Does Terrible Service Deserve A Terrible Tip?

Does Terrible Service Deserve A Terrible Tip?

Tipping can be a tricky business, and even more so when you’re displeased with the service provided. We’ve gone into detail about tipping in the past (refresh your memory with the LV Guide To Customary Tipping) and touched on appropriate tipping for both pleasing and unsatisfactory restaurant service.

But many NY Times readers are still at a loss, and Bucks Blog did its best to sort out the dilemma.

Complain Immediately, Or Not At All.

The Times consulted the Emily Post Institute, who remind us that the time to express dissatisfaction is not along with the check. Instead, a complaint should be made and registered immediately, whether at a restaurant, apartment building, or hairstylist. Before reducing your tip in a fit of pique, make sure that the recipient knows exactly why the tip may be so much less than expected.

Tips Aren’t Methods Of Punishment.

Interestingly, a commenter notes that effect trumps etiquette, and that “tipping well merely reinforces bad behavior.” He has a point, but we would have to side with etiquette on this one. As the Times points out, in many situations tips are pooled and divided evenly to supplement a sub-standard wage. Refraining from tipping punishes the entire establishment rather than the offending party, and in our experience has only made the would-be recipient resentful of her wasted time… and more likely to take out her frustrations on the next patron.

If You Expect To Return, Tread Carefully.

Of course, tipping is largely up to you. Over-tipping for a job particularly well done is always welcome, and under-tipping for a disappointing experience is done often. But always remember that your tips are deliberate choices that reflect on you—what impression do you want to give?

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