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Today I took my 4 year old daughter to lunch at a Ruby Tuesday's. At the table behind us I noticed a bunch of middle aged women that were waiting for the bill. When the bill came, they each took a shot at reviewing the bill, separating who had what, and dividing it up to the last cent. One women actually had a calulator and a small argument started over $0.35. Yes, I said $0.35!

After they finally got the pennies straight, they had to now figure out the tip. This started another small debate on how good the food was, how the service was, and one even threw in the idea of not tipping at all. One women said that 15% was good enough, another said she never tips more than 10%. By this time the calculator was smoking hot from the extreme number crunching. I have no idea what was left as a tip, but if I was waiting the table I think I would have offered the tip back if they promised not to sit in my area again.

I bring this story up because I have a hard time believing there are people out there like this, and whats harder to believe is they actually have friends. When we go out with other couples or friends, usually a quick look at the bill and it's divided up. So what if a buddy had one more beer than someone else, it all works out in the end.
I've seen the calculators out on other occassions, but never heard the conversation that goes with it. It always seems to be middle aged women at the calculator tables.

Is a few pennies worth the time and embarrassment?
 

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I know an accountant who calculates a 10% tip off the bill BEFORE TAX. He refuses to tip on the tax.

Some people were raised dirt poor and I think that's where some of the old farts in restuarants are coming from. I remember when my Grandparents were alive they used to tell stories about growing up during the great depression. We referred to these stories as "poverty stories" and teased them mercilessly about being cheap. I think after a while they started making up stories about being poor just to screw with us kids . . .
 

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LOL... I don't hash over a buck or two but understand exactly why it happens. I can't tell you how many times I've been in a group and the check goes around the table and everyone adds their due and passes it along and when it gets to the last guy or back to the "party host" for the night it's short. Say 15 people and a $300 bill and before any tip it's $30 + short. Then you ask if someone was missed and everyone grunts and mumbles something about they even included xx% tip!! The poor guy left with the bill usually eats it...

It doesn't matter if you've been friends for years, if it's your church group or car club. In my experiences 8 out of 10 times it goes down that way. Joey, you said they were middle aged gals so they've all been left holding the bill many times. I know anyone that has a relationship with another for any length of time reaches a comfort zone where you just say stuff. These gals sound like they have reached that zone and are just open with each other and trying to be as accurate as they each can in what they pay to insure their friends don't get stuck. It's tough being on a budget and sneaking out to lunch with the gang when you shouldn't but you do anyway. Just food for thought...

Is a few pennies worth the time and embarrassment?
Who was embarrassed? They didn't know you or anyone else in the place was observing them.
 

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Interesting topic. I tend to overtip unless the service is poor. I've even tipped well when the food was poor as it wasn't the waitperson's fault. I did complain to the manager. Tipping is , to me, a recognition of good service and not an entitlement. Personally, why should you include tax or for that matter bottles of wine, say, in the amount being calculated? I can see where these folks are possibly on a managed budget or limited income and trying to do their best. Maybe they're part of that sitcom, The Bickerson's!
 

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these sound like the same old ladies that are always right in front of me at the super market that never even start writing the check or getting their wallet out of their purse until the cashier tells them the total- then, if they are paying cash, they gotta whip out the change purse and pay the exact amount to the penny. meanwhile, myself and a few other people with like 3 items each are standing in line behind her -with our money in hand ready to go- because it's the only lane out of 12 that are open and all the teenaged cashiers are too busy trying to hook up to bother to jump on a register.
i know it's a generational thing, and they did stuff differently "back in the old days" when life was 300% better but 1000% harder, but i sometimes think they do it on purpose just to get us young punks to slow down..
but the biggest question is this- if they always pay the exact amount, where do they get all the change from?
 

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When I go out with friends we always divide the bill by the number of people present. None of the people I consider friends care one way or the other if they paid a couple of bucks more than they should have or a couple less. It all works out in the end. I have known people who abuse this type of situation by always ordering the lobster and always getting the $12.00 a shot scotch when in groups even though they would never do this knowing that they were footing the entire bill. I usually don't dine with that type more than once or twice. If my wife and I both want the steak and lobster, I'll usually ask for seperate checks (telling the others that this is a special occasion for us and we don't want everyone to have to share in the expense) or I'll just pickup the tab for whoever I am dining with (unless of course they had steak and lobster too).

Scott.
 

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I agree with Scott on this and that is how I do it. I also agree it all evens out in the end. If they are true friends you are dining with they won't try to burn you by "over" odering. If so they wouldn't remain good friends of mine.

I typically over tip if the service is decent and more so if the service is great. If the food is bad it is not the person "serving" you that cooked it. Usually if you mention it to them they will take care of you, somehow.

I do know a few guys that are cheap, don't like to tip or even pay their share of the bill. Those are the same people that I am always busy when invited to go out with them. Some people just see things differently.

Oh yeah and I was pretty darn poor growing up and I am far from wealthy now, I just know dealing with the public sucks and it's even worse when you are not paid well (read waiters/waitresses). I always tip with cash so they can (if they choose) not claim it on their taxes.

Now if the service sucks then the tip or lack of tip should reflect that. I can hoinestly say I have only had one occasion where I refused to leave a penny, the food was great but, the service was the worst I have ever had. Other workers were yelling at our (the wife and I) waitress in spanish (she didn't realize my wife speaks spanish), she was rude and got what she deserved, NOTHING.

If you are on such a tight budget you have to haggle with friends over the cost of meal and the tip, you probably shouldn't be dining out anyway, or at the very least get seperate checks.
 

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Part of the dividing the bill is a female thing. In the office where my wife works a coworkers father died she sent an email around asking for donations to buy a card and food to take to the house.The men all came buy her office and gave $10 or $20 no questions asked the women all wanted a an estimate of cost or finale bill.
 

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Royce,

You're right on the money. I tip according to the service I recieve, if it's good it's 12 percent, if it's really good it's 18 percent. If a waiter (M,F) really makes an effort to connect and provide personal service (it happens in maybe 10 percent of top quality restaraunts) 25 percent, but thet's rare. I would say that I tip between 5 and 10 percent about a quarter of the time due to sub-standard service. You have to earn a 15 percent tip by providing above average service not by providing just average service. I would not expect an employer to pay me what I earn by giving the minimum that I was capable of giving.
 

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Originally posted by DjD:
I knew there was a reason I liked you Scott!! ;)
Having shared several corn dogs with Dennis I'd have to vouch for him as one of the guys who don't take advantage of that steak and lobster thing. So all you TC'rs feel free to split the bill with us.

Scott.
 

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Being brutally honest....It really depends on what mood I'm in, how good the food was, and how professional the waiter/waitress was. I just got back from dinner tonight (greek food) for my wifes birthday. The service was pretty slow, but the gal was attentive and the food was superb. I left about 20% for the tip. I think 15% is probably good enough in most situations. If they were exceptional, then by all means tip-on. ;) As for Dennis' etiquette...He has paid for every refreshment we've ever had together, and Al has REALLY paid for every refreshment :D

Dano
 

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It's an old person thing b/c my Mom, bless her heart just couldn't get it through her head that times had changed and a $20 Gov. Savings Bond was a good Highschool Graduation present for my kids..

She was frugal to the end and I am now slowly realizing that I am turning into being like her as life changes around me as I get older too...

As for food, service and tips, my wife and kids have all waited Tables at times and so I do try to tip accordingly to the level of service b/c I now realize how hard the work really is and what crap they all have had to put up with at times..

pdq67

PS., and I still will reach down and pick up a penny as well as I always try to turn the lights off when I'm not in the room sorta deal...

AND now that I have gotten older, I drive like an old man, slower then the speed limit to try to save gas ... My daughter can't understand that it's only a couple a hundred dollars more a year to run like 77mph everywhere she goes in gas cost b/c mileage sucks at the speed... Not to mention the speeding ticket stress sorta deal to me...

You know an extra hundred or so will buy some extra car parts for me sorta deal..
 

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This reminds me of a time me and a friend of mine drove to the city to buy the materials to rewire his house. We stopped at a Burger King to grab a bite on the way back home. It was the after work rush so the place was kind of full. There was an old husband and wife team at the front of the line ordering food. The woman special ordered the crap out of a whopper and then asked that it be cut in half. She insisted that it be made fresh and then taste tested the french fries to make sure they were done to her high standards. Everyone in line, including me, was waiting for a bolt of lightning or a ceiling gurder to kill this woman where she stood. She was wearing enough jewelry to buy the place. It gave the term fast-food a whole new meaning. I remember looking at my friend and saying, "We're friends right?" He said, "yeh". I said, "If I ever act like that kill me".
 

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12run, LMAO. I swear I have a friend like that and he has embarrassed me for the last time. I will never go to eat with him again (ANYWHERE). I will also never go to the store with him. He is a nice guy but, man-a-live he is a walking embarrassment. He pulls the special order crap all the time (even at Taco Bell), "add this, cook it that way, minus those". I mean it is fine to ask nicely for no onions and add cheese, that is to be expected but, to order a burrito supreme and then tell them he doesn't want ground beef he wants steak and he wants the steak cooked like this, no sour cream, extra cheddar and on and on I can't even remember what all he asked for. At that point is was no longer a "burrito supreme". I finally said "For gods sake this is Taco Bell, pick something on the menu and order it". I could probably name 5 stories where he made me just put my head down and want to disapear (Wal-Mart, Taco Bell, Del Taco, Carrows, local bowling alley) as you can see all high class places, it's hard to look like a fool in either of these places, I could only imagine going to a nice establishment with him (that will never happen). He is 6'8" 325+++ lbs. so people typically don't say much to him and I think he uses that to his advantage. Oh and he is as CHEAP as they come, I don't like going to swap meets with him, I just walk ahead.
 

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That group of ladies may have a member that is known to be always "a little short" when it comes time to pay the check. Maybe that is a gracious way of handling a sticky situation. Just a theory.

The bigger the group, the more likely you are to have a shortfall after you collect all the money. SO TRUE! I will not post how I feel about this
It is fun to watch closely to see if you can figure out who was short and bust them out.

How much $ are we talking here between 15% tip and 20% tip? Does the waiter look like he makes a lot more money than I do? Not likely. Give the guy a decent tip if he has earned one.

The difference between 15% and 20% in cash value is probably nothing to me personaly but the wait staff will know the percentage very well. Probably means much more to them than it does to me. If the service is average, I go 15% if not great I go down as low as 10%. If better than average go 20% or more depending on how great they made me feel.

Personaly, I like to over pay a little when in a group. Leaving a tiny tip just because the group has assembled a skimpy pool of money to pay the collective bill is very imbarassing to me. Just TRASHY!

-Mark.
 

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When we go out with friends it's divided up equally no matter who gets what. To be honest I usually end up paying twice what I owe because I'm usually the DD therefore no booze for me and my wife might have a drink or at most two while we eat. The rest ENJOY their meal and beverage, hey they're not driving. It's okay with us. We're out with friends and enjoy their company. If we order something more expensive then the rest, which believe me is rare as some of my friends LIKE to eat, we ante up what we owe and then some.

On another note my daughter waits tables and there is a group of ladies who call themselves the red hat society and DON'T believe in tipping. Their party is usually 15+ of the most obnoxious, rude, demanding, inconsiderate and condecending humans you'd ever run across.

I believe in tipping very well for exceptional service except when the gratuity is automatically included in the bill. I try not to eat a establishments that have this policy as I resent it. When the gratuity is added that's all they get from me. By tipping well I believe I've recieved the benefits in return two fold. Pete
 
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