My thought process on how I tip

Every so often the When to Tip or When Not to Tip debate comes up. “Should one tip when you pick up Chinese takeout? Should you tipped the guys who delivered your new gas range? What about a hotel bellhop? A parking valet?”
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Wash. Rinse. Repeat. What I’m gonna do instead it share my thought process of how I tip what I tip.

Sometimes I simply round up or down. Let’s say my bill at a restaurant came to $18.74. Twenty percent would make that $22.49. No I don’t whip out a twenty, two dollars and two quarters. I simply round up to $23 since I’m likely charging it on the credit card. [Interestingly I totally pulled that $18.74 from thin air but how cool that it works out to $22.49 and I can use the alliteration twenty, two dollars and two quarters.] However, there are times when I will round down too. Let’s say it with tip it works out to $25.49. Guess, what, I’m still writing $25 in my credit card. So you get a 19.98% instead of 20% tip. I know, I’m stealing food from your babies mouths.

I also usually don’t fret about the tip on the before tax amount, not the after. However, there are times when I will purposely tip on the before tax amount, specifically when I’m paying cash and do not want to wait for change. It’s usually a situation where tipping on the pre-tax amount works out to leaving a twenty and a five or having to break another twenty to leave another buck. One time I was in this exact situation with a couple of co-workers and Abdul insisted we get change from the waitress. That took over 10 minutes and complimented extremely poor service to begin with.

I saw a write-up once, written by a bar tender or waiter, who suggested that you always tip in cash because it is better for him.

Hey Chester, I’d like to just take this moment to point out that I’m likely to do what is best for me way before I’m likely to do something that is best for me and you and certainly well before I’m likely to do anything that is best for you but not for me.

A long time ago, when you paid with a credit card, there wasn’t even a way to add the tip. You had to leave cash. When that changed, a bar tender friend once told me that if you ever have a choice between leaving 20% on the credit card or less than 20% but giving a cash tip, wait staff would appreciate the later. It takes too long to get squared up and ruthless managers will stiff staff or you could even get fired before all the receipts are reconciled.

There are only really two times when I get downright conservative. One is if I have spent a lot of money that month, that week or even that day. Then I have to be honest, I might round down instead of up and shortchange a buck. Don’t judge.

The other time is when I’m going to submit my receipt for reimbursement. Bean-counters Accountants are very weird about things and there are some regulations that are subject to interpretation of said accountants and since many of them didn’t get laid a lot in college, they want to get back at the world.

Level of Effort versus 20 percent

How did tipping even get started? I’m pretty sure no one sat down with a fountain pen and abacus and said: it should be a percentage of the total. more likely, someone simply said Keep the Change. and back in the day a nickel off a dollar was the equivalent of keeping $20 off $100 today. Some transactions really don’t merit 20%. As fellow CN blogger Jeremy Reed points out, “I’m always a five dollar guy for pizzas. I don’t care if the tab was $60 bucks – I’m giving the delivery guy five bucks. Just feels right.”

The truth as I see it is tipping has really gotten away from the original purpose. As fellow CN blogger Laurie Levy wrote:
“A tip should be like a bonus in business, extra money given in appreciation of excellent work or service. It should not be factored into people’s wages.”

I think we need to get back to that original model.

Welcome to “This Blogger Life,” where each week ChicagoNow bloggers are given a broad theme from which they can write a blog post interpreting the topic in any way they want. This week’s topic: “What’s your tipping policy?”
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