Last Friday night I met my wife and kids for dinner after work for the first time in a long, long time. We do not eat out much, and when we do it is typically fast food, or something we pick up and take home to eat. As I was finishing up my meal, I noticed our server clearing another table and as he raked the dollar and change from the table he shook his head in exasperation.
Now, I know cheapskate tippers have been around forever, in good and bad economies. My wife was a waitress in college and told me many horror stories about bad tippers, from those that completely forgot to leave a tip to those that remembered, but only left the bare minimum according to standard tipping guidelines.
I consider myself a generous tipper, and I have continued that trend despite the economic downturn. If the service is particularly good, it isn’t uncommon for me to leave a 15%-20% tip. For exceptional service, I take 10%, double it, and round up or down to the nearest dollar for an even tip. The difference in 10% and 20% is often only a dollar or two, and I figure the person serving my meal could use it more than me.
Of course, as menu prices continue to climb, so does the amount of tips assuming you continue following the same tipping guidelines. Using my calculations, a $40 dinner bill comes with an $8 tip, putting your night out with the family dangerously close to $50. But considering we don’t go out that often, I have no problem paying for outstanding service.
I’m interested to hear from you. Have your tipping guidelines changed recently? Do you work for tips, and if so, have you seen a drop in income?