Friday, August 04, 2006

It's not tipping I believe in; it's overtipping.

I need an expert opinion, so I submit this to the blogosphere.

So, I'm sitting at Sonic recently about to handle up on a big order of ice cream related items to take home to the family for a nice summer treat. I've placed my order and pull out my wallet to assess the situation.

Two one-dollar bills and, of course, plastic. So, I use my credit card to pay for the slooge, but realize there's no way to put a tip on the card. But, I do have my two one-dollar bills.

Do I give both, just one? The bill was about twelve bones, if that helps.

I decide, okay, I'll give the girl both. But, then I see there's a guy working as well. I think to myself, well, if it's the guy, he only gets one.

Why is that? Why would I want to give the guy $1 and the girl $2? I start asking myself, "Self, are you being sexist?" I got no response. Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?

Well, as God's providence would have it, neither that girl nor that guy brought my order out, but a different girl I had not seen. I gave her the two bones and she seemed appreciative.

I didn't really have a reason why I would give different amounts. I'm not aware of any sexist tendencies, but then again, I'm not aware of too many things. I know what I know, if you know what I mean. I know I was going to treat the two differently.

Is it because I think men are the inferior sex, for I do. If it wasn't for women, men would never bathe or wear clean clothes or eat with cutlery, not necessarily because women wipe our noses by cleaning up after us, but because we do those things to impress women.

A misogynist is one who hates women, but is there a term for one who "hates" men? There is, apparently, misandrist (Note: Gunny's Word of the Day). Is that it; do I "hate" men? Not necessarily, a particular man, but men in general. As was sung in Mary Poppins: "Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they're rather stupid."

The whole thing just struck me as odd. Odd is not novel for me, but I wonder if there's any insight out there to be sent my way. Why don't you lay down that insight right now, with us, together?

What would you do? Would you tip the same? Why or why not? Do you have a rationale for how you roll?

I try to be a good tipper, never below 15% unless there's some reason that the server was just really heinous. I believe Christians have experienced God's generosity and should be generous with others. I also staunchly believe that one should not take it out on the wait staff when there's a waffle with the order (although if it's not written down, I'm thinking there's some culpability potentiality) or the food is just not good or I have to wait to be seated or the restrooms look like a roadside men's room at a gas station in Oklahoma.

I used to find it odd to tip at Sonic, since they just bring out the food, but I've come around. I still wonder how much to tip at the barber shop, but typically a buck ... two if I am really stoked. As I understand it, you don't tip FBI men, but some folks tip everybody.

Any tipping insights you'd care to share?



At 04 August, 2006 10:24, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Pink doesn't tip, unless you buy his breakfast.

But I do tip, typically the 20% rule, even if it is a dude. But I will say Gunny that you are not a man-hater if you feel you should tip a man less, because the vast majority of time the male is a worse server as compared to his female counterpart. My joy depletes a little bit everytime I sit down to a meal and a dude rolls up and says, "Hey man, I'm your waiter. What do you want?" More than anything else, it is typically his bad attitude because serving other males is naturally (moral depravity) unappealling to him, and it shows.

There are exceptions though of course - see Fogo de Chao - those boys are good! But for the Sonic dude, I want my Route 44 Cherry Coke with a smile, so I tip the girl more. That's my policy.

At 04 August, 2006 12:25, Blogger James said...

I never touched a gun in my life. That and that alone forever doomed me to middle I might not be the one to ask about such decisions.

When I tip, I tip 15-20% (except for at buffets, where I tip less, since I'm my own wait-staff but I'm not the one cleaning up the mess).

I don't tip at Sonic.

I tip the 20% for better service, not for better gender.

At 04 August, 2006 12:28, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found an interesting note in your link ( on tipping:

Who are we NOT supposed to tip?
* Employees at fast food restaurants

At 04 August, 2006 12:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I can't respond to the blog, since I don't remember my info. Good report. I like it. I don't think I tip differently according to gender. I always tip at Sonic. So, my DON and I were traveling back from east Texas and stopped at a Sonic. Since she was driving, she ordered, and she paid. I gave her money for the beverages and extra for a tip. She didn't give the tip to the employee. She had never tipped at Sonci before. She does now.

Billie Hartman

At 04 August, 2006 12:40, Blogger GUNNY said...

Why did he have to be Mr. Pink?! Hate the name, as I know he did, but love the policy.

Ah, the curse of the male waiter. It may be that subconsciously I've come to expect bad service from the male waiter so in Pavlovian dog fashion I react accordingly.

His whole "I'm so whipped by having to serve you" motif is tired. He needs a new angle 'cause that one ain't workin' fer me.

Those Fogo de Chao boys are good ... in fact, I wanna be friends with them. No complaints there and they are the exception to any rule.

James, the gun thing was tragic, but so are the Army shoes. Lose the shoes, they're tragic.

Who are we NOT supposed to tip?
* Employees at fast food restaurants

I can assure you that I can't ever recall being tempted to tip at a fast food restaurant.

At 04 August, 2006 15:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked as a Sandwich Artist for Subway back in college, and I was never tipped despite my excellent skills and awesome sandwich creations. However, I also admit to providing better service to our female patrons and not as good service to the dudes (except my buddies were well taken care of).


At 04 August, 2006 16:25, Blogger GUNNY said...

As one of those buddies, I can attest Oil's sandwiches were good. In fact, for us a footlong was ... 12 inches long!

At 04 August, 2006 21:31, Blogger Billie Hartman said...

If Oilcan was a Sandwich Artist, the I am a Domestic Engineer.

At 04 August, 2006 22:26, Blogger M. Jay Bennett said...

I waited tables at Applebees one year. I was good . . . real good. I was kind of a big deal. People knew me. But the restaurant was on the edge of a lower income section of the city, so I felt the pain of getting some poor tips. I don't know if it was 'cus I was a guy or 'cus they were poor or both, but a bad tip is always bad news for the waiter. Waiting tables is hard work!

I did serve a couple of older gay guys once. They left me a hundred dollar tip! That was sweet, even though I'm not!!

Anyway, ever since my Applebees days I always tip really well. usually 20-25% unless the service is just terrible, then I go down to 15%. I never go lower than 15%.

But Sonic? I don't tip at Sonic, yet I always wonder if I should be and feel guilty for about five seconds as I roll my window up and watch the server walk away. Five seconds of guilt isn't quite enough to change my mind though.

At 04 August, 2006 22:52, Blogger GUNNY said...

In a part of town where the apartments don't smell of rich mahogany, I imagine it's a little tougher to get good tippage.

When their libraries don't have many leatherbound books, it's probably hard to afford Applebee's at all, much less tip with any generosity.

If I couldn't have tipped you well, I would have at least whipped out my jazz flute and gave you a few bars of Aqualung to show my appreciation.

At 05 August, 2006 01:50, Blogger M. Jay Bennett said...

Yeah, that would be cool. I can see you now all decked out in your crew cut and bowtie, wailing on a mean jazz flute!.

Now that I think about it, one of the gay guys told me he played a mean flute. But I don't think he was talking about a jazz flute!

At 05 August, 2006 02:07, Blogger GUNNY said...

Whew, that was close. For a moment there I thought perhaps you were insinuating that "jazz flute
is for little fairy boys."

Just out of curiosity, were church people poor tippers?

I've often heard that, but wondered if you experienced it as well.

At 05 August, 2006 02:40, Blogger M. Jay Bennett said...

Yeah it's true. I never made much with the Sunday after-church lunch crowd. In fact it was the church folks that tended to be more uptight and crotchety about everything.

The best tippers were the folks who were more easy-going. If a group ordered drinks, then I knew the probability of getting a good tip had gone up. Also, in Marietta, GA at the time (not sure if it's still this way) restaurants had smoking sections. The smoking section always gave the best tips.

Christians need to loosen up a little man! Maybe a few sermons on Ecclesiastes would help. I've never heard a tee-totaler preach from Ecclesiastes.

At 06 August, 2006 12:30, Anonymous Stephanie said...

I was a waitress at a sports bar & grill on the Riverwalk for a time. Thems was some good tips. Strangely (or maybe not so much), it seems that tip rates waxed and waned based on how the Spurs & Cowboys played on the particular day.

I'm with Jay-- since waiting tables myself, I, too, make sure that I tip well. It's dang hard work, and base pay sucks (what was it? $2.15/hour?). I never go under 15% and generally tip liberally between 20-30%.

And I always tip at Sonic. Carhops don't make minimum wage either.

At 08 August, 2006 15:24, Blogger Billie Hartman said...

The carhop at Sonic today said she didn't get a raise for 3 years, because she receives tips.However, she said a lot of people don't tip. She finally got a 10 cent raise! She also said she makes more in tips at her other job in a bar.

At 08 August, 2006 16:11, Blogger GUNNY said...

Thanks for the field research. Me thinks Sonic is taking advantage of their people since they should at least make minimum wage (assuming they don't).

At Wendy's (for example) if they have to bring me my Frosty after the regular food is ready, they'll walk it out. They don't expect a tip. What does the server at sonic do other than bring the food?

I'm not against tipping them, but I can't see tipping them the same percentage as I would the person who waits on me at Chili's who makes regular trips to the table, etc.

I go ahead and tip them because I think they get hosed by the man, however.

Another wrinkle ... I tend to tip more at Sonic if the person is on roller skates, old school like.

At 19 December, 2007 09:40, Blogger Michelle K said...

Apparently Sonics vary because a few people here have commented on the low wages at Sonic, yet I have experienced something different. I have known a couple of people who worked at Sonic and they made above min. wage...I think they got about 8.50/hour. And they actually got paid more for skating. Also, I have a parent of a student who manages a Sonic and they pay anywhere from $8-$12/hour for carhops, says this parent. So anyway, I used to always tip at Sonic, till I found out about the good wages. Now, it just depends on my amount of cash/change and my mood.

At 04 January, 2008 01:08, Blogger Jesus Girl said...

I am impressed by your desire to tip well and being open for discussion.

I myself worked in the tipping industry for about 9 yrs or so. I did hear about the church crowd not tipping real well, and noticed it as well. But... I only waiting on a tipping Sunday lunch crowd at the outback Steakhouse in Memphis, TN. That has been my only experience in church crowd.

I know that some places either pay you an hourly rate or they pay you 2.13hr + tips. It's hard to know because some people have the same duties and make different. I worked at Souper Salad (buffet) and it was the 2.13 + tips. Not many people tipped and you basically refilled drinks and bussed tables all day. I put in my 3 days and called it quits.

Sonic, I try and do 15 percent of the order.

All of restaurants tax servers on a percentage of their sales whether they made 15 percent or not. So if you stiff a server that really does come out of their pocket in a sense. You still pay a percentage on the bill. That comes out of your money before you see it that night.

Waiting tables, bartending, beertub, barbackiing, hostessing, bussing, all of it is hard on a person. That one customer can make or break your smile, mood,night, week, rent, etc.

Those pocket gospels, great way to slip a $20 bill tip to an underserving negative life hating individual.

I think as Christians we should make a point to tip well and give God the glory.

That doesn't mean I always have and always will - that's just what I'm striving for.

Slipping a fat bill into a pocket gospel and handing it over to the guy on the corner of the busy intersection..I think that's a great thing - glory to God.

I often try and give in those situations just because I have Christian paraphanalia all over my vehicle.

Well, that's my all I have to say about that...


At 28 December, 2008 21:15, Blogger Terry T said...

I realize this is a late posting but I am new to your blog.

A tip on tips. I too have had similar thoughts regarding the amount of the tip. The local Sonic that I frequent is also the scene of my dilemma. Certain "hops" naturally receive more, new "hops" that I have not seen before are evaluated for "tip worthiness" prior to delivering my order. I too cannot explain the difference. I fear that there may be some sort of "Tip Openness" virus in the air. I pray that it will not affect my theology.

Normally though, everyone will receive a dollar tip minimum at Sonic regardless of the order, more if it is a large order or the weather is bad.

Both of my daughters spent their time in waitress purgatory so both my wife and I are good tippers. For us the standard is 15%, more for very good service and for exceptional service the wife is likely to go to nearly 30%.

I agree that as believers we who have been graced with redemption from our God should find many ways to be generous to others. Sadly both of my daughters (as well as a niece and nephew who also waited on tables) will attest that the worst tippers they encountered were "Church people" and for my girls those who we knew from our own church. So in good NCO fashion, we lead by example and instruct and mentor whenever we have the opportunity.

Terry Thomas


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