60. Leaving a Tip
Sharon and Ken just finished a wonderful meal at a fancy restaurant. The service and food were five-star quality. Ken asked for the check. “How much is the tip?” Sharon asked. Since she and Ken were just friends, she didn’t want him to pay for the whole meal, but since Ken did invite her, she assumed he was paying. Sharon thought that offering to put in the tip was a nice gesture. The tip was not going to be cheap. The meal, complete with a bottle of wine, must have been at least $200. $30 would be 15 percent of a $200 bill, and $40 would be 20 percent of a $200 check. Since the service was good, Sharon had no problem giving a 20 percent tip.
Ken told Sharon that there was no need to leave a tip. Sharon was shocked. Maybe Ken didn’t think the food was good or maybe he wasn’t happy with the service. This surprised Sharon because Ken seemed to enjoy the entire experience and didn’t complain. “Was something wrong?” Sharon asked Ken. “No,” Ken answered. He explained that he felt tipping was just an American way of showing off extra wealth. “I think it’s vulgar and disrespectful,” he continued.
Sharon knew that Ken wasn’t born in the United States and wondered if that had something to do with how Ken felt. “Well, in the United States, tipping is kind of expected. Servers generally aren’t paid that well and rely on tips to feed their families. The exception of course is if the service was really bad, but I had a lovely time. Didn’t you?” Sharon asked. “Service was great,” Ken agreed, “but why don’t they just pay the servers better so we don’t have to pay more?” Sharon agreed with Ken, but she still left a 20 percent tip.