Tipping incident while having lunch

The other day I ate at a luncheonette that prides itself as being part of the community, where the locals come, etc. They have outdoor seating and on this beautiful pre-autumnal afternoon most patrons took advantage of it although I opted to eat inside. A woman who had dined outside came into the establishment to tip her server, not wanting to leave it on a table outside. The server was not readily available and the cashier offered to take the tip to give to him. The woman said “no, I want to give it to him personally to make sure he gets it.” “That’s an insult” replied the cashier. Similar banter went back and forth with the cashier repeating “that’s an insult.” She finally was able to locate her waiter and walked over to hand it to him. On the way out, the cashier again said to her “that’s an insult.”

My take is that while it was indeed an insult (the cashier is a woman probably in her 60s who had worked there many years, not some gum chomping teenager with pink hair), the customer is always right and if that’s her preference to hand the tip to him personally, ignore the insult. I have eaten here about twice a month for the past five years, and if that was my first impression of employees here it would not be favorable and I probably wouldn’t go back.

1 Like

I’ve (also) sought out the server who I wanted to give a “cash tip” to. To avoid any argument (similar to the above story), I included that I wanted to personally thank him for making my (and my date’s) meal more enjoyable with his witty conversation and dessert suggestions.
If at any point, any of the employees said “that’s an insult”; I wouldn’t go back to that restaurant. There are plenty of other places to eat and I’ll spend my money elsewhere.

1 Like

I’m not some gum-chewing teenager with pink hair, but, if I were, I’d be insulted! :wink:


I think the cashier has the right to defend herself if indeed the customer had implied that she would steal the tip. That being said, I do not think the customer has actually crossed that line. The customer only said that she wants to give the tip to the server personally to make sure he gets it. A lot of time tips can get lost. It is not about stealing. It can be as simple as forgetfulness. If a restaurant can forget your order, it can forget to pass on the tip.

1 Like

I’m assuming you meant to say “It isn’t about stealing.” :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Thanks. Just corrected now.

1 Like

Agree that the cashier didn’t need to continue to press the issue and repeat that to the customer multiple times. Customer service jobs aren’t ideal for someone who cannot let the occasional jerk or annoyance go.

However the customer’s comment is rude, and could have been handled better. When cashier responded that she was insulted, the customer could have apologized or clarified it wasn’t directed at anyone in particular. Neither took the high road and both are at fault.

I would be weary of potentially other service issues, but I wouldn’t be ready to dismiss all service as bad because of one incident of an immature cashier.

1 Like

You did think gum-chewing with pink hair are symbols of “I don’t care about money”. Dude!

“to personally thank him” is a nice, diplomatic way to put it. Hard for any other employee to argue with that.


As a former pink-haired teenager, THAT’S an insult. And plenty of 60-year-olds steal. The government seems to be full of them.


It was never an insult. Many people like to tip directly to the server as a personal acknowledgement.

I will put money in a tip jar even if nobody is looking. But I do have to admit that it’s nicer if someone is looking.

1 Like

I’m not sure why the “insult” came in, unless as mentioned above it was an insinuation that the cashier would not convey the tip to the individual server.

But in several restaurants I know of, individual tips never go to any particular server. They’re pooled and then parsed out according to an agreed-upon formula (as between cooks, servers, hosts, and bussers).

All the tips are collected by management and passed out according to the formula, and count toward wages for social security and medicare withholding purposes.

Any server caught pocketing a tip to try to keep it “under the table” is fired forthwith.

My 3rd daughter (a nursing student) has worked as a baker in an Italian deli since her high school years and continues to work there during college summer and winter breaks, and that’s been their policy, too. She makes $12 and hour wages and about $19 an hour after tips, on average. But they’re all reported to the government and taxed for FICA and income tax purposes.

I’ve bolded where the insult comes in. Insensitively worded by the customer and then reacted to by the “aggrieved party”. Although the cashier did not need to keep repeating it, the customer could’ve backtracked and said “sorry… it really wasn’t meant that way” or something similar. Then they could’ve shared some gum (which, according to at least one TV commercial, makes things better) & gone out together to get their hair colored (pink or otherwise).
And, no, the customer is not always right. I’ve personally witnessed too many instances of that being the case. But discretion and trying to minimize damage & find commonality is an adult response. Unfortunately, today’s world seems to promote polarization and grievance instead. Just my 2cents worth.


Pepsi is better.