparently made this a habit) when they tried to leave without tipping the server who’d been nothing but polite, the police were called and they were compelled to give 15%. It was ugly. They were also barred from the restaurant from there on out.

    • Ange October 17, 2016, 11:12 pm

      Gosh I agree! Having just returned from a month long trip to America I was about ready to tear my hair out by the end trying to figure out who to tip and who not to, plus remembering to keep cash with us at all times. We tipped well because while I think it’s silly to have other workers pay your wages as opposed to the business owner making money off your labour I refused to be that person.

      • Pame October 18, 2016, 2:40 pm

        Ange, are you implying business owners aren’t workers or don’t work?

        • Ange October 19, 2016, 2:58 am

          Of course not, just that in other countries wages come from the owner of the business and it saves the customer filling the gap. The owner is making the profit, they should pay their workers a living wage.

    • don't blink October 18, 2016, 7:27 am

      Tipping is not mandatory in Canada, although it is certainly a) expected and b) polite. Wait staff are paid the legal minimum wage ( which is standard for everyone, not just service staff) or higher. Tips are on top of this.

      • Laura October 18, 2016, 12:44 pm

        Actually, this isn’t the case. In some provinces (Ontario and British Columbia) servers in licensed establishments make generally 10-15% less than standard minimum wage.

    • Aria October 18, 2016, 11:42 am

      Tipping in Canada isn’t mandatory but it is definitely expected. 10-15% is the standard. 20% is on the high end. However, mandatory tips on large groups is DEFINITELY standard. It’s probably because getting stiffed by a group of that size could utterly ruin a servers night.

  • abby October 17, 2016, 7:55 am

    I agree with Admin. Honestly, if I had been at the restaurant, I would have just taken Coworker’s bill and paid it along with my own, with gratuity, rather than sat there watching this awkward scene unfold. I can’t believe, upon being presented with the manager’s business card, your coworker proceeded to pull out a phone and call on the spot.

    • Mafdet October 17, 2016, 12:37 pm

      In my country we don’t have service charges.
      While on holiday abroad my friends and I went to a restaurant. On the bill we noticed an extra amount. As we didn’t know why we were charged this, we asked our waiter.
      He explained that it was a service charge / an automatic tip.
      We looked at each other and said something like: “Huh? That’s weird.”, then proceeded to pay the bill, because there was no reason not to. Apparantly things were handled differently from what we were used to at home, and we were perfectly fine with it.

      If I had been in OP’s situation, I would have been tempted to pay the coworker’s bill to avoid further fuss and drama.

    • Anonymouse October 19, 2016, 6:53 pm

      Why not? While I wouldn’t choose this particular hill to die on, if I wanted to speak with the manager and was given his (or her) phone number, I would be calling ASAP.

  • Heather October 17, 2016, 8:01 am

    So agree with Admin! I’m Canadian, living in Canada, as well. And I recognize the OP’s dilemma as a typically Canadian one. It really is true that we are a nation that suffers collective anxiety over politeness. That being said… I am totally with Admin on this one. While I can appreciate your friend’s position, it created unnecessary drama and stress for so many involved… to prove what point exactly? It would have been better expressed as a discussion afterwards. But not in front of a waitress who was just trying to do her job. This is one of those situations where you have to ask yourself: who was more rude? And to what end?

  • Huh October 17, 2016, 8:03 am

    Am I weird that I like service charges? Sure, go ahead and tell me how much to tip, let’s not play the game. Because it is a weird game that we pretend we’re free to pay whatever we think based on service, but we also know that there IS a standard of how much you should tip for service because waiters/waitresses don’t make minimum wage and so therefore you should pay X amount at minimum and more if service was good.

    • Anonymouse October 17, 2016, 8:21 pm

      This occurred in Canada, which changes the context somewhat. Canadian servers make at least minimum wage (no “tipped minimum”) so there isn’t really a standard of how much you should pay.

    • Rebecca October 18, 2016, 12:27 am

      I like it too. Tell me how much I owe, and I will pay it. Let’s not pretend the tip is a gift that we pay out of the goodness of our hearts, when we know that if we don’t pay it we’ll be labelled the most horrible customers ever to set foot in the place.

      • NostalgicGal October 18, 2016, 1:29 pm

        If you were a good customer (not picky demanding and a pain in the patoot) and didn’t leave me a three bus-tub mess on your table, not leaving a tip wasn’t as bad as leaving me a disaster that will take 10-20 minutes to clean up (including all the booth and the floor) and leaving me a penny because I wasn’t your personal slave and couldn’t read your mind. Waiting is a demanding job physically and mentally and it’s not an easy job. Be considerate of that person who has it from both ends and leave a decent tip.

    • ant October 18, 2016, 6:30 am

      I know it’s a culture difference but forget additional charges and just pay people fairly for their work. Although just stating what you think the right addition charge is so we can pay would be a vast improvement. I really don’t like having to add things on that are part of the cost. It’s also really weird to me when you get banner prices on things without including tax. Just print a final total and everything is easier

      • NostalgicGal October 18, 2016, 1:31 pm

        It’s the law, you can’t roll tax into the price. It’s this price PLUS tax. I know in other countries the price is net total, but in the USA it’s PLUS tax. …

        • ant October 19, 2016, 5:14 am

          Seems so odd though because really the law should be on the consumer side and shops should display a price you will pay. It’s not as if you have a simple tax system either i.e. +20% on everything. State to state, product type etc all affects the tax rate so when you buy things is the USA it just feels like you’re constantly guess-timating the costs before paying

          • NostalgicGal October 20, 2016, 12:53 am

            We have state tax, and can have county and/or city tax as well. Where I live now there is a state tax, a county tax, and a city tax. Those can change. As we have voted for things here (bond issues, fixing a road, keeping the courthouse and hospital funded, etc) those amounts have fluctuated. So every time a few points (often a penny or less per dollar) changes, the prices would have to be redone. Hence the Price PLUS Tax system. Plus it makes it clear what is owed to be remitted and easier to track for the authorities that do so. I have held wholesale and retail tax permits in several locations and sometimes more than one at the same time because where I sold was a different location (think states, and some cities also have their own sales tax permits). In all I had to know the rate for ‘point of sale’ then collect and remit the tax with the forms. I could sell in six different places in a month, each with different tax rates, and have to do the paperwork and remitting for all. Repricing my stock for each place wasn’t going to happen.

            If you buy online, if that business has a physical address they do business out of in your state, they will have to at least collect the state tax. If the business is in your county and/or city, they have to collect those taxes too if they apply. When you do so, the shopping cart DOES have a ‘estimate tax and shipping’ so you can see what will be added before you hit ‘buy’. A few places I buy from have a store in this state so I will see the tax show up before I hit the ‘buy’ button. Informed.

          • ant October 24, 2016, 5:09 am

            Thats the point: the current system is used because it directly helps the seller and politicians, not the consumer. The simplest system for a consumer is a “price you see is the price you pay”.
            All prices fluctuate far more than the on the shelf price. Due to raw material costs, manufacturing cost, exchange rates, import tariffs delivery or fuel charges etc. The simple fact is product manufacturers and suppliers work to try and negate these fluctuations so they don’t have to change prices during non-sale periods. The real reason retailers want to not show tax is to make their prices look lower. politicians like having the tax added on after so people do not bother them with the obvious real world impact of their policies i.e. they do not want people to think about the fact that they may save 5 cents on an item by going 5 miles up the road (retailers are unlikely to want to make less profit in one area and would also start pressuring the politicians).
            As for the administration of tax forms, that s a real non-point. Backwards calculation of the taxes owed is just as easy /hard as forward calculation. Particularly for retailers which have programmable tills /automated / computerized accounting procedures.
            Admittedly for a travelling sales person which cannot absorb the price flutuations it does help them when they need to change prices. Though most small sales teams tend not to put prices on items rather have a list or “shelf” price to change(assuming there is only a few dozen items it is simple).

  • Anon October 17, 2016, 8:04 am

    If I was in a relationship with your co-worker, his behavior would be a red-flag.

    If he was hard up for money and couldn’t spend those extra few dollars (I can’t imagine that the tip would be THAT much compared to how much he “wanted” to pay) he shouldn’t be going out to eat then. But instead he decided that he wanted to control the amount he tipped, which in most people’s eyes, make him look cheap.

    Also I am absolutely on the restaurants side for auto-gratuity. It’s not just about being stiffed, but also your party could pay well and leave a huge mess for them that they would have to spend time cleaning up, or perhaps they would lose tips from tables around the large party (depending on where the party was located inside the restaurant) because the party was loud and obnoxious and nothing could be done about that or maybe your waitress is having to spend a lot of time at your party and therefor others have to help with other tables thereby increasing the workload a bit. There are quite a few reasons to have auto-gratuity put on a bill.

    • Cass October 17, 2016, 12:34 pm

      It’s pretty common that if a party is large enough (not necessarily the same size as the autograt) the waitress doesn’t have any other tables, and part of the reason for the autograt is to make up for the loss of revenue, especially in large parties that are splitting the bill; it always seems like there’s one person who decides they don’t have to pay, leaving the waitress with a minimal tip, if any.

      • NostalgicGal October 18, 2016, 1:34 pm

        Worse is the ‘volunteer’ who is dealing with the individual collecting, everyone hands over plus their tips, and that will cover the entire bill so they don’t pay for themselves, suck up the tip to pay for theirs and leaves a pittance or nothing at all (if it doesn’t quite cover). And the rest of the group is oblivious that the volunteer stiffed because they were the last one out. Or ones that are the last to leave and filch some or all of the tip money left behind by others on the way out.

  • Julia October 17, 2016, 8:27 am

    Ugh. I absolutely cannot stand people who claim to have an issue with tipping. In refusing to pay the gratuity, the guy was basically saying to the waitress that she wasn’t worthy of being paid to do her job. Do people like this really not care that service employees in America don’t get paid unless people tip? In fact, if you’ve ever not left a tip, for whatever reason, the math involved means the waiter has actually had to pay their own money to wait on you. What is so wonderful about this guy’s principles that he had to ruin this woman’s day with petty demands?

    Personally, I’d get rid of tipping and pay service employees a good wage for doing their jobs. But I don’t have that power (unless it comes up for a vote someday), so I recognize my social and economic role to work inside the system and not punish the truly powerless people, namely, wait staff. If the guy really didn’t like being “told” what to pay, he should have paid the tip, quietly, and then written the restaurant a letter. He could also make a point of not going to the restaurant again. He so did not have to get in this poor woman’s face and make her feel bad for something over which she has no control and on which she relies to pay her rent and buy her groceries.

    • Cleo October 17, 2016, 5:34 pm

      The story is from Canada. From what I’ve read in other comments I assume they actually have to pay their staff there.

    • Cleo October 17, 2016, 5:37 pm

      And you do have the power! Ask managers if they pay waitstaff an hourly wage and if the answer is “no” don’t eat there. If enough people do it then the system will change. Every individual has the power to change the world for the better 🙂

    • Anonymouse October 17, 2016, 8:35 pm

      This took place in Canada. Servers make regular minimum wage (or sometimes higher) here. Tipping is very much a bonus, and if you don’t do well you don’t get your bonus (just like any other job).

      I have skipped the tip when I’ve received poor service (although I did offer one to the hostess who fixed the problems). Nothing you can say will make me feel bad about that.

      • Lacey October 18, 2016, 10:19 am

        Even the fact that the server actually lost money on the bill, due to having to tip out other staff at least 5% of their gross sales? (Also in Canada here.) I only agree with that if the server was a jerk.

        • Anonymouse October 18, 2016, 11:08 am

          Nope, don’t feel bad at all. Waitress made her wage regardless, and she did NOT deserve a bonus for deplorable service…

    • Rebecca October 18, 2016, 12:35 am

      Agree with most of what you say, except that the OP said he did tip, but just didn’t like having it written onto his bill; once it was taken off, he tipped himself. That kind of places him in the “difficult person” category right then and there and I’d really not want to dine with him again. Also, the OP said this is in Canada. In Canada, servers do get paid minimum wage, same as retail employees. I agree with you that tipping is a lousy system and as a customer, I’d prefer to be told the price including service, and pay it, and let the server’s pay be dictated as it would be in any other industry: on the basis of skill, experience, industry demand, job duties, etc. But servers I am friends with tell me they don’t want this – they make a ton of money on tips and being paid the way other service industry people are paid would mean a drastic pay cut for them.

  • AndreaLynnette October 17, 2016, 8:27 am

    So the young lady did a good job and her reward was to have this guy harangue her, slow her down thus impeding her ability to serve OTHER customers, and probably just really mess up her day, all for what? Apparently, absolutely nothing!
    I would think that at a bare minimum, he had the responsibility to do the math first and see if it was going to be same amount. There’s no principle involved here, other than the restaurant making sure large groups don’t take up all the server’s time and section, then stiff said server. This goes beyond “complicating” into just plain MEAN.

    • Lacey October 18, 2016, 10:21 am

      Exactly. Not to mention completely embarrassing himself and everyone else – so tacky. It was funny on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, but is unacceptable in real life.

  • AthenaC October 17, 2016, 8:59 am

    I agree with admin 100% on this one. I would add also that my preferred method of dealing with something that I really, really don’t like is to simply comply in the moment and remember to never return. It’s easier on me, it’s easier on them, and I have better things to do with my life than correct every (perceived) injustice against me.

  • Aleko October 17, 2016, 9:08 am

    If you’ll excuse my Polish, this guy was behaving like a complete a*sehole. It doesn’t matter how these things are done back home; he’s a grown up bunny rabbit and should realise that other countries have other customs which it behoves resident foreigners, never mind recent immigrants, to conform with. The fact that all the rest of you took the service charge for granted should have given him a clue that it was normal in Canada and he should accept it. If you people didn’t feel up to telling him then, somebody needs to take him on one side and tell him before you go out again.

    I also disagree with your support for his right to object to a fixed service charge just because the restaurant feels that otherwise people will stiff the waitstaff. The sad fact is that restaurants *know* large groups will as often as not stiff the waitstaff, because nobody in them feels they ‘own’ the duty to tip. Many people will total the price of everything they have had and just put down that much money, so unless the member of the group who is collecting up the cash either feels able to say ‘Come on guys, some of you haven’t added anything for a trip, do the decent thing’ or just makes up the amount themselves, the staff will lose out.

    • stacey October 17, 2016, 3:26 pm

      Agreed! Auto-grat may be graceless but declining to pay a reasonable gratuity because you’re looking to get by a little more cheaply is rude.

    • lakey October 17, 2016, 11:30 pm

      I agree with you that when you are in a country you go along with what is common in that country. In my area it is really common for a restaurant to charge an autogratuity for large groups. I can see why, because I’ve been in large groups where at least some of the people don’t tip appropriately. What ends up happening is that others in the group feel inclined to add to the tip to make up for the stiffers.

  • T October 17, 2016, 9:11 am

    I had a similar situation years ago. The whiner wasn’t even part of our regular group. Someone said they’d cover his share of the tip and that REALLY made him mad. So he succeeded in having 2 bucks subtracted from the bill. I kid you not. I felt so embarrassed once everyone else was in the parking lot I ran back into the restaurant and handed the waiter 5 dollars and apologised.

  • AMC October 17, 2016, 9:16 am

    I wish people would get the idea out of their heads that tipping is optional. It’s the charge you pay for service. Most waitstaff in the US are not paid minimum wage because it is expected that tips will make up the remainder of their salary. When you don’t tip or tip below the standard amount, you are basically stealing from the waitstaff. This is why many restaurants are now adding automatic gratuity to bills, to protect the waitstaff.

    • Anonymouse October 17, 2016, 9:01 pm

      In Canada, tipping is optional. Waitstaff is paid minimum wage or higher.

      • Laura October 18, 2016, 9:51 am

        In Ontario, the current minimum wage as of October 1st is $11.40. Servers that work in licensed restaurants make a minimum wage of $9.90. This means that servers make about 12% less, so a 10-15% tip should be paid. Of course, it is discretionary, but there is most definitely a difference in wages.

      • AMC October 18, 2016, 10:02 am

        See? Canada gets it. I don’t know why the US doesn’t.

  • Daisy October 17, 2016, 9:35 am

    Fellow Canadian here, and I’m with Admin on this one. I go out to lunch frequently, and unless the service is poor, I tip 20%. (The waitress has nothing to do with the quality of the food. If the food is a problem, I take it up with the manager.) 20% on a fifteen dollar lunch is three bucks. Upsetting the waitress, making your fellow diners uncomfortable, and creating more work for everyone involved isn’t worth three bucks. And whenever people tell me, “It’s not the money, it’s the principle”, I’m pretty sure it’s the money.

  • JC October 17, 2016, 9:41 am

    In my experience, automatic gratuities for tables are usually quite reasonable (15-18%) and in line with what “standard” tipping amounts would be, so I never have a problem with that (and I usually tip 20% so the automatic gratuity is usually LESS than what I would normally tip).

    If I were dining with a group and someone had done what the co-worker in this story had done, I would probably make a mental note to never dine out with this person again – all this sturm und drang over a gratuity he was apparently willing to pay all along is ridiculous.

    • Bandit1970 October 17, 2016, 11:15 am

      I totally agree that the OP’s co-worker was completely out of line, however, the restaurant’s policy needs to be made clear to patrons. The OP said that they were not told of the service charge “not when we made the reservation, not when we were seated”. Pretty much every local restaurant I’ve been to has the service charge printed clearly on the menu, website, some even have it noted at the hostess stand. Last time I called the local tavern after a game to make seating arrangements for twenty, the hostess informed me of a 20% service charge. Not a problem, but we were told about it beforehand. If the restaurant is going to charge additional fees for service, please make sure it’s well advertised(?).

      And yes, I would not want to dine out with that co-worker again. Years ago when I was in finance, we would go to a little “dive” bar down the street from our office. Fabulous burgers, fries and onion rings. Total meal per person probably cost about $ 8.00 each depending on if you had extras on your burger or not. We knew of the 20% gratuity for large groups. But co-worker pitched a fit when it came down to paying the bill, not because of the automatic gratuity, but the fact it was just easier that we all round-up to say $11.00 per person (server usually got 25% or more that way). He wanted to pay his $ 9.25 and nothing more. (BTW need I mention these were all accountants, and my boss the Director of Finance usually organized the outing). CW did that twice and then was never again asked to join us.

    • Lacey October 18, 2016, 10:22 am

      Exactly! Thank you. I never have a problem with this. The reason they do it is because large groups take up more space and are generally more demanding to serve, so the server might otherwise make less money than usual by waiting on that group.

  • lkb October 17, 2016, 9:56 am

    It seems to me that the coworker in question may have shot himself in the foot. That’s one restaurant, one waitress and seven coworkers who will remember this guy created a lot of unnecessary drama. The group and each individual in it may think twice about going to the restaurant (whether because they dislike the service charge policy or because they are embarrassed about having been part of “that one group”). The restaurant, and certainly that waitress, will have its (her) hackles raised any time the group, any member of it, and especially the coworker shows up. All over what? A few bucks?

  • Elle October 17, 2016, 10:01 am

    The fact that he’s from another country isn’t an excuse. I’m betting he would have been a jerk in any country or language. If that had happened in the U.S. (where I live), I would have slipped the waitress an extra $10 and told her that it wasn’t her fault. I agree that the issue of tipping needs to be ironed out before the next outing that involves that guy. If he gripes to wait staff again, then it could be a pattern for him, and someone may need to have a friendly chat about what it means to live in Canada, where the people are known for being nice and polite.

  • CW October 17, 2016, 10:47 am

    I don’t see why he felt the need to bring it up at all. If it was a matter of “Where did this extra charge come from?” and the answer was “Automatic service charge” that should have been the end of the conversation. If he’s gone out in a large group with all of you before, he should know that service charges may apply and be prepared to pay accordingly. It doesn’t matter if he was rude or not, the waitress should not have been nearly brought to tears because of a charge he ended up paying anyway.

  • Lomita Momcat October 17, 2016, 11:17 am

    For pity’s sake.

    I’d be curious to know what the actual sum of money involved is. I’m pretty sure it was probably less than $5.

    So, for a sum of money that nowadays can’t buy you a fancy coffee drink, this guy makes an absolute donkey of himself, reduces a waitress to tears, undoubtedly irritates his colleagues. But according to him, it’s not about the money: it’s about the principle involved.

    Okay, if it IS the principle, and that really is important, how could this have been handled better?

    The guy could have stated his objection to “automatic” service charges at the time the group is choosing their restaurant. That could allow them to choose a place that doesn’t have that policy.

    He could have paid the service charge, then contacted the manager privately to discuss the policy and state his objection.

    He could suggest to the group a way that avoids the issue altogether, such as “brown bagging” lunch, sending out for take-out, or splitting the group into smaller groups to get around the service charge.

    But no– he has to make a stink, reducing the waitress to tears, undoubtedly making his co-workers uncomfortable, and probably getting the whole group branded as “high maintenance” at that restaurant in the future.

    Great job, dude! All this for a very small sum of money. But it was never about the money. It was about the principle.

    So how about the principle that you try to avoid inconveniencing and embarrassing the people you work with?

    How about the principle of not subjecting the wait person to a discussion of principles over a policy she has no responsibility for?

    Just my opinion, I think the guy with the problem with service charges won the battle over his principles, but at the cost of getting along with people. Based on what OP described, this is someone I’d be hesitant to include in future activities, because who knows what other conflicts he’ll engage in over matters of principle.

  • SamiHami October 17, 2016, 11:35 am

    I can understand not wanting to pay the pre-set gratuity IF the service was very poor. But, if I were with a group of coworkers I would probably not say anything, pay it, and make a mental note to not go to that establishment again if it were an issue for me.

  • keloe October 17, 2016, 11:48 am

    I had practically the same situation in, funnily enough, Eastern Europe. Except it wasn’t work. A group of people (mostly expats, apart from me and one other person) went on a day trip to another city nearby. In that city we were joined by a few other people who lived there. We spent a nice day sightesseing and were recommended a nice place for a late lunch. We called ahead to make a reservation and were informed that there is a service charge for groups over 10. There were 11 of us, I believe. The person making the reservation said it out loud, everyone nodded.

    At the restaurant the server informed us again about the service charge when showing us to our table.

    We had a very nice meal. We split the bill, so everyone paid just for what they ate. Then the organiser asked everyone to chip in for the service charge, as this one couldn’t be split. It came down to about $1.5 per person.

    One guy just lost it. He kept repeating that he will not be paying any charges he wasn’t warned about beforehand (he was), that it should have been written on the manu (it was), that he doesn’t see why serving a large group would be harder than a small one (it just is), and that the restaurant should be glad of getting our business instead of charging us extra. He just went on and on. He swayed the girl seated next to him to not chipping in either, although I don’t think she had anything against it in general. She just seemed like a soft, easily persuadable person inclined to follow the stronger personality, and he was the one shouting loud at the moment. It became clear that we will be stuck there for another half hour listning to him rant and trying to persuade him, and we were tunning out of time, so I just gave the server the missing amount from my own money and we herded him outside.

    Incidentally, it’s not like he left a large tip of his own (in which case his reluctance to pay even more might be a bit more understandable, though his behaviour was still wrong). I sat right next to him. He just paid what was on the bill, nothing extra.

    Luckily he lives in that city, so I’m not in much danger of running into him again. He also spent most of the day telling various people how his supervisors at work don’t really understand how his mind works and therefore do not appreciate him properly or give him tasks fit for his intellect. So his behaviour at the restaurant wasn’t all that surprising.

    PS. The servers around here are paid, so a tip is just an extra. They are not paid much, though.

  • lnelson1218 October 17, 2016, 11:51 am

    My experience is has been more trying to get people to actually pay their share. I’ve dined with plenty of co-worker who seem to have interesting math skills.

    Example if their lunch was 9.75 and the drink 2.50, they would only put down $11. Not accounting for the tax and tip, never mind the bad math. Separation checks does make life easier whenever you can do it.

    • mark October 17, 2016, 4:52 pm

      Totally agree. The magic words in a restaurant are “Separate checks, please”. I had some coworkers who liked to split the bill evenly even though they had “champagne” tastes as compared to my “beer” preferences.

  • Ernie October 17, 2016, 12:01 pm

    He can either accept and pay the automatic gratuity, or get ready for the alternative, which is for every restaurant to just start jacking up all of their prices 20-25%. The money for the wait staff isn’t going to come from thin air, and it isn’t going to come from the restaurant.

    I completely understand why restaurants do this, as if a waiter is serving 6 or more people at one table, they are naturally going to have to take on less tables total, so if the 6 person table doesn’t tip, they wont make any money. I figured this out when I was about twelve years old, an adult should know this.

    I think the move where he called from the restaurant right then says all we need to know about him.

  • NostalgicGal October 17, 2016, 12:04 pm

    Neither side smells good on this one. I can see both sides. However, the charge should have been posted plainly somewhere… most US places I have eaten at, have a little sign at the register and/or on the bottom of each menu page, aka it is visible. When the reservation was made it should have been mentioned when the reserver said eight.

    One place has good food, a club I’m with often holds their monthly get together there. The ladies often tip close to 40%. The staff loves us as we are good about cleaning up after our meeting and tip well. They started adding the service charge bit. And didn’t have signage up. We got the bill, went what? It was explained about they started that. Fine, we paid the 15% and we politely let them know we’d rather do it ourselves. And picked up the rest we had put on the table. We were not the only ones to go fine, and pay exactly what was on the ticket. The waitstaff got tired of chintzy tips and everyone complaining and forced the change themselves, back to no service charge. The next month we came in and it was business as before, and the usual generous tipping.

    It’s up to the establishment but by the same token they need to TELL their large parties about it up front. The fellow raising the fuss was over the line as well as the place not making it clear so it was expected beforehand.

  • AS October 17, 2016, 12:11 pm

    To add another element: this was a lunch of coworkers during the business day. People need to be aware that while they may not be on the clock, they are collectively representing their place of business. Actions like this can damage the reputation of the company they represent.

  • Lerah99 October 17, 2016, 12:29 pm

    I have a friend who refuses to tip “on principle”.
    He has this whole rant about how the restaurant industry in the USA is built on slave wages for servers and bartenders and he refuses to participate.

    But it doesn’t stop him from eating out. It just stops him from tipping his hard working servers and bartenders.

    We got into a huge argument about this once. I told him that he should inform his server as soon as he sat down that he will not be tipping.
    He replied “No way. Then I’ll get terrible service and they’ll spit in my food!”

    Having worked as a server, I told him that since his server has to tip out to the bartender and busser – that he was expecting his server to actually pay for the pleasure of serving him. Which is really messed up.

    So we went to a big chain restaurant together to see what would happen if he told the server up front that he wouldn’t be tipping.

    He, of course, chickened out when she was taking out drink orders. So when she came back with our drinks, I told her. I said “I’m so sorry. You should know that we are not going to be tipping this evening. This is no reflection of you or your service.”

    She looked shocked but said “OK.”

    About 3 minutes later a manager arrived and said, “My server says you aren’t going to tip her. Is that correct?”

    My friend tried to disappear under the table. So I said “Yes. My friend feels servers are paid a slave wage to benefit the restaurant industry. He feels it’s an immoral practice and refuses to participate.”

    The manager nodded and said, “Ok. Then I will be serving you tonight so my server can take a table where she’ll actually make some money.”

    And the manager did server us and the service was fine.

    It made me think “Wow! Good manager!” and it made my friend rethink his whole tipping thing.

    Mostly because he said “That sucked. We looked like such %#$holes!” and I replied “How do you think you looked to all those servers you stiffed? This time you simply got to see the looks you’ve been getting all along because you hadn’t left the restaurant before they knew you were going to stiff them.”

    I also slipped a $10 to the manager on the way out. Because regardless of my friend, I can’t stand the thought of not tipping for service.

    If you think tipping in the USA and Canada is a terrible practice, that’s fine. Don’t go out to eat.

    Otherwise, tip and move on with your day.

    • JJ October 17, 2016, 2:13 pm

      I agree. And I love the way you showed your friend how he looks to people especially the staff when he refuses to tip ever. I’m glad you politely but firmly were able to show him how they really feel about not tipping by outright saying it at the start of the order thus making your friend look like a fool. Also I would likely not ever go out to eat with that person again unless they really learned their lesson that day and stopped their no tipping habit.

      “If you think tipping in the USA and Canada is a terrible practice, that’s fine. Don’t go out to eat.” Could not agree more! It’s one thing if it’s MacDonald’s or Wendy’s etc but if you are paying for the seat to be served, have someone bringing you drinks and bread constantly and checking up you pay for the service and tip. People who don’t like it can use the take out menu for the restaurant and come pick up their food at the hostess stand and carry their own food out if they don’t like tipping. The only time I support not tipping is in situations of truly bad, awful service where the server is never around or helpful or is just out right rude to everyone they serve all day long. Even then when I get not great service I still leave a tiny percent tip unless they were just outright hateful to me in which case I would talk to the manager or call the restaurant up later.

    • Annon October 17, 2016, 3:56 pm

      That was awesome what you did to your friend, and even better what the manager did for their worker. I hope your friend has changed their stance on their tipping policy.
      We always tip 20% if not more depending on service. If really good service, they get more than 20%, if really bad, they will usually get 15%. That doesn’t happen often.
      Also, where we are regulars, we tip even more because our service is always outstanding!
      PS – we live in the US, but even when traveling abroad, we will tip there too.

    • NostalgicGal October 17, 2016, 4:32 pm

      Bravo to you. Glad he got the cluebyfour!

      • NostalgicGal October 18, 2016, 10:35 am

        One more note, if you don’t want to tip but insist on eating out, go to fast food where you queue to the counter and fetch your own and bus your own dishes.

        The staff there doesn’t get a lot in the way of wages or benefits but by the same they don’t get tipped. Else, learn to eat at home or TIP.

        • Anonymouse October 19, 2016, 6:59 pm

          Was a manager at a fast food restaurant for 5 years. I wish people would bus their own dishes!

          • NostalgicGal October 20, 2016, 12:58 am

            Yep, one place I worked at, was bus your own, and during busy lunch you’d have someone walk off and leave it. Then others would see it and do the same… and the place is full of dirty stuff sitting there, and you’re so busy you can’t see, and trying to get out there to clean it all up so it STOPS…. finally I reprinted the table toppers myself (the little stand up things that hold menu to look at) and added ‘This is a self service restaurant. Thank You for putting your trash in the receptacles” (we served on Styrofoam or paper with plastic cutlery)

            The only other one is you’re changing the trash bags, just pulled the can out of the holder to take the bag out, and someone steps around you and dumps a half plate of rice and sauce into the holder.

    • SebbyGrrl October 17, 2016, 6:42 pm


      This is it!

      Ask your fellow diners ahead of meal and tell them they have to tell the manager they won’t be tipping before you are served.

      My motto is “Good tipping is good karma.” or Good tipping = goodwill, that’s what we all want in this type of transaction, right?

      I’m actually a weirdo who will way over tip if I have extra $ just to try to make someone’s day.

      Lastly, ask the no tippers if they have ever worked a job for tips? If they haven’t – they don’t have a a dog in this fight – if you have never had to work hard to earn tips, then you are a wuss.

      Pay people like you would want to be paid!

    • Lacey October 18, 2016, 11:06 am

      Hahaha that’s great!! You are awesome!

  • Cass October 17, 2016, 12:40 pm

    No one reads a menu from cover to cover, but it’s not as thought the autograt information is between a BLT and a tuna fish sandwich. If you’re old enough to eat out in your own, you’re old enough to comply with the customs of the culture you’re in and pay the tip with complaining and making more work. Unless this was this person’s literal first lunch in Canada, he should be familiar with tipping, and the autograt doesn’t matter one way or another, particularly not for so childish a reason as “Don’t tell me what to do!”

  • Goldie October 17, 2016, 12:45 pm

    Was anybody else reminded of that scene from the Reservoir Dogs movie? “…if they really put forth the effort, I’ll give them something extra, but I mean this tipping automatically, it’s for the birds.”

  • Calli Arcale October 17, 2016, 1:11 pm

    FYI: in an American restaurant, a service charge isn’t always a tip. If a 10% service charge, or whatever, is added on to your bill, it may or may not be going to your server. This will depend somewhat on the laws in your jurisdiction, but will depend more on the policy of the restaurant and how much of a jerk the manager/owner is. The service charge often is merely compensating the restaurant for lost business — large groups tend to reduce the total take for the day, by making it harder to seat smaller groups, and they have a disproportionate impact on the kitchen and other staff. And just to twist the knife on that, if your waiter has to get another waiter to help out with your group, they’ll have to split whatever tips you do leave.

    So if you’re concerned about the automatic service charge, DO ask to speak to management, so you can find out if it counts as a tip or not.

    • mark October 17, 2016, 5:05 pm

      I wonder if they call it a service charge for legal reasons? I personally have never seen one that is below 18% recently basically the size of a decent tip. But if the restaurant is going to charge 18+ percent to my meal for a large group and not give it to the server, then they are the one stealing from the server not me.

      I would also think the large groups would even out on a cost basis for the restaurant. The only real exception I can think of is if the group is staying for a unusually long time and then maybe a separate service change may make sense.

  • Mags October 17, 2016, 1:32 pm

    I’m curious as to whether he tipped more or less than the automatic gratuity. Poor behaviour either way.

    One thing to note, as far as I know, minimum wage applies to everyone in Canada, so servers would make at least minimum wage. Not like the States where I hear servers can be paid less than minimum wage.

    • Outdoor Girl October 17, 2016, 2:38 pm

      Ontario, at least, has a server’s wage which is a couple of dollars less than minimum wage, last I looked into it. But if you’re tipping 15%, you’re fine.

      My story:

      Last Christmas, our work went out for dinner to a brew pub. They didn’t tell us there was an autograt – we were all on our own bills per person/couple. I didn’t notice that the extra charge was on the bill and tipped another 15% on top of it. So essentially tipped closer to 40% (15% on top of a bill that already had 15% added to it) for what amounted to not particularly great service. I didn’t realize it until I left. Had I been the server, I would have brought it to the diner’s attention that there was an autograt already on the bill and did they intend to tip on top of that? Had the server done that, I probably would have asked to have the charge reversed and run through again but I would have still added on an additional tip for their honesty, though not 15%.

      There were other people who had had screw-ups with their service and they didn’t put the autograt on their bills, which I found out the next business day when discussing how dumb I’d been.

      It soured me on the venue and I haven’t been back since.

      • MPW1971 October 18, 2016, 9:06 pm

        Minimum wage in Ontario is $11.40 as of October 1, 2016. The minimum wage for tipped liquor servers is $9.90. Not just any tipped server – but a tipped liquor server – as not all restaurants serve alcoholic beverages. You must be 18 to serve alcohol in Ontario.

    • Anon October 17, 2016, 3:32 pm

      $3.50 an hour is what I’ve heard as the lowest here in the U.S.

      Restaurants ARE supposed to make up the money if the server doesn’t get enough, but people have to realize there are a ton of loopholes that those restaurants can go through not to do it and plenty depend on the server not complaining because it’s the only job they can find.

    • NostalgicGal October 17, 2016, 4:34 pm

      As low as $2.13 an hour…. (when minimum was running $2.35 to 2.65, this wasn’t bad, but it was never raised. Minimum is over $7 an hour and higher depending on where you are at, but, that tip base salary has never ever been changed).

    • Calli Arcale October 17, 2016, 4:43 pm

      It depends on the state. Here in Minnesota, servers are no longer exempt from minimum wage, so a tip really is a tip.

      Many other states still have “tipped minimum wage”, where some black magic is performed and the legislature somehow decides how much income you are likely to make in tips, and the minimum wage is reduced to compensate. $2.50 is not unusual. And then, as if that weren’t bad enough, servers are required to keep track of and report their tips as income, since income is taxed, but the restaurant is required to automatically withhold income tax from your pay and send it directly to the IRS. At the end of the year, you can file for a refund if they withheld too much, but the bottom line is that if you have a crappy week where you don’t get much in tips, your paycheck could actually have a negative value because they are withholding more than you actually made that week.

      • NostalgicGal October 18, 2016, 10:41 am

        I was waitressing and getting about 3% of gross sales (we all were) and the IRS decided to tax on 8%. I was making $8k a year GROSS with tips and the IRS sends me a letter stating I owed them $1000 in taxes. The “Revolt” happened because a lot of servers were hovering at 3-5% not the vaunted 8% (a few around Capitol Hill WERE making that but it wasn’t the norm). Some waitresses were receiving negative checks. Literally, pay in or you had no job. Real heck ensued and IRS backed down, a month later I got a letter stating the IRS changed it’s mind and I didn’t owe that money. Then came the ‘Fink Books’ … little booklets where you filled out what you took in each night, at the end of the week, total up, sign, and turn in with your time card. We all had two of these cheap paper books (printed on cheap newsprint) and kept a copy of what we turned in that way, so at the end of the year had proof of what we’d turned in. As far as I know, they’re still on self-reporting.

  • Gabriele October 17, 2016, 1:44 pm

    In one office I worked in a file was maintained with a copy of the most recent menus from the places where we’d go for lunch. The person who maintained the file would use a highlighter to call attention to things like ‘extra plate charge’ (or ‘split entrée’), service charge for larger groups and so on and if the menu was in small print, she’d photocopy it at a higher resolution as well.
    This helped everyone and for those who wanted either food to go or delivery, there were those menus as well. For every person like the lunch-disturber mentioned here I like to think there’s another person like Nadine who did so many little things that made the whole office work together better.
    I learned a lot from her about how it’s true that ‘little things mean a lot’.

  • Devin October 17, 2016, 1:52 pm

    In the US at least, most restaurants have a spot on their menu with all ‘legal’ disclaimers. ‘Consuming raw meat…’ ‘Please let server know of any food allergies…’ ‘Gluten free option available’ ‘A serivce charge of 15% will be added to parties of 6 or more’ It’s rarely a true blind side especially if you know in your area there is often a service charge for parties of your size.
    It sounds like your coworker took this mini soap box as an opportunity to show you all his true colors. There was no reason for him to hold up a whole group and the server over a few dollars. Once he started to call the restaurant immediately after being handed the card, i would have commented on how this was a waste of time and it was time to return to work.

    • Ai October 17, 2016, 4:31 pm

      The calling the number RIGHT AT THE TABLE is what sealed the deal for me; this coworker was jerk. Nothing was gained here except a scene over a couple of dollars that almost left a helpless waitress in tears. I can understand asking for clarification, I can even understand asking for a manager. But once it was realized that a manager wasn’t there and he was handed the card, that should been it. The point it went beyond that is when I would’ve paid my share, probably leave extra tip for the wasted time and left.

  • livvy17 October 17, 2016, 1:54 pm

    This is why I ALWAYS ask to be billed separately, whenever it’s possible. There is always someone in a big group who 1)Can’t remember the second drink/soda/side they ordered; 2) Doesn’t remember to calculate sales tax; 3)Can’t add properly; 4)Wants to tip far less than is proper, for no good reason (cheap). 5)Pulls out a calculator to get to-the penny exact figures and tip, and wants the wait staff to provide exact change for all; or, once in a great while, when we were young, 6)Slips out without paying at all.

    All of these things make me really angry, which makes me wish I hadn’t gone out at all; so I realized long ago that it would make me far happier to have a separate bill, and leave a bit extra (maybe 25% instead of 20) to cover the hassle. The large-table charge for me wouldn’t be a problem. I wish we paid servers a living wage instead of relying on the (questionable) public decency to provide them with a reasonable wage.

    • NostalgicGal October 17, 2016, 4:45 pm

      Or even worse the dine-n-dash couple of people in a large group that put down money but not anywhere near the amount they ordered yet alone a gratuity, and they’re GONE before the rest pick up and find out they shorted and have to cover.

      Two from archives… one was a bridal party went out before the wedding to a very upscale place. One person was pretty tight budget, not cheap, just broke, and ordered conservatively and theirs came to $50. The others ordered booze, appetizers and more and at the end declared it was going to be an equal splitting and they were going to pay for the bride. Everyone’s share was $500!!!!! They left their money and slipped out, and got harassment later because the others had to cover the $450–although the food and drink the person actually ate was covered. They were not so relieved as to no longer be part of the bridal party….

      The other was two people in a workplace, one was pregnant and the other had allergies, and the group would go out to eat, eat moderately, and their part was maybe $20 each but they had to kick in to cover, and it was closer to $50 a share. They protested to at least not pay for the alcohol because they couldn’t drink, and were literally told to suck it up as that was how they always did it. So, the next time the two ordered appetizers, non alcoholic by-the-glass drinks (several each by the end), and dessert, and managed to push the shares to $80 each. When the one that told them to suck it up complained they tossed the same words back, as that was how they always did it. The rest went along though, lesson learned, and the NEXT time those two got separate tickets.

      • ant October 18, 2016, 6:47 am

        I hate it when someone says “lets just split the bill” at the end 9 times out of ten they’ve spent the most. Really the two people in the first story should have just made their circumstance clear and everyone should have understood. If the bridal party person paid for their food / drink probably the invitation to split the bill was what scared them off.

        • NostalgicGal October 18, 2016, 1:42 pm

          The one in the bridal party story, knew the restaurant, and brought what they could afford/squeeze out of their budget, and ordered accordingly. It wasn’t until the end it was declared it would be split evenly and pay for the bride’s share. So they had no choice but slip the money under the plate, go to the bathroom and never ever come back. It was either that or get evicted for not paying the rent. The bride bemoaned and berated, because of them ducking, she had to pay the $450 remainder and couldn’t go for a spa day because of it.

        • NostalgicGal October 18, 2016, 1:49 pm

          The two in the first story had made their situations clear, and had asked a few times about getting separate bills, or at least not having to pay a share of the alcohol, which neither could drink. Oh no, this is how it has always been done, so pay up. So the two concocted and saved/squeezed up extra money; and did the order lavishly to drive the bill up. The others got a taste of what the two had had to pay repeatedly and the one that had refused to budge had to eat their own words. So the next time those two were allowed to have their own ticket instead of subsidizing everyone else’s alcohol.

      • mark October 21, 2016, 9:01 am

        $500/person is crazy upscale. That’s higher than my highest car payment, ever.

        • NostalgicGal October 21, 2016, 3:08 pm

          I have eaten in restaurants where a small tossed salad and coffee can go close to $50 by itself. If you look at alcohol in a lot of places it gets pricy very fast. In a few weeks I will be travelling, meeting some old friends and I invited them to eat at the very nice restaurant at the place I will be staying, I’m bracing for $200-300 for the two of them. The place has an on-site winery and they are proud of their grapes (though it is good). A couple of glasses, appetizer, entrée, and dessert, will be $100-150 a person. Knowing ahead of time, I’m willing to pay and squeezing the budget accordingly.

  • Maria October 17, 2016, 2:01 pm

    Soon he will have all he time in the world for lunches as I imagine his days at this company are numbered.

  • JJ October 17, 2016, 2:04 pm

    I would not be eating out with this man anymore in the group until he learns the custom and is willing to pay his percent of the tip for larger dining parties. He may not have been overly rude or yelling but I do think he was still very rude and unfair to the waitress who sound to have done a good job and waited well on the group. Why is he the one who gets to decide out of the group that you won’t be tipping anyway. I would have just gotten the others together to all pitch in on a tip if Mr cheapskate didn’t agree with it. Like I said I would not want to go out to dinner with that man unless he was willing to deal with a large group having to tip for their service. Or I would have everyone say to him, “look John we all agree as a group when we go out we will pay for the food plus we do tip it’s what we do here. Either you contribute to the food and tip or you don’t have to come along. We like you and want you to come along with the group but not if you are going to start something and complain to management and disrespect the staff who waited on us”. If he behaved like that once I bet he has no issue pulling it again or every time you go out unless he nicely told to comply or not come out.

  • PM October 17, 2016, 2:26 pm

    Hell Dame used “dude” in an article headline. My life is complete

    • Miss Herring October 18, 2016, 11:47 am

      Mine too! This made me so happy.

  • Val October 17, 2016, 2:56 pm

    As a former server, thank gaaawd for auto-gratuity. Groups suck. They take forever because they’re too busy chit chatting to read the menu. They don’t listen when you list off the special, so you have repeat them five times. They act surprised when its their turn to order. They don’t pay attention to their children, trusting that someone else has their eye on them. They want charges split between everyone, which is no easy feat. They switch seats in the middle of their meal, and you’re supposed to just remember where each bill started and ended. They are loud and anyone nearby hoping for a romantic dinner with their partner is plumb out of luck. (Incidentally, this also affects the tips for any server working in the vicinity of the group) They see you bring out coffee for one person, and decide “ooh I want a coffee too!”. Repeat this 3-4 times, look at the 20 minutes you just wasted on getting individual coffees whereas getting them all at the same time would have taken 5. They take forever to leave because of said chit chatting, often standing around the table with their jackets on for upwards of a half hour and keeping you from cleaning up. And, worst of all, they almost always short you on the tip. One of two scenarios usually happens: either everyone pays for their own, and they undertip counting on the fact that their dining companions will be more generous and it’ll even out (it never does), or there will be one bill and the generous soul taking care of it will get sticker shock at the final figure. There is always confusion at how much wine was drunk, and who had all the scotch?! Suddenly, 10% or less seems like a large enough figure, and the sole payer will get a little more curt, to sort of mentally justify having shorted you, because your service wasn’t *that* good. Nevermind that this might be the only table you got all night. Nevermind that serving a group on your own can be way more stressful than a full section. Nevermind that you did your best to establish some kind of connection with them, and really tried to give them an evening to remember. THIS is why restaurants to auto-grats. Because servers can run their butts off, and give the best service they’re capable of under the circumstances (shockingly, it takes a long time to get everyone’s orders so obviously I can’t get you your martini at the same time), and still get stiffed.

    • NostalgicGal October 18, 2016, 1:59 pm

      The collegiate language club came in and at least five languages are going full blast for a dozen people. That’s fine. I get to the table to take orders and everyone’s oblivious. I do speak other languages. I chose the one I was most comfortable with and said ‘excuse me please, would you like to order now?’ nice and clear. That finally got attention and the entire table stopped and looked at me. I continued in English, ‘will this be together or separate checks?’ and proceeded to take orders. Yes I spoke (other languages) but please stick to English so the Kitchen and I both keep it straight what you want. I did get large amounts of tippage off that one (helped cover the light bill it did). And groups that size usually involve tray jacks and getting someone to help when the food comes out, so. I might owe a favor (make a shake when we’re super busy) or have to split the tip when that happened.

    • kategillian October 18, 2016, 8:45 pm

      Amen, Val!! All of this is true.

  • Pat October 17, 2016, 3:04 pm

    I’d hesitate to go to lunch with this guy again. Who needs the aggravation? Giving him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he really didn’t understand the system – but you’d think he’d take his cue from his co workers that the service charge is customary instead of causing a lot of unnecessary unpleasantness. Most people are trying to dissipate some stress at lunch.

  • LadyV October 17, 2016, 4:16 pm

    As someone who worked as a server in her younger days, I’m pleased to see that the majority of the comments are coming down on the side of the waitress in this story! However, I take issue with people who say that “tipping is not optional”. If good tips are going to make the difference as to whether or not you can pay your bills, then you should be working as hard as you can to provide good service. I tip VERY well when I get decent service – but if the service is bad (and it’s not for reasons that are beyond the server’s control, which often happens), why should I reward someone for not doing their job? If I was a regular at a restaurant, and knew that a server normally did a good job, I would probably cut some slack if they have a bad day – although most people I know in the industry manage to work past that. But if a server is rude, messes up orders consistently, etc. – I will leave a minimal tip, and – depending on how bad the service was – might even ask to speak to a manager.

  • AnaMaria October 17, 2016, 4:45 pm

    As a former waitress, the lunch shift is usually a busy time and I’m sure the waitress had other tables waiting on her- some of them may have paid less in gratuity if they felt they were kept waiting too long. Colleague could have caused her a lot of stress and cost her money with his drama.

  • NostalgicGal October 17, 2016, 4:53 pm

    Dine and dash, the worst I ever seen… college town night shift and half a dozen young guys (freshman or sophomores at the most) came in really late and drunk ordered stuff that took awhile. They almost left before the food came. They scarfed, I’m keeping an eye, and stepped in back to pick another order up and one guy went to the bathroom and the other five LEFT. He came out to find out he was the last one and was on the hook for the other five. We had to call and he had to be arrested because he couldn’t cover the bill. It was Sunday night/Monday morning too so it was my worst tip night of the week and though I felt sorry for him and was barely making it myself, I couldn’t have covered it out of my pocket if I wanted to. That was worse than mean, giving the guy the shaft and the record (arrest). I’ve heard of worse in places that serve alcohol (where the waitress/waiter have to cover if someone walks, and having a group of four just zero their entire take for the week, get two of those in a month and you’re on the street) Aka jack*ss*s that have a tab going, order one more round, and slip out.

    • ant October 18, 2016, 7:00 am

      Once witnessed a very unsuccessful dash and dine, not that advise this but I thought you might like to hear it. A fair few years ago my brother’s girlfriend was a waitress and we went to pick her up from work. We sat by the bar that was to the side of the door. There was a group of about 8 lads were being rather noisy in the back. Then suddenly quite down and start whispering. We notice and start watching. when girlfriend wonders to the opposite side of the room. they stand and try to quickly leave. when they get to the bar they are nearly at a run. At this moment my brother stands up and accidentally knocks his bar stool flying over behind him. The guy at the front of the group takes a fall and busts his nose wide open. 2 waiters, bartender, and an off duty paramedic are now surrounding him “out of concern”. The kicker: only 4 of his friends stopped with him and eventually covered the bill, the other had just gone.

      • NostalgicGal October 18, 2016, 2:02 pm

        Bravo on stopping them, or enough of them. I don’t condone either, but. Hope they took it out on the other three later.

    • mark October 19, 2016, 12:57 am

      How does that work? Shouldn’t be only be responsible for his own mask he ordered?

  • mark October 17, 2016, 5:13 pm

    I understand where this guy is coming from. I dislike automatic gratuities. I wouldn’t throw a tantrum like this guy did. I usually just grumble under my breath and pay it. I also always check for the amount on the menu. I dislike surprises, I’ve never had this happen but if I got in a restaurant and it listed a ridiculous amount (say 30%), I would possibly choose to dine elsewhere. (Almost certainly I would not agree to return again.)

  • bern821 October 17, 2016, 5:18 pm

    I would definitely not go out to lunch with that co-worker again. He caused a hassle and embarrassment to the entire group and ruined the server’s day over his ‘principles’? I don’t think so! I seriously can’t stand going out to eat with anyone who nit-picks over the bill, etc. – it just sucks the fun out of the outing.
    Not all restaurants will do separate checks if you have more than 2 or 3 people in your party (in the US anyway). It’s just a bigger pain for the servers.
    I went out for lunch with 2 other co-workers once, and AFTER we had eaten lunch and the bill came, one co-worker said “oh, can we have separate checks?”! I think most people know you have to ask BEFORE you order if you want separate checks, so I was pretty embarrassed. She then complained that the ‘waitress had an attitude’ – which she didn’t – but she was a little taken aback by the request. And she came back with 3 checks, so she had to re-do everything and write it all up separately.
    I did say “you really have to ask for separate checks before you order” – but that was all I said. And decided I would not be going out for lunch with said co-worker again – she’s a bit of a ‘complainy-pants’ anyway. **see comment above about sucking the fun out of the outing… lol

  • RooRoo October 17, 2016, 5:43 pm

    Nobody has mentioned what I believe the primary reason for large group added gratuities is.

    I’ve been out at group lunches and dinners many times over my working life, which ended in ’95. People would add up what they ate, and leave what should have been an adequate amount, including tip. But when the volunteer gathered the money to pay – it would be short. Sometimes even short of the full amount of the food!

    This was true no matter where I was working.

    The volunteer would mention this, and those of us who understand the tipping system in the US would throw in a few extra dollars, if we had them. It never added up to enough to meet the then-standard 15% tip, because we were all getting paid a dollar or two above minimum.

    I’m pretty sure that restaurant management did not want their servers quitting, or refusing to wait on large groups, because a few Bacon-Fed Knaves didn’t mind ripping off their co-workers and the server. To keep their good people, they made sure there would still be a tip after the large groups left.

    I’d suggest that large groups facing the new rules pass the hat to make sure the servers get a decent tip!

    (For those two whom it hasn’t been made plain, labor law in the US allows servers to be paid less than minimum wage – *alot* less. It varies by state; in my state, servers’ minimum is $5.21; regular min. wage is $8.23.)

    • LadyV October 18, 2016, 8:13 am

      I’m interested to know what state you live in – $5.21 is actually quite a bit higher than the average “tipped minimum”.

  • Kat October 17, 2016, 5:45 pm

    He put the server in the middle of a dispute that 1. was between him and the owner (or more realistically, between him and cultural norms) and 2. she had absolutely no authority or control over to begin with. Calling his behavior “rude” is too much kindness for it.

    If he doesn’t like the policy, he can dispute it with the restaurant owner at a later time if he really feels the need to — especially after learning the owner wasn’t available, what was the point of further delay? A server can’t change a company-wide policy! Instead he inconvenienced and embarrassed his co-workers and antagonized someone who was just trying to do her job. To dump it on the server’s shoulders comes off like a narcissist on a power trip.

  • Jessica Sipos October 17, 2016, 7:24 pm

    I am married to a man who grew up in one of the most brutal communist dictatorships of Eastern Europe. He moved to the States at age 25. He has learned to tip (they don’t in his country of origin), and doesn’t mind it. I don’t think we’ve ever talked about it, though he is very erudite on matters of politics, history, Communism and so on. I imagine he would have an opinion if I asked about it.

    However, he has such a chip on his shoulder about any expectations on him coming from the top down. It feels terribly oppressive and controlling and almost makes him twitch. He is exquisitely sensitive to oppressive behaviors and circumstances, far more than I am, as an American who often goes along out of politeness (and like another poster above, never returns). This would never have worked in his society—its what was wanted from the population to succeed in the oppressive policies. And if you resisted, you were imprisoned or killed, along with your family.

    So I wonder if your colleague, not having been in Canada long, was as politely as he could trying to deal with that feeling of being told what to do and having his money (aka labor) decided for him (as, of course, was par for the course if you weren’t part of the Communist elite in Eastern Europe). You say he was polite about it and willing to pay a fair tip (on his terms, I daresay)…I do think he was grappling with something psychologically and maybe went over the top with it.

    But given what I know of my husband and the histories of Eastern Europe, particularly my husband’s country, and your description of the man, I don’t think he was being a jerk as much as dealing with a cognitive dissonance of being in a country that he surely had an idea about (e.g, capitalist, freedom, whatever) and then having an experience that triggered some very negative memories, even to PTSD level? I’m speculating, but given his place of origin, I wouldn’t take it off the table.

    Hopefully, he will learn how it works. I wonder if he even understands how the wages and so on work in a tipping economy?

    This one, I would give the benefit the doubt and a polite education. Then see what happens.

    • NostalgicGal October 18, 2016, 10:56 am

      Early to mid 90’s I worked at a specialty tech factory. We did a company teeshirt contest and a batch of tees were printed wrong. The print place gave them to us at cost, and gave them to me to sell to cover the cost before they were paid for. On my day off, I went in with a big duffle and about 125 teeshirts crammed in it and cash for change and walked between the two buildings and sold the shirts (I got rid of them all in three hours). One of our process engineers had escaped, literally, from Moscow, about 1980. He came up to me between buildings, tears streaming down his face, and bought a shirt. Seeing me doing this reminded him so heavily of the black market days in Moscow, that is often how goods traded hands then, and he had a massive bout of homesick. He bought a shirt just because. I felt so much for him, he explained why he had to buy a shirt. In the light rain, outside. He put his folded shirt in his office on the shelf.

      We who were born and raised here can’t understand what it was like in some of those countries. Or some places today, unless you go there and live there for awhile.

    • I am OP :) October 18, 2016, 1:41 pm

      Yes, exactly this! He truly was not being difficult for the sake of being difficult. He has some very specific tastes and opinions but he does not, in general, have a troublesome personality. His behaviour was still in poor taste and steps will be taken to avoid it in the future :D.

  • iwadasn October 17, 2016, 9:16 pm

    I’d say this calls for “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” It doesn’t matter if your home country doesn’t view tipping as customary; when you’re in a country that does have a tipping culture, you tip when it’s expected of you. If he is so opposed to tipping that he makes a huge scene about it (and front of his coworkers, no less!) than he should not go to restaurants with added gratuities.

  • SweetPea October 17, 2016, 10:22 pm

    My qualm with this entire situation has nothing to do with whether or not you should tip, have to tip, or minimum wage laws around the globe. It has everything to do with the fact that you all mention that you go to lunch in a group fairly often, and are at least passingly familiar with the practice of a service charge for large parties (like yours).

    So let’s see if I’ve got this straight. Per (relatively) normal, a bunch of coworkers go out to lunch. The service fee is marked on the menu somewhere (sharing the same assumption as OP, plus going off the fact that everyone in the restaurant seemed baffled by your coworker).

    The bill arrives, with the aforementioned service charge, which was both marked down, and possibly expected, as it doesn’t appear unusual to you group.

    And this guy throws an adult tantrum (talking down to the people around you, even if you’re not screaming, is not adult behavior). And for whatever reason, nobody in your party has a sit-down with him? Instead, the paragraphs long adult tantrum continues.

    Not only do I toss your coworker in E-Hell, but the lot of you are tipping over the edge of purgatory.

  • Auntbee81 October 17, 2016, 11:28 pm

    In the large, affluent, capital city where I reside, I typically tip ALL service people. For example, there is a full-service gas station in my neighborhood. The prices are competitive, and they also service cars. Whenever I get gas, I always tip. One time, an older gentleman, maybe past normal retirement age, looked at the two $1 bills I gave him, and thanked me profusely. Then added, “it just means so much”. Well, it means a lot to me when it’s cold, raining, or I am under the weather. I feel privileged to experience this level of service.

    A friend, riding with me, once asked me how much I gave the attendant. I gave him a vague reply. He then went on for 10 minutes about how they get paid, I should keep my $$ myself, and that’s why I would never be “rich”. It was like I had taken the $$$ right out of his wallet. Oh, and this man is a retired millionaire. How do I know this? He tells people about every stock transaction, real estate transaction, etc. It was the last time I went anywhere with him.

    • Willynilly October 18, 2016, 3:35 pm

      I tip on luxury. My thought is if its something I could do myself but choose not to (I could cook & serve myself & clean up my dishes; I could paint my own nails; I could wash my own car; etc) I tip. If its pure luxury even if I couldn’t do it myself (spa service, for example) I tip.
      I figure if I can afford a luxury, I can afford to spread the wealth.

      • NostalgicGal October 20, 2016, 1:12 am

        Thank You.

  • Last Dance October 18, 2016, 3:32 am

    Your colleague should never come to Italy: almost every place charges you for sitting down. It’s called a “coperto” (seating place, roughly). That goes for cafes as well: if you order your coffee at the bar, it will cost you less than if you sit down.

    • Last Dance October 18, 2016, 3:34 am

      I also want to add: my husband and I went on honeymooon in Canada and the USA. It never crossed our mind not to tip: in fact, we were very worried about not tipping enough.

  • Cat October 18, 2016, 11:34 am

    I have friends who use coupons and then tip based on what they actually had to pay. I tip on the usual full bill because the server is not the one issuing the coupon.
    If the restaurant wants to give me a discount, that is its decision, but it is embarrassing when the server gets stiffed for doing the same amount of work for half the normal tip.

  • Aria October 18, 2016, 12:01 pm

    I work for the phone company and I’ve encountered people like this before. “It’s the principle of the thing!” they cry. That’s code for “I am going to make your life an absolute misery because I don’t think I ought to have to pay the .39 cent 411 charge.” Ugh.

    Seriously though, your co-worker was definitely out of line and I’d hash this out with him before bringing him anywhere again.

    • NostalgicGal October 20, 2016, 11:26 am

      And if you try to look up stuff on the internet you almost always get a ‘service’ that charges at least a dollar to give you the information. So 39c is cheap. I really hate that, public record stuff is massively difficult to access unless you pay the fee or subscribe (at a monthly fee) to one of those services. If I was going to get married a month of the service would be reasonable, for one freaking number, forget it!