Thinking Out Loud

February 7, 2013

Should the Tip for the Waitress Exceed Your Tithe Percentage?

I Give God Ten Percent - Applebee's Receipt

Q: What’s the difference between a canoe and a Christian in a restaurant?

A: A canoe tips.

The bill for the meal at Applebee’s came with a pre-calculated 18% tip, but you certainly had the option to override it with any tip you chose.

But one customer argued that God only gets 10%, so why should wait staff get 18%.

But then he [update - see comments] she left nothing.

So another server took a picture of the receipt containing the comment.

And the restaurant fired her — really a third party in all this — despite years of exemplary service and management aspirations.

Apparently the customer — who to make matters worse claimed to be a pastor — was outraged when the story went public and demanded that heads roll.  To appease the customer, Applebee’s rolled one head, and lost a perfectly good employee in the process. Not sure I want to eat there again.

And then, the story went world wide. The link I have is to The Guardian in the UK. The newspaper’s online version takes a line from the server, “…tipping is not optional. It is how we get paid;” and renders it as some kind of quaint American trivia headline, “Tips are not optional, they are how waiters get paid in America.”

Excuse me, don’t people tip in Great Britain?

But before we go to far here, are we led to believe that the person who stiffed the waitress really gives ten percent? Because statistics on both sides of the Atlantic don’t support that notion. And if the type of person who does give ten percent is also the type of person who doesn’t leave a tip, personally I would rather they tithed less.

For example: Recently we attended a youth outreach event that is being held in a large restaurant complex and entertainment center. Many of the attendees — in their late teens and twenties — go out to eat afterward and since they are identified as being from the “Christian” event, the last word to them before they are dismissed is to be kind and generous to their servers.

The last thing the world needs is another hot-headed Christian alienating others from Jesus. It might take an army of Christ-followers a lifetime to undo what this person did in just a few seconds.

What I really like about Chelsea Welch’s story is that in the end, she takes the high road, something the customer in the story didn’t do:

As this story has gotten popular, I’ve received inquiries as to where people can send money to support me. As a broke kid trying to get into college, it’s certainly appealing, but I’d really rather you make a difference to your next server. I’d rather you keep that money and that generosity for the next time you eat out.

To see the discussion on Reddit provoked by this, click this link.

Related article at Christianity Today: Why Are Christians Such Bad Tippers?

The Silver is the New Black Theme Blog at WordPress.com.