Here’s a tip…

The bills are in from the NYC vacation. In a surprise move, one of the restaurants added $10 to the tip we gave and totaled the bill higher. I suppose they hoped we wouldn’t catch it. Of course, we did.

First, when the heck did 20% become “mandatory” for restaurant service? Next, we left 15% because the service was lousy. Even though we were one of three tables in the restaurant, they were surly and inattentive. They also brought a higher priced bottle of wine to the table than we had ordered, but because we were acting hosts, we didn’t fight it in front of our guests.

I tell the young ‘uns all the time that we aren’t well off because money fell out of the sky. We live well because we make some darned good decisions. We don’t eat out much. We almost always handle our own luggage when we travel. Heck, I have my favorite haircuts from CostCutters for $10 on Tuesdays.

The idea of someone taking an extra $10 really ticks me off.

So far this $10 has cost about an hour of my time. I called the restaurant who abruptly informed me the manager wouldn’t be on duty for a day and a half; I’d need to call back. I called the card company who informed my my issue was with the restaurant. The restaurant called me back (ok, I did hang up in a bit of a huff) to offer the managers cell phone number. Right, like he keeps the details at his fingertips on his day off.

So is it worth it? Probably. I spend a lot of time doing things for principle. And who knows when that $10 will come in handy?

So all you civilized readers – when did we move to 20%?


  1. Kathryn says:

    Happened to us once, too. Similar situation, but the restaurant was in a hotel, so we caught it at check out. It was the restaurant manager who had increased the tip! The hotel manager was not pleased.

    FWIW, I wouldn’t take no for an answer from the credit card company either. Fraud is fraud.

  2. The Lorax says:

    Tipping is a taboo subject. If the service was lousy (and they weren’t busy etc.) then I tip lower. It’s part of the job description and shouldn’t be regarded as expected. If they give great service, then my tip increases. Isn’t that the point?

    The worst service I had was in DC at a pub after a long, hot day. I gave no tip and made sure to leave a note on the recipt so they didn’t think i’d merely forgotten (it read: horrible service!)

  3. Leapin says:

    This is progressive America and I’m sure the intention was to give good service. Whether or not the service was actually good doesn’t matter. It is the intention that counts.

  4. BrkfldDad says:

    Pay in cash, that way they can’t trip you up! Of course, I never pay in cash, so I should listen to myself. 20% seems to have gained quite the foothold within the last 5 years, 18% is more than normal now on the ‘automatic gratuity’ for large parties.

    I had a good friend that used to love it when he had bad service. He would leave no visible tip. Instead he’d ask for a glass of water, then drop a penny in the water, take a menu/single piece of paper and place it over the glass, invert the glass, place it on the table and quickly yank the menu out. There was virtually no way to now get the glass off the table without spilling all the water. The penny let the service staff know that you hadn’t forgotten to tip.

  5. LOL! I don’t think I’m that talented, though.

  6. The Lorax says:

    I am. But I’d rather write a short personal note on the receipt.