Woe Unto Them That Stiff Their Server

skin flint

There was a time when I didn’t know any better and seldom if ever tipped my waiter at a restaurant.  Part of the reason was because my own resources when younger were significantly limited, especially compared to incomes I earned as I got older.   But I also asked myself why I should increase a person’s wages who already made what I thought was a normal salary for doing something they are already being paid to do.  I still apply this logical thinking today as it relates to our federal and state subsidies to profitable oil companies that enables them to do something they’re supposed to be using those massive profits for.  But I digress.

It was only later in life when I came to learn that wait people at restaurants and other similar jobs make less than minimum wage, significantly less in a lot of cases and rely primarily on tips from customers to make an income that will pay for their rent, food and clothing.  So today I automatically take this situation into account when eating out and factor in a 15% gratuity to my bill and up to 20% if the service is exceptional.

Now I suspect there are still plenty of people out there today that look at tips similar to the way I did when I was poorer and younger.  I can empathize with the poorer part though I would hope that knowledge about what wait staff make these days is more commonly understood and if these people do decide to eat at a sit-down restaurant and are waited on for their meal, they do so with the understanding that a tip will be part of their final bill.

Anyone who doesn’t get this is not only a cheap skate but an insensitive lout towards people whose income relies upon tips in order to survive in today’s economy.  So you can imagine my surprise as well as my disgust upon discovering someone who most people expect to be a role model for human kindness in society not only fails to tip their waiter but justifies it by making a comparison between this low-income wage earner and God.

A pastor’s note on a restaurant bill has unleashed an unholy outcry on Reddit. A snapshot shared by an apparently stiffed server shows the gratuity scratched out and a big “0” written in its place. “I give God 10% Why do you get 18” the diner scrawled on the $34.93 receipt, adding the word “Pastor” above his signature.   SOURCE

pastor's receipt

Now this waiter may hardly be starving or struggling to make ends meet but as I indicated earlier, anyone who has worked in a restaurant or knows someone who has, knows that waiters make less than minimum wage.   It would have been one thing to forego a tip if the service had been lousy but clearly this wasn’t the reason this “man of God” gave.   No, he had to invoke the most High and compare his waiter to someone who supposedly paves their roads with gold

Somehow this pastor feels that the Creator of heaven and earth, who’s supposed to be capable of giving “sunlight to both the evil and the good, and … sends rain on the just and the unjust alike”, needs 10% of this or any man’s earnings.  We all know that anyone who can make the resources we humans value by simply willing it doesn’t need 10% of what we have taken, rightfully or not, from this creator of universes.

When pastors refer to tithing and other donations as “giving to God”, we all know that this is merely semantics to thinly conceal where it really goes.  It is in fact partly the necessary revenue for the pastors services who congregations engage to serve them.  You could probably even stretch this to say this is their way of tipping the pastor for services rendered, no?

What stumps me most about this entire episode I think is the fact that someone so vulnerable to criticism for withholding a waiter’s tip would make it known to that person – and now, as a result, to the entire universe – that his station in life is one that most people would least expect such miserly behavior from.

The individual who actually posted this story on their Reddit account said “the man’s party of 20 ran up a big tab but asked for separate checks, ‘thinking it would get them out’ of the automatic 18 percent gratuity for large groups, ‘even though the same man paid for everything.’”   It’s not clear then if someone other than the pastor paid for everyone’s meal or each had to pay for their own.

What is clear is that the good reverend justified giving nothing at all based on the assumption that he pays the King of the Heavenly Host 10% of his wages.  Wages, mind you, that essentially come from the tithing and generous giving of church members.  For someone whose income depends almost exclusively on the giving of others you would think he would reciprocate such generosity.

Way to lead by example padre.


18 responses to “Woe Unto Them That Stiff Their Server

  1. Having worked in restaurants, I tend to give 20-25%, especially when I drink only water and don’t add alcoholic drinks to the total bill. It’s usually not much more (I don’t go to expensive places often) but it can make a difference to the server. The Pastor above clearly lacks Christian values.

    • “The Pastor above clearly lacks Christian values.”

      Perhaps he does but it’s a part of the christian teaching that compared the Pharisee to the woman who gave everything she had. Like the Pharisee he was more willing to present himself above such lesser folks.

  2. My lesson in tipping came many years ago, when we were struggling to get by. We ate out at a very inexpensive restaurant with a friend of similarly limited means who had worked as a waitress herself. She explained the pay situation to us and left a generous tip (20% was a lot back then). I never forgot that, and always tip well now. I figure if I can’t afford the tip, then I can’t afford to be eating out.

    • ” I figure if I can’t afford the tip, then I can’t afford to be eating out.”

      Exactly. I’m assuming that most restaurant owners keep their prices low because of the meager wages they pay wait staff so tipping allows patrons to not only register their approval of the food they’re served but to encourage the servers to show their stuff and make people want to come back again. It’s a win/win situation except when skin flints like that pastor abuse it.

  3. Ah, God, all-powerful, all-knowing and always in need of money.

    I have overtipped since I got my first job (as a teacher) because of the record teachers have of being poor tippers. Nobody works harder than a good waiter or waitress.

    • Yes, it seems that some of the people who ultimately pay for the services they want are all t0o eager to pay as little as possible and expect more for it.

  4. The whole tithing thing is a massive guilt trip layed upon the “faithful” to keep them coughing up money to support the clergy. Biblically, It was a national tax in ancient Israel to support the Levitical priesthood who didn’t inherit any land when they conquered the “promised land”. Beginning with the apostle Paul, New Testament preachers tried to cash in on this concept and have been enriching themselves ever since.
    When it comes to give God money, I take a fistful of dollars and throw them in the air. Whatever God wants, He can take.

    • “When it comes to give God money, I take a fistful of dollars and throw them in the air. Whatever God wants, He can take.”

      Throwing some towards food banks and animal shelters would probably be better. 😉

  5. well……first of all….the food at Applebees suck. Ditto for Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Golden Corral and other ;big box ; eateries. You can eat better at a local establishment…or, for that matter….cooking at home.

    more to the point…..I worked in college as a taxi driver…..no wage at all. I got a commission on fares and needed the tips. No riders, no pay. Some days, with a convention in town, I could really clean up…..had to figure a weekly average to exist. My ex- was a waitress, the son and daughter worked at jobs , well under miinimum, and needed those tips. The good thing about those jobs, and why all four of us worked them…was the flexibility. If a term paper was due, why gosh, it was easier to get a few days off. The Pastor was way out of our of line seeing as their wages are ALL tips from the Congregation. gees, One of the biggest reasons I worship trees…..never have to tip them and they never never bark back at you.

    • One of the biggest reasons I worship trees…..never have to tip them and they never never bark back at you.”

      And they shade you while you adore them. What’s not to like.

  6. What’s worse, is that the employee was then fired, which I thought was hideous. Additionally, I’m told that the reason that some restaurants do this is because they can reduce their own taxes by using the forced gratuity. I am not sure about that, but the pastor was a total ass.

    • What I heard Sherry is the employee that took the picture of the receipt and posted it on Reddit was fired, NOT the waiter that the receipt was given to. Does that sound right to you?

  7. I don’t think I’ve ever been under the illusion that wait staff don’t need tips. That’s because I had both parents and two of my sisters who had worked at various times in that field. Because of that I’ve only had one incident where I failed to tip, and that was because it was the single worst restaurant and service I’ve ever seen. Otherwise, I’m a pretty generous tipper.

    • Yes, tips are based on quality of service and when one clearly has a death wish as a wait person they have to reason to expect a tip. BTW, we ate out at the Road House restaurant last night and had one of the most personable waitresses I believe I have ever encountered. She definitely earned my 20% gratuity for going above and beyond

  8. It depends – yes – on the service. I would never stiff the waiter if the service is good – even if the food is not. As far as taxi drivers, I always over tip, sometimes ridiculously. As far as the pastor – well, he may be a man of the cloth, but underneath it, he’s pretty rotten.

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