As if we need to hear another excuse as to why some cheap asshole doesn’t want to leave a tip at a restaurant, we have been presented with a new reason. A server sent me a photo of a credit card card receipt and scrawled in the tip line is the newest shitty excuse: “Sorry I’m in college.” Please allow me to explain why that does not matter to the person who served the food.
Yes, college is expensive and, although I can sympathize with the fact that you may be short on funds, what about your server who may also be in college? Do you think that just because they are wearing an apron at work that their college is any less expensive than the one you go to? There is no scholarship that servers get that gives them free higher education. Yale didn’t call your server and was like, “Hey, we heard you can handle a 10-table section, cut a crate of lemons in ten minutes and have a clean apron, so yeah, college is on us!” No, plenty of servers have tuition too and that tuition is paid for by the tips that are earned while waiting tables. “Sorry I’m in college” may help you with your tuition, but it doesn’t not help the server with his.
Okay, but wait. Maybe this customer didn’t think about the possibility of the server being in college. Maybe the server was a middle-aged man who looked like a lifer in the service industry and therefore, wouldn’t be in college and wouldn’t have any expensive tuition payments to pay. Well, here’s the deal: I was a middle-aged man who looked like a lifer in the service industry and I was in college. That’s right, I went back to school at the age of 40 and I paid for that shit with tips, so if this credit card receipt made an appearance in my section, I would have gone right to my backpack that was behind the bar, pulled out the heaviest, most expensive textbook and bitch slapped this customer up side his head.
Let’s assume that the server isn’t in college and doesn’t have tuition to pay. I would venture to guess that the server still has other things that he needs money for. I dunno, maybe for things like rent or groceries. Again, it’s not like the Piggly Wiggly called and said, “Hey, since you wait tables for a living, we have decided to give you unlimited groceries for life.” No, that’s not the case, so “Sorry I’m in college” is still not a good reason to stiff your server. You need to dig into your pockets and find the five or six bucks that your server earned.
Yes, there are times that your server may not deserve a tip. If he was blatantly rude and never brought any of your food, he certainly should not get 20%. If the server yelled at you because your baby was an asshole, you could hold off on the tip. If the server made monkey sounds while shoving a banana up your ass, feel free to withhold the tip (although in some restaurants that would merit a 30% tip, it all depends.) The tip is something that is determined by the course of action during the service of the meal. It is not something that is determined by anything outside of the restaurant. If you’re having twins and you are saving money, we don’t care. If your car needs new brakes, we don’t care. If you don’t agree with your server’s lifestyle or the sports team they root for, we don’t care. All we care about is that we are tipped based on the service that we give you. This is why good servers expect to be compensated for their efforts and this is also why some good servers make a lot of money waiting tables.
It’s been said before and I will say it again: if you can’t afford to leave a tip, you can’t afford to go out to eat in a restaurant. College or no college, if the service was good, the tip is expected. And by the way, that person really needs to pay more attention in college, because the written excuse is missing a fucking comma.