How Far Would You Go To Tip Your Server?

Many, many pixels have been on this site over the subject of tipping in restaurants, but how far out of your way would you go to give a tip? -Joe and his wife had dinner at Red Robin, paid for with a few free entrée coupons and a gift card. Only the gift card receipt didn’t have a line to authorize a tip, and the couple only had a dollar in cash between them. In a culture where we often don’t talk about tips, should they just leave the dollar that they had in their wallets and feel guilty about it, or actually address the problem and talk to the server about it directly?

Yes this is a message about tips, but no, it is not about a horrible
server or a person who doesn’t believe in tipping. This is a story of
how one major restaurant chain needs to change a policy that could
leave their servers empty handed.

My wife and I dined at Red Robin this evening as we had both a “free
entree” coupon and a gift card to use, essentially netting us a free
dinner out. When the bill came, the server took the gift card, rang up
the charges, and brought it back with the check to sign… all the
usual things. The difference in this case is that the check I signed
had no line for a tip.

“Do you have any cash?” I asked my wife, noting that I only had one
dollar. “Not even quarters.” she replied.

We looked around and wondered, what should we do? Here are the options
we came up with:

1) Give the server the dollar, leaving a note on the check explaining
why only the dollar was given – not acceptable to either of us.

2) Buy something else with a credit card, even though we didn’t want
anything else at that time.

3) Explain our predicament to the server .

Having worked in the service industry, my wife and I know how much
servers rely on tips, so we chose option three. We explained the
problem to the server and she said that while they can’t put tips on
the gift card, we may use a credit card to only pay for a tip
(something neither of us have heard of before).

All is well that ends well, but it got me wondering, just how far
would the average person go to tip? And more than that, why does a
company have a policy like this? Admittedly I don’t use many gift
cards at places so I’m not well-versed on every business’ policy, but
I’ve never come across this.

I tried filling out Red Robin’s survey to explain the need for change
to them but the survey only lets you put two lines of text. This story
was abridged to “Please allow tips on gift cards. I almost had to
stiff the server today.” Let’s hope someone reads it.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Rebecca K-S says:

    Well, that’s certainly nice of them.

    I know I’ve definitely left tips on gift cards before, so at least some restaurants are doing this right.

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      Oh, I actually have been in a very similar situation before. I knew how much was on the gift card, and that I would be able to leave a tip, and that the difference between the balance and the check was only a couple of dollars, and of course, that I had no cash. So I asked the server to put, like, five dollars on my credit card, to reduce the amount going on the gift card, so I could use the whole remainder for tip. It was kind of awkward.

    • econobiker says:

      “The difference in this case is that the check I signed had no line for a tip.”

      Don’t know why the receipt would not have a line for the tip. I’ve put the tip on a gift card also.

      • RandomHookup says:

        Just depends on their POS software. Could be they don’t want the hassle of pulling tips from the gift card money (or they want to encourage more cash tips).

        • spartan says:

          Or– If there is say, 8 bucks left on a 50 dollar gift card; the restaurant could let you use it to reward the server.

          —OR they could screw the server; and make you come back for another meal on another day to use the value.

          The chains policy on tipping on gift cards thells you how much (or how little) they care about their employees.

          • Hartwig says:

            I agree it’s the companies fault, but mostly because they don’t want you to be able to easily close out the balance of your gift card, they would rather you have a little left on it that you never use or have to use to buy a more expensive meal. The restaurant wins either way. The joy of gift cards.

        • The Colonel says:

          Sometimes even stores in the same chain differ on this. I was given a $100 BW3 giftcard. The store one town over let me tip on the card, but the local store didn’t.

      • who? says:

        I got a restaurant gift card last Christmas (not Red Robin) that didn’t have a way to tip. When we got the receipt, it said “Please pay tip with cash” at the bottom.

        The software they use doesn’t allow for it, somehow.

        • spartan says:

          The software does what the programmers tell it to do. That restaurant chose not to share with the employees.

          • I look at both sides of the story says:

            “The software does what the programmers tell it to do. ”

            The programmers are given a set of specifications and the programmers write the code. Programmers don’t set policy.

  2. dourdan says:

    one time my mom got a 100 dollar gift card to olive garden. she HATES olive garden.

    she invited me, my sister and her boss/best friend but all together our bill was only 60 dollars.

    BUT there was a tip line, so she wrote in a 40 dollar tip.

    • TD99 says:

      I, for one, never understand why there’s always a line to the Olive Garden. I’m guessing they have never had REAL Italian food. Seriously, the last few times I ate there (I had no choice — corporate events, parties, etc.), I honestly thought, “I’ve had better stuff from the freezer section!”. The last item I had was the “Tour of Italy”. What a joke!

      • GrandizerGo says:

        I agree. The one in my neighborhood is awful.
        Chicken parma and there was more chicken then pasta. By a large amount. The cheapest part of the dish they skimped on. The plate looked bare there was so much white space on the plate. It was bad enough that I asked both the server and the manager if this is the normal portion size.
        Also did not care for their policy on NOT leaving water pitchers on the table for our group of 16.
        The 3 servers assigned to us never once came and filled peoples glasses on their own.

      • tbax929 says:

        I eat there for lunch at least once a week. Their Italian food may be sub-par, but their unlimited salad, breadsticks, and soup lunch is fabulous and well-priced.

        There’s always a line out the door at lunch time, and I suspect it’s because others have figured this out.

        • smo0 says:

          This. I don’t consider it real Italian food… however, I do like their Soup/Salad/Breadsticks deal.

  3. Wiggin says:

    Why couldn’t one of them just go to a nearby ATM to withdraw cash while the other waited at the table?

    • alstein says:

      $20’s aren’t exactly good tipping material.

      I do try to make sure I have $2 in 1’s before I eat out (before anyone freaks, I eat out at fairly cheap lunch places mostly- $10 is the most I spend on a meal)

      • scoosdad says:

        It’s not very widely known, but there is one BofA ATM around here that still has $5’s and $10s in it. The only one I’ve seen for years (decades, maybe) that still does.

        And if you came back from an ATM with a $20, I’m sure the restaurant bar or reception desk would get you change for it to leave a tip (especially if you told them why you needed change). I do that all the time and have never been turned down.

        • cjf125 says:

          True story, I went to an ATM machine in Williamsport, PA a few years ago and took out $100, so I entered 1, then 0, then 0, and much to my dismay, the ATM spit out a $1 bill and my receipt showing a $2 service fee! I then had to take out $100 and got hit with another service fee, so I ended up with $101 and $4 in fees. I was so effing mad!!!

        • GrandizerGo says:


        • tricky1 says:

          There is a local bank that one of their 2 ATM’s in town still has $10’s. I also noticed that when I use my USAA debit card there, although it says I will be assessed a $2 fee; said fee never shows up. Compared to other ATMs where it does charge the fee, but USAA refunds them once a month.

          I also found out that the self checkout at Krogers will allow you to do any amount, including change. I use it to make even amounts on my Debit Card. Say the total is 84.32, you want to pay the poor people tax(scratch off lottery tickets), When it asks if you want cashback you hit other and enter $2.68 and there’s a couple of $1 scratch offs and change to do the scratching. Kind of neat.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        The waiter will get you change. They do this all the time for cash payers.

      • regis-s says:

        Given the choice of breaking a twenty or receiving no tip I’m sure most servers would be fine with giving change.

      • I look at both sides of the story says:

        “$20′s aren’t exactly good tipping material.”

        When I’m in that situation, I take my $20 bill to the cashier and ask them to break the bill into smaller denominations. Cashiers never ask why; they already know that you’re going to leave a cash tip.

    • Sneeje says:

      Also, sometimes there is no “nearby”. At the Red Robin near us, there is no ATM within even 10 minutes walking distance.

    • econobiker says:

      Or use the Kroger/ grocery store atm method- buy a 35 cent pack of gum or ramen noodles and get cash back using your card as a debit card. This also saves on the fees from using “out of bank network” atms.

      Keep and use the gum or give the noodles away if you don’t want the package.

  4. Syncop8d1 says:

    This makes me think of Starbucks. When you use your Starbucks card to buy stuff, there isn’t a space on the slip for tips. Maybe this is b/c tipping a barista isn’t built into the compensation system like it is for waitstaff. Yet, other places where you’d think that tipping isn’t the norm, will have “tip” sections on their c/c slips.
    I agree that talking openly about tipping can be awkward. I also know that when I was delivering pizzas, once we started taking credit cards, people couldn’t ignore the fact that there was a tip line on the receipt requiring them to enter an amount (even if it’s 0).
    I’d be interested to see what the more active members of this board have to say.

    • SerenityDan says:

      Yeah, I always feel bad at Starbucks, I use my Starbucks card and never carry cash. Sorry Baristas.

    • Alessar says:

      Right, as I understand it if you are paid counter staff/ minimum wage, you’re not supposed to expecting a tip. As in, they don’t even have the special forms that waitstaff has to declare their daily tip income on.

      I had a similar situation to the OP actually. My favorite restaurant comped me and my dining companion our meals and drinks as a customer appreciation thank you during the holiday season. I mean it was a toss the check situation. My usual waiter did his usual bang up job and I was like, “wait no check? I have a credit card not cash.” He said don’t worry about it, maybe that was cuz I’d already given him a $5 holiday tip the week before.

    • RandomHookup says:

      I hate counter service places that have a tip line on their credit card slips.

      • Gambrinus says:

        It depends. If somebody’s actually making something for me, like a sandwich or a latte, then I’ll tip. I figure I tip for personalized services, especially if it’s a place I go to regularly. But I won’t tip for off the shelf stuff.

    • PercussionQueen7 says:

      See, and I always feel douchey for putting a 0 there when I have thrown cash in the tip jar. Stupid guilting tip line.

      • Red Cat Linux says:

        In a case like that, where I left a tip elsewhere I always write -Cash- rather than leave a 0.

        • exit322 says:

          That’s also what I do – my handwriting sucks, though, so who knows what they read, but at least it’s not a zero.

    • gerald.saul says:

      I think the main reason Starbucks doesn’t put a tip line there is because of the time it would take to process it. It’s the same reason they don’t ask for a signature on purchases under $25. The longer you’re standing at the register or paying at the drive-thru is the longer it takes to get to the next customer.

      Also, the way Starbucks splits tips among employees, it would become slightly more complicated if credit card/gift card charges were added to the mix.

  5. Will Print T-shirts For Food says:

    “Hi Server,
    Can you run my card as $0.00 so that I can leave a tip?”

    Problem solved.

    • dks64 says:

      Some computers don’t let you do that. My last restaurant didn’t, people had to buy the $1 chocolate from under the counter (50’s diner, part of the display, but for sale) to leave a tip. Or you could run the gift card for one less dollar than the amount, then put $1 on a credit card so you can leave the tip there.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    I thought this was going to be an article about some kind of heroic tipping story, something along the lines of they tracked the server down after leaving a $1.00 tip and sent it to them with a hand calligraphed letter and delivered by an armored truck driven by a juggling clown.
    The Old English heroic epic poem Beowulf has nothing on these guys.

  7. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    My thought is to plan ahead. If you know you’re going to a restaurant, and in this case the OP knew they were going, make sure you have adequate tip money ahead of time.

    • selianth says:

      I’m guessing they still had balance on the gift card that they were planning on using for the tip, but it turned out they couldn’t use it. They had “tip money” just not in an easy form. I would probably have been caught in this same situation because I rarely carry any cash at all.

      • The Colonel says:

        Yep, that’s happened to me a few times. Thought I would tip on the card, found out I couldn’t. Felt like a jerk.

  8. hymie! says:

    True story.

    My wife and I were on vacation. At that time, I typically left cash tips even on restaurant bills paid by credit card. On the way to … somewhere, I looked in my wallet, and it had more cash than I had expected it to have. It suddenly occurred to me that I couldn’t remember if I had left a tip with breakfast.

    I returned to the restaurant, found the waitress (who did not look particularly pleased to see me), and asked her “Did I forget to tip you this morning?” She said “Yes, you did.” I handed her $5 and said “I am so sorry.”

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Bully for you!!!

    • GrandizerGo says:

      I have had 2 versions of this story happen to me…

      I order from at work and at home LOTS of the time.
      When at work I normally pay be credit card and leave a tip. I also cover many people and they repay me if they order from the same place I did.
      Once while I was away when the food was delivered, a friend in the order grabbed the food. NOTE it was paid for and a tip had already been added as well.
      The person picking it up was handed the receipt and told there was a balance, basically the meal cost, and then my friend added a tip as well.
      When he delivered the food to me, he told me how much he paid. I laughed thinking he was joking, turned out he was serious and I showed him it was paid for already. I called foodler and told them what the driver had done, the receipt plainly shows it was paid for in advance and there was no funds due. I spoke to the manager on duty and they apologized for this and the driver came back and threw the money on the floor and left.
      Never saw him deliver again.

      Part 2. My mother picked up the food as they happened to arrive when nature called.
      Unknowing to me at the time, my mother got exact change back.
      When she tried to give me the money, I asked where this came from and she said it was the change from the food order. I told her it was the tip. So I had to call the restaurant back and apologize as my mother didn’t know that the tip was not already included, if they can send the driver back.
      They did and I added another 5 dollars for the troubles.

  9. gnubian says:

    you just need to give the server your credit card so they can run a $1 charge (applied towards your bill).. The gift card pays the balance, you end up with a cc receipt that has the tip line. I’ve had to do this several times.

  10. Fishnoise says:

    Had a similar situation at a local buffet. Went back to the cashier, who let us charge $10 and gave us cash for the tip — she ran it as a regular charge, not as a cash advance or directly as a tip.

  11. KyBash says:

    Tipping probably isn’t allowed on their gift cards because that would be a form of cash back, which could lead to all sorts of abuses.

    • erinpac says:

      That was what I was thinking. Also, it may change by location – the laws on gift cards in regards to taxes and not equivalent to face value cards can be a little odd at times.

      However, during college, at the restaurants that allowed it, students working there would often buy the half price credit card reward points gift cards (or at other sales) and then cash them out as tips. Even ones that weren’t waiters would ‘tip’ classmates $50-$100. It seems like if they allowed that, they’re not going to be able to offer discounts on gift cards (or vice versa) for very long.

  12. ElDiablo says:

    People don’t carry just a little cash? I always have an ’emergency’ 20. If I get robbed (hasn’t happened yet), losing 20 bucks is the least of my issues.

    • Danno23 says:

      Same here. I always have at least a $20 bill tucked behind my drivers license (so I don’t accidentally spend it.) If I know that I am going to be traveling for several weeks in a row then I get an extra twenty just in case.

      • JayOfAllTrades says:

        Also agree on the “extra” money tucked away. Its something my parents always did, the “emergency $20” in the wallet. I took it a step further, and also carry an “emergency $20” in my truck, tucked away. I learned that lesson by leaving my wallet at home just once, and running really low on gas coming back from work. That $20 saved my butt when we had a power outage over a few days. ATMs didn’t work, but one local station had backup generators for the pumps. Cash pay only.

    • I look at both sides of the story says:

      “People don’t carry just a little cash? I always have an ‘emergency’ 20. If I get robbed (hasn’t happened yet), losing 20 bucks is the least of my issues.”

      I was taught to carry “mugging money” with me. You don’t want to piss off a mugger if s/he went through all the effort to rob you and comes up empty handed. I’d rather lose any amount of cash than getting my face bashed in.

      “Even in this society of plastic, credit cards and debit cards, a person should always carry some cash. You never know when you might need it, such as in this situation.”

      True. More than once network connections have been down (e.g., a major storm) and if you’re low on gas and don’t have cash you’re in a world of hurt. This isn’t a hypothetical situation.

  13. dullard says:

    Even in this society of plastic, credit cards and debit cards, a person should always carry some cash. You never know when you might need it, such as in this situation.

  14. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    What is this “tipping” of which you speak. Give your money to someone because they filled your water glass? Sounds silly.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      So you take your own order, get your own food, and act as your own proxy with the kitchen? Amazing!

  15. TheRealDeal says:

    I actually had just this event happen to me on Monday. My girlfriend and I were eating at Tin Lizzy’s and they were covering the meal as a part of a media preview, so we didn’t have a tab and had exactly three dollars in cash between us. Not wanting to give a ten percent tip, especially on a meal the restaurant picked up, I walked over to the manager and asked her if she could charge my credit card a dollar so that I could put the tip on the card. She said, “No, but I CAN charge you a penny instead.” So she charged my card 1 cent and I added a ten dollar tip.

    Piece of cake!

  16. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Always carry one or two $5 bills.

    In my younger days (before discovering sobriety and hygeine) I would tear a $5 bill in half and give one half to the bartender with the promise of giving him the other half if we got good service during the time in his establishment. It usually worked except for the times when I got totally shitfaced and the next morning would wonder why I had a bunch of torn $5 bill halves in my pocket.

  17. crispyduck13 says:

    That was really very nice of them.

    The farthest I ever went: I had lunch at a hotel restaurant, my chicken sandwich was raw so the manager replaced it AND wouldn’t let me pay for the lunch at all, which was very nice of him. Since I had no cash however, I couldn’t tip my very good waitress. I felt like dogshit leaving there like that with not a single penny on the table for her. So I hit up the ATM that night and went back the next day, walked around until I found her and gave her a fiver. She was so surprised and grateful, it made us both happy.

    I’m going to take this rosey glow for my Friday and not look back!

  18. do-it-myself says:

    I find 3 things wrong here:

    1. Red Robin allows the use of more than one coupon at a time.

    2. Tip lines should always be present in restaurant receipts regardless of method of payment

    3. They didn’t think about this before walking through the door to eat?

    I have never “blamed” the OP in an article before, but in this case I think some thought really has to happen here. When ever I dine out with friends, I always pay in cash to avoid any drama (they can keep that crap amongst themselves if they want to!). If that means I have to get cash back/atm and/or purchase a pack of gum to get some $1s, then so be it. I think this all boils down to our flawed monetary system, but that’s a different debate for a different day.

    I’m happy they were able to take the tip with a credit card..I know for a fact that some places aren’t as smart.

    Never in my life have I seen a restaurant accept more than one coupon from a table. I have been to a place (an ice cream shop) that denied a specific coupon of theirs, saying that it was a “mistake” although they had a sign clearly stating that they even accept competitor’s coupons.

    • do-it-myself says:

      I also remember a time I used a gift card at an Outback Steakhouse. We used $48 of a $50 gift card. Usually, I try to have a bill that is slightly over the gift card amount so the extra charges as well as the tip are on a credit card. In this instance I simply asked the server if he could make change from my $20 (I asked for a certain denomination breakdown because I wanted to leave him a $9 tip). He obliged (and why wouldn’t he if it meant him getting his rightful tip???). I wrote $2.00 in the tip line and put $7 cash in the check pocket. Easy. Simple. Hassle-free.

      Just in case, here is some easy as pie information to figure out the tip, no matter the total (except for crap service):

      All you need to do is move the decemal point over one space to the left and multiply that by 2.

      For example, if your bill was $40.00, your tip should be $4.00 x 2 = $8.

      — 99 times out of 100 I try to leave 20%

      The only exception is if it’s anything $5-$10 I feel I have to leave at least $2 tip. You don’t have to, but I think it’s crappy that tip is based off the cost of food and the servers work just as hard delivering that $7.00 hamburger as they do delivering that $20 Steak.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        Tip math is easy, if you want to do 15% move the decimal over by one and add half again as much.

        • spartan says:

          Or you can multiply the bill 752.640 and divide by 3763.2. Jeeeeziz people, this is 5th grade arithmetic.

          PS your smartph9one has a calculator. If this is too befuddling–Use that.

      • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

        No competent server will ever pass up the chance to put a wad of singles in a customer’s hands. That’s got to be the third thing I was taught when I waited tables as a wee bairn.

      • JayOfAllTrades says:

        Completely agree. I was on the road late at night, and stopped off at a diner for a bit. Of course, at the same time, there were others ordering huge meals, a group of kids ordering a bunch of complicated stuff, and some EMTs that needed their meal in a hurry. I felt bad for the server. He worked just as hard for what little bit I wanted as he did for the other groups in his section. He even ended up bringing me an extra side, on the house, just to make up for the wait. The server got a great tip. Why? He paid just as much attention to me, and my cheap little meal, as he did to the others who were paying a lot more. IMO, he earned it. I tipped him for his customer service, not based on my cheap meal.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Using a gift card (which is usually paid for by someone ahead of time) isn’t a coupon, so using a coupon in conjunction with it, isn’t against anyone’s rules. I have several gift cards that I won directly from the restaurant and still have been able to use them with a coupon or on a promotional sale.

      You may be misreading the “we had both a ‘free entree’ coupon and a gift card” to mean they each had a coupon for a free entree. They didn’t. They had one coupon and the gift card.

      • The Colonel says:

        My wife and I use multiple coupons at restaurants all the time. Most don’t even make us pretend like we are doing separate checks.

  19. TonyK says:

    We have gone to great lengths if the service was worth it. I’ve been known to ask the wait person to charge me $1 on my CC so I can leave a tip.

    My wife and I have done this more than once so it may be more common that one would suppose.

  20. chemmy says:

    When we moved, we stopped for a quick snack at the Sonic in our new town. It was late and we only had a debit card on us. Same predicament where the receipt didn’t allow you to leave a tip and we had no cash. We got our server’s name and told her we would be back the next day. We came back the next day (and several times afterwards) but because our server was in school, she kept odd hours and it was hard to track her down… FInally, about a month later, I was able to catch her at the drive thru and gave her the $5 we wanted to give her initially. She was so surprised that we remembered and came back all those times trying to catch her…

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Wait, you’re supposed to TIP at sonic? Do you tip at McDonalds? O_o

      • MBZ321 says:

        Yeah, that confuses me too…they aren’t “waiters” and “waitresses”. Although they do bring the food to you and ask you if you need more napkins or whatever, they get paid the standard minimum wage that a McDonald’s worker would make, or slightly above. I forget if there is a “tip” line on the receipt or not, but I never tip at fast food places unless I receive something extraordinary.

  21. steveliv says:

    if i use gift cards, and there isn’t a place for a tip, i usually explain the issue and ask the waiter to find the cheapest item in the system and charge me for it so that i can leave a tip.

  22. Randomeis says:

    One of our favorite things to do is to go to Sonic at Happy Hour spend $1 and hand the server a $5 or more for tip, since they are out there in the heat and we imagine the half off deal doesn’t make for too much tipping.

  23. suezahn says:

    A month or so ago I was out for a Happy Hour with coworkers at a neighboring pub. I’m not used to running a tab and so when I ended up leaving, I forgot to close the tab and tip the bartender who’d been serving me all night. When I realized this a couple days later, I felt horrified and went back in, ready to hand her a $20 in apology. Not only did she tell me that they automatically close the tab and tack on a 20% tip for walk-outs, but she rejected the cash I was offereing. She could just as easily lied and taken the extra money, but she did the right thing. It gives me home for humanity. :^)

  24. Press1forDialTone says:

    Hey cheapskate! Listen up! You should have paid the bill, explained to the server that
    you need to get some ATM casjh for their tip. One of you or your sig other go to the
    atm and get some cash, come back and TIP THE SERVER. Never do out to a place where
    tips are customary without cash for tips. Doofus!

  25. spartan says:

    Heres a thought

    If the card has some value on it, can you leave it (the actual card not just the amount) with the waitress. Sooner or later will have a cash customer. why not use that card to pay off part of the customers bill and pocket the extra money that way.

  26. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I try to tip in cash when I can, so the server can just have it if they want. If I don’t have any cash I’ll put it on the bill.

  27. oldwiz65 says:

    We always carry some cash just for situations like this.

  28. TheOnlyBob says:

    I was able to give a tip at Red Lobster when i had a gift card there. Agreed about different POS systems.

  29. I told you it was the last word says:

    At an outing with extended family at Spaghetti factory, grandpa wanted to pay for everyone. The server had been very good at keeping track of orders and keeping things filled. I was sitting next to grandpa when it came time to pay. The bill was 160 and when he filled out the tip line put 20 as the tip. My wife and I both saw that and thought that the server deserved at least 15% ($24) if not more since she had been very good. I just quietly got up and went around the corner and handed her an extra 10.

  30. Cantras says:

    Similar happening, had our bill comped after the kitchen lost it for quite some time. The server had been nice and apologetic and freaking out with us the whole time, but we had no bill to tip on! If we’d found out it was comped earlier, we could have had the forethought to say, hey, can you just bring us our 0.00 ticket or charge us for an extra sauce or something so we have a slip to tip on, but instead of bringing our bill she brought us news that it was comped, and by the time we realised the trouble she’d evaporated (probably to tables on the other side of the restaurant, it was crazy busy).

    We ended up everyone emptying their pockets of whatever cash and change we had on hand, and I think wrote big happy letters to her boss about how wonderful she was.

    • I look at both sides of the story says:

      I and about a dozen people went out to a restaurant about an hour or so before closing. We ordered our meals and waited, and waited. Eventually, one of the waitresses came out crying; no histrionics or anything melodramatic. More like stifled sobbing. Turns out that all of the cooks had all gone home and there was zero communication between the kitchen and the staff. She was sobbing because of the CF and (I guess) the potential loss of a huge tip.

      Someone came out and said that everything on the late menu was free. Including alcohol. Zero bill. I left a $100 tip in cash.

      Then there was this time were the service was incredibly awful, the food was inedible, the seating was so crowded that I was continuously bumped around. I wasn’t in the mood for a fuss so I paid my bill and quietly left. No tip. Incredibly enough, the waitress came out to confront me about the lack of a tip in the dark, lonely parking lot.

  31. IraAntelope says:

    isn’t it unusual to go out for a big nite on the town with only a buck in your pocket? apparently the cashless society has arrived. I would have left the dollar and made up for it next time.

  32. ReverendTed says:

    Seems like a business would LOVE to put tips on gift cards.
    Someone paid the company X number of dollars for the card, but if the tip comes off of it, the company only has to provide “X minus tip” dollars of product.

    On the other hand, having a fraction of the card remaining results in one of two outcomes: person forgets or simply never uses the rest, or comes back and buys additional products above and beyond the remainder.

  33. incident_man says:

    On the rare occasions when my wife and I eat out and we plan ahead, I’ll swing by my credit union and get a stack of dollar coins just for tipping. We don’t usually go to very expensive places, usually places like Red Robin, Shari’s, Chili’s and Chevy’s Fresh Mex (where we can find them). Most servers enjoy being tipped well (for excellent service) and the uniqueness of our tips. We’ve had quite a few servers remember us from this practice and, from then on out they continue to give us great service.

    Besides, the dollar coins have somewhat of a novelty factor anyway, whilst still being legal tender.

    • I look at both sides of the story says:

      “Besides, the dollar coins have somewhat of a novelty factor anyway, whilst still being legal tender.”

      I paid for something at a store with a bunch of SBs and left. Guy comes running out of the store, face all red, arms waving, getting ready for a good scream. Then he looks down at the coins in his palm and realizes that the SBs weren’t quarters. Dog, I hated those SBs.

      Now, on the very few occasions that I’ve been given dollar coins as change, I ask the cashier to give me “real money”. Not once has a cashier ever said anything in return. I think they fought that battle too many times before.

  34. PacificGrill says:

    Hello, just from a restaurants perspective.
    The consumer purchased the gift card in say January. That purchase of the gift card is the sale, not when the customer comes in to use it. The restaurant has its cash for the sale. The consumer comes in in June with the gift card and wants to put the tip on the gift card. That money the restaurant made in January is long gone. The restaurant now has to pay the servers the tip out of their profits.

  35. kyborn says:

    At my place of business, we have a button for “open food.” we can charge a penny for miscellaneous food on the card and put the tip on that amount. Problem solved, except they are overcharged by a penny. oops…..