Fandango’s Friday Flashback — July 3

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 3rd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally published on my first blog back on July 3, 2006. It’s a long post for me, but when I first started blogging, my posts were all relatively long ones.

Proper Tipping Etiquette

0BB7F352-6903-438C-AD3F-14AA3DC7F44FMy wife and I eat out with some regularity. As we often do once we receive the check, she and I discuss the proper gratuity etiquette. By “discuss,” I mean fight over.

I believe that 15% is a decent benchmark for tipping a waiter or waitress who has done an acceptable job of serving our food. I will make exceptions to that benchmark, however, depending upon the total cost of the meal. At breakfast or at a burger joint, for example, I will typically leave around 20% because the tab is smaller. Thus, for a $20 meal for two, I’ll generally leave around $4. But for more expensive meals, mostly dinners, it’s back to the 15% “benchmark.”

My wife argues that I should use a 20% “benchmark” because the cost of living has gone up and, therefore, the amount of the gratuity should go up as well. I argue that using a percent of the cost of the meal, which itself reflects the higher cost of living, essentially takes care of that. After all, on a dinner that five years ago might have cost $50, a 15% tip would have been $7.50. If the tab for that same dinner today was $80, the 15% tip would be $12.00. That equates to a 60% increase in the tip amount for the same meal, which, in this illustration, cost 60% more than it did five years ago. That, to me, seems fair.

Now for the complicated part. My wife insists on taking the total amount of the tab, including tax, and using that as the basis for calculating her 20% tip. I, on the other hand, take the amount of the tab, excluding tax, for calculating the 15% tip. The tip should be based on the cost of the meal only. Why should I also tip the server some percentage of the amount the restaurant is collecting to pay taxes?

My research on whether or not to include the tax in the tip is inconclusive. One web site on tipping etiquette wrote, “The general rule is that you do not need to include the tax in your calculation of the tip. However, most people just look at the bottom line (tax included) and tip on that.”

Another site offered contradictory information. It said, “Add the gratuity to the overall bill, which should includes alcohol but not tax.” The same site later noted, “The notion that you do not have to tip on tax is wrong.” So which is it?

Let me illustrate the impact of including the tax in the calculation of the tip using the 20% basis versus 15%. If the tab came to $60 plus $4.00 in taxes, my wife would calculate 20% of $64, or $12.80. Then she’d round up, and leave a tip of $13. Waiters and waitresses love it when my wife picks up the tab.

I, on the other hand, would calculate 15% of $60, or $9, and that would be my tip. Thus, for the same meal and at the same level of service, my wife would leave a tip over 40% greater than the one I would leave.

My wife also believes that my tipping philosophy, rather than being related to the level of service provided by the server, is directly proportional to the gender and attractiveness of said server. She believes that I leave more generous tips to female servers. More specifically, she believes that the size of the female server’s breasts will influence how big a tip I will leave (i.e., the larger the cup size, the larger my tip). And if the server is a blonde (my wife believes I have a weakness for blondes), my wife claims I’ll leave a larger tip, regardless of cup size.

Of course, none of that is true. My tips are gender neutral. And the only cup size that matters to me when I eat at a restaurant is the size of the cup my coffee comes in.

26 thoughts on “Fandango’s Friday Flashback — July 3

  1. Mister Bump UK July 3, 2020 / 3:27 am

    I must admit I used to just tip based on bottom line, although your logic makes perfect sense. We would generally only calculate it quite loosely, leaving some coins behind on the table as we left.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. annieasksyou July 3, 2020 / 3:46 am


    I’m assuming that since you wrote this post in 2006, you’ve become more generous. (I’m totally ignoring the conflict over server attributes.)

    If a server is decent and shows the effort, I tend to tip at least 20%. I feel a special responsibility toward servers, hotel housekeepers, and others who are woefully underpaid and depend on tips.

    Here’s my year-old post. It was my first attempt at a Drabble, which I’ve since learned is the flash fiction that you and others offer routinely. I must try again soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango July 3, 2020 / 9:05 am

      I have, under pressure from my wife, and because it easier to calculate 20% in my head than it is to calculate 15%, become more generous. But I still think my reasoning was sound.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. rugby843 July 3, 2020 / 6:03 am

    My 2017 post on this date used last year. I think I’ll have to start repeating myself🙄😃

    Liked by 2 people

  4. shail July 3, 2020 / 11:00 am

    Interesting 🙂 I once had a difference of opinion with a family member who did not want to tip the waitress AT ALL. I said that was okay, she didn’t have to, but I was going to anyway. That somehow changed her mind quickly and she insisted on paying her share. This was a few years back on a trip to Mauritius.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ruddjr July 3, 2020 / 12:55 pm

    I usually tip 20%. The thing that gets me is when they have tip jars at coffee shops.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. joem18b July 3, 2020 / 4:27 pm

    has technology come for you vis a vis tipping? around here, many/most places hand you an electronic device with which you approve your bill. tipping choices are included as buttons at the bottom. the serving person stands watchinng, silent, while you decide which tip button to tap. even if you’re just picking up take-out at the counter, pandemic-style, it’s hard to tap “no tip” or “10%.”

    there is an insidious feel to it, but then again, since all the counter workers are underpaid, in the end tipping does seem to be the right thing to do. the tip in these parts and times has mostly transmogrified into a small statement in favor of the transfer of wealth for social justice.


    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango July 3, 2020 / 11:18 pm

      Yes, that technology is here and I always make sure, before I tap any button, that the calculated tip amount doesn’t include tax.


    • Mister Bump UK July 4, 2020 / 12:47 pm

      I always used to worry that the tip would then go to the establishment rather than the waiter. I’d happily pay for a mealon a card but used to like to leave the tip in cash. Still no guarantees…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Marleen July 3, 2020 / 7:30 pm

    It is amazing to me that you had a blog topic on tips from July 3rd, three years ago, Cyranny. Good tips, btw.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Taswegian1957 July 5, 2020 / 9:07 am

    In Australia we don’t have as much of a tipping culture and generally tend to do it only for extra good service. When I worked as a hotel housekeeper some guests left cash tips for the housekeeping staff while others would leave gifts like a box of chocolates. I believe that our wages might be better than those of pople doing similar work in the USA.
    Then we went on a cruise, we booked in Australia so tips were built into our fares unlike passengers from the USA. However, as I knew that cruise ship staff were not well paid I did make the decision to tip and persuaded my sister to do likewise. The staff were so nice and helpful we were happy to give a little extra at the end of the trip. I think it is a shame that minimum wage workers don’t get a decent salary and have to rely on tips to get by.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango July 5, 2020 / 10:41 pm

      In the U.S., just about anyone who provides a service expects a tip!


      • Taswegian1957 July 5, 2020 / 11:25 pm

        I think England is the same. I was quite shocked to discover that even hairdressers expected to be tipped. I think that Americans in entry level jobs are generally more poorly paid than we are in Australia. Working full time as a cleaner in the 1990s I was able to afford to travel overseas.

        Liked by 1 person

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