My wife and I used to wait tables. Our favorite customers were a certain biker gang. They came in every few weeks. They had long scraggly beards, wore leather, and were covered in tattoos. Following the stereotype, they ate a lot of food and drank a lot of beer, laughed, smiled, joked, and had a good time. But they were always respectful to the staff and servers, and they tipped well. Everybody was jealous when this biker gang got sat in some other server’s section.
Our least favorite customers were Christians. Especially the ones carrying their Bibles and wearing Christians t-shirts. When we saw people wearing a Christian t-shirt or praying over their meal, we servers would often try to give the table to someone else. Why? In general, they were among our worst customers. They were often rude, demeaning, condescending, arrogant, impatient, picky about their food, and to top it off, the worst tippers ever.
Obviously, not all Christians are bad customers or terrible tippers. My wife’s parents, for example, always gave good tips and were great customers. I am sure there were others as well. But in general, the more blatant a person was about their Christianity, the less likely they were to be a good customer.
Quite often, instead of a tip, people who wore Christian t-shirts and asked their servers for “prayer requests” would then leave a gospel tract or one of those fake “$1,000,000” bills with the gospel on the back instead of any sort of tip. Sometimes they would write a note on their bill saying, “The information on this pamphlet is more important than any amount of money. I hope you read it. I’m praying for you!”
So I smiled sadly the other day when I saw this image:
Yep, that’s about right… The pastor refuses to leave any sort of tip for the waiter. This pastor is a bad tipper and a bad witness.
Look, if you are going to pray over your meal at a restaurant, wear a Christian t-shirt, carry your Bible, or take up a table for two hours while you have a Bible study during the busiest hours at the restaurant… do Christians everywhere a favor and tip generously. And by generous, I don’t mean 10%. If you are going to do any of these religious things in a restaurant, give at least 20%. Be memorable, not for how little you give, but for how much. Have the servers wanting you to sit in their section, not begging for some other serer to take your table.
And hey, if you don’t want to give 20% (or more), that’s fine! Just don’t wear the t-shirt, carry the Bible, pray over your meal, leave a gospel tract, or do anything else “Christian” at the restaurant. At least then you are not harming the name of Christ by being rude and cheap.
Rachael Burks White says
I completely agree with what you are saying, but is this receipt supposed to be real or just to emphasize your point? I only ask because the handwriting doesn’t appear to match up, so I was just wondering. I felt the exact same way when I waitressed while I was in high school. Additionally, I can’t tell you how many times that I have heard other servers say the exact same thing! It’s a shame…
Jeremy Myers says
I think it is not supposed to be a joke. I think it is real. I don’t know though for sure.
Mollie Lyon on Facebook says
So true. I live by this. And smile at the grocery clerk when you buy your after church lunch meat. Better yet engage in conversation. Make their day, not yours. Be a blessing.
While I have no way of knowing if the pictured receipt is legitimate, I have heard from various servers and wait staff that what you say is true. My sources tell me that being assigned the after church shift is considered the worst shift of the week. The after church folks are demanding, condescending and lousy tippers.
Personally, I can attest as a former wedding caterer that I can think of no other group who wants more and wants to pay less. Sigh – What is it about attending church that would turn people into demanding cheapskates?
Taco Verhoef says
This is a remark form a person who’s county it is not very normal to tip as high as it is in yours. Why do you tip 18%, or why is it expected to tip as high as that? I mean it is freaking on the ticket??? Do the waiters get such a low pay rate? Here if we would tip 10% it would be a super big amount for the waiters, as most of us don’t ever tip more then 5%. Most of the time it be 1 or 2 euro’s. Of course if we eat with more people everybody shares in the tip, so then sometimes it is more. But it is not expected to tip as far as I know.
Rachael Burks White says
Here, hourly waitstaff pay is around $2.13 plus tips. Now, you can imagine how bad it’s be if people tip poorly or not at all. Lots of restaurants in many states add on a tip automatically for large groups (I think it’s around 6-8 people or more). It usually details it in the fine print on the menu and/or ticket.
Taco Verhoef says
Wow that is kind of like 3world pay. How would anyone make a living out of that?
As someone who has not been able to afford much my entire life, I consider going out to eat to be a huge privilege to be had on very rare occasions. Before I became a Christian I was a lousy tipper and I still am now. Why? Because I already paid for food that has a pretty high mark up, why should I have to pay my servers wage? If I really liked the food I should be tipping the chef not the server. It’s not the waiters fault, it’s the restaurants fault for trying to save a few bucks and not giving the servers a decent wage which creates a hostile environment for their workers and customers alike.
I understand the bigger idea of this article so I won’t allow myself to get stuck on the tipping issue. I also understand the damaging effects to a group when a particular person who associates with that group creates animosity among non-group members. That being said, as a follower of Christ I always try to adhere to my best behavior no matter where I am, alone or in public, and I keep that in the forefront of my mind lest I be judged like the restaurant patrons you have described in this article despite the fact I don’t do any of these things (i.e. t shirt, bible, leaving pamphlets in lieu of tip, etc…) Will I become a better tipper after reading this? I’ll think about it…..
Rachael Burks White says
You are correct about the mark up on food and I suppose that it really is just another way to pass on costs to consumers. However, the fact remains the same, hourly pay for waitstaff is extremely low. They depend on tips, so when someone who either doesn’t tip or tips very little occupies their section, they probably aren’t going to make much. What happens if several of the people do that? The reason you tip the server and not the cook is because cooks make quite a bit more, but you can tip the cook too lol. Many people may not think about what all a server does, but as the title suggests–they serve you. That means, they bring your food and anything extra you request, they clean up spills and other messes (throw up from a child, a broken glass etc.), keep your drinks filled, tolerate obnoxious customers with bad attitudes, laugh at jokes that aren’t funny–and really the list could go on. I understand your frustration though, because it is aggravating to spend so much on food and have to leave a nice tip. I don’t like the fact that pizza restaurants charge a delivery fee that doesn’t go (directly at least) the person who delivers. I still tip them, but not like I would a server because their hourly wage is much higher. Since the delivery fee irritates me, I usually go pick up the pizza (live maybe a half mile away) or I do without.
Tampa Mojo says
Hey Bryan, I came from a humble background, too. My guilty secret is that even though I tip at least 20%, I’ll tip better at less expensive places. Seeing my server light up over an extra $5 to $10 is just amazing to see, and a little sad.. Maybe try that once, if you can, to see for yourself what power that tip has on a server when someone does that. And what it means to them. Then look up $200 tip on youtube to see more (no pressure)
I can tell you I raised a kid alone with my tips. The system might not be fair, but it’s what we have here and people like me chose to do it for a living.
But I really love what I do, I get paid to make someone like you have the best meal or drink possible, so it’s not only the tips I care about, it’s people like you.
Some people won’t or can’t tip well, personally I see it even out after all. If you can afford to be more generous with a tip, please do, it makes a living wage for people like me when others won’t.
Charles M says
I understand that it’s difficult to afford nice thing when you earn a low wage. But if someone can’t afford something they shouldn’t buy it. When you go to a restaurant you are entering into a non-verbal contract with the server, and there is a standardized range of compensation. If you have $20 to spend on dinner you shouldn’t use $19 for food and $1 for tip just because you wanted an extra appetizer. You spend the amount on food that you can leave a tip in the expected range and stay within your budget. If you were given the expected level of service then you should leave the expected level of tip. To do otherwise is essentially stealing a portion of the services you were provided. You can’t use “I’m poor so I’m not going to pay you for the job I asked you to do”. If your boss said they didn’t want to pay you your full salary but wanted you to work the same hours would you be alright with it? I don’t think so. His/Her appropriate course of action would be to reduce the amount of hours you worked while still paying you for your time. At the end of the day you could always tell your server at the beginning of the meal that you only tip 8-10% that way you have both have an understanding, but I doubt would want to do that. After all, what you really probably want is above average service for substandard pay. And when you do that you are gaming the system you don’t like at the expense of a person you don’t know who is, like you, just trying to make a living. It’s essentially benefiting from a system while simultaneously undermining it. Now do you see why under tipping is wrong?
Dustin Ryman says
I remember reading about this awhile back. This guy is a cancer in society.
This is a real incident. It happened at an Applebees in the St. Louis area back in January. The receipt is real. The waitress who took the photo and uploaded it ended up being fired by Applebees after the pastor called and complained that the viral image of the receipt had “ruined her reputation.
Jeremy Myers says
Wow. Thanks for the research on this and posting the links! Amazing….
More amazing still is that while she is concerned with her reputation, she apparently had little regard for the reputation of Jesus whom she was representing.
Well said people don’t care how much you know till they know how much you care and the best way to show a server that you care and make a good impression is not only by gracious conduct but by generous tips
Those who pray before the meal in restaurants are so intent on saying the prayer that they have no idea how disruptive it is to a busy server. Does she politely wait until they are done or move on to another table. If she waits, it slows down the service to others. When the place is crazy busy this is the last thing servers need to deal with. Why can’t these people pray in the car before they arrive? My take on this is it’s a means of saying they are better than those who don’t pray.
Reverend Solomon says
Today a group of 65 church members spent considerable time at a Chinese buffet restaurant.
According to employees whom I know very well no tip whatsoever was left. I learned this just after the group left.
I introduced myself as the leader of another congregation and personally spoke as gently but sincerely as possible to two of the gentlemen who were still in the parking lot. My suggestion was that the matter should be brought up for discussion for the church. It surely can not reflect well on the church of this nicely dressed group of people. This is perhaps why some restaurants automatically add a percentage to bills of groups over a certain size.
Jeremy Myers says
Hopefully they learn to never do that again. What a disgrace to the name of Jesus!
Rev. Solomon says
I have since learned that the two gentlemen promptly returned to the restaurant
after our conversation.
They gave a generous tip in excess of one hundred dollars for the server;
she was most grateful for this turn of events.
I waited tables at Olive Garden during Bible college and I had a particular technique for messing with the particular “brand” of Christians I was a part of.
We were required to approach tables in the evening with a bottle of wine and pour samples if they were interested. Well they would start out snooty, not knowing I knew what they were and I would approach them with the bottle…not offer it and say, “Well I guess you won’t be wanting this now would you?” By the time I came back it’d be all plastic smiles and false sincerity and questions like, “Where do you go to church “brother”?
Jeremy Myers says
That’s fantastic! And you probably got better tips from this as well. Christians often tip other Christians well.
LOL please be sarcastic. No what they do is release a horde of teenagers into your resteraunt 15 minutes before you close after a late night youth rally and they all order waters except for the token Dr. Pepper. They don’t tip..
Like seriously. I’d rather have a group of Hell’s Angels.
Becky Quaintance says
What a sad thing to find out. Christians ought to leave a tip, as I believe everyone should. Waitresses are on their feet a lot and do a lot of extra running for you. They really do not make much salary, as their employers expect their tips will make up the difference. Most receive only minimum wage. A little extra gratuity is a blessing for them. We need to bless and give to others. Just think of all the times you’ve been blessed, or times people gave to you. “Pass it on”. That’s one way of showing love. You can still pass a Gospel tract. It may be read better if you leave a tip with it. Let’s not taint the name of the Lord by refusing to give. “Give and it will be given to you,”. “ God loves a cheerful giver.”
Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9:7
Whenever we do something, it’s as if it’s being done to the Lord. And whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.” Matthew 25:45. The principle can be applied. We want our lives to shine for Christ and give glory to Him. Do we give glory to God by refusing to tip? Look at all the things we buy ourselves- we can afford to leave a tip for a hard working waitress and give God glory through it!!