What Christians Need To Know About Tipping

I am not LIFE.... If I hand you lemons, you do NOT make lemonade!

I am not LIFE…. If I hand you lemons, you do NOT make lemonade!

There are some people who you know are going to be bad tippers just by looking at them. I’ve had a job as a server for a long time now, and sometimes you can just tell. For example…. If you ask how much a soda costs, things do not look good. If you ask for a “bowl of lemons” for your water and then ask for some Splenda, I plan on being disappointed. If you say anything at all about “being a good tipper,” chances are you’re not. If you happen to be wearing camouflage or anything bearing the likeness of a person on Duck Dynasty, I will be pleasantly surprised if I get 10%. And sure, I can always be surprised by folks, but years of experience has conditioned me to lower my expectations as to how much money I’m going to make with certain folks. And one group that is very consistently cheap with their gratuity is people who pray before they eat.

Christians, before-meal-prayers, camouflage clothes.... It's the perfect storm.

Christians, before-meal-prayers, camouflage clothes…. It’s the perfect storm.

If I see someone praying before their meal, I immediately lower my expectations for their tip by about 5-10%. Now, it must be said that some of the most generous people I know are Christians. I’ve had Christians leave me amazingly generous tips before. I’ve watched Christians talk to someone who mentions needing a car, and they’ve said, “Here, have my car.” But for whatever reason, the folks who believe (for whatever reason) that Christians are supposed to pray and “bless the food” together before every meal–the ones who make the biggest spectacle out of their pre-meal prayer–they are notoriously terrible tippers. Ask any server, and they’ll tell you the same thing. And this is really frustrating to me, because I’M a Christian.

The only "fact" this shirt portrays is that I'm about to be disappointed....

The only “fact” is that I’m about to be disappointed.

Now, I’m the sort of guy who thinks EVERYONE should tip their servers well (I wrote a bit about that HERE), but if you are the sort of person who feels the need to pray before every meal, here’s what I need you to do: Take a good, hard look at yourself. If you are a cheap person, do the rest of us a favor and skip the prayer before the meal when you are eating out. Or, just don’t eat out anymore. I’d rather you stay home and pray over your Kraft Mac n’ Cheese than go out and make all Christians look bad. You might be asking yourself, “What does he mean by cheap?” Let me define “cheap.” You are cheap if…

  • If you have ever started a credit card tip with a decimal point. Maybe you planned on a $4 beer and instead it was $4.25 and you only have a $5 bill…. fine. Whatever. But if you are paying with a card, do it right. I don’t care if you split a pizza 6 ways and your tab is only $3.25…. If you leave .ANYTHING as a tip on a credit card, you are cheap.
  • If you pull out a calculator when trying to figure out what to leave. A lot of you will say that you are trying to make sure you leave enough. No. You’re not. You’re trying to make sure you don’t leave too MUCH. The only people who do this are bad tippers. Good tippers estimate, and then they err on the side of generosity. Sorry–You’re cheap.
  • If you think of 15% as a “good tip.” 15% is not a good tip. It’s a bad tip. If you saw your server pick his nose and eat his booger, then he got your order completely wrong, and because of his incompetence you missed the movie that you were planning on going to–THAT’s a 15% tip experience. $7.50 on a $50 tab is a slap in the face. What does the birdie say? (The birdie says “cheep.”)
  • If somewhere in your brain you feel like your being extra complimentary will make up for your impending shitty tip. You saying “Thank you SO much” three times (and writing it once next to the tip line) is not–I repeat NOT a tip. These are called “verbal tips,” and they are not going to help anyone pay their bills. Welcome to Cheapville…. Population YOU. And speaking of this, if you leave a crap tip and write “God Bless” or anything thereabouts that identifies you as a Christian, you are an awful, awful person. I’ve got news for you: If God is going to bless someone, it’s going to be through the people who love him. Writing “God Bless” next to a crap tip is like having a sandwich and praying for a homeless person to get some food… and then taking your sandwich home with you so you can eat it for lunch tomorrow.
  • If you feel the need to hide your receipt. Or fold it in half. Or strategically place the pen over the tip line. People who leave good tips don’t feel ashamed of letting other people see what they left. You, my friend, are cheap… but I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know. There are more ways to detect your own cheapness, but I’ll stop here…. For an AMAZING article on tipping, please click HERE. It’s awesome.
This fascinating "Tipping Spectrum" was featured on waitbutwhy.com's article on tipping. They sampled 1000 servers to compile this information. Click the link above the picture to read the article.

This fascinating “Tipping Spectrum” was featured on waitbutwhy.com’s article on tipping. They sampled 1000 servers to compile this information. Click the link above the picture to read the article.

Listen, when Jesus sat down for a meal with his disciples before he died, he took some bread and broke it and he took some wine and drank it, and he said, “When you do this, remember me.” I don’t believe he simply meant for that act only to be a remembrance in Church with little wafers and tiny cups of grape juice. When we sit down and eat with each other, those are holy times. If you’re going to pray before your meal, instead of recycling all of the same old things you always say when you pray before your meals, try this new prayer instead:

“God, help us to be examples of your extravagant love to a cynical world…. A world whose biggest barrier to loving Jesus seem to be the folks who claim to follow him and call themselves “Christians.” Where we are afraid of not having enough, God, please remind us of how much we have, how little we need, and how much you love us. Show me how–two weeks from now–an extra $5 on a tip will make absolutely no difference in my life, but it might be the sort of small act that encourages a stranger to give the faith they abandoned just one more chance. Help us to love people–Not just with our words, but with the things we do and the resources we’ve been given. AMEN!”

"Hey, Lama. How about a little something, you know... for the effort."

“Hey, Lama. How about a little something, you know… for the effort.”

Where I grew up, people didn’t go out to eat on Sundays because then it would force other people to WORK on Sundays (instead of “honoring it and keeping it holy”). If you’re not going to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy by NOT going out to eat, you had damn well better honor it and keep it holy by leaving your server a decent tip. This coming weekend, so many of you are going to go out to eat after Church. Guess what…. The servers who are bringing you your food? Many of them talk quite a bit about “wanting to start going to Church again,” but instead, they have to work Sunday lunches bringing you your stupid food. For so many people, this is a shift that is dreaded because of the notorious reputation of the after-Church crowd as tippers. This has got to change. Christians should be so generous that servers should be FIGHTING over those Sunday shifts!

So if you are one of those parties who holds hands, squeezes your eyelids together so tight, and prays loudly about “we just” this and “blessing” that and “Jesus’ name” this, you had better be ready to drop some extra cash on the table. Christians are not cheap. Christians are generous. Start acting like a Christian.

***For a really inspiring tipping story, you should read THIS***

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33 Responses to What Christians Need To Know About Tipping

  1. TLS says:

    Such a great post! I was a server in college and I still remember working Sunday nights and the same large group of church-goers would come in. They were so demanding and always left $1.00 a family and about 10 pieces of Christian literature on how to get saved. Everyone that worked there loathed them! I was actually going to Bible college at the time and was so embarrassed by how these people acted. Everyone in the restaurant knew when they were praying, but all the people that worked there were left with was a terrible impression and a dollar bill with Jesus loves you on it!!

  2. bdhstone says:

    I always tip if I get average or better service. Show me just a little work ethic, and you get a generous tip. You, however, are not “entitled” to a tip because of your position. That only works in government.

    We can formulate a “caricature” of any group of people. Christians, are the target here. Among Christians, there, unfortuneatly, are hypocrites. I would venture to say there are those that are way too tight to go to CHurch, help the poor, or reach out to community……Are they most likely good tippers? Why aren’t they targets?

    In spite of this article, when my family goes out to eat, we are not going to pass out tracts. We are not going to make a spectacle of our selves. We are going to quietly bow our heads, hold eachothers hands, and thank God for a wonderful life, and providing for us. It will be short and sweet. Even the most critical will barely notice. Our prayer will not deal with the misgivings of human nature, or teaching others a lesson. It’s merely that we acknowlege our Creator before we partake of His Blessing. I know that might get under the skin of some (even those that like to purport themselves to be Christian) Please forgive us, you are not the “target” and it is not our intent to offend.

  3. sinceri says:

    How much did you pay Orion to use a screenshot of their movie? Did you pay Bill Murray to use his image as part of your blog? I have a hunch the answer is “no.” So apparently Christians aren’t the only ones who don’t give credit where credit is due.

    • theboeskool says:

      Something tells me you might not be the best tipper….

      YOU GOT ME! Your words have changed my heart, Sinceri. I have decided to donate 80% of the money I’ve made off all the blog posts I’ve written so far to the Bill Murray Educational Foundation. There is also a screen capture of Duck Dynasty in there as well, so I’ll be donating another 80% of my blog earnings to the NRA in their honor.

      Now, you might be thinking, “Wait, that adds up to 160%!” Don’t worry. 160% of zero dollars is still zero. I don’t make any money off this blog. It’s a labor of love, done purely out of the joy I get from interacting with kind people as yourself….

      • sinceri says:

        What makes you think I’m a bad tipper? I’m merely pointing out that you’re just as guilty as those who don’t give credit where credit is due. In matters of copyright, it doesn’t matter whether or not you make money on your little blogging venture. If you use an image that doesn’t belong to you, you need to get permission and, if needs be, pay for the rights to use it. You might not think it’s a big deal because you assume Bill Murray, Orion Pictures and the Duck Dynasty people have oodles of money and wouldn’t care anyway, but it’s still the principle of the deal.

        Everybody thinks they’re getting cheated in one form or another.

      • theboeskool says:

        Are you a copyright lawyer who’s familiar with the nuances of internet copyright law? Google runs ads on their page, and if you do a search for Bill Murray, they link you to 1000 pictures of him. Do you think they send him a check every month for having his digital image on their site? If Bill Murray or one of his representatives contacts me and asks me to take down his image, I will be happy to. If they want to bring some sort of legal action against me, I will deal with that at the time. But if you are attempting some sort of “Gotcha” comment, you’re going to have to try a little harder than that.

        Regardless of how unprincipled you view my use of pictures of these posts is, this particular post is not about “thinking I’m getting cheated.” It is about the practice of calling attention to your faith, and then acting in a way that makes servers everywhere dread getting parties of Christians. I believe this shouldn’t be the case. You are entitled to think differently. Though, you’d be wrong.

        And as far as why I’d bet you’re a bad tipper…. Let’s just call it a hunch.

  4. There are always two sides to a story.

    When I was single with disposable income, I had a reputation as a large tipper. Now I am married, working for a nonprofit that pays part-time wages for a full-time job, and I’m trying to send three boys to college without saddling them with crippling loans.

    When we are able to treat ourselves to a meal out, I always leave a 15% tip. But that’s all I can do. It’s not maliciousness, it’s my reality.

    • theboeskool says:

      I am married, working for a non-profit, and I also have three kids. Guess who else has kids they are trying to send to college without crippling loans. Your servers.

      Also, vote for an end to a system that makes going to college “crippling” for poor people.

  5. No. You are incorrect. A server who violates health codes is not only earning ZERO gratuity from me and most other sane people they are also being fired and the restaurant reported to the BOH.

  6. Will says:

    As a server, don’t you take the good with the bad. It’s what you sign up for, right? That 5 dollars that you hope Christians realize they don’t need – well, how bad do you need? Apparently bad enough to be yet another person in an ever growing list of those who have joined the cottage industry of complaining and shaming anyone about anything.

    Well written article – I enjoyed the humor. If you really wanted to ruffle some feathers, you’d write about how bad blacks tip. Because they’re REALLY bad tippers. Worse than Christians who pray before meals. Easier to pick on Christians, I guess.

    • Andrew Dicker says:

      Ha ha. Yeah. Someone went there. Thanks. Don’t be afraid of the truth.

      • lillianb says:

        Or, basically he can speak of what he knows. He IS a Christian. He is NOT black.

    • theboeskool says:

      There is a conversation to be had about the stereotype around “how bad blacks tip.” There are a lot of reasons why stereotypes are formed, but usually there is some truth to them. First of all, some folks with dark skin are fantastic tippers. There is bad tipping as an individual decision, and then there is bad tipping that comes from a cultural norm. I don’t look at someone from a foreign country as a horrible person for leaving a crappy tip. They might come from a culture that doesn’t tip very well. I think that in some African American cultures, there might be something cultural that doesn’t put a high value on tipping well. However, I am not a part of that culture. I don’t know the norms–spoken or unspoken–so I don’t really have a place to speak into it.

      If I owned a business, and my employees were going out wearing our uniforms and raising hell, I would be like, “Hey! Take off your uniform before you do that, because you’re representing my business.” Same thing with Christians praying–If you’re going to do it, you had better be kind and generous. Folks cannot take off their accents or their dark skin, and unfortunately, some of those folks whose cultures are different build stereotypes that place them below Christians on “The Tipping Spectrum.” I’m not too familiar with European or Asian culture, nor am I part of black culture, but I do know Christian culture. And being a bad tipper is not a part of Christian culture.

    • Michelle says:

      you know who else are bad tippers? Foreigner. ive worked in the industry when I was living in Vegas and the foreign tourist were the worst, even the ones who moved there to live. I hated having to work their table.

  7. Barbara says:

    My sons first job in high school was waiting tables and I was so disappointed when he told me Christians were the worst tippers. As a Christian I believe we should be the best tippers. Christians are called to be generous. We have taught our son to be generous. If we can’t afford a good tip we don’t eat out. Here in Georgia wait staff get $2.00 per hour!

    • theboeskool says:

      Not only that, Barbara, but servers HAVE to tip out other people based on their sales. So if someone leaves a $7 tip on a $50 tab, usually the server is only going to get about $4-5 of that, because he or she has to tip out the busser, the food runner, the hostess, and the bartender. Usually between 3-6% of your sales. And that is NOT optional. So if a server gets stiffed on a $100 tab, he still has to tip out $5. So that table just COST him $5.

  8. Mike says:

    I confess to using a tipping app, because I suck at the “small math”. I generally take that amount and throw on some more after that.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Are you kidding here? Just because you are a server somewhere and someone gave you a crappy tip tonight now you need to rant about it on your blog? I’m offended that you would try to make a connection between Jesus and the disciples and the sacrament Jesus has asked us to continue in his name and leaving a good tip. Please, please check your own greed.

    • theboeskool says:

      This is an observation formed out over 10 years as a server. Here’s what I’m saying: 1) If you are a Christian, you should not be cultivating the stereotype that Christians are cheap. And 2) If you are a cheap Christian, do the rest of us a favor and don’t pray before your meal . You’re making us all look bad. And what’s worse, you’re making Jesus look bad.

      Wanting fair pay for work is not necessarily greed, but that’s not what this is about. This is about Christians. If you are doing something that screams “LOOK AT ME! I’M A CHRISTIAN!!!” the next thing you do better be a representation of the best parts of our humanity (kindness and generosity) and not the worst parts (selfishness and fear).

      As far as your being offended, I say good. You should be offended. Maybe read it again without expecting to be offended….

  10. rick says:

    Sorry, but if a waiter picks his nose, messes up my order and causes me to miss my movie, he is SO NOT a 15% waiter. He is a 0% waiter, because once I see him pick his nose, I’ll be demanding a new waiter. That is as nasty as it gets.

    I waited tables for four years, and I have to agree with the Tipping Spectrum. Foreigners being bad tippers makes sense because in their culture the rules are very different – though they should learn how it is done while visiting the US. Use Google. After that, sorry my brotha and sista friends, but you’all tip horribly. It wouldn’t matter how much I ran my butt off for the table getting four different kinds of dressings for your one salad, six straws for your one ice tea, three forks for one pork chop, etc. A dollar per person at that table no matter what the bill was. Sheeeet.

    Also, if the hostess brought me a table of all women of whatever color, OH LORD! Separate checks. Waters with lemons. Small salads with the dressing on the side. No appetizers. No desserts. Yes, 14 separate checks, all with cash. Total average tip, about 7%.

    • theboeskool says:

      You’re not being funny, rick. You’re making an ass out of yourself. And you’re showing YOUR true colors.

      Please see my comment above as to differences in culture. Women have only had the right to vote in this country for 90 years. 60 years ago, there were separate drinking fountains for people with different skin colors. Today, there is still systemic racism all over the place (as evidenced by your completely inappropriate comments). Imagine that there might be more to the story than you think.

  11. Bj says:

    Seems to me from some of the comments above that people don’t like being called out. You’ve angered more Christians with this post than with any ones about homosexuality. 🙂

    • theboeskool says:

      That’s because those people with the crappy jobs deserve what they get, BJ!!! They should have worked harder. And not gone to a failing school. And not been born into a broken family. If we all get what we deserve, it makes it easier to deal with huge inequality….

  12. Laurel says:

    Hey, I always tip the cleaning staff at a hotel. Is that not a thing? I usually leave at least 10 bucks a night which is certainly NOT 20% but still. Why shouldn’t those ladies (or gentlemen) get a tip?

    • Michelle says:

      I tip the maid staff at hotels as well. It’s something my folks always did so I started doing it as well. Most people think I’m weird for it.

  13. literalnut says:

    You’re my new favorite person. Getting to work reading everything you’ve ever written.

  14. Sarah Bonner says:

    Over the years, I’ve found myself slowly becoming more in favor of voting for a ‘no tipping’ law, and taking it out of the equation for restaurants. I’ve never been a server, so I don’t know what their opinion would be from that perspective — it just seems wholly unfair to expect an employee to not know what their income is going to look like by the end of the week if they work a regular schedule, and I find paying a server less-than-minimum wage on the assumption that customers will tip less-than-ethical. If people were raised to tip, they will, assuming they can afford it, but the industry should no longer assume it’s going to happen. It’s just unrealistic in the generation of “Me, Me, Me.”

    But I’m also Christian. I don’t really think I care for the generalization that I’m a bad tipper, because I don’t see myself that way — but I do realize that there’s a certain loud-mouthed subset of Christians out there that fit into that Holier-Than-Thou stereotype. A 15% tip is a baseline for me — a starting point. If you take 40 minutes to come back to my table when I clearly see you flirting with the barman (and not just overwhelmed with other tables), then you’ll get nothing. I think that’s fair, because a tip is a sign of respect and gratitude, and I find it hard to be gracious while being ignored or treated badly. On the flip side, I usually end up tipping high (20%-25%), because -most- people do try hard at their work and I can see that.

    • theboeskool says:

      Nope. You’re a bad tipper. Sorry. It’s a good thing to be aware of, though…. I’ve been a server for about 12 years as a 2nd job, and people who are “15% as a baseline” are universally known (by servers, at least) as bad tippers. You never, EVER leave a server nothing as a tip. If their service was that bad, you talk to a manager, and they’ll probably give you your food for free. And even then, you tip your server. Every time. Always. If you stiff a server on a $50 check, it COST your server about $3 to take care of you.

      And, just to clarify, I didn’t say that Christians are bad tippers. I said that people who pray before their meal are bad tippers. There’s a difference.

  15. Pingback: What We Can Learn About People In Restaurants and Costco Parking Lots | The Boeskool

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