Should I Tip?

Let me tell you about the big debate at our house this past week.  The husband claims we should always tip the waitress when we order carry-out food from a restaurant.  I thought to tip in a restaurant is optional.  Friendly and efficient service calls for a reward and wait staff knows when they do well, it pays off.

This all came up from a media report about a waitress who worked at a popular steakhouse chain.  She was thrilled to be the one to get the called-in order from a Christian mega church buying lunch for a big meeting.  The order totaled over $700 and took her an hour to prepare.  The fellow who picked up the order did not include a tip when he paid for it.  The disappointed waitress expressed her exasperation on social media. 

It Gets Worse
The waitress returned to work the next day to learn the restaurant fired her.  Apparently, the boss read her social media page!  In the meantime, the Christian church also read her social media post and determined to fix the offense.  They learned she lost her job but pursued her and offered a “more than” generous gratuity.  I do not know any other details.

Huge Lesson for Me
My husband, Tom, thinks a tip even for carry-out promotes good will.  He reminded me of his favorite Chinese place near the office and how he would run out at lunch time and bring back an order from the buffet.  The waitress left her tables to fill his carry out container so he tipped her.  When he increased it, she packed it so full it barely closed!

I remember a time I ordered several sandwiches at a carry-out beef stand while visiting my family in Chicago.  Did I tip for this large order?  I thought about it this week and reasoned in my head these kinds of restaurants exist because they’re fast and offer delicious food to take home where we eat together serving ourselves leisurely.  We do not overstay at the restaurant table cheating the wait staff of more business.  

The media story gave me new understanding.  I need to respect tip jars.  

I’m not sorry this waitress struck up the big brewhaha online.  I’m sorry she lost her job in the process, but she taught me something and got me thinking.  When I verified this story, some comments at the end called her a whining employee which no eatery would want on staff.  Others expressed compassion.

The debate made me aware and that’s a good thing.  Do you have any thoughts about this?


  1. Good Sunday morn sister Mary. Good topic as we just woke up and in case, my family and I go out for lunch, I'll think of your post when it comes to giving tips :)

    Whenever we go out and observe that the server or servers are working hard and doing their best to make their customers happy, I always ask my husband to not forget to tip because they work hard and to me, a little extra may bless their hearts. But I tell him, when he gives tips, it's the amount he wants to give willingly and then, silently pray for the Lord to bless the tip and that, those people may be blessed and thank Him instead. It's sad that the waitress had hoped for something when she did some service and got fired. But it's nice of the church to do something about it and in secret, rewarded her instead. May you have a wonderful Sunday and rest of the week.

  2. I must admit I disapprove of the waitress' rant on social media; it's kind of shaming someone.
    Tipping, even if expected, should be a discreet act between the customer and the service giver, a gesture of goodwill and appreciation for a service well done.

  3. You know when I have a problem - is when you go and order it standing up - they will bring it to you - but you get all the condiments and everything and yes they clean up. But they ask you when you are standing and ordering if you want to leave a tip? Who gets the tip? My daughter and I talk about this a lot.

  4. Hi Mary, I think this topic comes up more than you would think. I used to not think much about it until my daughter waited tables while she was in college. Most waitstaff don't make much and they depend on the tips. She is the type that always did a good job and most of the time she was generously tipped but some would leave $1 or nothing. She had worked very hard and she felt cheated when people left without leaving a tip. I learned then that I would always be a generous tipper because I feel like your husband that it promotes good will. Aren't Christians suppose to go beyond what others do in order to show God's grace and generosity. I also like to include a tract or some note of God's love along with the tip. So many people are hurting and in horrible circumstances and I always want to show God's love....

  5. I always leave a tip in a restaurant, but I have a problem with the tip jars that are popping up everywhere. It seems everyone wants a tip now. I would rather they just raise the price and quit tipping. However, reading this does make me think, and I do want to show God's love to everyone I come in contact with!

  6. What a great poser! Off the top of my head, I approve of this server's moxie to voice her concerns on social media.
    Conversely, I don't believing in tipping if someone's merely going through the motions ... no eye contact, begrudging body language, etc. If a helper (in any capacity) radiates joy, there's no doubt we're touched and will reciprocate. What bugs me is restaurants that make servers pool their tips. Where's the incentive?

  7. We always leave a tip and the amount we leave is based on the service that we've received. I sometimes wish there was no such thing as social media and our means of communication was more deliberate through writing good old fashioned letters. In this day of social media we need to understand that the world is watching us. I'm sorry that this woman had to learn that lesson the hard way by losing her job. It saddens me to think that this mega church didn't think beyond themselves when the order was picked up and could have had the foresight to give her a tip when the order was picked up. I'm glad they made it "right" in the end, but just sorry they didn't think of it first. Thank you, my friend, for this thought provoking post.

  8. The last country we lived in was Papua New Guinea and no one tips there, it's almost like an insult to them. Most of the restaurants have men waiters, very few women. It seems in America it matters not how much you make an hour a tip is expected. I don't mind leaving a tip to waitress because they do depend on their tips to make up for their low wage. But I am wondering when did we start tipping those who make say 130 dollars to give a massage. Now I know the establishment get a lot of that but most make at least 50 dollars an hour, my son is a massage therapist thats how I know. I was wondering when the tip jar started to, I don't ever remember one being there years ago. It was usually ajar with a picture of a lost child or one running for some kind of race. Funny how other countries see tipping, but it seems Americans expect it the most. This post caused me to think through some more about tipping which I too think we should when it is appropriate.

  9. I guess I always feel a sense of compassion for anyone who works hard, having been in those types of work situations so many times, myself. So, any extra help I can give really comes from my heart, and I probably end up feeling more blessed than they do. I do believe we should always tip on a merit basis, though. Some wait staff act like it is "owed" to them, and they are rude and inefficient and seem to think they should get a good tip, just for showing up to work. THAT, I do not like to reward...sorry...there are just too many people who need jobs and would appreciate them. On the flip side, I have found that it almost NEVER fails...when you are sweet to people, they will normally be sweet back to you. If you treat wait staff with SINCERE kindness and love and empathy, I do believe they will almost always rise to the occasion and respond with the same attitude. My family and I have really come to enjoy tipping good servers, and it is always a delight to see them surprised. We usually try to slip out quietly before they can see the amount, but I remember one particular experience that always warms my heart. The waiter was just exceptional, and God laid it on our hearts to give him a very large tip. Before we could get out of the parking lot, he saw it, and he followed after us, and was in tears. I have never forgotten that. May we always do good to everyone we can and try to make as many people's day as we possibly can every, single day. There is way too much sadness and darkness in this world. Generous tipping for good, efficient service seems a great place to shine the light of Jesus' love! Sending love and hugs to you, sweet friend. :)

  10. WOW! What food for thought Mary. We have always tips in restaurants. And we tip well and over the expected tip, especially if our service is good. My husband always says, "they are probably not making much in wages so I know the tip has to be a blessing". But, I have never thought about tipping for carryout to be honest. I have seen some tip jars in places I have been and to be perfectly honest, never thought about it, especially since it was carry out and I was not taking up space or expecting more drink or etc. Great food for thought today. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  11. I had never thought to tip for a carry-out order until someone else brought it up to me a few weeks ago. Now your post makes me think back to this nice Mexican restaurant where I used to get to go orders on a semi-regular basis when I lived in the city. They always wrapped everything up in nice foil containers and lots of chips and salsa. The thought never crossed my mind to tip them, and they deserved it. It does make me wonder how many other places I've gone without tipping, when it was probably proper etiquette.

  12. I think this is one of those "matter of the heart" issues. If we have it, why not share it.

    I tend to be more like Tom. In the end, if we can share more, it does more for us. "Tis better to give than to receive..."

  13. I do not that she should have been fired for such a thing. Unbelievable.

  14. Here in the Philippines, Tips are not required. and if that so in the west, i think it should deserve someone right esp if the service was excellent. Also, ranting in social media only shows the character of the person, so nooo way! sorry not sorry.


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