How to tip for food where context clashes with protocol.
January 3, 2009 10:53 AM Subscribe
Am I tipping correctly?
I didn't grow up in the USA, so there is a lot I don't get about the tipping culture. Here's my current confusion:
My understanding is that normally, if a place is set up so that customers pay for their food before they get it, you don't tip, or you leave a tip when you leave, depending on the context / set-up of the establishment.
I'm a regular at a bar that serves food. When I buy a drink, I am served the drink, then I pay and tip. I'm fairly confident this is correct.
But when I also order food with my drink, I have to pay for both, so I am served the drink, pay and tip for the drink AND for the food, even though the food will be delivered to my table later.
But the food is not prepared or delivered by the bar staff, and after I leave, the table is not cleared by the bar staff. There are busers doing that.
(And at busy/chaotic times, this also leads me to having tipped for food that never arrives. That's not a problem - they'll fix it if I ask, but it makes the tipping seem even more senseless)
So I'm wondering if the tip for the food is supposed to be left on the table afterwards instead of at time of purchase. Or if I'm supposed to tip for the food twice?
-If I stop tipping for the food at time of purchase, in order to tip at the table, then it's probably going to be noticed by bar staff and misinterpreted.
-I'm tipping 20-40%, I don't want to double that just to keep everyone happy.
-The bar staff have a better demeanour. Maybe they're supposed to since they're the bar, or maybe the bus staff hates not getting tipped. I wouldn't know.
-Why don't I just ask? It's nearly impossible to be heard just to make the order, and with a queue behind me, probably unwelcome, and the answer I get probably depends on who I ask. Instead, I'd like to know if there is a wider consensus on how to tip in this situation.