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    Default Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Some drama from my dysfunctional group of friends that isn't gaming related:

    TLDR: If a group of friends goes out to eat, is there a polite way to make sure the waitress is getting a fair tip when you aren't picking up the tab?

    The story:

    Every weekend my group of friends goes out to lunch and I almost always pick up the bill. This week we saw Avengers before lunch and I bought the tickets, and one of my friends volunteered to pick up lunch.
    One of our party was over an hour late arriving to the restaurant and during that time the waitress kept coming back to our table to refill our drinks and ask if we were ok.
    Then our friend got there and the meal went fine. When it came time to pay I said that we should probably give the waitress something extra for her time and I asked the guy who volunteered to pay if he wanted me to cover the tip.
    He then went on a tirade about how this was the rudest thing anyone had ever said to him, and that he would never be seen in public with me again, and even insulted my mother.
    It was so over the top that at first I thougt he was joking, and when I realized he was serious I tried to apologize, at which point he simply got up and walked out without payiing for anyone.

    I was super embarrassed about the whole thing. My other friends thought he was totally out of line and I did nothing wrong, but that evening I told the story to my family and while my brother and mother agreed with me, my father and sister in law both said that, while he did overreact, it is customary to let the person who picks up the bill handle the tipping and that talking about it is indeed very rude.

    Now, I would be ok with this, but in the past I have also been out to eat and found out after the fact that the host stiffed the waitress on a tip and have always felt really bad about it.

    So, long story short: if you are eating with friends and someone else picks up the tab, is there any way to ensure that you hurting either the waitress by denying her a tip or the host by questioning their generosity?
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    So, long story short: if you are eating with friends and someone else picks up the tab, is there any way to ensure that you hurting either the waitress by denying her a tip or the host by questioning their generosity?
    Short answer: no, not really.

    Slightly less short answer: avoid going to a restaurant that requires patrons to be the ones to provide a living wage to the workers the establishment should be paying in the first place

    Slightly more convoluted answer: wasn't this a thing in a Friends episode?

    Full answer:
    Your ex-friend is a jack-ass, and I think offending them was the correct thing to do. That said, had I been in that situation, I'd probably would have said something along the lines of "hey, guys, I'm going to throw in (appropriate tip incremental), since I think the waitress did a great job", and thus, by making it about you, it makes it less likely the guy stiffing on the bill will throw a hissy fit. But this is not guaranteed to work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woweedd View Post
    I would say that's the dumbest theory Grey Wolf's heard, but, let's be honest: It's Grey Wolf. They've probably heard dumber theories today. Point is, neat idea, but it's a real stretch.
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    I suppose for full context I would need to know precisely what it was he took offence at. Was it. for instance:

    • the suggestion that, even though he was covering the food, you would cover the tip, thus belittling his financial status relative to yours?
    • that you gave the impression that he was the sort of person who wouldn't leave a (sufficient) tip if you didn't step in, thus insulting his generosity?
    • that he doesn't believe in tipping or whatever?
    • something else?


    I think it might also be relevant to ask why he is paying for this even though you say you usually do. Did you suggest that the others ought to pull their financial weight? Did he make a big point of paying? Why was he picking up the tab when you usually do?

    I agree with your father and sister-in-law that if someone is paying for the lot, I would assume they were sorting out the tip as well - and if not, that's the sort of thing that should be sorted out before things are ordered. If you've generously offered to pick up the bill, someone appearing to horn in on that could easily chafe. If you are worried that the host hasn't left a big enough tip, find a way to discreetly leave a tip of your own on the table as you're leaving. No need to make a fuss about it. The point is after all that the serving staff get the money, not that everyone sees you do it.

    Especially if it's a big deal for him and not something he'd normally do (or be able to do?) I can see why his nose might be put slightly out of joint. There are ways of dealing with these situations and it's possible you were unwittingly tactless or rude, either generally or, worse, about something he is sensitive about.

    All the above notwithstanding, however, it does sound like he was a jerk about it and whatever his reason for taking offence, the scale of the reaction was totally unjustified, so I wouldn't feel bad about it.
    Last edited by Aedilred; 2019-05-06 at 02:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    That guy sounds pretty messed up.

    In my group of friends, tipping didn't ever have set rules. Sometimes the person who pays covers the tip. Sometimes the other diners cover the tip splitting it evenly or just throwing up money. Even if the person who paid covers the tip, you can throw some on the pile.

    I have never heard of someone getting upset over tips.

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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Your friend was being a tool here - that's on them. It's not unreasonable to comment that maybe you should tip a bit extra in the circumstances, and it's not an insult to suggest that a meal get paid for in a way other than one person just taking it and handling it. It would be one thing if you had spent the meal needling your friend about their finances and then said that at the end, but absent that context? They were overreacting heavily.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Slightly less short answer: avoid going to a restaurant that requires patrons to be the ones to provide a living wage to the workers the establishment should be paying in the first place.
    Sadly, the logistics of actually doing this are tricky in the US, where Talkeal is located - particularly given that the other sorts of restaurants are often fast food which also treat employees infamously poorly in a lot of other ways. Saying much more than this gets real political real fast here (though I suspect you have a pretty good sense of where I fall on this once it does).
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Slightly less short answer: avoid going to a restaurant that requires patrons to be the ones to provide a living wage to the workers the establishment should be paying in the first place

    Grey Wolf
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Sadly, the logistics of actually doing this are tricky in the US, where Talkeal is located - particularly given that the other sorts of restaurants are often fast food which also treat employees infamously poorly in a lot of other ways. Saying much more than this gets real political real fast here (though I suspect you have a pretty good sense of where I fall on this once it does).
    As far as I know, it is exclusively an American issue, yes - certainly every other country I've been to where tipping is at all possible, it is not a moral issue where you are literally on the hook to pay them directly, just a bonus for a service well done. That said, as I understand it, there are places above the level of fast food (google tells me they're "fast casual?") where you are not required to tip. I was taken to one last time I was in the States and I found the food adequate. Hardly Michelin Star level, I'll grant you, but perfectly reasonable food for a pre-cinema meal with friends, I'd say. Now, I am no expert, and thus I am not aware of any issues experienced by employees there, but honestly, one hears that of public-facing employees in every American industry (including those places where tipping is required).

    Quote Originally Posted by cZak View Post
    If the wages were insufficient to live on, they would not continue to work there
    You seem to be conflating wages with take-home earnt money. They are not the same. It is trivial to verify that wages in service industry of the US are well, well under subsistence pay for the locations they are at. That they get exceptions to the minimum wage laws is already enough to tell you there is something squirrelly going on.

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    Last edited by Grey_Wolf_c; 2019-05-06 at 07:44 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by woweedd View Post
    I would say that's the dumbest theory Grey Wolf's heard, but, let's be honest: It's Grey Wolf. They've probably heard dumber theories today. Point is, neat idea, but it's a real stretch.
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Without context as to what your friend thought was so damnable it's kind of hard to figure out
    Hard to figure it would justify such a display as you describe

    I don't think you were out of line
    But generally, when dining out with a larger than average group (>4) with out separate checks, I generally will leave a larger tip than usual for the server's required effort. Especially if our party causes difficulties
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    You seem to be conflating wages with take-home earnt money. They are not the same. It is trivial to verify that wages in service industry of the US are well, well under subsistence pay for the locations they are at. That they get exceptions to the minimum wage laws is already enough to tell you there is something squirrelly going on.

    Grey Wolf
    You're right, I misspoke
    The wages are significantly below standard

    But a server's compensation by tip for their effort is a well established and societal norm of the USA
    Not going to even try to say everyone follows that rule, but most do.

    The main point was, if they thought the compensation for their time & effort was not sufficient, they would not work there
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by cZak View Post
    If the wages were insufficient to live on, they would not continue to work there
    This is an extremely dubious statement - and people making enough money to technically survive on is not remotely the same thing as people being paid fair wages.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    As far as I know, it is exclusively an American issue, yes - certainly every other country I've been to where tipping is at all possible, it is not a moral issue where you are literally on the hook to pay them directly, just a bonus for a service well done. That said, as I understand it, there are places above the level of fast food (google tells me they're "fast casual?") where you are not required to tip. I was taken to one last time I was in the States and I found the food adequate. Hardly Michelin Star level, I'll grant you, but perfectly reasonable food for a pre-cinema meal with friends, I'd say. Now, I am no expert, and thus I am not aware of any issues experienced by employees there, but honestly, one hears that of public-facing employees in every American industry (including those places where tipping is required).
    Fast casual and fast food often work out pretty similarly from a labor perspective. To steer away from politics, given the forum we're on: I'm not necessarily saying that food industry places with fixed wages take advantage of places which don't have fixed wages by using them as an implicit threat, portraying their fixed wages as generousness and beneficence, and then exploiting that good will for blatant worker exploitation elsewhere. I'm also very much not not saying it. Going to a place with tips and then tipping well (or at least well enough to cover the tips-as-wage-subsidy side, if not the tips-as-exceptional-service side) isn't less ethical than going to a place that doesn't use tips given the state of the system.

    Now, going to a place which tips and then using not-tipping as a personal discount? As far as I'm concerned that's morally indistinguishable from outright theft from the tipped employees.
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by cZak View Post
    You're right, I misspoke
    The wages are significantly below standard

    But a server's compensation by tip for their effort is a well established and societal norm of the USA
    Not going to even try to say everyone follows that rule, but most do.

    The main point was, if they thought the compensation for their time & effort was not sufficient, they would not work there
    By that logic you don't even need a minimum wage, because people just wouldn't work where wages and conditions are poor. In reality worker wages compete against each other in modern economies, and stuck between unemployment/homelessness and permanently impoverishing wages they will take the latter.
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by cZak View Post
    You're right, I misspoke
    The wages are significantly below standard

    But a server's compensation by tip for their effort is a well established and societal norm of the USA
    Not going to even try to say everyone follows that rule, but most do.

    The main point was, if they thought the compensation for their time & effort was not sufficient, they would not work there
    As others have pointed out, that is an incredible dubious statement. It is my understanding that a significant portion of such people rely on government assistance to purchase necessities. If you have a job and still need government assistance, the job is literally stealing from the society's taxes to skimp on paying their employees.

    From a consumer's perspective, there is also a blatant form of false advertising: the prices displayed on the menu are nowhere near the prices you are required to pay.

    And that's not even going into the perverse incentives of such a system - and how it infect related idustries (I hear in the US more and more professions must too rely on tips to make up sufficient income, on the basis that "if waitress can do it, so must you" from the people that should be paying their full wages).

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    Quote Originally Posted by woweedd View Post
    I would say that's the dumbest theory Grey Wolf's heard, but, let's be honest: It's Grey Wolf. They've probably heard dumber theories today. Point is, neat idea, but it's a real stretch.
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Your (possibly ex-) friend was way out of line. Now, without know this person and the dynamic its hard to say if this is par for the course or if there was something else going on behind the scenes with your friend and this was just the straw that broke the camels back. I guess the question is whether or not this friend is worth the effort of keeping. Again, could be something that set them off.

    In my group of friends, its usually the last to show gets the bill and the rest pony for the tip. Now, I also noticed that when I had my son, and I am the only one in the group with a kid, that I would rarely pay that I sat with them and told them that it wasn't cool that they were trying to buttress me, whether consciously or unconsciously, that I was more than capable of paying. That ended that and things have gone back to normal.
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Sadly, the logistics of actually doing this are tricky in the US, where Talkeal is located - particularly given that the other sorts of restaurants are often fast food which also treat employees infamously poorly in a lot of other ways. Saying much more than this gets real political real fast here (though I suspect you have a pretty good sense of where I fall on this once it does).
    I would say the logistics are impossible, not tricky, since GW didn't say "minimum wage or above." That said, I agree that that's the closest we should stray into that territory.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    It is trivial to verify that wages in service industry of the US are well, well under subsistence pay for the locations they are at. That they get exceptions to the minimum wage laws is already enough to tell you there is something squirrelly going on.

    Grey Wolf
    They don't really get exceptions, actually. Minimum wage is federal (well, the floor is, at least), and any restaurant employee making less than that by payday is, in fact, paid the difference by the restaurant. Imean, they do get a much lower min wage to be bolstered by tops, but they're still required to make sure all employees get at least the normal min.

    Of course, said employees would also probably be fired shortly after, so take that for what it's worth.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2019-05-06 at 11:19 PM.
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    And that's not even going into the perverse incentives of such a system - and how it infect related idustries (I hear in the US more and more professions must too rely on tips to make up sufficient income, on the basis that "if waitress can do it, so must you" from the people that should be paying their full wages).
    Yes, there are a lot of logistical and practical problems with the US tipping system, but it's so thoroughly embedded as a cultural practice that I doubt anything but legislatively outlawing it would put any meaningful dent in it in a reasonable amount of time. Any prospect of getting that done would be a political issue, so I'll stop there.
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Slightly more convoluted answer: wasn't this a thing in a Friends episode?
    Yes, yes it was.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    I suppose for full context I would need to know precisely what it was he took offence at. Was it. for instance:

    • the suggestion that, even though he was covering the food, you would cover the tip, thus belittling his financial status relative to yours?
    • that you gave the impression that he was the sort of person who wouldn't leave a (sufficient) tip if you didn't step in, thus insulting his generosity?
    • that he doesn't believe in tipping or whatever?
    • something else?


    I think it might also be relevant to ask why he is paying for this even though you say you usually do. Did you suggest that the others ought to pull their financial weight? Did he make a big point of paying? Why was he picking up the tab when you usually do?

    I agree with your father and sister-in-law that if someone is paying for the lot, I would assume they were sorting out the tip as well - and if not, that's the sort of thing that should be sorted out before things are ordered. If you've generously offered to pick up the bill, someone appearing to horn in on that could easily chafe. If you are worried that the host hasn't left a big enough tip, find a way to discreetly leave a tip of your own on the table as you're leaving. No need to make a fuss about it. The point is after all that the serving staff get the money, not that everyone sees you do it.

    Especially if it's a big deal for him and not something he'd normally do (or be able to do?) I can see why his nose might be put slightly out of joint. There are ways of dealing with these situations and it's possible you were unwittingly tactless or rude, either generally or, worse, about something he is sensitive about.

    All the above notwithstanding, however, it does sound like he was a jerk about it and whatever his reason for taking offence, the scale of the reaction was totally unjustified, so I wouldn't feel bad about it.
    Undoubtedly I was somewhat rude about it. That wasn't my intent, but we were kind of being rushed and I was in the middle of another conversation at the time, and I thiught we were good enough friends to talk bluntly with one another. Apparently he is the kind of guy who is open enough to feel comfortable talking frankly about his sexual escapades but talking frankly about money. If I had known this I would have tried to put it more delicately or, more likely, just kept my mouth shut.

    What I was thinking was that there was a decent chance he would give the standard ~20% tip, and I wanted to point out that I felt she deserved something extra for waiting on us for that first hour before we ordered.

    he undoubtebly overreacted. At this point I am just going to cut him out of my life as he has already alienated several of my other friends and people have been telling me that he is bad news, so this is actually a blessing in the long run as It makes the social dynamic a lot less stressful for me.

    BUT, there is obviously a significant portion of the population that feels that discussing a tip is rude, and I would like to avoid this situation in the future, and I am really wondering if there is any way to balance the desire to be polite to your friends but also to make sure the waitress is taken care of.

    Also, if anyone reading this is or has been a server, I would really like to here your point of view on the matter.
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Everyone tosses in ~10-20% of the cost of their share in singles.

    Am I the only one who finds it odd that places are asking for a tip when picking up food (not eating in, or having it delivered)? I mean are not tips for waiters and such? I was prompted to give a tip when picking up a sandwich at Jersey Mike's . . . and at a taco truck. I am besides myself with confusion.

    I also find it odd when places ask if I want to give to charity. "I just want my Kentucky-Fried-Panda buddy, stop asking me to give to a charity that you picked out." Who knows if it is going to some cause that you hate (or one you like less that your charity of choice).

    Every time I am prompted to give money to a charity I REALLY want to start making it my procedure to ask the cashier and manager if they would like to give to my charity of choice.
    Last edited by darkrose50; 2019-05-07 at 07:57 AM.

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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by darkrose50 View Post
    Everyone tosses in ~10-20% in singles.

    Am I the only one who finds it odd that places are asking for a tip when picking up food (not eating in, or having it delivered)? I mean are not tips for waiters and such? I was prompted to give a tip when picking up a sandwich at Jersey Mike's . . . and at a taco truck. I am besides myself with confusion.

    I also find it odd when places ask if I want to give to charity. "I just want my Kentucky-Fried-Panda buddy, stop asking me to give to a charity that you picked out." Who knows if it is going to some cause that you hate (or one you like less that your charity of choice).

    Every time I am prompted to give money to a charity I REALLY want to start making it my procedure to ask the cashier and manager if they would like to give to my charity of choice.
    Yeah, that is wierd. I do like it when they let me round up to the nearest dollar for charity when paying with cash though.
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by darkrose50 View Post
    Everyone tosses in ~10-20% of the cost of their share in singles.

    Am I the only one who finds it odd that places are asking for a tip when picking up food (not eating in, or having it delivered)? I mean are not tips for waiters and such? I was prompted to give a tip when picking up a sandwich at Jersey Mike's . . . and at a taco truck. I am besides myself with confusion.
    I never tip for to go orders. Delivery is different, if only because it's expected, and the only reason I tip is because I'm certainly not going to be the jerk.

    Besides, some places have a to-go fee, which I take as involuntary tip.
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    They don't really get exceptions, actually. Minimum wage is federal (well, the floor is, at least), and any restaurant employee making less than that by payday is, in fact, paid the difference by the restaurant.
    ...

    "You don't have to pay minimum wage if they were tipped well enough" is an exception to minimum wage laws.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woweedd View Post
    I would say that's the dumbest theory Grey Wolf's heard, but, let's be honest: It's Grey Wolf. They've probably heard dumber theories today. Point is, neat idea, but it's a real stretch.
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    ...

    "You don't have to pay minimum wage if they were tipped well enough" is an exception to minimum wage laws.

    Grey Wolf
    True, I mistook thinking "the employees at least will always get min wage regardless" as "the companies themselves don't have to worry about it most of the time." I haven't been home in a week, I'm gonna use as my excuse.
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  22. - Top - End - #22
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    The only practical suggestion I have that hasn't been mentioned yet is that you can try to pick places to eat where it makes sense for everyone to order separately and pay at the time of order. That way, your decisions about tipping are easily separated from those of your friends, and you don't have to worry about how to split the check, either.

    Food cart pods are a good option for this where I live - you'll get locations with clusters of 5-20 food carts and everyone can wander off to order what they want from the various carts and then sit together in the common seating area. (This also solves a lot of arguments over what type of restaurant to go to.) Some places will also have indoor food halls like this with lots of tiny restaurants and common seating.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    One reason why I LOVE a buffet is that you pay first, and you can get your own everything (especially drinks). It totally removes the whole waiting for a server experience. No waiting to order, no waiting for your food, no waiting for your dink (the gods be praised I cannot stand not having a liquid to drink while I am eating), no waiting for the bill, no waiting for the bill to come back, no tip to worry about, everyone pays for themselves.

    I also really do not want to interact with people if I can help it. Removing so many interactions is welcome.
    Last edited by darkrose50; 2019-05-07 at 09:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by darkrose50 View Post
    One reason why I LOVE a buffet is that you pay first, and you can get your own drink.
    What strange land is this that you pre-pay and have a self-serve fountain? Only place like that I can think of is Cici's, but I've never been to a chinese buffet that worked like that, so far as I can remember. Golden Corral does the pre-pay, but they also control the drinks.

    To be fair, if I'm hitting a buffet, 9 times out of 10 it's gonna be Chinese.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    What strange land is this that you pre-pay and have a self-serve fountain? Only place like that I can think of is Cici's, but I've never been to a chinese buffet that worked like that, so far as I can remember. Golden Corral does the pre-pay, but they also control the drinks.

    To be fair, if I'm hitting a buffet, 9 times out of 10 it's gonna be Chinese.
    Yes Golden Corral wants to add in the disadvantage of a time-eating gatekeeper between you and your drinks. I often just go get them myself (when the dispensers are in an area without anyone about).
    Last edited by darkrose50; 2019-05-07 at 10:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by darkrose50 View Post
    One reason why I LOVE a buffet is that you pay first, and you can get your own everything (especially drinks). It totally removes the whole waiting for a server experience. No waiting to order, no waiting for your food, no waiting for your dink (the gods be praised I cannot stand not having a liquid to drink while I am eating), no waiting for the bill, no waiting for the bill to come back, no tip to worry about, everyone pays for themselves.

    I also really do not want to interact with people if I can help it. Removing so many interactions is welcome.
    I was at a buffet about a month ago and had the waitress come by TWICE during the meal and telling us that tipping was expected.

    It was the first time in my life I haven't tipped at a buffet.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    2D8HP's Avatar

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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    (Bolded for emphasis)
    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    ...If a group of friends goes out to eat, is there a polite way to make sure the waitress is getting a fair tip when you aren't picking up the tab?...

    Reach into your pocket, pull out the money that you feel is an adequate tip, place it on the table.

    Do not discuss how much of a tip others at the table will leave, unless they ask, it isn't your place to police how much they tip
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    (Bolded for emphasis)



    Reach into your pocket, pull out the money that you feel is an adequate tip, place it on the table.

    Do not discuss how much of a tip others at the table will leave, unless they ask, it isn't your place to police how much they tip
    That isn't also considered rude?

    That was pretty much the plot of the Friends episode that was mentioned upthread.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    I have heard stories about people in large groups lurking behind, taking the tip money, and paying for their bill with it.

    One of my wife's co-workers was caught doing this once.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Etiquitte for splitting the tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    That isn't also considered rude?

    Not as rude as verbally calling out someone for leaving an inadequate tip, and not as rude as anyone butting in on your leaving one.

    That was pretty much the plot of the Friends episode that was mentioned upthread.

    I haven't watched any episodes of Friends since the '90's and I don't remember that one.

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