And I Want It On Another Plate

I have been on both sides of the coin, (pun intended) in the great "tipping debate" as a tipper and a tippee (don't know if this is a legitimate word, but if it isn't, it should be).

My first waitressing job was back in 1975 when I was a student at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. I got a job at the restaurant at the Union building. If memory serves, it was a pretty hoity-toity affair with white table clothes; it catered to the staff, parents of students and visitors. My uniform consisted of a black dress, starched white apron, panty hose and the very unflattering hairnet that made me look like Ruth Buzzi in Laugh-In by the end of my shift.


Fast forward to 1976. I have graduated from university with a BA in Spanish Literature. So, what did I decide to do? Yup. Waitress. Make some fast money while living with my parents, so, very few expenses, and get as far away from Highland Park as physically possible. Destination: Barcelona, Spain.

I got a job at a restaurant in Highland Park. They specialized in omelettes, salads and cheesecakes. I won't mention the name of the restaurant in order to protect the guilty, but suffice it to say that the clientele consisted of overweight women who deluded themselves by thinking they were eating a low calorie meal. This consisted of an enormous salad with a choice of fattening dressing, swilled down with a diet soda followed by a piece of cherry, strawberry or blueberry cheesecake. Since their entree was so healthy, they rewarded themselves with the cheesecake. As you can imagine, these were very demanding customers who wanted everything and they wanted it immediately. It was kinda like the Jackie Mason routine about Jews in restaurants. I can only say this because I am Jewish.

This is one of my all time favorite Jackie Mason routines since he was actually talking about my parents even though he didn't know it.

However, despite all their shtick, I have to admit that the customers at the unnamed restaurant were very generous tippers. Within 6 months, I made enough money to make my getaway.

Waitressing is a very difficult job on so many levels and so because of that experience, I have become a life long generous tipper. I have developed a table for tipping; it's all about the water refill since I drink nothing but water at restaurants and a lot of it.

15% Tip

Service sucks to service is very slow and I have to ask repeatedly for a water top up.

20% Tip

Service is good to excellent and I barely have to mention the water.

25% Tip

Service is outstanding and they just keep topping up my water glass without my asking.


I rarely go out to restaurants, but I actually have a lunch date this week with a friend I haven't seen for several years. I'll let you all know how much of a tip I leave.

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