One of my most favorite deals or coupons are dining or restaurant coupons that offer either “two for the price of one” dining or half-off the price of dinner for two.
Why are they my favorite? Well, not just because 2-for-1 dinner deals provide a great savings on a night out. It’s also because I get to spend “together time” with my favorite person, my wife.
And there’s also the business of not having to do the dishes.
So you enjoyed a great meal and now the bill comes at the end of the meal and you know that a $50.00+ dinner will now cost you only $25.00 plus tip. How much should you tip?
You might think the answer is obvious but I’m a bit dismayed, at times, to observe that some folks think the tip should be based on the amount paid and not the actual menu price.
Now, not to be too critical, allow me to acknowledge that maybe some folks can only afford to go out on the town IF they get a deal such as a half-off dinner coupon. In other words, money is “just that tight” in their household. They are doing the best they can and, in their world and world view, the math just seems to work out that way. I’m well aware of “gracious but not well off” and any one of us my find ourselves in that spot.
But there’s someone else in the equation – the waitress or waiter – who likely is in a similar economic boat, in many cases, where every tip counts. (I know this well since my wife worked as a waitress for many years to save money for college and even between jobs once she graduated and I was in graduate school.)
So what’s fair? To effectively penalize the waitress, who is hardworking as ever – and give her half-pay for a full effort – because her employer is looking to profit in other ways – by gaining new customers, etc.?
How about this for a strategy or “half off dining” tip etiquette: Consider not only paying the tip on what would be the full bill (at a minimum) but also give thought to sharing some of that savings or “winnings” from the $25.00 you “saved” with the waitress or waiter – especially if she or he, the waiter, did an exceptional job?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you used some of that good fortune to “spread the wealth”, to share your good fortune? Maybe some mom, struggling to pay the bills, or some hardworking student trying to make ends meet, will have just a small moment of experiencing that people can be nice, generous, helpful. That people can recognize “quality service”.
It can appear to be a small gesture, one that may not change the world for the recipient, but as someone who used to help his wife “count the tips”, I can tell you to a certainty that random acts of kindness and generosity affect people: making them feel appreciated or recognized for their efforts, giving them hope, and sometimes helping them to pay to fill the gas tank so they can drive to work another day so they can continue to support themselves and their family.