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.
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.
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.
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!”
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***