Stressed out tipping
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 02:02
I had a work meeting at Leela’s. My workmate and I had running tabs, but both ordered the same thing—spicy chais with an omelet. But when it was time to go, we both left a different tip.
And that made me worried that perhaps I was a greedy jerk.
I always leave 20 percent, which I gather from social norms is the expected amount, and even optimistically at that. But my friend left 25 percent, with the justification that Leela’s waitstaff works single shifts and therefore has a more substantial load.
But do you need to take so many variables into account when deciding upon a tip? It seemed to me that my friend was just trying to impress the waitress with some hidden intention beyond mere work-to-reward ratio justice, so I left it at that.
But tipping, nevertheless, has become a frustrating practice.
When I pay with a card, I will always tip with an amount that makes the grand total a whole number. There isn’t any reason beyond my own fascination with math, but this is constantly met with bewilderment.
At coffeeshops, I always drop in whatever coins I have left over along with a dollar or two, depending on how many espresso shots I make the barista pull.
But what of getting a refill? If I had a two-shot espresso, worked for an hour, and then get another from a different barista, am I obligated to tip again? What if it’s the same barista as before?
Barista-tipping makes me consider motivations for tipping, too. If I have just paid and the barista walks away to prepare another drink, I will usually linger so that the barista will come back and see me drop my tip into the jar.
I do get a certain satisfaction from the slight smile and nod that comes along with acknowledging my saint-like generosity, but am I really so shallow as to need that much reassurance in my altruism?
Tipping shouldn’t be a chore. It isn’t necessary—it’s a courtesy.
What it comes down to is being a down-to-earth, honest-to-goodness human being. If you really do appreciate the work that people do for you, and show that with the amount and attitude of your tip, I think that that is a tip well done.