Here’s Why I’m a Bad Tipper

I recently read an article noting the best and worse cities for customers tipping in the US. Thankfully, Raleigh did not make either list but it felt on point with the reference in my last post. So here goes, my attempt to address the controversy from my own perspective. I should preface this with, I was a waitress and worked in food service for almost a decade so my opinion on the matter comes from having done it and is not a privileged perspective of someone who hasn’t been there.

With that being said, I have a reputation among my family and friends for being a bad tipper. I take their “light hearted” jabs and even overlook the insult of being “tipped-over” by those who follow behind me as we exit the table. I’d like to take a moment to defend myself in saying that I am not a bad-tipper I am an expectation tipper. I will give the minimum even if the minimum was not met for the simple reason of it is what is expected. I will not, however, give above and beyond for waiters who meet the expectation or who seem extra busy simply because they are a waiter and I am expected to.

Here are my reasons,

a. At some point in our society meeting the expectation alluded to greatness. We overly reward for everything and that is simply not true or realistic. I go above and beyond in my job almost everyday and there is no instant gratification of monetary inflation to go along with it; and if there were I don’t think I’d have too many bad days. A raise is something you work your tail off for and doesn’t come from one project (or table) to the next. It’s about overall performance and hard work over time.

b. Having been a waitress I am fully aware of how little they make, BUT I also know what it takes to make money. I know that being a waitress is a choice; and a waiter with a crappy attitude expecting 20% just for setting a plate in front of me with little to no respect for their customers is not getting 20% simply because of their job title. Not all, but many, waiters have an arrogance about them that expects I’m going to just give them an hefty tip, no I’m sorry you must earn that tip. Just as I must earn my pay.

C. Extra busy means everyone is leaving them a tip so combined they are making decent money and if they are really good at what they do they will make GREAT money and I am more than happy to contribute; but just because they are working their tail around a dining room does not equate money out of my wallet, it is their job to do so. This is not meant to be a jerk perspective but is simply calling a spade a spade.

I’m not trying to be heartless, it’s a thankless, sometimes gut wrenching job that can be a huge pain in the ass. I have experienced the long hours, shitty pay, burns, sweat, stress, heck I was on the waitstaff of a restaurant-opening back in the day. I have dealt with the crappy customers who complain and bitch and moan and are downright assholes, but as a decent, polite and understanding customer (who has been there) it is not my job to make up for those who lack. That expectation is unrealistic and simply not true to any other job or career. It’s not the way things work. I understand that this post may cause its own bit of controversy and be it as it may, that’s fine. My job for my family is to work as hard as I can to provide, budget, and stay on track with expenses. It’s not about “gipping the waiter” I’m not trying to be cheap but just as I wouldn’t pay an inflated price for something that is just as well and accessible for a lesser amount, I’m not going to just give that money away simply because the industry says I’m supposed to. No, that’s not how it works. Go above and beyond, and show me why your service is worth more than the minimum rate and I’m happy to pay it, give me the minimum- you’ll get the minimum. That doesn’t make me a bad person (cheap reference to the cheap articles who make such claims) but rather it makes me an honest individual who works hard for every dollar I make and expects only the same for people I am paying. End of story. End of rant.

Stay Warm ox


A forced left turn

Let’s call a spade a spade, I’m a planner, even to a fault. Lately I’ve felt as though a greater force has tested even my best planning efforts. Whether it’s been personal, professional or life in general I have found the words “you are nothing if not flexible” resounding loudly in my head more times than I can count in the past few weeks.

Without boring you with too many details I can simply say that our budget has taken frequent planning-thwarts lately. We work hard to be mindful of every penny spent (hence the frugal part in the blog title) but lets be real. Sometimes you just can’t plan for everything. DAMN IT! lol Just kidding, obviously I know this but it’s still not fun to be hit with car repairs, unexpected service cost increases, extra gas fill-ups or my absolute favorite- small electrical fires that require emergency home repairs. Needless to say the Fowlers are not exactly jumping for joy. So what’s a frugal girl to do?

Freak out is not the first answer but it is the honest one. Okay, maybe not freak-out but it does put me in a super-sour mood. Thankfully, I have a partner who is a great balance in reminding me (even when I don’t want to hear it) that we have come a long way and we just have tighten things up. The upside to all of it is that after 2 years we were able to pay up front for the emergency costs and not “beg Peter to pay Paul” this is a wonderful feeling. The downside is that I absolutely despise spending money. Hence, my option for staying home over going out. Even for special occasions. The thought of paying someone to cook a meal I can probably cook myself and then pay someone in addition just to set it in front of me, no thank-you. I’m happy to address my theory and defend myself against the reputation of being a stingy tipper in a later post; I digress.

So what’s the answer?

Emergency costs call for an emergency spending freeze. It is not the most fun decision but it is the most responsible one. This is also a great follow-up to one of my last posts about quarterly planning. We are able to assess the next few weeks and since they are already planned out we know instantly what can be cut and where we can save costs and the best part, how long it will take to get right back on track.

The truth is, whether I like it or not, sometimes we cannot plan for every little thing, regardless of how hard we/I try; but being mindful and keeping the lines of communication open about spending, expectations and restrictions helps to allow for quickly getting back on track after experiencing a forced left turn.

Until next time…expect the unexpected and stay centsible.