The Old Coot buys low, tips high

So, you go to a restaurant with a friend, a “separate check” kind of friend. Your meal is $30 – you tip the waiter $6, 20 percent. Your friend’s meal is $20. His tip is $4. He got the exact same friendly service but paid $2 less for it. I don’t get why the tip amount is based on the price of the meal. 

And now that I’m into it, why did the percentage go from 10 percent to 15 percent and now has settled in at 20 percent. Meal prices have risen, so tips went up without raising the percentage. It’s a double hit on the customer – a higher percentage tip based on a higher priced meal. I tried to discuss this with my wife, to get her concurrence; she told me to get the moths out of my wallet and pay the tip like everyone else. And, while I’m at it, to stop being a cheapskate. 

Sure, I am a cheapskate, most old coots are, but that’s not the issue here. It’s the “service” cost being related to the meal price. They are two separate transactions, or should be. I tried to negotiate a resolution the other day in a restaurant.  Before I gave my order to the waiter, I asked, “How much do you charge for taking my order to the kitchen, delivering my food and drink, giving me a bill and taking my payment?” He looked at me like I was an alien from outer space and told me there was no charge for his service. If I wanted to leave a tip, he wouldn’t refuse it. Then he rolled his eyes. I tried again, “Let’s settle up for your waiter service now; then I’ll order. Here’s five bucks.” It didn’t work; he wouldn’t accept it. 

So, now I’m on a crusade to enlist support from other restaurant goers to protest tying the tip cost to the meal cost. They should be independent of each other. One based on food cost, the other on how obnoxious and demanding you are. When you order from the pricey part of the menu you pay a bigger tip, which my wife points out is something I never do. I order the cheapskate options, or from the children’s menu if they allow it, and tip accordingly, but I do base my tip on a 20 percent multiplier; I’m cheap but appreciative of good service. 

I still think it’s wrong to base it on the meal price. I think a lot of things in today’s culture are wrong, like getting charged to cross the Hudson River on the Tappan Zee Bridge (now renamed to honor Prince Andrew Cuomo’s father, which is wrong too). But, I shrug and pay. In fact, I just mailed in my payment for crossing the river last Thanksgiving. They took a picture of my license plate and sent me a bill. I thought I got through without paying. I can’t win, but I’m still trying. It’s what old coots do.

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