I work at an office where I am the lowest-paid person by far. Quite possibly, I am the only person in this office not earning six figures a year. I am not complaining about it, I’m paid very well actually. What I am complaining about is the cheap sonsabitches I work with.
I am the girl that takes the lunch orders and phones in for delivery. Occasionally I’ll feel generous and will even go pick up lunch for everyone if we decide to order from a place that doesn’t deliver. I never offer to pick up Chinese food though. First, it’s too heavy, even for a big strapping gal like myself. Second, it makes my car stinky. A dirty car I can deal with, stinky, not so much.
Back to the topic at hand: cheap people. Today I felt outrageously hungry and knew that the little crackers I grabbed before I flew out the door wouldn’t cut it. I sent an email to the usual suspects asking if they wanted to order in and two people did. I phoned in the order and paid for my own over the phone with my money card. I sent an email to the other two that said, “Lunch has been ordered and will be delivered shortly. I have attached the menu so you know how much to contribute. Don’t forget 9% tax and tip!” Seriously, could I have been any nicer?! (See, this mediation training IS working!)
I immediately heard back from one person. He was on a conference call and only had $5 and would pay up later if that was ok. The other person completely ignored the email. As a matter of fact, I had to go to his office when the lunch arrived and ask for the money directly. Our conversation went like this:
Me: Lunch is here. Yours is $6.50. (I had sent him the fucking menu, right?!)
Him: Look!!! I have exact change. He hands me $6.50.
Me: Um… there’s also 9% tax and tip.
Him: Oh!!! How much do you want?
And with that, I yank the one remaining dollar bill from his clutched fist. His white knuckles were oozing cheapness and that dollar bill was begging for mercy. Oh my effing God, seriously?! You make a gazillion dollars a year and you want me to kick in for your lunch? Or to screw the minimum-wage earning delivery driver out of a tip? What is the matter with people?
I run into this outside of work as well. I’m sure many others do too. There are some friends that I flat-out refuse to go to dinner with. Their buffoonery and hemming and hawing about how much of a tip to leave infuriates me. You know that if they were at the table alone, they’d probably leave a dollar. If that.
One of my favorite people in the world was cheap like that. As a matter of fact, before the days of handy cell phone apps, he would carry a “tip chart” in his wallet. This was a little plastic card that he could just look at and figure out what the proper bare minimum was and leave that for a tip. I loved the man dearly, but I hated going out to eat with him!
Sometimes one catches on to a poor tip by peeking. EN and I were once invited to dinner by a friend to thank me for visiting his douchebag girlfriend while she was in prison (I’ll delight you with those details in another post). The bill came out to more than $100 and our friend tipped $10. This was a restaurant that EN and I used to go to a lot and we were pretty friendly with most of the waitstaff. The waitress that night was wonderful and provided us with awesome service. The only reason we knew about the tip was because EN peeked while our friend was cashing out.
We did the only thing we could think of… We said goodbye to our friends outside and told them we needed to wait for the motorcycle to warm up. After they pulled out, we raced to the convenience store next door and hit the money machine. When I walked into the restaurant, the waitress said, “Was there something wrong with your service tonight?!” I reassured her that our friend was just an idiot and I gave her some extra money.
Think of it this way the next time you eat at a restaurant: The waitress is earning approximately $3/hour from her employer. While you are sitting at one of her tables, she is working for you. If she provides you with good service, reward her financially. Your charming conversation with her isn’t your payment. And you probably have broccoli stuck between your teeth anyway.
If you want to claim that you are an idiot at math, here’s an easy way to figure out a tip. If the bill is in the double digits make sure to tip at least 1 ½ times the first number. If the bill is in the triple digits, tip 1 ½ of the first two numbers. Still confused? Check this out:
The bill for dinner is $50.00. Your tip should be at least $7.50 (5 + 2.50).
The bill for dinner is $100.00. Your tip should be at least $15.00 (10 + 5)
Or, you could just go for the gusto and *gasp* tip MORE than 15%... this is even easier to figure out: take the first number or two and double it for a 20% tip. Easy peasy, right? Now there’s no halfsies to worry about even!
And if you are kicking in for a take-out order, always make sure your contribution is enough to cover your meal and any extras. I warn you that if you don’t, the next time the chick calls in the order yours will be fucked up. Guaranteed.