A while back I got tired of trying to figure out what an appropriate tip would be under a given circumstance, so I decided to simplify my life and leave a generous tip no matter how bad (or good) the service was.
I don’t like judging people, anyway, so it seems awfully burdensome to have to put on my God hat and separate the deserving from the undeserving every time I eat at a restaurant.
By comparison, habitual, unthinking generosity is easy, and it feels a lot better. And it doesn’t even cost much. In restaurants, I always tip 20%, regardless of how good or bad the food and service are. That way, I don’t have to reverse-engineer who, if anyone, is responsible for my good or bad experience.
Anyway, there’s just no way I’m going to stiff the lowest-paid people I’m likely to interact with that day. I haven’t checked my karmic balance recently, but such things might trigger an overdraft, and you know the kinds of fees they sock you with these days!
So if the server is spaced out due to partying all night, or staying up all night with a sick infant, or because they were never trained, or whatever, the tip is the same. Which is just as well, because people generally don’t volunteer such information and, frankly, I’m not super eager to hear about it. Not if I don’t know them.
Some people think that it’s easy to assess these situations by calling upon their powers of observation and deduction. Or, to put it another way, by using their powers of conclusion-jumping and hallucination. Remember, most people act like it costs them five bucks every time they admit, “I don’t know,” so they have a story for every damned thing. Half the time, they even believe it. Me, I cherish my ignorance; it’s always there when I need it.
I’ve heard all the arguments against tipping, but you might as scream at the weather for all the good it’ll do you. Even if someone made a huge mistake and appointed me Dictator-for-Live, the tipping question would never make it onto my to-do list. And without dictatorial powers, a single individual’s opinion has no effect on the custom.
Unless you’re the kind of person who enjoys stiffing the lowest-paid people you’re likely to encounter today, it probably feels best to tip generously, and it’s simpler,too. One less thing to worry about. But you can do it your way. It’s a free country. A word of warning, though: people who prepare and serve your food have many opportunities for undetected revenge.