Two Fools Brings Tipping Back Into Question

This past week, one of the most buzzed stories in the sports world came about when LeSean McCoy, running back for the Philadelphia Eagles, was called out publicly for leaving a 20 cent tip on a $61.56 bill.  The restaurant owner attempted to call out McCoy by posting a copy of his bill on the restaurant Facebook feed.

Now, depending on how you look at it, both McCoy and the restaurant owner are under fire.

McCoy, one of the premier players in the NFL, makes an annual salary of $9,000,000 per year.  He claimed that the service was poor, something that the restaurant owner disputes.  Nonetheless, as many have pointed out, even poor service should receive a modest tip given the low wages that wait staff made.

It reminds me of the lyrics from a song by one of my favorite 90’s rock bands, Live.

“Come on, baby
Leave some change behind.
She was a b**ch
But good enough
To leave  some change
Everybody’s good enough
For some change”

My thoughts is that they are both wrong:

Regardless of whether McCoy makes $9,000,000 per year or $9,000, leaving a twenty cent tip is just inexcusable.  I’ve been in situations where I’ve had lousy service, and in those cases, you can reduce the tip, but I’d leave 10% as a minimum.  That still provides for something, but it sends the message that something was wrong.  I’ve also learned that if things are unsatisfactory, it’s advisable to speak to the manager (or owner) and more often than not, things will be corrected.  McCoy made no such effort, and instead spoke up passively, making himself look bad in the process.

At the same time, the restaurant owner had no business posting a copy of the receipt showing the photo of the receipt.  That was in very bad taste, and to me, showed that he was just doing so in hopes of getting publicity.  If he really was, as he claimed, just trying to support his staff member, he could have posted a generic message on this restaurant’s feed in support of the staff (not mentioning anything that would give McCoy away), or if (as he claimed) he was present and knew that the service was great, he could have given the waiter the $9 or so that he would have gotten with a standard 15% tip.

Instead, Charlie Sheen of all people was the one that came in and offered the waiter $1,000.

I personally think that this was a tale of two idiots and the whole thing could have been avoided with some better judgment on both sides.

But, I guess that wouldn’t be sensational and newsworthy, now, would it?

12 thoughts on “Two Fools Brings Tipping Back Into Question”

  1. I agree that if the service is bad, you still leave a respectable tip (10%). And if it’s really that bad, where you want to leave a few pennies, then definitely talk to the manager. This sounds like a case of arrogance from McCoy and sensationalism from the restaurant owner who posted the whole incident online.

  2. We don’t have the same rules in the UK and Europe, so it’s difficult for me to understand the idea of tipping 10% for lousy service. Here we only tip for good service — it’s a bonus to the serving staff for going doing an excellent job and making your meal all the more enjoyable as a result. Having said that, our restaurants also play their part by PAYING their staff a living wage instead of forcing them to survive on tips… now THERE’s radical idea! 🙂

  3. I have never understood why restaurant owners don’t pay their servers properly and that the patrons are supposed to cover for them. The public goes along with this nonsense. A tip is voluntary and it should be what the patron wants to give.

    • We actually are staying at an up north resort in a couple of weeks, where the prices are higher up front but there is no tipping allowed because all of the employee costs are alredy built in. Once you reconcile it against all the tips you’d have to leave, the price is reasonable.

  4. Giving tip is voluntary and not compulsory. It’s up on the customers if they satisfy the good service they give big tip. But if the service is lousy or not good some did not give tip. The owner has no right to do that.

  5. What a sleazy bunch, all the way around. Twenty cents is a deliberate insult; the jock would’ve been more likely to pass as an affronted but decent human being if he’d left nothing. The restaurant owner apparently sets the tone for his staff, and as you can tell, that tone comes under the heading of “no class.”

    I’m with Myles Money and Alexis: tipping is voluntary. It’s not some legal requirement. To my mind, you leave a generous tip for good service, an average tip for average service, and no tip for poor service.

    But I’m also with Carole: the way restaurant workers are paid is immoral and inexcusable. There’s a logical consequence to that: don’t eat in restaurants. And it’s one of two reasons I avoid restaurants. The other is the quality of the food, 99% of which is highly processed and so heavily laced with sodium and sugar. Thus IMHO restaurant-going is a) unethical and b) bad for your health.

  6. As for dining in, I agree with the 10% minimum for bad service. It sends a message for sure, but doesn’t make you look like a jerk. That’s what I typically do and then I go and leave them a bad review on Yelp!

  7. I’m afraid I disagree….the fact that employers pay super low wages and essentially have servers work for tips is a problem with the employer and none of my concern. The bar for a tip for me starts at zero, not 10%. Although that being said, it takes really horrific service for me to give a goose egg. I think I’ve done it twice in my lifetime.

    I think the manager is a complete fool. By calling attention to the tip, he’s calling attention to himself as someone who refuses to pay his employees a fair salary for their work, and relies on customers to pay for his labor force. That is all kinds of arrogance, or ignorance, depending upon how you look at it.

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