Restaurants and restaurant workers have been hit hard by COVID-19. It seems like every day I hear about a restaurant shuttering. Some people are not ready to dine outside their home. Others don’t even have the option. That leaves a lot of take-out and delivery—and figuring out how to tip properly.
One Redditor wrote in wondering if she made a faux pas by not tipping 25% to the server who presented her with her order upon picking it up—because the server certainly got mad.
The OP begins by explaining that in her area, restaurants can currently operate at 50%. She had just finished work and was headed home when her roommate called to say that the stove wasn’t working and they didn’t have any other food.
The OP decided to pick up burgers at a restaurant she specifies is not too fancy but also not McDonald’s. She ordered four burgers, two fries, and two drinks and said she would pick them up.
“The restaurant is only a 15 mins detour from my usual path. So, I told them that I would pick it up. I tip delivery drivers, so I thought I would save the money. I am a college student working as a desk clerk in a hotel. I am not broke my any means but I do try not to waste money,” she writes.
“By the time I reached the restaurant, my order was ready. I paid the money in the counter and they directed me somewhere else to collect. There was a waitress in the counter. She had the order in her hand, but didn’t give it to me.”
“She mentioned that since the pandemic started the restaurant has been encouraging tips for takeouts. I was surprised and I took out my wallet and asked her if 10 percent was okay. She told me that standard is 25%.”
“I was shocked and she could also see it in my face. She started telling me that ‘It’s a pandemic. Do you know how much servers are affected? You know that servers live on tips, don’t you? You are young but that’s no excuse to be so selfish.'”
The OP felt shocked and that the server was being “unnecessarily condescending.” So she told her curtly that “the pandemic has affected everyone, not just you. The only difference between me and you is that I don’t expect people to give me money when I haven’t actually worked for it. Can you please hand me my order?”
The server rolled her eyes and handed over the order. The OP left without leaving a tip.
“Now, I genuinely don’t know whether I was in the right or wrong. I mostly tip 20-25% when I eat out. I have tipped less than 10% very few times, but that was always only in case of extremely bad service. I tip 20% to delivery drivers, 25% if weather is bad. I generally don’t tip on take out orders or for counter services. I haven’t actually gotten any take out since before the pandemic started (safety reasons and I was being frugal in case I got fired). So, I am not sure if the rules have changed since then and I am just unaware. Now, I am conflicted. AITA for snapping at her?”
Redditors were pretty much in agreement that the OP was not being an a** and that the server had been out of line.
“At the very least, this is extremely unprofessional, and I couldn’t ever imagine saying that to a paying customer. OP was well within their right to refuse to pay a tip after that. And, of course, no one has been unaffected by covid; the waitress seems self-centered and uncaring of how it impacted anyone else other than her,” said Neither_Square.
“I’m a hostess at a restaurant and have worked there for over 3 years. I know hosting is different than serving, but none of my co-workers or I would ever dare to have the audacity to say such a thing. If we ask for tips, we are fired on spot. Even if we weren’t fired, that’s just ridiculous what she said. I could never imagine saying that to someone,” said Cerulean225.
“Forced tipping through social shaming is such an odd thing. It’s starting to happen here in the UK too, which has been wholly imported from the US. I’m happy to tip when the service has been good, but restaurants should not be paying starvation wages and offloading the financial responsibility on to customers,” noted boughtMyOwnMic.
“Coming from someone who used to bartend and serve, she was way out of line and should be written up for that. I get it, I’m sure serving sucks during a pandemic if the restaurant isn’t adjusting their hourly pay, so if no one is dining in, you’re risking going to work to make like $10 in wages. But that’s no excuse to demand a customer to tip you well over the standard tip rate and then proceed to call them “selfish”. You’re right, everyone is struggling and not everyone has the spare money to tip that much for take out orders. Even when I received a takeout order at the bar, I never expected a tip because I did the bare minimum in serving them. This woman just sounds entitled,” explained suzukisinclare.
“I used to work at Ruby Tuesday and sometimes was assigned to takeout shift. Basically answer the phones, take the order and enter it into the system, keep track of the order status, compile all the items when they’re cooked and add cutlery, napkins, wipes, etc., get drinks, take payment and hand over the order. My wages were the same as waiters, and customers were encouraged to tip but often didn’t. It obviously wasn’t as difficult as being a server, but it was 10-15 minutes of work, and I didn’t have a choice about being on that shift for the day. That being said, I would have expected her to explain this to you if that were the case, and since she didn’t, I’m guessing it wasn’t. But this comes up all the time and I think sometimes people done realize that there is still someone working on your order even if it’a not in person,” said Lmm247.