By KRISTEN GOLEMBIEWSKI, Opinions Editor
Last week, a waitress at a St. Louis Applebee’s was fired after she posted a picture of a receipt with a note from an unhappy customer on Reddit. The customer was part of a party of eight, which at Applebee’s (and most restaurants), meant they received an automatic gratuity attached to their total.
“I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?” the customer wrote, upon seeing the additional charge. This, despite the fact that the menu noted parties of eight or more would be subject to automatic gratuity – which, in this case, meant a little over six dollars.
The waitress didn’t share the receipt to be vindictive, and she didn’t think anyone would take the time to try and figure out the customer’s name based on their scribbled signature. But they did, and it was revealed that Pastor Alois Bell of was behind the rude comment.
So Pastor Bell did everything she could to get this waitress fired, claiming it had ruined her reputation and “brought embarrassment to my [her] church and ministry.”
Well, good. She deserves to feel embarrassed. But Chelsea Welch, the waitress, certainly didn’t deserve to be fired.
If anything, Bell should be the one in trouble. Because when you don’t pay your full bill, that’s called stealing. I believe that’s in the commandments somewhere.
I’ve been seeing a lot of bad excuses for not tipping lately. My favorite this year has been a printed card a diner left, explaining that because of new taxes on higher income earners, they could no longer afford to tip. “I must cut back on discretionary spending and gratuities,” the card read. “I wish it didn’t have to be this way for both of us.”
In high school, I had a friend who wouldn’t tip because he believed he needed the money more than the waitstaff did. When he became a waiter at a popular chain restaurant, he quickly changed his attitude.
But there are still people like him. Just last night, a friend of mine posted a receipt on Instagram. Her customers racked up a $90 bill and left her no tip at all.
Unless you have received the absolute worst service of your life, there is no reason to completely not tip somebody. By all means, if you’re unsatisfied with your service, talk to the manager. Certainly adjust the tip accordingly. But don’t totally stiff a person.
There are other rules, too, but I’ll leave that for Emily Post, mostly because I don’t know all of the rules. But I do know this: the federal minimum wage for people who get tips is $2.13. A server might spend as much as an hour, maybe several, catering to you and your party. And even after you leave, they may have to pool their tips, or personally tip the busboys and hostesses. Try and understand what they have to deal with. Have a little compassion. Treat them fairly.
If you can’t do that, then simply stay home. Or subject yourself to the scrutiny of the internet. Your choice.