T Nation

Undignified Tipping

I was at a cafe today. We only had a small order which came to 8.00 euro exactly.

My partner (a poor tipper), fished around and pulled out 8.09 euro. At this point, I objected to a .09c tip (a 5c, a 2c and 2 two 1c pieces) as insulting and said I’d rather no tip.

This, ofcourse, lead to an argument that, no matter how many times I said was not worth 0.09 and I would not participate in, would continue.

Now my bruises are starting to heal, I thought this is an interesting discussion point and one I am interested in when rationally discussing it.

Is any tip a good tip or is there a point where you are insulting the person (and nothing is better)?

Let the flamming begin…

Why didn’t you fish out a euro of your own to make the tip more copacetic?

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“Let me get my wallet”
“Don’t worry, I have cash”

… Lesson learnt haha

I can sympathize. I always cringe when I’m at an eating establishment with a friend whom I know to be a bad tipper. There have been times when I have ‘forgotten’ something at the table and had to go back to it, at which time I’ve surreptitiously dropped a couple more sawbucks in the kitty.


No, not every tip is a good tip. At restaurants I tip minimum 15% but if I just happen to like my waiter or waitress particularly I might go higher than 20%.

Hairstylists or masseuses? That percentage rule doesn’t apply, I believe. I usually get my hair done by my wife because she is a hairstylist, but if I go to someone else, there’s no way I’m giving a flat, percentage based tip on some guy who spent 45 minutes or more washing my hair, cutting my hair, and giving a hot shave. I tip the barber down the block ten bucks for a ten buck shave and beard trim. I gave him 14 for a cut and shave costing 26 when I first went to him but I should’ve given more, looking back.

Same goes for a massage. I’ll give 20 for a 40 buck massage.

Keep in mind I don’t think we all need to play Santa Claus but working on someone isn’t the same as serving a plate of food or a drink.


I tip a barber or bartender a lot more than waiters/waitresses.
The barber gets a $20 on a $12 cut. A barmaid gets $10 per $50 billed.

St a restaurant it depends on everything but ranges from 8-25%

Now if a waitperson manages to be rude or ridiculously bad, I’ll tip $1 or nothing to express dissatisfaction. So for me, a small tip and zero tip are the same except a small tip requires something out of pocket to make the point.


Not less than a $5.00. If something has gone so drastically wrong that you want to teach someone a lesson then that should be taken up with management. If they can’t solve it then the order gets cancelled and its a wash.

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I’m an automatic 10%. Tipping culture is different here in the UK to the US, but now I’m wondering if I’m a bad tipper or not.

why didn’t you just tip properly if your partner wasn’t going to?

A Scotsmans is a bad tipper? No way!


Haha, is 10% actually bad? I always thought it was alright…


  1. Things may be different, “society” wise, between where you are/ I am.

  2. I was a waiter/bartender for a long time, so I’m biased.

  3. My g.f. is still a bartender, so I’m doubled biased.

10% is not going to get you treated like a Valued Regular, or “Special” customer. For steady 25-30% tips, your beer will Never reach empty, my girl bakes you pies on Holidays and brings you dinner in Tupperware when your wife is out of town.

So glad Aussies don’t tip, sounds like a nightmare.


wait, so I’m to add 30% to the bill every time I go for dinner?

Fuuuuuck that

It sounds worse when you say it out loud like that…haha

This might be a Difference in Cultures or something.

In the US service-industry types make $2 an hour. All the taxes(on your tips and wages) come out of your check. So your paycheck is usually $0.

Then you have to pay out your bus boys, bartenders or sushi rollers out of your own tips.

So a 10% tip is really like your server paying you to take care of you.

For servers I typically tip 20%, rounded up to the nearest whole dollar. 15% if I thought they did poorly.

I previously operated off the rule of 15% at lunch, 20% at dinner though & I think that is pretty much the standard.

However, when my tips reach into the 20-30% range my drinks are always a bit stronger and the food more expedited the next time I go in. Like investing in your future service.

I guess it also depends on where you go. Chicken finger basket and Bud Light bottle, served shittily by a stoned, disinterested frat boy; why tip fat?

But if your waiter takes time to bring you 4 free samples from the 60 beers on tap, to find out what you like, to recommend a good one, you gotta pay more!

Dude gets the kid’s order in immediately, to get the food out and shut the kids up, while the adults chill. You gotta pay more!

Guy takes the time to explain how there is no such thing as sushi grade tuna, and picks you a saki to get your date drunk. Pay More!

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yeah that’s entirely different to how it is here. Now it makes sense why Americans are always such generous tippers.

Here minimum wage is £7.50 an hour, and that’s regardless of profession (although it’s less if you’re under 21 but who cares about those bedwetters?)

10% is pretty much the standard across the board for tipping in the UK. Some restaurants will add an automatic 10% to your bill if you come in a large party.


Here, lots of corporate, resturant chain-type places will add 18% gratuity to a party of 8 or more. There is a little button that adds it to the check! But it’s always a gamble, some times people tip more than that. On a big check, you could get that garunteed money, but less overall.

So whenever somebody waits on a big party, they ask all the other servers to “check them out” and see if the group thinks they look like big tippers.

Everyone has their own rating system. “Check out their shoes, they are high rollers, they’ll leave 25%.” or “if they drink 6 comes each, they are cheap as hell, add that gratuity!”