Tipping Dilemma

June 19, 2008 at 8:57 am 39 comments

On a recent eating out venture, we had a pretty bad waiter. We really try to be very gracious and generous to waiters and waitresses in general, knowing full well that both of us would be terrible at that job.

But seriously, this guy was not good.

Which left us in a sticky situation—should we give him a bad tip? If so, what is that communicating? Is he going to assume that we’re just stingy or will he honestly try to evaluate himself to figure out what he’d done wrong?

Should a bad tip come with an explanation? Should there be bad tips? Just curious about what you all would do.


Entry filed under: Food, Spoutings.

More From Palm Springs Helmets—To Use or Not to Use?

39 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jamsco  |  June 19, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Talking to the manager might be in order, especially if the waiter was offensive in some way.

    Any chance you could give specifics in the way he was bad?

    I generally do not have the guts to give a small tip.

  • 2. Barnabas  |  June 19, 2008 at 9:47 am

    I pretty much always tip well-ish. I just figure that it’s harder to try to explain the faults than it is to just ignore hem. Plus there’s the aspect of what might be going on behind the scenes in the waiter/waitresses life or in the kitchen or whatever. Unless they’re just plain rude, I give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • 3. Adrienne  |  June 19, 2008 at 10:54 am

    We generally tip really well (15-20% and more for supurb out of this world service) but in a situation like yours, I’d leave a mere 10%. He does rely on the tips to complete his paycheck. I would, however, speak with the manager on the way out and let him/her know why you were unhappy, etc.

  • 4. kendra  |  June 19, 2008 at 11:25 am

    his interpretation of the tip could be anything. i agree that a call to his superior would be the most effective.

  • 5. Stacey  |  June 19, 2008 at 11:32 am

    I always give bad tips when I have a bad waiter/waitress. I realize that it is a hard job and one that I could never do. I feel that people honestly know if they are doing a good job or not and customer service has gone down the tubes. I think the customary 15% for having someone deliver your food and barely keep your drink refilled is a bit much anyway….then you are supposed to tip OVER 15% if they are good…….

  • 6. jennapants  |  June 19, 2008 at 11:39 am

    tricky b/c i’ve never really worked food service. i’ll be checking back to read more responses.

    and give us the specifics.

    one time i caught a waitress taste testing my milkshake at a Denny’s in the kitchen before she brought it out. i didn’t mind b/c i frequented the joint so much at that time, i felt comfortable with her. plus, well, you’ve seen how not freaked out i am about germs…

  • 7. Medium Sized Cheese  |  June 19, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Admittedly, I’m the kind of person who wouldn’t try to fix the situation. No encouraging of evaluation, no talking to the manager. I would leave a medium sized tip and never come back to the restaurant. Sure, it might be meaner in the long run. However, it prevents me from receiving the same bad service twice and is less likely to be used against me. I can feel the selfishness in my veins.

    Before your next vacation you might also enjoy learning about tipping customs in other parts of the world. 🙂

  • 8. Susan  |  June 19, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    This is totally off topic– I just wanted to tell you that O’s after-nap singing video is the Vandervort household’s new Go-To cheerfest video. When Ian gets whiney, we play the video. When Roger and I feel like giggling, we play the video. At some point I think we’re going to have to start paying royalties to Orison… Thanks SO MUCH for posting it! hee hee hee!

    On the tipping front–We generally tip 20% for good service. Bad servers get 10-15% depending on their offenses, but we have been known to consult the manager on occasion. Especially Roger. He demands superior service. (Sometimes to MY embarrassment.)

  • 9. Heather  |  June 19, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I am a great tipper, being a former waitress. I absolutely take away percentages for poor service. If I do get bad service, I ALWAYS speak with a manager. I also speak to the manager when I receive excellent service. 🙂

  • 10. Rachel  |  June 19, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    This is actually a debate between Brian and I and always has been. Because he was a waiter, he believes that if a waiter/tress does a bad job, he should not be tipped well, very low – so that he/she knows to improve.

    Generally, I always tip 20%, and if the service is so-so, the standard 15%. When it is that bad — I guess. I still would give the 15% or maybe less, at 10% because as a Christian I still want to be generous, even to someone who may not “deserve” it. (but who are we to say who does nad doesn’t deserve things, right?)

    Maybe a note or a conversation with the manager might be in order if thingsi were that bad.

  • 11. Kendall  |  June 19, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    My husband I have also had this debate. 🙂
    He hates tipping bad service.
    I am always mindful that they have likely seen us pray over our food and that our testimony for Christ is paramount. I don’t want to lavish cash upon them – but I don’t want to “punish” them vindictively, either.
    Like I said – my dear one tends to disagree. 🙂 We’ve had some pretty interesting/heated discussions between the server asking how things are. 😉
    That said: I don’t hesitate to ask the waiter/waitress for what I want as often as it is needed if it isn’t being provided. So the objective is that although I’m not a “satisfied” customer (obviously) I can still be a gracious customer. Speaking to the manager isn’t a bad idea – I’d think – but doing it without an angry attitude is really important because – again – who do we represent?

  • 12. Chelsea Bass  |  June 19, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    When I think about the origination of TIPS (To Insure Prompt Service), I think it is perfectly acceptable to make a statement by leaving a bad tip. You only have to be very sure they will understand it’s because their service was bad, not because you’re stingy. My grandmother used to leave a penny if the service was bad.

    Otherwise, we a very generous tippers. It’s my opinion that Christians should be the most generous because we’ve been freely given so much more than we deserve. Unfortunately I once heard an older woman at our church say, “God only requires 10%, why should I give them any more?” This made me very upset.

    By the way, I’ve never left anyone a penny. Maybe that’s a bit extreme.

  • 13. Aaron  |  June 19, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    A few long thoughts from a former waiter and manager

    If a customer tells you right off the bat to take good care of them because they’re “Big Tippers”, they’re not.

    Good service means never having to ask for anything; doubt you received that..a rare find these days.

    Customers will forgive mistakes in the kitchen more than mistakes in bad service; Good service can save a bad meal. A good meal cannot save bad service.

    I doubt you would be posting this if your meal was bad. I agree with tipping a smaller percent, but being careful….did they see us pray at the beginning of the meal. How will I represent myself even if they deserve it.

    The best practice is TO REWARD GREAT AND SUPERIOR SERVICE, LET THE SERVER KNOW, REMEMBER THE SERVERS NAME SO YOU CAN ASK FOR THEM NEXT TIME. That means more to a server than an extra dollar….but give the extra dollar!!


    An interesting article:

    The restaurant business is a free circus. All you have to do is pay attention. It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.

    10 Fatal Flaws of Service-Giving
    Jim Sullivan Copyright 2007 Sullivision.com

    When plotting their service strategy and delivery, too many operators, managers and trainers focus on what they should “do” for their guests. I think it’s just as instructive and illuminating to define first what not to do.

    So let’s take a closer look at what not to do to the guest and examine the fundamental fatal flaws of service-giving as seen through the customer’s lens. Eliminate these service blunders, and you may no longer have the need to “teach” service at all because your customers will have a consistent experience characterized by the absence of complaints.

    1. Host distracted when greeting or seating. Most customer complaints can be traced back to disrespect or perceived disrespect. A distracted, visibly irritated or stressed greeter should not be the first thing a customer experiences when walking in your front door. After all, they just drove past 10, 20, 30 or 40 other restaurants to come to yours. Hosts and greeters should be enthusiastic, focused, pleasant. Think of it as “grace under pressure”. After all, the customer is not an interruption of their job. The customer is their job.

    2. Too slow when speed is expected. Over 50% of QSR customer traffic in the USA is now drive-through, and many operators say that shaving just 10 seconds off the drive-through wait time at peak periods increases throughput and sales by as much as $20,000 per unit. Teach your team to be both accurate and swift during both peak and slower drive-through meal periods. Recognize them when they improve accuracy and speed, and coach them how to get better when they don’t.

    3. Too fast when ease and comfort is expected. In tableside-service operations, assess first what time constraints—if any–your guests might be facing. Don’t rush customers who want a leisurely experience. Train servers to first take what TGI Friday’s CEO Richard Snead calls “the experience order”; greeting each table in a friendly and calm manner; finding out if they are in for a leisurely meal or have a tight time-frame. Now pace and layer your service accordingly. Customizing the service experience can’t begin without first assessing the guest’s expectations.

    4. Server interrupting w/out permission. To truly serve a guest, you must first connect with them, respect them and treat them preferentially. Too many servers robotically hustle up to the “next” table and interrupt guest conversations with an abrupt “Ready to order?” backed with a forced smile. Teach servers to wait next to the table if guests are talking to each other until eye contact from them indicates they’re ready.

    5. Manager interrupting on w/out permission. Managers are taught to do “100% table visits” but few have mastered the finesse of doing so, interrupting guests in mid-bite with a brash “How is everything, folks?” Wait to the side for permission to interrupt, just like a server.

    6. Letting guests overhear managers and crew discuss the daily activities of running a restaurant. Customers should never be within earshot of managers telling busers to wipe down a table, clean the bathroom, or bring more ice to a bartender. They should never have to hear a manager reprimanding a server or greeter, or listen to a manager having lunch at an adjoining table complaining to another manager about business. Pull those conversations away from your customers.

    7. Not noticing a guest with a problem. The most important real estate in your restaurant is the 18 inches or so between the top of the table and the top of the customers head. Constantly scan the guest’s body language in every section for patrons who look like they need something or appear unhappy with their food, beverage or experience.

    8. Avoiding a guest with a problem. This is much worse than not noticing a problem in the first place. Managers and servers must be vigilant in the dining room about resolving a small problem before it becomes a big one. The classic problem resolution formula follows the acronym BLAST: Believe the Customer, Listen to them, Act on the complaint, Satisy them ad Thank them.

    9. Spending too much time with regulars and ignoring the “unknowns”. Managers must seek out strangers every shift and touch every table. Ask guests if this is their first time with you, learn their names, and thank them for their patronage.

    10. Making lots of mistakes (but never learning from them). Messing it up is one thing, failing to recognize the error and learning not to make the same mistake again is what distinguishes good operators from great ones. At their weekly meetings, managers should each bring in 3 service or operations-related challenges from the previous week to discuss and analyze so that they don’t happen again. It’s all about continuous improvement. As the Japanese proverb says: One hundred days to learn; one thousand to refine.

  • 14. pastoralmusings  |  June 19, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    I tend to view gratuities as being gracious gifts that are given, not because one does a good job, but even in spite of the fact that they do a bad job.
    Just an attempt to spread grace by example.
    Jason S.

  • 15. Brett  |  June 19, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    For poor service, we are generous. We want to reflect the grace we’ve received.

    For good service, we are very generous. We want to reward good.

  • 16. Christa Hagler  |  June 19, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Hi, I have read for a while, but never commented. I am laughing that this is what I finally feel compelled to break my silence over, but hey I was a server for several years.
    In my experience, Sunday mornings were the worst mornings to work. The tips were always sub-par and the people had high expectations. Not that you ate on Sunday, but I thought christians were cheap, not generous, and somewhat rude and impatient. Having said that, I will say that I think the right thing to do is to let the manager or even the server know that you are not happy with your service, however still tip the 15%. That way they know without a doubt the problem and you don’t come across as being cheap and wanting to get out of a tip. Maybe even drop back and give 10%, but I don’t think it is necessary to go below that. Just my thoughts.

  • 17. Mom  |  June 20, 2008 at 7:52 am

    I usually figure 15% for my tip and round the total payment to the next “regular” number– __.50, __.00. If service is bad, it might be rounded down.(And then I pray my math is right; I’m pretty sure I’ve unintentionally short-tipped sometimes).

    For those of us who don’t like to “making a fuss,” I appreciate it when there’s a “tell us what you think” post card. I just want to be sure to use them for great service as well as problems.

    When I used one of those cards recently at a chain restaurant, I promptly got a call from the area manager who apologized profusely, gave me his personal cell number so I could call if there were future problems, and sent gift cards that covered our next meal there.

  • 18. Noel  |  June 20, 2008 at 7:53 am

    BTW, the last comment was from me–THAT mom.

  • 19. Noel  |  June 20, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Another suggestion for the don’t-make-a-fuss types . . . If the business has a website, you can email customer service with your comments.

    My most recent email was to Panera to express my appreciation that they serve their communities by hiring people with cognitive disabilities.

  • 20. JenR  |  June 20, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Both my husband and I worked as waiters for a few years. We tip 15% for normal service, 20% for great service, and 10%ish for bad service. I just think that in my most recent job (not a tipping industry), I would not be rewarded for poor preformance and instead would be fired if it were consistently bad. I think that a lot of people work as servers in a restaurant to get real-world job experience and to earn a buck. They should learn that the real world does not reward poor behavior.

    All that being said, I think it is helpful, if not necessary, to try and speak to managers whenever possible, and this is for bad AND good service. From personal experience, having a customer praise me to my manager is more valuable than a good tip. When someone receives regular positive feedback, they are more likely (I assume) to get promoted than those who do not. I also try to do this when I have received good customer service on the phone.

  • 21. Jane Swanson  |  June 20, 2008 at 10:13 am

    We recently returned from a vacation where we ate out quite a bit. One restaurant that we frequent every year boasts on their electric flashing sign, “OPEN, IMMEDIATE SEATING.” Two car loads of our family filed into the restaurant on the first night of their seasonal ‘fishboil’ and we were impatiently asked, “Do you have a reservation?” We told them No and the woman manager, audibly sighed and told us that we couldn’t eat off the menu, it had to be the fishboil and was clearly put out that we didn’t have reservations. We left and will never go back because of that huffy attitude. If we would have been treated kindly and offered that “immediate seating”, we would have tipped 20%.

  • 22. jurgenkahle  |  June 20, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    sins i am in the industry my opinion is that a tip is how u measure your service and not the food and there is nothing worse than bad service and should be treated as such and your tip will reflect that .It is now a accepted practice to include tip of 10%which i am against.I am a good tipper and it goes a long way and u can always be sure of good service when the waiters get to know u.

  • 23. proverbs31  |  June 20, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    My best friend and I agree (because yeah, I talk on the phone while reading my google reader) on this one. We’ve both been waitresses and as a result we usually respect our waitresses in a number of ways.. being polite, tipping at least fairly if not generously, and cleaning up the huge messes our kids make before we go.

    However, on the issue of very bad service, we adjust the tip accordingly. Most waiters/waitresses will know whether or not it is because of their service.

    Of course, having been waitresses, we’ll also notice other things, such as how busy the restaurant is, whether we visibly saw the waitress working hard with a large number of tables, or whether we hardly saw our waitress at all anywhere in the restaurant. You can definitely speak to the manager on the way out, or if you prefer, send an email as Noel suggested. The manager will certainly want to know if any of his employees are not doing their job well, since it affects the restaurants business.

  • 24. Nikki  |  June 21, 2008 at 9:16 am

    This is a good topic to mull over; I’m glad you brought it up. I’ve never worked in food service, but I HAVE worked as a retail supervisor, and I almost always appreciated receiving comments (good or bad) about employees’ performances. It helped me know how to encourage them, and (in some cases) gave me much needed leverage to give them a warning (sometimes I had a FEELING that an employee wasn’t doing something right, but no concrete reason to believe so – until a customer told me). So I would say that it’s a good idea to talk to the manager. I also appreciated getting feedback — good and bad — on MY performance. If it was bad, it hurt — but I’d rather know how I could improve than live in la-la land, thinking I was doing just fine! 🙂
    It’s hard to know what to do with tipping. Do I show justice (by deducting tip for poor performance), or do I show mercy (giving them the regular tip anyway)? There is a place for both, and it’s hard to know where it applies. I don’t think that one should necessarily be afraid to deduct tip for bad performance just in case they saw them praying before the meal — it’s not WRONG to deduct the tip. My gut tells me to err on the side of mercy with the tip, though…and maybe talk to the manager.
    Sorry this is a novel; it’s a great topic that I’ll bring with me to my next restaurant experience!

  • 25. Chris T.  |  June 21, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    This was a topic of discussion in our small group a couple of weeks ago. As someone that worked tables to get through college, I have an opinion on this particular topic. I think that Christians should tip generously for two reasons:

    1. Most of the people that I worked with in college had a pretty bad life outside the restaurant. For many of them, work was the most stable thing in their lives. You never know what that person is experiencing in their life outside of work.

    2. Tipping in the event of poor service is a great opportunity to show someone mercy. It is an opportunity to give a stranger something that they do not deserve. Rarely did the waitstaff I worked with aim to provide bad service to their tables. Many times they did their best and things just did not go well.

    Just my two cents.

  • 26. Dana Cordell  |  June 21, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    i think you should tip well no matter the service (are you surprised?) Sean is the big tipper- always 20%. We have had a lot of people we know work as wait staff and they usually talk about how Christians have a bad reputation as being the worst tippers. They say that after church on Sunday’s the church crowd is stereotypically stingy and complaining. We just make it an effort to give sacrificially- and trust God with the rest.

    By the way, I really miss you! Your blog is always a highlight to me!


  • 27. Emily Tarter  |  June 22, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Great discussion topic! I consulted my husband, and we both agree that the tip should remain the same no matter what the service, with a graceful word to the waiter/waitress…”I’m not sure if there’s something going on behind the scenes that’s affecting your night but we just wanted to let you know that the service this evening was not what it ought to be. We still want to give you the benefit of the doubt, so here is your full tip and we hope the rest of your night goes well.” You could also ask him/her if there is anything you can pray about for them…we’ve done that before, and it’s pretty akward, but you never know what is going on in that person’s life. Bad service deserves a bad tip….but then again bad people deserve hell. We should model the undeserved grace given to us.

  • 28. Jennifer Partin  |  June 22, 2008 at 9:58 am

    One way to avoid your dilemma would be to eat in Japan! 🙂

    Here in Japan there is NO tipping and service is always EXCELLENT each and every time!

  • 29. Beth  |  June 22, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    I really agree with Emily’s comment above. My thought was somewhere along the same lines. She put it into words nicely. If you have a problem with their service, it seems right to address them first, then depending on their reaction…take it to the manager next. Matthew 18:15

  • 30. Adam  |  June 23, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    My wife and I have both waited tables and we tip well no matter what. Sometimes getting a great tip, when I knew I didn’t deserve it, was very helpful… in a Romans 12:20 kind of way.

    A nickel or (worse) a tract left as a tip, “to send a message,” only hurt my attitude for the next table I had to wait on.

    You’re not going to miss that extra $2, but it might change the heart of your waiter.

  • 31. maleesha  |  June 23, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    ITA with Christa – Sunday morning shifts to wait tables were always the worst. And having worked them for five years, i can say that I recognize great service, good service, im-having-a-bad-day service, and i-need-to-work-somewhere-else-cause-i-dont-care service. The first three get good tips. The last gets a pity tip. Everyone can have a bad day, and it’s important to realize Youre Not the Only Customers, and Waiting Tables is Hard Work. But everyone should take pride in their service to others and this will reflect to the customer, earning a tip even when things go wrong.

  • 32. Mary Waugh  |  June 24, 2008 at 6:09 am

    I would leave an explanation with my tip. I would hate to leave with the possibility that he could be blaming someone else for something that was a consequence of his own action. Of course, I would write it constructively, with suggestions of how to improve…

  • 33. JenR  |  June 24, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    My neighbor and I were discussing this topic yesterday and he made a good point. If mercy is not getting what you do deserve and grace is getting what you dont deserve, then essentially, there can be more than one way of not “punishing a server for poor service”.

    The first way is one that many here have advocated: that of showing grace by tipping well regardless of service quality. The second way is by showing mercy through (and this is only one way I could think of) adjusting tip according to service quality, but not reporting poor service to management.

    I would be interested in knowing other’s opinions on this analysis, b/c it is something I had not thought about before.

  • 34. John Meche  |  June 26, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    I generally give 10% for bad service. They are getting a lower wage because of their tips after all. Then for acceptable or good service I go with 15%. Anything higher is usually reserved for exceptional service. However, I like the idea of pulling the bad waiter over, telling them that they have served you horribly and that you’re giving them 25%. Then you can use that as a doorway into the gospel.

  • 35. phreaked  |  June 26, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    **Attention Attention**

    15% is NO LONGER an appropriate tip amount!!

    20% is the new standard due to inflation as well as a higher cost of living…

    I read both of your posts as well as some of the comments. (The person who said they leave bad tips but could never see themselves having the capacity to serve was quite irritating) I am a server in Philadelphia and I consider anything other than 20%, unless they are old timers, degrading.

    Serving is not simply about taking an order and refilling drinks… I find people that have that opinion also believe that they are the only table in the room. Waiters and waitresses need to be masters of multi-tasking. Some are obviously better than others. The guy you had obviously didn’t have a good memory for the details. They also must be courteous, and in terms of the greeting you received, be able to feel out a table and determine which kind of personality/attitude is best. AND make every greeting sound fresh!! Lastly, knowledgeable. When a customer asks me about our beer I can tell if he’s a Miller Lite guy or a Sierra Nevada guy right away.

    I can also tell if a table is a cheap-10%-tipper THE MOMENT I pour them water. Some people are inclined to be judgmental and look for ways to only leave 10% OR AT LEAST that’s what they tell themselves, but it’s a crude little game because servers can smell CHEAPNESS a mile away… and treat them as such.

    The point of my tyrade? Servers make 2.83 an hour in my city. You say that it is important for you to not let your personal life affect your job, but you can also rely on a nice paycheck at the end of the week/month.The stress of constantly being evaluated and having your livelihood placed on that is stressful. (And you know it’s not that I’m saying you don’t but with servers it’s literally money out of their pocket) Some people strive to be best, some people have bad days because even when they are doing their best they have people giving them pennies. Tell me how that isn’t demoralizing?

    I’m of the opinion that everyone should spend some time serving to see what it’s like.

  • 36. Chris  |  June 27, 2008 at 4:49 am

    Another note about the customer response cards.
    Usually, if you don’t give the server/cashier/or other employee a perfect score, they don’t get any benefit from it–no star on the wall, no raise, no extra hours–some even get their hours cut.

    So if you think you had a good experience, but think that there is always room for improvement, perhaps you would consider letting that little thing that could be better go and just give the person a perfect score because no one is going to be perfect, but a good job still deserves recognition.

  • 37. Melissa  |  June 28, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I’m working my way through college as a server, and from my experience leaving a bad tip usually doesn’t get through. I can’t even begin to count the number of times my co-workers have come back to the kitchen complaining that “She stiffed me!” without contemplating the thought that it might have been their service. And a lot of the time, it wasn’t bad service — lots of people are just cheap (including my dad). I can also say that the nice tip I didn’t deserve brightened my day and made the rest of my service that much better. If it was really bad service, talk to the manager. If you just leave a note, your server will get in more trouble because management didn’t have a chance to make it right for you.

    (I do disagree with the commenter above who said that 20% is standard now — it isn’t where I work. But two-dollars-no-matter-the-check-size isn’t enough either =D )

  • 38. Travis Seitler  |  July 1, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Personally? I tend to leave bigger tips when I receive poor service.

    Well, let me qualify: if the server is condescending or treats me/mine like dirt, they’ll probably get a diminished tip. 😉 If, however, they seem to either be distracted/frustrated by some personal situation, or like they just haven’t gotten very good at their job? Bigger tip. I want to be an instrument of grace in that person’s life. If they’re carrying a burden, I don’t want to add to it. For all I know, that waitress who never refilled my coffee is distracted because her ex left her with two kids and stopped paying child support a few months ago. Y’know?

    Of course, if I were to get bad service from multiple people in the same restaurant, I’d simply stop going there.

  • 39. waiternotes  |  November 25, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I’m a waiter. It’s nice to read so many people inclined to tip well (or average) no matter what!

    It’s hard to recommend what to do because you weren’t at all specific about what made your waiter bad. Rude? Inattentive? Incompetent? Clumsy? Stupid? Bad hygiene?

    Anyway, when I’ve gotten bad service at various times I’ve done all the above. Stiffed, tipped poor, tipped well anyway, talked to a manager, filled out a comment card, left a note on the check, or spoken directly to the waiter about his incompetence. Depends on the situation.

    But directly to your original post, feel free to tip poorly for bad service. But do try to figure out if it was the waiter’s fault. There’s a lot that can contribute to bad service (especially the kitchen) that has nothing to do with the waiter.


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