After enjoying a nice dinner recently at an area restaurant – and a little too much of the creature – I, perhaps possessed by the booze, decided to pick up the tab for my friends and me. There were six of us, and the restaurant was pretty nice – white tablecloths, candlelight, and such – so it was no small gesture, given my shamefully low tax bracket. I thought the bill seemed a little high, but I just figured the wine we ordered was a little too “nice.” I dropped my card and our server ran it, thanked us, and disappeared. Luckily, before I wrote in the tip, I decided to inspect the bill – something I hardly ever do, but should do every time. I noticed that the tip had been written in already, and left the tip-line blank.
Maybe I’m overreacting, but it upset me a little that our server didn’t tell us that gratuity was included. Mind you, most restaurants include the tip if the party reaches a certain number of people. But at most restaurants, that policy is written somewhere on the menu, or the server tells whomever is paying that it’s included. That wasn’t the case for us. I usually tip 20-25 percent, based on what I can afford. So, had I added my usual tip, on top of the added 18 percent tip, that would have been a 38-43 percent tip. And I’m sure our server would have taken it. Who, aside from eccentric millionaires, want to/can afford to tip around 40 percent?
Frankly, it’s dishonest to assume that someone intended to tip 40 percent. It was also stupid of me not to look, but I am the trusting sort. Servers should tell their guests when gratuity is included. Chances are, I would have added to the 18 percent. That night, however, I was too upset to add anything. I’m also the worst type of customer, in that I don’t complain to the manager when something like that happens. I just never go back.