By Theo Thimou, clarkhoward.com
What do you think is an appropriate tip when you’re out for a meal at a restaurant? There’s been a lot of talk about how the old thing of 15% has morphed over time to a new standard of 20%. But no matter where you stand on the issue, there’s probably nobody on Earth who thinks a $1 million tip is appropriate!
A gratuitous gratuity…
A Scottish man accidentally left what amounted to a roughly $1.3 million tip on a bill of about $131, according to Evening Express.
“When he came to pay, I gave him the card machine and he asked to put in the amount himself, but it didn’t go through,” Abdul Wahid, the owner of Rajpoot Indian Restaurant in Aberdeenshire, told the Express.
“I then had to phone the bank for him and I answered all of the questions and they then gave me the confirmation code. At this time, he still had the card machine, so I never saw the amount he had typed in.”
“But 10 minutes later I took the machine and looked at it and I just said ‘Oh my God, what’s happened, what have you done my friend?’ I looked at the receipt and then he looked at it and he just said, ‘Oh my …’”
Maybe the Curry Vindaloo made the anonymous man’s eyes water and he couldn’t see what he was typing. Because, boy, that’s the fat-finger flub of a lifetime!
Fortunately, the man was able to cancel the payment before it went through and leave a much less gratuitous gratuity for the meal.
Bigger questions about tipping in our culture
While this story is cute and it ended with no problem, it raises a bigger question: How much should you tip and when is it appropriate to tip?
These days you’re likely to see a tip jar when you go into a coffee shop, a sandwich shop or any other place with counter service.
Money Advisor, which is a publication of Consumer Reports, once asked people how often they put money in the tip car at pizza shops, ice cream parlors and the like. The response of 48% of people was never, while 4% said they always tip when they see a jar. Meanwhile, 3% said they pretend they never see a jar and a little less than half said they occasionally pop funds into the jar.
There’s long been an expectation that decent table service warranted a 15% tip. Then more recently, it’s changed to 20%.
But now the latest wrinkle is tipping in a limited service place like a coffee shop, pastry shop or a Starbucks. Many establishments have apps that suggest a tip amount if you’re paying electronically. The Starbucks app has suggested tip amounts of 50 cents, $1 and $2 built right into it.
This idea of tipping for limited service is coming into the culture. There was no such thing 15 years ago. But now, it’s becoming what’s expected.
As job prospects improve, places that offer limited service have to deal with turnover. So often they’ll become more aggressive about having you tip, rather than them paying their people more to reduce turnover.
It’s a hard question. But if you don’t pay attention, a lot of theses apps will suggest an amount that defaults to around 25% or 30% for counter service. It’s up to you. But you’ve got to pay attention and make a decision. After all, it’s your money!