This Is NOT a Good Reason To Stiff Your Server

This may be a surprise to hear, but I do believe that there are some very rare occurrences that make it alright to not leave your server a tip. If your server was deliberately rude to you when you asked for a iced tea refill and he threw the pitcher at your face bruising your forehead and dousing your clothes, no tip! If you asked for a medium-rare cheeseburger and your waitress said, “Nawww, we buy our hamburger patties off the back of a pick up every other Wednesday. You’re gonna want that shit extra well-done. And no cheese for you. You look like you had enough calories for the day. And I’m gonna leave off the bun too, fat ass,” that might be reason to forgo a tip. Other than extreme situations like that when the server is specifically to blame for your bad restaurant experience, you should be ponying up a tip.

I was recently sent a photo of a credit card slip that explicitly denies a tip on a $176 bill because the fire alarm went off while they were eating. Despite the “good service” this cheap ass decided that there would be no tip for the server, effectively denying that server approximately $35. The photo came to me with the name of the offending customer cropped out which is incredibly lucky for the customer because there is nothing I like better than publicly exposing someone for the cheap ass that they are. However, I can still use this photo as a lesson.

Attention customers: when you are deciding how much to tip your server, please keep in mind what the server did for you. If you didn’t like your food and your server was apologetic and did everything possible to make it right for you, tip them for it. If there was another table nearby that had a screaming child that was bothering you, that is no reason to stiff your server. That is, unless the crying baby actually belonged to your server which would just be weird. You don’t stiff your server because the sun was too bright in the window or because the music was not to your liking or because you didn’t like the type of to-go containers the restaurant uses. These things have nothing to to do with the service your received. A tip is for service. Period.

As a waiter, it is my job to make your dining experience as good as it can possibly be. I want you to be happy because happy customers tip more. Just remember that I’m not the one making the food and I sure as hell am not the one who pulled the fire alarm. If the fire alarm goes off while you are eating, maybe the restaurant should comp you a drink or buy you dessert, but it doesn’t give you the right to completely disregard everything I have done to serve you. And if there really was a fire, I would think you would be grateful for it since it probably saved your life. Think how disappointing it would be if you were dead and couldn’t keep on stiffing servers in your life. Probably about as disappointed as your server was when they saw you had stiffed them for the stupidest fucking reason ever.

9 thoughts on “This Is NOT a Good Reason To Stiff Your Server

  1. Sam

    So rare I don’t agree with the waiter, but there’s a first time for everything.

    Dining is an experience, customers should not be required to figure out who’s fault something is. I know it sucks to lose money for something not in your complete control, but if a fire alarm blairs for 20 min during my meal don’t expect 15-20%.

    One of the few times I’ve under tipped was when they sat a crazy family next to me right after I had received my food. One crying baby and a three year old who wanted to use my seat back for a playground, it’s a terrible experience, it’s not my fault, you won’t get a good tip.


  2. Marc

    When paying by credit card, whenever possible I put down $0 on the bill and tip with cash. 15℅ for crappy service, 20℅ usual, 25℅ in exceptional cases.

    If the food and the service is crappy I don’t return.

  3. James

    I’ve worked at the same bar for almost 20 years and always tip 25-30℅ when I go out. Except that one time… I was at Six Arms and my waitress messed up a couple of things on my order. No big deal, the burger was still good and honest mistakes are no reason not to tip. The reason I didn’t feel the need to tip was when she brought my check she started to nod out, catching herself each time she slumped towards the floor, not bothering to cover the fresh track marks on her arm. I got up, told the first employee I found what was happening, paid my bill and left.

  4. G.B. Miller

    I guess once a cheap fuck always a cheap fuck.

    As a customer, I don’t believe I ever had that happen to me. But, having been on the other side (not restaurant but retail), customers will find a way not to pay if something out of the ordinary (like a fire alarm) or something normal (like a harried cashier that slammed with ten customers wanting to checkout all at once).

  5. Berlin

    Ever have the power go out during a shift? People lose their goddamn minds! Everyone all of a sudden wants to leave, paying by credit (naturally), no one can locate the old school swipe device, the kitchens all dark and confused, no one remembers what their orders are; so the window is a shit show, orders are run out incorrectly due to no one knowing what the fuck because everything is computerized….all in like 3 minutes!

    I eagerly await a solar flare…

  6. Sunshine

    I have been serving for over a decade and besides just plain asshats who think it’s OK to tip below 10 to 5 percent I have only been stiffed with a rude note once. I have 3 kids, one of them is a newborn and I pump at work so my kid can eat. I had a table just receive their food and asked a Co worker who was not busy if she could watch them for 15 while I do my thing. I told them such business was happening and that so and so would take care if them while I was busy. They proceeded to wrote a note that said, “worst service ever, our server dissappeared and we were never offered any refills.” Which I refilled what was half way down when I left. I wanted to tell them off so badly…

  7. Krista

    We had this happen a few months back. The hotel that our restaurant is in was full with pre teen hockey boys. The alarm was pulled, and it can only be turned off by the fire department. They took approximately 23 minutes to arrive. It was horrible. As the hostess, I went and spoke with EVERY table. They were all good. The second bill time arrives, everyone wants discounts and free drinks. AND, several tables gave their servers shit tips. So fucking irritating and rude.


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