How much would you tip?

On Friday I had dinner at a restaurant with my boyfriend. After we ordered, I heard giggling from the corner. Our waitress was talking with another waitress in a language that I don’t understand. I heard her say the name of the dish we ordered, followed by “what size is it?” in English, and more giggling. That lead me to think she was laughing at us. This was before the dinner rush and the two other tables there had already been served.

We had asked how big the serving was, since not all restaurants serve the same sized portions, and we wanted to make sure it would be enough for us to share. She told us to look at plates on the other tables. She did seem surprised or confused that we only ordered one entrée and an appetizer, instead of two entrées. The restaurant has a $5 minimum for each individual, but with the appetizer and rice we exceeded that requirement.

Since I felt as though she was laughing at us, I thought about tipping less. However, the actual service was good. Besides, I didn’t know what she said, or if she even was talking about us.

I’m sure that people working in service jobs talk about their customers, though usually after the person has left. If they say all sorts of nasty things about you when you’re not around, but provided good service, you’ll still tip well. Therefore, the two are independent. However, chatting about customers when they’re within earshot, even if in another language, is unprofessional.

Although I felt uncomfortable at the time, I was able to enjoy the food. I told myself that even if that waitress was indeed laughing at us, it’s not likely that I would come across her again. (We were traveling and would probably eat somewhere else if we were to return to the area.) In fact, this entire interaction was insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It would not matter once we stepped out of the restaurant. It’s only on my mind because I’m wondering what to do if the same thing were to happen again.

If you overheard your server talking about you with a colleague in an unprofessional way, would that affect how much you’ll tip?

For those who are wondering, my boyfriend still left a pretty good tip.

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4 thoughts on “How much would you tip?

  1. if the food was good and the service was also good, then you may leave a tip. a tip is really not required unless specified by the restaurant and usually for groups. a tip is to reward service. it really is optional. since you only have a portion of what the conversation was about, i would let go of it. but to answer your question….if i knew for sure about the conversation i would let the manager know as it really is unprofessional.

  2. Recognizing that servers are most often paid less than minimum wage with the assumption that they will earn the rest of their pay through tips, I usually tip about 20% on the pre-tax amount of the bill — sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more. Although the behavior you describe may have been unprofessional, it just as likely had nothing to do with you, and could be ignored. I might ask them about it if I was pretty sure it did relate to me. And occasionally I have talked with a manger, but usually if the food is not up to par — not the server’s fault!

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