This man and his girlfriend recently went out to eat at a restaurant. To drink, he ordered a coffee, and his girlfriend just stuck with water.
They shared an appetizer, and then each ordered a main entree. During the meal, he felt like their server was kind enough and always made sure to give them more water when they needed it.
“I hadn’t paid much attention to how much we spent until the bill arrived and realized we had spent $108.77. I’ve been taught to always leave a minimum tip of 20% or more when you can afford to as a courtesy to the waiter/waitress. My comfort level is under $70, so I usually only get meals around $50, so I can leave a $10 tip,” he said.
Meanwhile, his girlfriend doesn’t have much money saved up. She has a lot going on in her life, and he has been trying to support her financially when he can, as well as plan fun dates to make her feel better and distract her from her current struggles.
Because of this, he didn’t want to have to ask his girlfriend to cover the tip. So, instead, he skipped on paying what should have been roughly a $21 tip and paid the bill. He did this only because of how high their bill was, and normally, he wouldn’t have stiffed the server on a tip.
“As we left, the waitress came outside the restaurant to chase us down. (We assumed we dropped or forgot something.) She asked if she did anything wrong. We were confused and said, ‘No, why?’ She told us that we didn’t leave a tip, that she ‘was a waitress who made money off tips,’ and that it was how she made a living,” he explained.
In response, he told the server he was sorry and that he hadn’t meant to upset her. He explained that she did a good job as their server, and the reason he didn’t leave a tip was that he wasn’t paying attention to how much money he and his girlfriend were spending on their meals, so their bill ended up being much higher than he’d anticipated it would be. He continued and said that this was the reason he didn’t leave her a tip.
During the interaction, the server was clearly trying to remain as kind as possible, but he could tell that she was angry.
As an American, he has always understood the concept of tipping and that servers rely on tips in order to make a livable wage. He is aware of the fact that not everyone is able to work other jobs where they make a more stable and reliable income.