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Should I continue to date an egregiously bad tipper?
February 7, 2014 10:18 AM   Subscribe

On our third date, a seemingly great guy didn't tip at all on the bill at a fancy-ish restaurant, despite the fact that we received special treatment from my friend who works there (who was not our server). Question part 1: is this a deal breaker? Question part 2: should I contact my friend to apologize on the guy's behalf?

Our first two dates (a movie and a picnic, respectively) were great and I was (am?) really excited about continuing to get to know this man. Last night we went to a fairly upscale restaurant where a friend of mine works as a server, and even though we weren't seated in her section, she sent over a complimentary appetizer and little pieces of chocolate after the meal.

When the bill arrived, he said "my treat" and reached for the folder to pay the bill. I thanked him and while I was just glancing around while he dealt with his card and the receipt later, I distinctly saw him strike through the tip line, and move the total of the meal down to the bottom line. He did not leave any cash in the folder, and he didn't hand anything directly to the server as we left. So...he left a $0 tip on a fairly expensive meal.

I felt embarrassed that I even saw him do this (I tend to think financial decisions are private, and that's it's rude to watch someone as they pay the bill--I just noticed by accident). And then I felt too flustered in the moment to really decide if I wanted to leave a cash tip for the server myself, which obviously would have been rude to the guy. But what the heck?! No tip on a fancy meal!? Especially when we received special treatment from my friend?!??

For context, he picked the restaurant. I'm not positive what his financial situation is like, but I think he's comfortable. He's 33 years old.

So...1) is this a deal breaker? I've worked in the service industry and I obviously have friends who do, and I think people who don't tip are pretty terrible. But is it worth talking to him about it? How would I broach the subject without incredible rudeness and awkwardness?

And...2) should I contact my friend and apologize on this guy's behalf? I know how restaurants work and I know she'll hear about our server getting stiffed. Also, would it be overkill to stop by the restaurant and leave a belated tip for our server?
posted by tomorrow to Human Relations (165 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Unless there was a stated percentage already added then yes, deal breaker. And yes, apologize.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 10:21 AM on February 7 [60 favorites]


This, in my opinion, is always a deal breaker.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:22 AM on February 7 [23 favorites]


Not leaving a tip is bad enough. But at a nice place? On a date? Where he knew that people you personally know are working? I mean, honestly, that's "he the food with his hands and then licked his fingers" level of dealbreaker for me. There's socially clueless, and then there's this, which is beyond the pale.

If it's a third date, don't even broach the subject. He's a grown man and should know better. Just stop seeing the dude. You don't need to give him a reason.

If you want to be a Good Person, give some cash to your friend to tip the server. It's never too late for a tip.
posted by griphus at 10:22 AM on February 7 [50 favorites]


If what you saw is really what happened and he left no tip whatsoever - yes, absolutely a deal breaker.
posted by komara at 10:23 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Assuming he's not from a non-tipping culture, absolutely a deal breaker, or would be for me. You can decide what it implies for yourself. It's so early that it doesn't take much to move on.

Absolutely contact your friend.
posted by supercres at 10:23 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


I'd bring it up with him directly.

"I didn't mean to be looking but I did notice that you didn't leave a tip when we ate at [restaurant]. What's up with that?"

or

"Did you leave a tip at [restaurant]?"


How would I broach the subject without incredible rudeness and awkwardness?

Not leaving a tip is rude and awkward. This ship has already sailed. Unless he has a reaaaaally good explanation (like "I gave our server cash while I was on my way back from the restroom" or something), then dump him for being a disrespectful ass.
posted by phunniemee at 10:24 AM on February 7 [42 favorites]


Follow on:

1. Talking to him is no guarantee that he'd really change - only somewhat likely that he'd be better in your presence.

2. Don't apologize on HIS behalf. Just say that you were horribly embarrassed and you should have said something then and there, but didn't and wanted to make sure that the server got what he/she deserved.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:25 AM on February 7 [7 favorites]


Also this:

I'm not positive what his financial situation is like, but I think he's comfortable.

Is irrelevant. Tipping is part of the cost of going out to eat. If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to eat out.
posted by supercres at 10:25 AM on February 7 [96 favorites]


Anybody's deal breaker is okay in a relationship. I would probably ask the guy I was dating about it, if I had concerns, before I broke up, but whatever your deal-breaker is, it's totally valid, because your relationship and your feelings and values and ethics are your own.
posted by xingcat at 10:25 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


A 33-year-old American who doesn't tip is making a considered choice to be a pretty terrible person. That would be a dealbreaker for me, no question.

I personally would also get my friend to pass along some cash and an apology to the server.
posted by gone2croatan at 10:25 AM on February 7 [13 favorites]


I'd definitely do the belated tip and I'd say farewell to this guy. I am sure he says to himself what almost all non-tippers do -- that the restaurant, not he, should be paying the server, and that the meal is all he can reasonably afford. But whatever his rationale, you are dealing with someone who is insensitive and selfish. Extra demerits for stiffing someone he knew, apparently, was your friend.
posted by bearwife at 10:25 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


This is SO weird and egregious that I'm mentally trying to make excuses FOR him... really stupid, elaborate ones, like, "Um, maybe he came back LATER and gave them a HUGE tip!"

I'd do a little sleuthing to absolutely rule this out. I might even ask him, in a quasi-joking way ("So [Friend Who Works There] said you didn't tip... guess you were as flustered as I was, huh?"). But if it was INTENTIONAL, then yeah, it's a deal-breaker. "Not tipping" is like "littering in a public park" or "taking bites out of stuff you don't intend to buy in the supermarket": not a huge deal, but indicative of a mindset you don't need in your life.
posted by julthumbscrew at 10:26 AM on February 7 [24 favorites]


Yes and yes. It is a dealbreaker*, and you should apologize to your friend and pick up the tab next time you're out for beers with her.

*Unless...? What I would do is throw awkwardness to the wind (the rudeness trail has already been blazed) and ask him about it straight-up. Say your eyes wandered over and you noticed he didn't tip. What's up with that? Maybe you misunderstood, or...
If it were me and everything else was A+ great so far, I'd give him a chance to explain himself.
posted by magdalemon at 10:26 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


It would be a deal breaker for me. Someone who is stingy in that situation is probably like that in other areas of life.

And yeah, I would contact my friend in this situation, and probably make the next round of drinks on me.
posted by rpfields at 10:27 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I've always believed that how a person treats waitstaff is a pretty good indication of their true character. This would definitely be a dealbreaker for me.
posted by Ruki at 10:28 AM on February 7 [18 favorites]


Can you ask your friend? I'd guess that something that unusual would be discussed in the restaurant, so you could find out if there was an explanation (e.g., he tipped in advance). If it was as appears, you can tell him that it was so out of line that everyone at the restaurant, including your friend, knew about it and give him a chance to explain.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:28 AM on February 7 [8 favorites]


I would talk to your friend and find out if he really did stiff the server. If he did, then belatedly provide a tip and dump his ass.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:29 AM on February 7 [78 favorites]


This is so out of the range of normal (for a date, for a nice restaurant, for a seemingly nice guy) that I would want to confirm this somehow.

It's not common, but I've known people who like to tip generously before a meal to insure good service, so that's one possible explanation. Personally, I would just ask. It may be awkward, but if the answer is no you'll be dumping him anyway!
posted by Room 641-A at 10:29 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Hmm. Maybe he was too preoccupied and forgot or something, but that's sort of unlikely.

In order to ascertain what he really thinks explicitly, why don't you find a way to steer a conversation toward the subject of tipping and take the unkind position: say, like, "I don't know why I should have to tip, restaurants already overcharge for food" or something, and see how he responds. Or you could ask him directly, of course. I think it's a deal breaker for most cases of people who don't tip, but it's worth finding out what the deal is before writing him off since he seems great otherwise. And it would be good of you to explain to your friend that you were mortified by him not tipping.
posted by clockzero at 10:30 AM on February 7


Huge dealbreaker for me. The fact that he didn't leave a tip is bad enough. The fact that he didn't leave a tip even though he knew your friend was a waiter there... that's just insane.

When you dump him tell your friend why and apologize. Ask her the name of the waiter that served you and tip him retroactively.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:31 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this is a total deal-breaker. And leaving a cash tip in his stead would not have been out of line, it would have been awesome.

In my experience people who treat servers badly (and leaving a 0% tip is treating servers badly) also treat others badly.
posted by Justinian at 10:31 AM on February 7 [7 favorites]


First, I would contact my friend and confirm there was no tip. Don't assume by what you saw. Second, I would make it right to the waiter. Third, if there was indeed no tip, I would ask him outright about it. You can decide from there, but if he is generally a no tipper or has some excuse about why he left no tip, I would reconsider dating this man.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:32 AM on February 7 [38 favorites]


What do you like about this guy? Why are you so excited?

Otherwise, what JohnnyGunn said, in that order.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:33 AM on February 7


Assuming this is in the US and that your date is aware of tipping culture (whether or not he's from one), yeah, this is pretty much a dealbreaker. It's rude and it often indicates an inflated sense of self-worth and/or disdain for those they deem lower than them. And money is no excuse: if you can't afford to tip, you can't afford the meal. All that goes double for an experience that the wait staff went out of their way to make special for both of you. Still, I'd contact your friend and ask her if your server was stiffed the tip just in case. If it's true, yeah, DTMFA. The choice is yours as to whether to tell him he's a cheapskate or not, but I'd try and make it up to the server somehow.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:33 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Unless he has Houdini-hands and just stealthily slipped the server a proper cash tip, he is not a great guy and should not get to Pass Go and Collect 200 dates in the future. Check with your friend and yes, I think covering the tip would be good.
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:34 AM on February 7


First step should be to talk to your friend to confirm that he really didn't tip anything, either that day or later. One possible scenario I'm imagining is that he underestimated the cost of the meal and didn't have enough available on his credit/debit card to pay the bill plus tip. In this case I can see him surreptitiously crossing out the tip line so as not to call attention to the issue while he's on the date, planning to go back and tip the next chance he gets.

If your friend confirms that there was no tip ever, definitely square that with her and then ask the guy about it. I don't know if I'd call this a dealbreaker without finding out if there's an explanation, but if further inquiry reveals that he just doesn't tip? That would be a serious issue for me.
posted by payoto at 10:34 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Personally, tipping is a kind of social contract that falls outside the normal bounds of polite privacy when it comes to money matters. I would have come right out and asked at the table - "Did you leave a tip?" I don't think it's too late now to politely say that you thought you saw that he didn't tip, and that it would be a huge problem for you. It's also super-awesome to try to make sure the server was tipped by going back to the restaurant or asking your friend.
posted by muddgirl at 10:35 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


I would definitely ask what happened. It's possible there is a reasonable explanation. Maybe he provided a tip in cash some time when you didn't see it. Depending on how you feel you may want to contact your friend as well.

If you are not convinced by this explanation I would dump him. You'll be sparing yourself a bad person to date ("someone who's rude to the waiter is not really a nice person"), and maybe he will learn his lesson and stop stiffing future waitstaff. Consider it a public service.

For the record I am opposed to our tipping system in principle, but it doesn't matter. It is a non-optional part of the social contract that you have to take part in if you want to eat at a restaurant with waiter service.
posted by grouse at 10:37 AM on February 7 [8 favorites]


Check with your friend first, then apologize on your date's behalf, provide the tip yourself, and then ask your date where he was coming from on the situation. If he tries to justify not giving a tip, let him know that you don't want to date someone who would stiff a waiter ever, especially when that waiter has gone above and beyond for you during a date.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:37 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


I think your options are to:

A. Talk to him about why he didn't leave the tip. -or-
B. Stop dating him.

You're going to have to do something that's uncomfortable; why not do the thing that gives him a chance to redeem himself? His reaction should inform what you do. At the very least, it will give you some insight into what type of person doesn't tip.
posted by Betelgeuse at 10:39 AM on February 7


> I would talk to your friend and find out if he really did stiff the server. If he did, then belatedly provide a tip and dump his ass.

That. Not tipping in this context is not okay, assuming your date hadn't just gotten off a spaceship from Mars. We've been comped completely at restaurants where friends work, and we always tip on the amount of what the bill would've been, plus a little extra for "Thanks for the comp!"
posted by rtha at 10:39 AM on February 7 [7 favorites]


1. Apologize to your friend and pass along a tip yourself.

2 Ask him if he tipped; if not, well, it's up to you whether to just end it or get into a discussion about tipping. At best, you may discover he has some naive but correctable idea that it's unnecessary (or that Expensive Restaurant had an automatic gratuity--I am assuming you already know that they did not. But you might check.). At worst, he may be a selfish jerk.

3. If he's mistaken but willing to change, and otherwise has been nice to date, maybe (maybe!) keep dating but with an understanding about tipping. If he's a jerk, well, at least you found out early.
posted by emjaybee at 10:41 AM on February 7


Seconding Justinian. Not tipping is usually indicative of attitudes and behavior that would not be healthy in a relationship. This would absolutely be a deal breaker for me.
posted by rensar at 10:41 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


I'd ask him about it.

There'd only really be one right answer, which would be that there was some exchange of money you didn't see during which he gave the server cash.

If the answer is anything but that, I would not date this person. I can't say what is or isn't or should be a dealbreaker for you, but not tipping is absolutely a dealbreaker for me. I wouldn't even be friends with someone who doesn't tip - dating would be completely out of the question.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:41 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I will always remember the couple who didn't leave a tip on the table for me, and then returned twenty minutes later to apologize and hand me the tip (they'd forgotten). It would be a kindness for you to make it right to your server. It isn't too late.

As for the guy, I'd ask him about it, and I wouldn't expect the conversation to go well. Unless he has a very good reason, immediately fixes the error, and doesn't do anything like this again, it's a dealbreaker. If he claims he left cash or went back to pay, confirm with your friend that this is the case.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:44 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


I am totally reading every comment in this thread using the voices of Seinfeld characters because it reminds me of something that would be on that show.

If it were a financial thing he would not have offered to pick up the check in the first place. Perhaps he picked up the check just to avoid getting into a conversation about why he doesn't tip.

Yes, confirm that there really wasn't a tip. Maybe he saw Casino one two many times and he shook the waiter's hand and slipped him a twenty. Who knows. Make sure.

Then dump his ass otherwise every time you go out to dinner it will be awkward and embarrassing.

And also dump him because he is a terrible person.
posted by bondcliff at 10:46 AM on February 7 [9 favorites]


It's a long shot but maybe, just maybe he is doing what I do when I go out with family, which is which ever one of us gets the bill the other one covers the tip. Maybe he was expecting you to cover the tip and is thinking the same thing about you. Personally I doubt it though because in my estimation if you are on a date and someone clearly states they are paying the bill then they are paying the tip.

Dump the guy, apologize to your friend, have a good laugh about the bullet you dodged and tip the waiter that served you.
posted by wwax at 10:47 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Nthing checking with your friend to make sure no tip was left, and then dumping the guy if he deliberately didn't leave one.
posted by sarcasticah at 10:49 AM on February 7


Along the lines of what Justinian side regarding attitudes, since you have a friend on the inside, if he says that he tipped via a stealth method, I'd attempt to verify that with your friend. I could see someone who doesn't tip feeling fine with lying about it to make someone stop talking about it.
posted by nobeagle at 10:51 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Are you absolutely certain that the check did not include a tip already? Some restaurants do that now - even for parties of less than six people.

But if not, yes, dealbreaker.
posted by valeries at 10:52 AM on February 7 [6 favorites]


Is it possible that you were auto-grat'ed and you didn't notice that on the bill?

Barring that, ugh. Double ugh.

I would probably not end it on the spot. I might give him one more chance and see if it's a regular thing. Or maybe just ask him about it/his attitude about tipping in general?

Is he a recent arrival from Europe or another non-tipping culture, who might not know?

I feel pretty desperate to make excuses for the guy, but you know, if he's a dick, he's a dick.
posted by Sara C. at 10:56 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


Even being from a non-tipping culture doesn't excuse this if he's been in the states for any length of time. Personally I think the American system is fucked up and stupid, but I go along with it while I'm there. It's not like the restaurant is suddenly going to start paying my waitress a living wage just because I refused to tip.

I'm not saying that the American system is easy to learn if you're not from that culture. I still need plenty of help from the natives in navigating how much I should tip and which other service employees are in the same boat as the waitstaff. But you ask for advice, you don't stiff the waitress.

However, another behavior I've observed in the states is one person covering the bill and the other person covering the tip. Is it possible that he had the impression you were going to leave it?
posted by the latin mouse at 10:56 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


I've been know to cross it out, intending to leave the tip in cash... and then forget to leave the cash. I've then gone back and paid for the tip later (or called and had them add it to my card... it's happened more than once).

But that's the only reason I would ask him what was up. If he has any answer besides how he tipped but you didn't notice/ohgawd he forgot, then, yeah. You're not a good fit (for a jerk).
posted by ldthomps at 10:57 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


I agree with everyone else about checking with your friend about whether he tipped or if her restaurant has a "gratuity included" policy, and then asking him about it. A way to bring it up with him might be to ask, "You know, it just occurred to me, I don't remember seeing you leave a tip on our date, was I supposed to leave a tip? I know I have that arrangement with *insert friend/family member here*, but I totally spaced out, and now I can't stop obsessing about it."

This gives him a chance to gracefully recover if he honestly forgot, and since you asked your friend, you'll know if he tries to lie or not. Though in my experience, people who deliberately don't tip are generally happy to regale you with why they don't tip, thus handily revealing their inherent asshole nature. If he deliberately didn't tip, dump him.
posted by yasaman at 10:58 AM on February 7 [26 favorites]


Dealbreaker. Confirm first tho.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:58 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


So interesting to read this as an English ex waitress! I always try and take care of waiting staff but it often is really not even considered in England (especially certain parts) and my family had a VERY hard time getting their heads around it in the States years back.

What is his cultural background? Interesting to see the strength of feeling on this.
posted by tanktop at 10:59 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


Is it possible that he had the impression you were going to leave it?

If it turns out this this was his "impression," you should still dump his ass. Adults have conversations about these things. They do not expect mind reading.
posted by Wordwoman at 11:00 AM on February 7 [8 favorites]


Leaving NO tip is so egregious that I am inclined to think there is a reason - perhaps the tip was included, or the server did something really bad (which incidentally, you are unlikely to find out if you ask your friend). Otherwise, it just doesn't add up to me. A cheapo would not be likely to pick an expensive restaurant and/or insist on paying.

(Also seconding @wwax re. tip expectations. When I was single and dating, I always left the tip if my date paid for dinner).
posted by rada at 11:00 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


I'm also familiar with the situation wwax described, in which one person pays and the other leaves the tip. (Although normally, that means both people look at the bill, which it doesn't sound like you did.) Even if it's unlikely, it'd give you an in to ask him about it. Just tell him that you forgot to leave a tip at the restaurant, and wanted to check to make sure he hadn't already left one.

And yeah, if he's one of those people who takes 'principled stances' on things that benefit them directly, then you probably don't want that in your life.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:01 AM on February 7


Tanktop -- not sure if you know, but in the US, waitstaff are paid lower wages, lower even than minimum wage, to take into consideration the customary 15% tip. They get taxed on their tips and everything. Not tipping means your waiter is making $4/hr. So the feeling is not so much about "social etiquette" as it is about basic human decency.
posted by thebazilist at 11:02 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


And ick to the suggestion that the OP should say she "forgot" to leave the tip. WTF. No, she didn't.
posted by Wordwoman at 11:03 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the advice to confirm that there was no exchange of money that I didn't see. I just sent my friend a text message about it and she wrote back instantly "who WAS that guy? I was surprised to see you with a dude who shafted [your server]"

So...it's confirmed that he didn't tip, and clearly word got around in the restaurant. I'll go back and tip the server.

I think I'll try to talk to him about it and get his explanation because it's just so bizarre: he really didn't seem rude or inconsiderate over the three dates. He was a great listener, considerate of my boundaries, and fun to be around. Oh, and for those asking if he's from a non-tipping culture, no, he's American born and raised.
posted by tomorrow at 11:03 AM on February 7 [49 favorites]


Please keep us updated if you DO learn what happened - I am just so flummoxed that a seemingly-decent grown-up man would do this (let alone ON A DATE - sheesh!) that I'm praying there's an alternate explanation ("Maybe he, uh, had a miniature stroke and the part of his brain that knows you're supposed to tip was obliterated?...").
posted by julthumbscrew at 11:08 AM on February 7 [13 favorites]


Ugh.

I'll go back and tip the server.

Good on you.
posted by grouse at 11:09 AM on February 7 [18 favorites]


Speaking just for my own experience, I have never known anyone who egregiously refused to tip (to the point of drawing a line through the "tip" line, ew!) who didn't end up being just a righteously shitty human being once the patina of having to be nice to someone wore off. Call him on it, then dump him and explain that this is why.
posted by KathrynT at 11:09 AM on February 7 [20 favorites]


Aaaaaaagh, dump with extreme not giving of a single fuck!
posted by Sara C. at 11:09 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


I think yasaman's answer is the best way to bring it up with him--yes, adults talk about these things, but maybe there was some kind of miscommunication between the two of you. And I would bring it up with him before dumping him.

To me, someone who thinks it's acceptable to leave no tip at all would be a dealbreaker. People who aren't courteous and polite to customer service people, waitstaff, etc. are an absolute dealbreaker.

I don't think I've ever met anyone who was raised in the US who thought it was acceptable to not leave a tip.
posted by inertia at 11:13 AM on February 7


There's a 1 in 1000 chance that he didn't have enough money for a tip? (maybe he had a few dollars, but felt like he'd be a bigger jerk if he just left a few bucks?) There's also a 1/1000 chance that he payed with his card intending to tip in cash, and then forgot? I'm just saying, .. it's possible, but yeah, probably he's a jerk who you should not think twice about getting rid of.
posted by crawltopslow at 11:13 AM on February 7


I think I'll try to talk to him about it and get his explanation because it's just so bizarre: he really didn't seem rude or inconsiderate over the three dates. He was a great listener, considerate of my boundaries, and fun to be around.

It seems strange, I know. The friend of my partner's who absolutely refuses to tip under any and all circumstances is also really funny and creative (he works as a comedian)*, a great listener, very interested in other people, a loyal friend, and a doting husband and father. But he also happens to be extremely stingy, and as a bonus is really self-righteous about it. He's convinced that by not tipping he's not being suckered (like the rest of us) by lazy, mooching waiters and bartenders who could just go get a "real" job if they tried. The fact that he works in the entertainment industry and thus knows countless people who have worked their asses off as waiters and bartenders while trying to make a living, including most of his friends, seems not to have any affect on this point of view. It's mystifying, but there you go.

*Our running joke about him, actually, is "you've been a great crowd; please forget to tip your severs."
posted by scody at 11:14 AM on February 7 [14 favorites]


I've met a few otherwise-nice guys who thought it was cool to be categorically against tipping (usually after watching Reservoir Dogs). In my experience, the difference between an actually-awesome guy and a secretly-terrible guy is that the actually-awesome guy will listen to you and will start tipping after it's pointed out that their behavior is incredibly rude.
posted by muddgirl at 11:14 AM on February 7 [10 favorites]


What explanation is he going to give that will make this OK?

Beware, beware, of the person who seems so nice and considerate toward you but is a dick to your friends and anyone he thinks he can get away with shafting.
posted by bearwife at 11:14 AM on February 7 [24 favorites]


He might have forgotten or be absent-minded! That's his last saving grace. Ask him directly and see what he says.
posted by bearette at 11:15 AM on February 7


If anything, this guy should have over-tipped in order to seem generous in front of you and your server friend.

Talk to him if you want, but I can't imagine what he will say that makes this okay. Even if one believes that tipping is a bad system (a reasonably point of view), that's no excuse for shafting a particular server. I think this is a dealbreaker.
posted by Area Man at 11:16 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


I was once with a very considerate, well-raised, thoughtful person who totally forgot to tip. The restaurant owner ran out the front door after us to get the tip from him. He'd just plain forgotten, and the kind and assertive owner wanted to make sure her waitress was taken care of. This wasn't at all indicative of my date's attitudes, or even his ability to remember tipping -- he was just preoccupied (perhaps with our date).

Please, don't assume you know why others do what they do, or what kind of people they are. Always ask them.
posted by amtho at 11:18 AM on February 7 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I think it's time to ask about it. I mean, maybe what he'll say is that he didn't think about it much before and he didn't see what a big deal it was and you'll have a conversation and after that he'll think tipping is way more important. It's not like there's a huge chance of that, but a lot of people are raised like this isn't a big deal and learn better. (I was one of them.) So I wouldn't, like, dump someone before initiating a conversation. Even if it's awkward, well, so is telling someone you don't want to go out with them again, or not returning their calls, or whatever.

Or, yeah. Maybe it turned out the total was much higher than he expected it to be and he was too embarrassed to say something to someone he just started dating--not a great excuse, but it could be something one could make up for. Or maybe he forgot. Or maybe he'll be a total jerk about it when you bring it up and you'll be able to break it off secure in the knowledge that you did the right thing. But either way, this is definitely a time for actually communicating and not just trying to guess.
posted by Sequence at 11:20 AM on February 7


Not a deal breaker yet.

I used to be a waiter. $0 tips are talked about quite intensely. Talk to your friend. You just may have missed something. Don't jump to conclusions.

Does your friend say, "Oh yeah, he totally stiffed his server," or "No it's all good. He and his server worked out blah blah blah before he arrived or after you all left."

Take it from there. If he stiffed his server, well, that ain't good. Ask him, "What do you think about tipping?" Your answer will come from his answer.
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 11:21 AM on February 7


since this was your third date, how did you both handle the bill/tipping on the first two?

And yeah, he should have over-tipped especially since they got complimentary food!
posted by inertia at 11:21 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


A friend asked me this exact question, and I said she should dump him, and she did, and everyone is much happier now.
posted by jeather at 11:27 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Seems very weird. I've never actually met one of those Reservoir Dogs people in real life. I'd ask him. I've forgotten to tip and was mortified when I realized what happened. If he forgot, be prepared for him to not want to go out again due to embarrassment.
posted by BabeTheBlueOX at 11:31 AM on February 7


It's a deal breaker for me. I have two friends who chronically undertip and I insist on vetting the bill and telling them what the correct amount is to tip. (I have friends who can't do 20% math.)

But this is beyond, beyond.

I'd decline any further invitations and I wouldn't bother to explain or to get an explanation.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:36 AM on February 7


There's a 1 in 1000 chance that he didn't have enough money for a tip? (maybe he had a few dollars, but felt like he'd be a bigger jerk if he just left a few bucks?)

The answer to this is to say to your date, "Oh no, I only have exactly $86, and I don't want to short on the tip. Do you have any cash?"

Though apparently the bill was paid by card, which, well, if you have enough money to go out to a nice dinner, you need to have enough to tip, and there is no real excuse there for 30-something grown adults.

Regardless, I really don't think the dude being slightly short of funds is any kind of excuse, since this leads us to the assumption that he is the kind of man who would rather stiff a waiter than allow his dining companion to pitch in. Is that really the kind of person you want to date?

"Oh no, I was so nervous/excited/distracted by our date that I forgot to tip! Let's go back and make it right!" is the only response that could possibly make this OK.
posted by Sara C. at 11:38 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


Go tip the server.
Decline future dates and tell him why.
Find a decent fellow to date.
posted by quince at 11:39 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Yeah, tell him why you're not going out again, absolutely. I mean, there's no way to cull rudeness from the breed by just, you know, offing him, so it's in the best interest of our shared North American culture that he has a chance to learn from his egregious mistake.
posted by BrunoLatourFanclub at 11:42 AM on February 7 [13 favorites]


Just saw your update. As a former server, thanks for tipping OP.

This means he's either ridiculously cheap, inconsiderate, or shockingly clueless in general. I wouldn't be sticking around to figure out which one either.

It's your choice, but I would definitely tell him why.
posted by futureisunwritten at 11:45 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Yeah, you should talk with him if you want, but I can't imagine anything he could say that would make this *not* a dealbreaker. He's 33, and born and raised in the United States. That means this is likely a considered ideological position, which means he's a jerk.

(The absolute best case scenario is that he's careless in a way that hurts other people, but I think that's i) highly unlikely and ii) not all that awesome anyway.)

So I vote dump him, yes. You're lucky you happened to be looking :-)
posted by Susan PG at 11:46 AM on February 7


I think the OP is handling it in the best possible way.
posted by edgeways at 11:47 AM on February 7 [6 favorites]


At this point, considering all the wise advice given above, I would go out with him again to a restaurant, just for sport, to see if he does it again. If he does, you have your answer. If he tips normally, you can simply introduce the fact that your friend texted you after the last meal wondering about the lack of a tip and how it was embarrassing for you to get this text. Either way you'll have a clearer answer...and yes, a dealbreaker.
posted by teg4rvn at 11:54 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Not sure you need any more people chiming in at this point, but just in case you do, unless he has an amazingly good excuse that involves running right back over to rectify the situation immediately I would ABSOLUTELY dump his tacky, rude ass. A person who doesn't treat others with respect is not really worth your time or respect.
posted by DingoMutt at 11:58 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


True story: I once walked out of a restaurant with a friend, deep in conversation, got in the car, and only then realized I was still holding the tip in my hand. I ran back into the restaurant and gave it to the server, but if I'd just as absentmindedly stuffed it into my pocket or purse, I might never have realized I'd stiffed the waiter. It also made me wonder if I'd ever done that sort of thing before.

So it's unlikely but not impossible that it really was an oversight somehow. I see no good reason not to give him the benefit of the doubt and ask him about it. If it was just absentmindedness, he'll be appropriately horrified, and if it was intentional, you'll get the opportunity to let him know that his behavior is dealbreakingly egregious.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:58 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't tell your date that you had the information from your friend. Waitstaff often aren't supposed to complain about tips (part of the fiction that they are optional). There have been many notable cases where a waiter who mentioned that they got stiffed got fired.

I'm thinking worst case scenario: you dump the guy, he calls and complains, your friend or the waiter gets fired. Probably wouldn't happen but no reason to chance it.
posted by grouse at 12:04 PM on February 7 [11 favorites]


I wouldn't lead with the fact you know he didn't leave a tip only because it will help you when he responds:

Hey, how come you didn't tip our waitress last night?

not great/ambiguous: Oh no, I forgot!
Bad: I don't believe in tipping, etc.
Worse: I totally left a tip
posted by mikepop at 12:19 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


People saying that maybe he just forgot should take note of the fact that the OP says "I distinctly saw him strike through the tip line, and move the total of the meal down to the bottom line." That's not forgetting; that's conscious omission.
posted by Flunkie at 12:23 PM on February 7 [11 favorites]


I knew this retired couple once, who ate a few nights a week in the restaurant where I worked as a teen. He'd leave a tip, she'd take some of it back when he wasn't looking, then he'd replace what she took when she wasn't looking. He always managed to be last. So I guess it's possible to work around that sort of difference if you know each other really well and are committed enough to each other, and it's not a sign of meanness in other areas of life. Then again, they were married for decades and not on their third date. And they were from a totally different generation.

IIRC, she died and he ended up dating my Mom after a while. He was a prince of a guy, seriously.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:30 PM on February 7 [19 favorites]


grouse: "I would definitely ask what happened. It's possible there is a reasonable explanation."

Ever watch a episode of Three's Company most sitcoms and think to yourself: "If they'd just talk to each other this would be resolved in 30 seconds". You know the one I mean: The one with the misunderstanding. You risk living this if you don't talk to him. I don't know what the explanation could be but it might even be entertaining.

But then if it's just cheapness or ideological dump his butt and let him know why.
posted by Mitheral at 12:34 PM on February 7 [8 favorites]


Definitely check with your friend about whether he really stiffed the server before confronting him.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:47 PM on February 7


Oops, I missed your follow up. Yeah, dump his ass and tell him why.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:49 PM on February 7


Flunkie, some people Don't Believe In Tipping On Credit Cards (for various reasons, but most often out of a belief that it enables the restaurant to stiff the waitstaff) and prefer to leave a cash tip.

I can see someone intending to do that, then getting distracted and forgetting to actually put the money on the table.
posted by Sara C. at 12:49 PM on February 7 [11 favorites]


if you're charitable, you'll advise him in the course of dumping him not to show his face in there again. waitstaff haz long memoriez!
posted by bruce at 12:55 PM on February 7


Are you certain he didn't hand the server cash on your way out? Or that you could have missed this action? I don't tip with the cr card, I leave cash for the server either on the table or in the folder. I would definitely check in with your server before I questioned this man. Ock-Word!
posted by Lornalulu at 12:56 PM on February 7


We don't need to suggest more ways in which he might have tipped -- because we've established that he didn't tip, period. How? By the combination of what the OP saw, and what her friend, with no reason to lie, confirmed.

Next, what Sara C just said. The tip-line strikethrough, and even the failure to tip, don't prove his intention. He might have forgotten; it happens. You have to ask him.

I also agree with the advice not to inform him of the info your friend provided. The chance of retribution may be small -- but his need for that info is nonexistent. His response to your question will be entirely sufficient for you to wrap this up.
posted by LonnieK at 12:58 PM on February 7


Are you absolutely certain that the check did not include a tip already? Some restaurants do that now - even for parties of less than six people.

I'd dump someone who didn't tip on top of the auto-gratuity, honestly, unless it was a 20% auto-gratuity. I've never seen the automatic ones run higher than 15% and that is no longer an acceptable tip amount.
posted by winna at 1:05 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


If it were me, I'd go out with him one more time and see if he does it again. If you ask him, it's really like telling him, you know? And if he's into you then he's likely to obfuscate, but you'll never know for sure.
posted by HotToddy at 1:06 PM on February 7


there was a guy i knew who i was moments away from asking if he wanted to have some casual naked fun with me - and then he stepped up to the bar, ordered a guinness, and paid the exact amount of the drink with no tip. i don't know that i have ever had a quicker trip from "wanna get naked" to "i never want to be seen with you."

there was another long term friend of mine and we spent all day drinking in my local bar with him paying. the next time i went back the bartender was pretty frosty to me. finally it dawned on me - and so i asked her - "hey, did my buddy tip the other night?" and no. no he hadn't. so i immediately stuffed more than the tips worth of bills in her jar. our friendship died for other reasons, but i was gobsmacked that he'd do that. the bartender was instantly warmer and poured me a free drink.
posted by nadawi at 1:07 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Ask him about it, but don't relay anything that anyone at the restaurant told you. He could go back to the restaurant and try to get employees in trouble. Ask because you noticed it. If he says he left a tip some other way, and he obviously didn't, he's a liar.

Or, since you already have your answer, DTMFA. You don't need to give him a reason.
posted by SillyShepherd at 1:11 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


some people prefer to leave a cash tip

Yes, this used to be me. I would leave the tip line blank and leave a cash tip, believing that it will get to the server more directly and hopefully compensate for the unfairness of having to be taxed on income that they didn't necessarily make (because IRS makes an assumption that all servers make at least X in tips, which is not true, especially when there is a shared tipping pool). Unfortunately, I discovered that about a quarter restaurants would add a tip anyway so I started crossing out the tip line. But even then, some places still added a tip so I went back to just tipping on the credit card.
posted by rada at 1:18 PM on February 7


This would definitely be a deal-breaker for me. It wouldn't even be worth a conversation, especially now that you've confirmed that no, he really didn't tip at all. I can't imagine what would constitute a reasonable excuse for not tipping; the closest I can come is that he was secretly broke, wanted to make a grand gesture by covering the bill, realized that he couldn't cover the bill and tip without overdrawing his bank account, and then proceeded to shaft the server rather than sheepishly saying to you "Um, this is a bit more than I expected, would you mind covering the tip?" But the thing is, even there the right thing to do would have been to swallow his pride, risk looking foolish, and ask you if you could cover the tip. Much better than making an obvious asshole out of himself.

Not tipping at a restaurant that has table service, unless the server was truly horrendous, is never OK (In the USA). Not tipping at a nice restaurant, on a date, when your date has a friend who works at that restaurant is totally beyond the pale. The guy doesn't even deserve an explanation. Just put him on ignore, block his calls, and put him behind you.
posted by Scientist at 1:22 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Next time, you can tip in cash - don't worry about being rude to your date.

As far as whether or not this is a deal breaker, only you can decide. But I will say that feeling the need to apologize to people for the behavior of my significant other is something I consider to be a red flag.

That isn't to say you shouldn't apologize to your friend - were I you, I would give my friend money as a tip for the waiter, and I would apologize - but having to do that for my date would pretty much ensure that we wouldn't have another date.
posted by k8lin at 1:31 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


The "Judge people on how they treat the waitstaff" canard is fairly silly because someone who ostentatiously leaves a large tip or makes a show of being overly polite is likely to be a worse person than a non-tipper to an exponential degree.

That said, this guy sounds... not good, for all the reasons listed above.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:46 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Ask him what's up, shoot him a text: "Yo, my friend texted me and said her coworker got shafted! Did you tip?"

Dump him if he responds with anything other than an iteration of: "Oh my god, did I forget to tip??? I'm an idiot, this so isn't me. Let me treat you again for embarrassing you and trust me, haha, I will tip this time. God, I feel so dumb."

Because as someone who spaces on shit and makes careless mistakes all the time (though it has yet to happen with leaving a tip) - it's possible he just spaced on it completely, and if he's a nice dude, this can be something you look back on and laugh. But if he has some weird explanation about how tipping is stupid, or he doesn't believe in it, or the service wasn't that great...proceed with the dumping.
posted by windbox at 1:50 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


As a former bartender and server, I agree with all of the above (DTMF).

The only thing I haven't seen mentioned is whether could he be unfamiliar enough with the industry that he would think it was tacky/awkward to tip someone that you knew (I know, the server wasn't your friend, but some sort of transitive friendship property, maybe? Unlikely, but maybe?).
posted by Pax at 2:00 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


I only mention that because I know I've had people assume weird things about servers (they can always get you free food -ie without manager approval -, misunderstanding the wage structure, etc).
posted by Pax at 2:03 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


> I wouldn't tell your date that you had the information from your friend. Waitstaff often aren't supposed to complain about tips (part of the fiction that they are optional). There have been many notable cases where a waiter who mentioned that they got stiffed got fired.

I wanted to second this.

> someone who ostentatiously leaves a large tip or makes a show of being overly polite is likely to be a worse person than a non-tipper to an exponential degree.

That's completely nuts.

I too am dying to find out what the guy says!
posted by languagehat at 2:06 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]


Oh, man, I dated that guy. It culminated in him yelling at me when I asked him to stop complaining about the portions of sushi at my favorite restaurant while we were sitting at the sushi counter.

Ask him flat out if he tipped. If the answer is anything other than "OMG did I forget???" dump him immediately.
posted by snickerdoodle at 2:06 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


I tend to think financial decisions are private, and that's it's rude to watch someone as they pay the bill--I just noticed by accident

If it was me, and it turned out to be that he was just a cheap jerk who thought waitstaff didn't deserve tips, yeah, it would probably be a dealbreaker.

But I would simply HAVE to know what he had to say for himself first, even though I normally share your discomfort with asking other people about money. I might say something like, "I wouldn't normally ask or even look, but I just happened to catch out of the corner of my eye that you crossed out the tip when we ate at XYZ the other night, and I was really curious about it because I've never seen anyone do that before. Was there something up?"

If he lies about it, you can just quietly stop seeing him for whatever reason you like - you don't even need to explain. I wouldn't mention your friend confirming the no-tip. If he tries to defend not tipping, it's your choice whether you want to let him know how that's going to get in his way if he wants to be around nice people in the future, or just GTFO.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:47 PM on February 7


Look, tipping is terrible. Paying tips allows businesses to under report their wait staffs income. This means they can contribute less to the Social Security system. The guy probably understands that tipping isn't quite so simple as "If you don't tip, you're an inhuman monster". Basically, tipping helps contribute to tax fraud, and maybe he just doesn't want to be part of a corrupt system.
posted by Apoch at 2:47 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Basically, tipping helps contribute to tax fraud, and maybe he just doesn't want to be part of a corrupt system.

By shafting someone who has no control over the system?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:50 PM on February 7 [33 favorites]


The way to not be part of a corrupt system isn't to hurt the pawns in the system while giving the kings the exact same reward they'd be getting whether it was corrupt or straight.

If he wants to not be part of a corrupt system, he needs to stop eating out, not stop tipping.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:50 PM on February 7 [41 favorites]


Paying tips allows businesses to under report their wait staffs income. This means they can contribute less to the Social Security system.

Refusing to tip not only fails to improve a waiter's social security earnings down the road, it harms their annual earnings because they'll be taxed on tips assumed to have been received, whether they got stiffed or not.
posted by scody at 2:56 PM on February 7 [13 favorites]


Basically, tipping helps contribute to tax fraud, and maybe he just doesn't want to be part of a corrupt system.


Then he shouldn't support it.

Which, in the US, means never eating in restaurants instead of not tipping.
posted by winna at 2:58 PM on February 7 [8 favorites]


[Hey folks, let's not broaden this into a debate about the wider social consequences of tipping.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:03 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Okay, I called him after work and asked him about it directly. He said that he and his dad (!) never tip because they believe that restaurants should pay their servers a living wage rather than pass the burden of their salaries onto customers. I told him I agree in principle, but asked him about the fact that it means he's cutting off server's wages when he doesn't tip. He said "that's the restaurant's problem, not mine" and that the only way for things to change is for people to stop tipping.

He said if it was a big deal to me, he'd tip when we went out to eat together in the future.

I told him that I can't see myself continuing to date someone who puts that perspective into practice by stiffing individual servers. And I also told him I was embarrassed last night and that I plan to go back to the restaurant and leave a tip. He said that was "ridiculous."

And with that....I'm done.

I usually have trouble being assertive and this thread and its nearly-unanimous opinion on this guy really helped me deal with this directly. Thank you, all.
posted by tomorrow at 3:04 PM on February 7 [291 favorites]


You are an awesome person!
posted by griphus at 3:07 PM on February 7 [10 favorites]


Good for you!
posted by jacquilynne at 3:07 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Ugh, what a dick. Sorry it went this way!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:09 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


You've just weeded out a jerk. Good for you!
posted by Capri at 3:17 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Wow. I'm sorry he turned out to be a jerk instead of just forgetful!
posted by rtha at 3:17 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


That is a fucked up way of saying, "I'm a cheap bastard."
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:18 PM on February 7 [16 favorites]


That's incredibly classy of you. Better luck with your next date.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:22 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


*cue End Of Episode bass riff*
posted by bondcliff at 3:44 PM on February 7 [21 favorites]


I am way impressed with you! Go, tomorrow!!
posted by stoneweaver at 3:47 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


He said "that's the restaurant's problem, not mine" and that the only way for things to change is for people to stop tipping.

I love how he says this as if you're not bright enough to realize that no, it's absolutely the server's problem, not the restaurant's, because screwing over individual servers puts exactly zero pressure on the service industry to change.

You dodged a bullet. Way to go!
posted by scody at 3:51 PM on February 7 [25 favorites]


So yes, he watched Reservoir Dogs too many times! And never had to have a service job. You win--dating this guy would be bad news!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 3:51 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]


Good for you for confronting the issue.

Trust me, if you continued to date him and he tipped "next time" just to impress you, he would likely become resentful of you for having "made" him tip, and he'd stop tipping again in the near future anyway. If it's been ingrained in him from his dad, that tiger isn't going to change his stripes. Thank goodness you found out before you invested too much time, you've dodged a bullet here.

Here's hoping the story ends "... and that was the last guy I dated right before I met my husband".
posted by vignettist at 3:52 PM on February 7 [10 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole. Sorry things didn't work out, but good for you for investigating, making sure the server gets the tip, and giving this guy a reasoned and forthright explanation for calling things off.
posted by payoto at 3:53 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


Ha! I ran across a similar "principle" in someone who felt it was appropriate to go into Tiny Local Shop to try things on so they could better order them online. ("I believe in free markets, yeah!")

It's funny how these "principles" only apply when it saves you money (or hassle). It's never "I believe restaurants should pay a living wage so instead of tipping I immediately and every time donate my tip amount plus 10% to United for a Fair Economy." Never happens.

Sure, it'd still be dumb but at least I'd buy the line that it really was the principle of the thing instead of dressed up, short term self-interest.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:53 PM on February 7 [15 favorites]


a "principled" non-tipper and a 33 year old who justifies his bad behavior with excuses based on his dad's actions? you dodged a very big bullet. better luck on your next dating prospect!
posted by nadawi at 4:15 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


I felt too flustered in the moment to really decide if I wanted to leave a cash tip for the server myself, which obviously would have been rude to the guy.

I hope this doesn't happen to you ever again, but if it does I think it's far ruder for the server to not be tipped!

Or if you don't want to make it obvious you can slide something onto the table or into the servers hand when he isn't looking -- but if you make it obvious you get to see the non-tipper's reaction.
posted by yohko at 4:18 PM on February 7


He said "that's the restaurant's problem, not mine" and that the only way for things to change is for people to stop tipping.

This isn't even logical. The way for things to change would be to not patronize restaurants, or to instead support union organizing or something. Not tipping servers doesn't hurt or impact the business in any way - it might even be better for them. Maybe he buys an extra bottle of wine with the money he's saved by stiffing waitstaff, so yay for the owner, sucks for the poor soul who has to wait on him.

I agree that you should chalk this up to having dodged a major bullet. Nobody has one blind spot this big -- he's got seventeen other equally grotesque character flaws. Having described your common decency as 'ridiculous' is one of them.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:20 PM on February 7 [22 favorites]


I'm reading this thread sitting at a bar treating myself to a cocktail, and I just tucked an extra $5 into the bill folder.

Nthing that not tipping is a dumpable offense.
posted by southern_sky at 4:25 PM on February 7 [10 favorites]


"He said that he and his dad (!) never tip..."

I second the exclamation point. This 33-year-old man has bigger issues than tipping. So glad to see this story tied up so nicely!
posted by LonnieK at 4:26 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


Wow, yes his explanation is completely illogical to me. Aside from the problem with punishing the servers for the restaurant's low wages (which are permitted by law since there are lower minimum wages for restaurant workers, so I don't know that this state of affairs can even be said to be completely the fault of the restaurant), wouldn't the restaurant still end up passing the cost on to the customer at least to some extent if they paid their workers a living wage, just through higher prices for the food?

Good job in ending this now.
posted by thesnowyslaps at 4:40 PM on February 7


He said that he and his dad (!) never tip because they believe that restaurants should pay their servers a living wage rather than pass the burden of their salaries onto customers.

The "burden" of their salaries will *always* be on the customers, one way or another. Without tipping, the price of food and drinks would simply be more. That may be the way it should be (price of food and drinks cover fair compensation), but that's not the way it currently is.
posted by valeries at 4:40 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


I am so happy for you! Every step you've taken to solve and handle this problem has been what an actual responsible adult would do. It's inspirational.

Stay classy!
posted by sickinthehead at 4:48 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


P.S. You should link him to this question.
posted by sickinthehead at 4:48 PM on February 7 [9 favorites]


Okay, I called him after work and asked him about it directly. He said that he and his dad (!) never tip because they believe that restaurants should pay their servers a living wage rather than pass the burden of their salaries onto customers.

I know it's probably too late, but tell him that the server in all likelihood had to tip out the host, bussers, and bar pay taxes based on their total sales, not tips. The only exception to this would be if the restaurant has a tip pool, and that isn't the rule. So this guy effectively thinks that a server should pay out of pocket for the privilege of waiting on him.

Non-tippers, not only do you stiff servers, but you are costing them money!

OP, you did the right thing by asking. If you'd just cut this guy off, I'm sure there would have always been a "What if . . ."
posted by ablazingsaddle at 4:49 PM on February 7 [9 favorites]


OP you are awesome.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:59 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]


No tip? Yuck.

That's a dealbreaker, ladies.
posted by discopolo at 5:13 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


YOU? ARE AWESOME.

This guy? Oh, man, bullet DODGED.


Maybe if enough women dump him when he does this he might actually catch a clue? But honestly, I cannot conceive of someone so colossally clueless as to do what he did, in a place where you KNEW THE STAFF. Sheesh.

Give yourself a high five.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:34 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


My phone won't let me +1 you so: way to go, well done on all fronts. And thanks for the updates!
posted by Dashy at 6:40 PM on February 7


I'm glad you confronted him about it. If he feels that way, he should write his congressman or something. The fact is, in reality servers rely on tips and that guy is a total douche. I hate when people think vague principles allow them to be assholes in practical, real-life situations. Very nice of you to go back and tip the server, which I hope you'll follow through on. And good on you for dumping the guy.
posted by AppleTurnover at 7:36 PM on February 7


Seeeeeriously. Even considering his so-called, fake-ass "principles", HOW DO YOU NOT TIP WHEN YOUR DATE'S FRIEND WORKS IN THE RESTAURANT?????????

To any future readers of this question, please follow the OP's eminently sensible path. DUMP THE GUY/GAL.
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:56 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


When I was in my late teens / early 20s, I dated a guy whose entire family did not tip. I'd come from a relatively poor family and we almost never ate out anywhere and I'd been taught to tip up to 10% on the pre-tax amount for good service. However, by the time I was about 23, I realized that I was not going to bring down The Man and now I really feel terrible about those 3 or 4 years. My only saving grace, I think, is that I was changing socioeconomic classes, most servers made more than my family members and those of my boyfriend did and being surrounded by people who believed that made me think it was okay and that I was actually doing something progressive. (I still didn't do it most of the time and, honestly, being a college student from a poor family, I wasn't eating out all that much anyway. And I had very conflicting feelings about it all.)

But, again, by early 20s, I realized how foolish this was and how I was stiffing the server, because I live in a tipping society and that's just part of how it works. BUT I never, ever would have gone without leaving a generous tip for someone I knew. And certainly not in the first 3 dates. And if my date had said they were embarrassed after I did such a screwball thing, I would have gone back with a tip. By my early 30s, I was leaving generous tips and realizing that skimping on a dollar or two was just insane.

Your date is presumably not a 20yo college student from a poor family that is making a change in socioeconomic class. He was born and raised in the US (I'm Canadian - tipping is not as much a thing as in the US, especially where I grew up and my boyfriend's mom was not from a tipping culture), has had years to see that tipping is the norm and he stiffed a server who's a friend of your friend and he did this in front of you - and then he called what you said ridiculous. This isn't a matter of a young guy who doesn't understand social customs. There's something seriously wrong with how he sees other people....you included. If he's calling what you did ridiculous now, what's he going to say in a few dates.

For the record, my non-tipper ex boyfriend turned out to be abusive.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 7:57 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Also, a guy that age should have heard by then that wait staff have to tip out. Sheesh.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 7:59 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Not leaving tips to improve the wages of waitstaff is like shooting people with guns to make them bulletproof.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:03 PM on February 7 [15 favorites]


It's totally Seinfeld. I mean he absolutely must be dumped, but it's such crazy behavior I'd have to go out with him again to call him on it.
posted by xammerboy at 9:31 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


Look, his heart is, in a way, in the right place. He believes that waitstaff should be paid better. Who would fault that? Probably some people, but probably not you or your waitress friend.

The problem is that he's not quite as clever as he thinks he is. He's not seeing the importance of the immediate effects on the servers, on you, and even on himself and his reputation.

People like this _do_ change their opinions sometimes; please don't think he's always going to be intractable on this point.

However, I wouldn't argue for staying with him, since this episode suggests that he's not as good at critical thinking as he thinks he is (at least about this one thing). Again, not impossible for him to overcome if he wants to, but probably painful for you now and perhaps over the long term.

And then, of course, you'd get to meet his father eventually... yeah.

People who don't know what they don't know are troubling, it's true.
posted by amtho at 9:42 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


If you'd be up for the challenge, you could try to explain clearly, with clear and careful logic, why not tipping won't help the situation. What's the worst that could happen, he won't want to see you again? He might argue with you?

My experience with this kind of thing (extremely limited, but also with a guy) is that the listener will probably argue with you, may even get defensive -- avoiding defensiveness is another aspect of this challenge -- but will likely think about what you say later, and perhaps even change his behavior.

So, there's some potential for you to do this little bit of good, if you change his mind. And I think there's a decent chance you could do it.
posted by amtho at 9:46 PM on February 7


Just chiming in to the chorus of "Good on ya."

If he wants to walk the walk, there are no-tip restaurants — even some nice ones — around, places that either pay their staff a living wage instead of tips, or that are, like, counter service and shit.

But at a place where tipping is expected? Ugh, it's like seeing somebody kick a dog.
posted by klangklangston at 10:16 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


>He said that he and his dad (!) never tip because they believe

What is the deal with these men and their dads? Every dude I have ever dated who has given this kind of shitty, petulant, self-aggrandizing justification for why they don't tip has turned out to be an immature manchild living in the emotional shadow/thrall of a shitty, self-aggrandizing father, taking out the power imbalance in their own lives (they feel like boys next to their fathers, who are 'men', despite the sons in age and economic status being grown, and worship/resent their fathers for this) by categorically dumping petty or grand abuse on less-powerful people in their own lives, like kids and waitstaff. Not surprised to hear that he gets this appalling mindset from his father at *all*. Ugh. Good job, tomorrow, you are well rid of this asshole.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 10:20 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]


This is all deeply surreal to read as a New Zealander who has never left a tip in his life (because we don't tip in NZ).

I sort of intellectually understood the US is different, and why, but the utter unaniminty of this thread really brought it home to me.
posted by Sebmojo at 11:22 PM on February 7 [13 favorites]


Australian here; we don't tip here.

Then again, having spent some time I'm the US, I can confidently say that we more than make up for it by paying higher prices for our food and beverages (because our servers are paid a higher minimum wage).

Someone needs to tell this cheap jerk that you can't have it both ways. Disgusting behaviour!
posted by Salamander at 12:22 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


Also, as moonlight in vermont points out, he has daddy issues.
posted by thinkpiece at 5:59 AM on February 8


ablazingsaddle: "The server in all likelihood had to tip out the host, bussers, and bar pay taxes based on their total sales, not tips."

Holy shit! Every time I think I understand all the crazy shit that the US tipping system does to waitstaff (excluding them from the legal minimum wage, forcing them to pay tax on money they never received, etc) Something new like this comes along to freak me out.
posted by the latin mouse at 6:16 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


[Sorry folks, but Ask Me isn't the space for general discussion. Please offer further advice if you think it's necessary, but maybe visit Chat if you want to have a conversation about the general topic. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 6:24 AM on February 8


Note that if you are morally opposed to tipping there are (rare) restaurants that have banned the practice. If someone is really committed to worker welfare and a living wage, rather than just being a cheap asshole, they would have researched the issue and gone to one of these restaurants.
posted by benzenedream at 11:24 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]


Look, his heart is, in a way, in the right place. He believes that waitstaff should be paid better. Who would fault that? Probably some people, but probably not you or your waitress friend.

So, on the off chance this isn't too late or for when you cool off:

Some really, really great and even socially conscious people have huge issues with the concept of tipping, and not everyone who tips like their parents has raging daddy issues.

Most of us learned about tipping when we were very young - as we became adults, it's very rare that people (outside of Metafilter) held forth for conversations about The Right Way To Tip. In terms of paying out to other staff - that's actually something I learned about on Metafilter, and am still not sure how widespread that is. I have never had these conversations in meatspace past the age of 18. Even if I see people tipping what I consider badly, I would never dream of saying something.

Some of my most pro-worker boyfriends were terrible tippers for ideological reasons - something about the working class being the ones to tip other working class enabling the bosses to underpay or something. I'm paraphrasing badly, because I don't agree - but this is guys who have absolutely helped fast food workers to organize and donated to strike funds and all sorts of stuff like that. Ultimately, they're probably much more of a friend to waitstaff than I am. They just sucked at tipping.

I think the guy saying that if it mattered to you, he'd tip in future, should be considered an instance of good faith. He thinks you're like an alien, but he's still willing to try in future. That says a lot about how important you are.
posted by corb at 6:34 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]


paying out to other staff is very widespread. it's either done that way, or it's done in a tip pool sort of way, but bussers, bar staff, and hostesses nearly everywhere with tipping get some of their pay out of tips.

op - calling you ridiculous and saying he'll do it when you're together is not an act of good faith in my book. people who take a principled stand on tipping and still go to places where servers make 2-4 bucks an hour are clueless or jerks (and this guy doesn't sound clueless). there's lots of ways to protest tipping, but the only ethical ones involve not going to places where tipping is expected.
posted by nadawi at 7:01 AM on February 9 [3 favorites]


Also, you now have a story to regale your friends with - and if they respond negatively, you can cut them out too!
posted by Evilspork at 4:52 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


I think the guy saying that if it mattered to you, he'd tip in future, should be considered an instance of good faith. He thinks you're like an alien, but he's still willing to try in future. That says a lot about how important you are.

Not really. He said she was "ridiculous" for feeling embarrassed when he stiffed her friend and that she was going to go back and leave the tip he should have left. And I don't read "He said if it was a big deal to me, he'd tip when we went out to eat together in the future" as him saying anything meaningful about how important the OP is; I read it as him saying "I'll do this stupid thing so you'll get off my back."
posted by scody at 5:02 PM on February 9 [13 favorites]


as we became adults, it's very rare that people (outside of Metafilter) held forth for conversations about The Right Way To Tip. In terms of paying out to other staff - that's actually something I learned about on Metafilter, and am still not sure how widespread that is.

Oh, and this doesn't hold true in my experience at all. I've had plenty of conversations about tipping as an adult, and most people I know are aware of waitstaff having to pay out to other staff (thought that's perhaps because the majority of people I know have worked in restaurants or bars for at least some part of their lives).
posted by scody at 5:06 PM on February 9 [4 favorites]


He said she was "ridiculous" for feeling embarrassed when he stiffed her friend and that she was going to go back and leave the tip he should have left.

I took that as him saying it would be "ridiculous" for her to go back and leave the tip - if he actually said that OP's feelings of embarrassment were ridiculous, then I endorse the "kick him to the curb" notion, because any guy who says your feelings are invalid is Bad News Bears all on its lonesome.
posted by corb at 7:37 AM on February 10


if generosity is something you admire in a person and require in a partner, you need to no longer see this man. one of the first thing I noticed about my now husband is that he is a generous tipper. I love that about him.
posted by SanSebastien at 7:16 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Bullet = dodged.

Good on you OP, both for making it right and for sticking to your guns!
posted by brand-gnu at 11:59 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


I had forgotten that US workers who receive tips get paid even less. That makes this even worse. (I'm Canadian - where I live, everyone gets at least minimum.)
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:52 AM on February 12


(I'm Canadian - where I live, everyone gets at least minimum.)

Varies by province, but, no, minimum wage is lower for people who serve liquor, including wait staff.
posted by Dasein at 11:37 AM on February 12


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