Gratuity dilemma that’s likely to tip some over the edge
- Credit: PA
It would be nice to have some guidelines on tipping in restaurants because I always worry about it – not about tipping over, but about giving gratuities.
I am a complete wuss.
I fret that it will be ages before they take the dessert order and another age before I can attract the attention of anyone to ask for the bill.
If that, happens, you see – and quite often it does – it means reassessing the tip.
I like to give 10 or 15pc in cash (I prefer not to add it to the debit card) but have given as little as five.
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Only in establishments such as McDonald's do I give nothing at all.
Now there are government plans to remind consumers that they do not have to tip when eating out.
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Sajid Javid, the business secretary, has launched a consultation on tipping amid concerns that restaurants are confusing customers by not being transparent about the charges and who actually receives any tips.
A tip is so subjective.
I read that waiting staff rely on tips to make up a decent salary.
What's more, they work anti-social hours and have to be pleasant to some rum types (eg me) while avoiding obsequiousness.
And they also need to know the menu.
On one famous occasion, last year, we went out with friends for an evening meal and asked about the soup of the day.
'I'll find out what it is for you,' said our waitress... and we never saw her again.
When our main course arrived there was a pot of sauce (jus?) but we didn't know whose meal it accompanied.
So we asked. 'I'll find out for you,' said the new waitress and we never saw her again.
Eventually, I called over another waitress and asked for the menu (to find out about the sauce).
'I'll get you one,' she said and guess what? We never saw her again.
The food was pretty good and all the staff were terribly sweet, so to tip or not to tip, that was the question.
As a result of a tendency to dither, I rather like restaurants like Nandos (I went there once) where you order and pay at the bar.
The worst case scenario for me is being pressured into complaining.
Once, I was given a lump of venison that resisted all my efforts to cut it.
It had an extraordinary elasticity.
The most I could do was dent it and even then it sprung back into its original shape.
The waiter noticed it was untouched and asked if anything was wrong.
Flushing red with embarrassment, I stammered that I had tried to eat it but failed.
'I'm sorry about that, madam, would you like something else?'
'No, thank you,' I whispered, too ashamed to accept.
Did I leave a tip? Yes.