'Sundays Are The Worst' Website Urges Christians To Tip Better

"Roberts told the Times News that he came up with the idea for the website after hearing about the story of Alois Bell, a pastor who wrote on her receipt in lieu of a tip, 'I give God ten percent, why do you get 18.'" HuffPost 

8284 reads

There are 34 Comments

Ann B.'s picture

My son waited at an Outback for about six months last year in a southern city known for its large Christian population.  (Three guesses. . .)  He said the reputation of Christians as poor tippers is known far and wide, and he saw it himself.  Sunday was notoriously the worst day for tips - servers didn't even want to work Sunday lunch because of the poor tipping of the church crowd.  We have learned a valuable lesson from that and try to always tip generously now.

My husband suggested the other day that perhaps unsaved people tip so well because, since they have more discretionary income due to no tithing/giving, it salves their conscience a little to be generous to servers.

Darrell Post's picture

I tend to tip based on the actual performance of the worker, and how much they actually had to do. I also tip relative to the base cost on the bill, not including taxes which are outrageous in my state. Taxes go to the government, not the eating place.

DLCreed's picture

Darrell Post wrote:

 I also tip relative to the base cost on the bill, not including taxes which are outrageous in my state. Taxes go to the government, not the eating place.

Yeah....and its this kind of thinking that gives Christians a bad name.  "How little can I get by with...?"  It reminds me of people who are constantly asking whether or not they should tithe 'before or after taxes".  Seriously....is it going to kill you to add 30 cents more onto a tip for service from a single mom or a college student?  Just go to McDonalds if you are that hard up.  Good grief.

I've heard this story for years (Christians are bad tippers) and I'm not sure I buy it.  But if it IS the impression, I do three things to counter it --- 1) I let them know in advance that I'm a Christian and I'll be tipping them generously; 2) I then tip them generously -- 15-20% regardless of service because at that time, it is no longer about the service but the reputation of Christ and 3) I do NOT leave them some tired/cliche gospel tract...instead, I engage them in conversation and look for the opportunity to invite them to church....something they are more willing to consider because I told them up front who I was and what I was about and what I was going to do.

And for the sake of the cause of Christ -- PLEASE NEVER leave one of those insipid tracts that look like a $100 bill.  It's the equivalent of giving someone you care about one of those fake winning lottery tickets for Christmas.  Tacky and classless.  IMHO they rank right up there with Jack Chick tracts...but that's a different rant.

Jim's picture

Probably the biggest issue with tipping is inconsistency. 

  • We (my wife and i) went out last Thursday for dinner (our first dinner out for 2014). We ate at a nice Thai restaurant near our home. My wife left a 19% tip (she paid while I got the car). Seemed high to me but did not make a matter of conversation.
  • When I say, it was our first dinner out, we have Papa Murphy's every Friday night, and every other week or so we will buy fast food and bring it home: Could be Jimmy John's, Wendy's, or recently Qdoba (might not be a national chain). 
  • About the inconsistency: what makes the Nong's server (the Thai restaurant) more deserving of a tip than the fast food workers (who are basically making $ 9.00 an hour (essentially minimum wage in the Twin Cities) ?

Recently in the dead of Winter, we had a low tire on our Buick. It was bitterly cold and messy out. On the way home from work, I drove into the Lupient Buick GMC service area. It was about 5:55 pm and they were closing up. The auto garage door opened up for us and we drove in but there was no one around. I honked my horn and a young man came out to meet us. I explained our situation and he found another man who filled up all four of our tires. To me this was really service (end of day ... no appointment .... messy, cold, wet, icy car ... et cetera). I offered to pay and they declined and then I pulled out a $ 10 for the man who filled my tires. I tried to push it on him with my thanks but he steadfastly refused. This event to me is the epitome of service! 

As an aside:

  • If Christians are poor tippers (and it sounds anecdotally that we are), shame on us! 
  • In my view (and this is a preference thing and even with that not absolute for me!), I think it is best to NOT eat out or shop on the Lord's Day. Let it be a day of rest and worship for the worker too! (Same with Thanksgiving!). Our exceptions is that several times a year we end up traveling on Sunday and we stop and buy gas, meals, and stay in a motel on the way.
Jim's picture

I recently had a conversation with a laborer who was in my home. He is a member of a sister church. While he was there the issue of pastors' salaries came up.

I said something like "our pastor is worth $ 100,000 per year". (I know what he does and the responsibilities he has)

He said, "Does your pastor make $ 100,000 per year?"

I responded that I didn't know

He is apparently in a position to know and he said that his pastor's salary package was $ 60,000 per year. And he thought that was too high.

Observation: The laborer at my home probably makes less than $ 60,000. From his perspective his pastor was not worth a salary greater than his. 

 

Anne Sokol's picture

my friend in high school was a waitress and they called Sundays "Dollar Day." So ever since then, I've tried to tip more, though I don't do it consistently. Helps if I mentally calculate it into the cost of going out to eat.

Wayne Wilson's picture

In our culture, it's customary to leave a tip of 15-20% for adequate service at a sitdown restaurant where someone comes to you to bring food, fill drinks, and see if you need anything. People that don't do this are considered tightwads, skinflint's, and regarded as someone pretty close to Ebenezer Scrooge. The servers know what is customary and they do pay attention and they do talk about it.​

Tipping is part of the cost of the meal in our culture. If you can't afford the tip, you can't afford to eat out. If the server knows we are Christians, it does reflect poorly on Christ when we don't tip. If you're not going to tip, don't let anyone see you praying over your meal, but instead take out and read your pocket-sized edition of a Richard Dawkins book.  

 

Barry L.'s picture

"About the inconsistency: what makes the Nong's server (the Thai restaurant) more deserving of a tip than the fast food workers (who are basically making $ 9.00 an hour (essentially minimum wage in the Twin Cities) ?"

The difference is that the Nong server is only making between $6-7 an hour as a Minnesotan tip employee.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

FYI - the pizza delivery person is only making $4 or so, at least, Papa John's paid me $4.30 an hour on the road. But the delivery person is usually spending 20-30 minutes per delivery while the waitress is waiting 6-8 tables that turn over every hour. Pizza guy is lucky to get 3 customers an hour while the waitress has twice that. Also, the pizza guy has to own and maintain a car, with proof of insurance, to even get hired after which he pays $3.30 a gallon (here in AZ) for gas while working in the elements. The waitress on the other hand works in a climate controlled environment where she can walk, bike, carpool or ride the bus to work. All I'm saying is, take care of your pizza guy too, or go get your own pizza.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Jim's picture

We had a huge snowstorm / blizzard on Feb 21st. How bad was it?

  • My small John Deere tractor w. plow could not handle the depth (didn't help that there was no where to push it either!)
  • Blowing wet snow covered my cold air furnace intake w 4' of snow. Furnace would not  run. I had to have a guy come out and dig that out
  • We ordered Papa John's pizza at 2:30 for delivery at 6:00 
  • I was really really surprised the guy made it. (We gave him a nice tip AND a Gospel of John)

 

Lee's picture

With kids and others in the food service industry, let me make a couple of anecdotal observations:

1) Most of the "Christians are bad tippers" rap is more perceptual than real, and the non-tipper is the anomaly

2) Expected tipping is 15%-20% in our area;  the Sunday crowd will likely be closer to 15% with exceptional service tipped closer to 20%

3) Tips in large part are down at Sunday lunch/dinner due to the meals being more low-end and much less alcohol being involved

As I mentioned, anecdotal only.

Frankly, I have no issue with tipping to the low end of the normal scale.  Like working on commission in any job, exceptional performance should expect more, and average performance should not be rewarded above average. 

Lee

Greg Linscott's picture

 Tips in large part are down at Sunday lunch/dinner due to the meals being more low-end and much less alcohol being involved.

That is a good point. One can tip a fairly high percentage, but if you order waters for your family instead of soft drinks, lets say, the tip will obviously be smaller.

I wonder, too, how much of this is more a Southern phenomena. We rarely eat out on Sundays, and I think that is true of much of my congregation. I know that is not the case from the times I lived in places like Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia. Restaurants are virtually packed there every week. But maybe my experience is isolated. Thoughts?

As someone who worked a lot of foodservice jobs, I always try to remember to tip well. When you live in a smaller town and cross paths more often, something like that can make a much louder initial statement than any gimmicky tract one might leave (not that it's wrong to leave tracts).

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

josh p's picture

Can someone please explain how leaving a poor tip reflects poorly on Christ? I always leave at least 15% but is it really a bad witness if I don't? Is something that is "customary" "necessary" or else my witness is bad? My wife grauduated nursing school (RN) with a woman who decided not to get a nursing job because she makes more waiting tables. Good for her but I think it is a bit of a generality to suggest that every waitperson is struggling to survive.

Greg Linscott's picture

It's a matter of expectations and reputation. When I lived in Maine and worked in a restaurant as a teenager, the waitresses hated it when we got buses with Canadian shoppers... because as a rule, they never left a tip! Apparently, in Canada they automatically include it in the bill. If people know you are a Christian, and yet you cannot conform to a societal norm like this, it might be considered akin to cutting loose with bodily functions, or talking loudly on a cell phone in a quiet waiting room. Not exactly sin, but it gives you an unwanted reputation, and can even cause people to avoid you for matters within your control. Articles like this tell us that there is a perception problem. We know as Christians we already have several of those in this culture. Some may be out of our control- but this one is not. In this specific area, there is a stereotype of the Christian who leaves tracts with reduced or nonexistent tips. I don't think that helps make people any more inclined to receive the gospel. Countering that by building a reputation for generosity is no guarantee, but it certainly won't turn people off.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

josh p's picture

Thanks Greg I guess it makes sense but I wouldn't stress it too hard myself.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

As it turns out, at least one formal study has actually been conducted regarding Christian tipping practices:

http://tippingresearch.com/uploads/ChristianTippersJASPaccepted.pdf

 

Some excerpts from the Conclusions section (starting on page 11):

"[T]he average Christian tips 17 percent of the bill when receiving good restaurant service and only 13 out of 100 Christians receiving good service leave a tip below 15 percent of the bill."

-------------------

"From a practical perspective, the results of this study indicate that Christians and church goers are not particularly bad tippers."

-------------------

"Sometimes, servers’ perceptions that Christians tip badly are undoubtedly biased and without strong foundation."

 

Lee's picture

Most of the restaurants that my family frequents have a tip-sharing pot policy (I always ask).  Regardless of service, I'm much more likely to tip minimum standard in such a place if it is not going exclusively to the specific wait staff person I wish to reward. 

Lee

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Wayne Wilson wrote:

In our culture, it's customary to leave a tip of 15-20% for adequate service at a sitdown restaurant where someone comes to you to bring food, fill drinks, and see if you need anything. People that don't do this are considered tightwads, skinflint's, and regarded as someone pretty close to Ebenezer Scrooge. The servers know what is customary and they do pay attention and they do talk about it.​


Like others here, I base my tip completely on the service and what is within the power of the server to correct. Being part of the aforementioned South of the U.S., we eat out often on Sundays, as it's usually a good time to fellowship with other believers.

For "adequate" service, 15% is as high as I'm going to go. For good service, I usually give around 20%, and in exceptional cases, I've gone as high as 25-33%, but those are definitely the exception. For "surly" service (and yes, I can tell the difference between busy and harried vs. a bad attitude), the tip ends up between 10-15%. I've rarely gone lower than 10%, but one time around 20 years ago, I tipped a single quarter when the waitress complained the entire time about her having to be there and actually serve someone past her time, brought the food extremely late, didn't get the orders right and didn't correct them, never came back to fill up the drinks, and never brought the bill, which I had to ask the cashier for, etc. I don't care what she thought of me, her service wasn't worth more than what I paid, and probably wasn't worth that.

Other circumstances also change the tip. Even if the server isn't the most skilled, friendliness and a smile go a long way with me, and increase the value of the tip given. If the bill already includes an amount for tip because it's "policy," then no additional tip is given. If I'm told what to give, more isn't going to happen.

I completely agree that Christians shouldn't be known as bad tippers, but I resent the idea that any level of service at all somehow "deserves" the "customary" amount. The fact it's not already part of the cost (as it is in, for example, Germany), means that the amount should depend on the level of service. Merely giving adequate service will net only an adequate tip. If that's resented by wait staff, tough. If I do only average work at my job, I also am only rewarded an average amount at review time. That's the way the world works. If, on the other hand, I can see the server is working hard, and from what I can see, doing their best, and is trying hard to serve well, then I'm only too happy to reward that.

Dave Barnhart

JohnBrian's picture

I drive an airport shuttle van, picking folks up at their homes or businesses and transporting them at least 90 miles to the intnl airport.

Surprised when folks don't realize we are in essence a cab service.

Europeans and other intnl passengers do not tip as a rule, and students seldom tip (spring break this week so tips are down).

I refuse tips from folks I know are missionaries.

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Darren Mc's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

FYI - the pizza delivery person is only making $4 or so, at least, Papa John's paid me $4.30 an hour on the road. But the delivery person is usually spending 20-30 minutes per delivery while the waitress is waiting 6-8 tables that turn over every hour. Pizza guy is lucky to get 3 customers an hour while the waitress has twice that. Also, the pizza guy has to own and maintain a car, with proof of insurance, to even get hired after which he pays $3.30 a gallon (here in AZ) for gas while working in the elements. The waitress on the other hand works in a climate controlled environment where she can walk, bike, carpool or ride the bus to work. All I'm saying is, take care of your pizza guy too, or go get your own pizza.

Thanks for this. As someone who has worked off and on (currently on, part time) as a pizza delivery person for about 6 years, I can tell you from personal experience that not necessarily all Christians are bad tippers, but a lot of them are. Those that are more obvious about their Christianity (signs on the door, bumper stickers, etc.) are more likely not to tip. And churches are often terrible. There are exceptions, of course, but a delivery to a church is almost a guarantee for nothing or a couple of bucks if it is a big order. Baptist churches are worse than other evangelical/Protestant churches, but not as bad as Pentecostal/non-denoms.

Obviously it would be ideal if we were paid enough that we did not have to rely on tips for our living, but that is the world we live in. The main purpose of the tip arrangement is to keep menu prices artificially low. This is really true in the pizza business, where prices have gone down over the past 5 years. Tipping really has nothing to do with whether or not the server "earned" it. It has everything to do with grace.

No wisdom, no understanding, and no counsel will prevail against the LORD. Proverbs 21:30

Greg Linscott's picture

Thanks for the reminder on shuttles, JohnBrian. I have taken those kind of services so rarely in my life that I really hadn't realized that it is customary to tip the drivers. We made it a point to tip the people who picked us up and dropped us off at the airport to get our rental van we used while at Shepherds' Conference. I would have felt bad if I didn't know (one of the other pastors in my group told me).

Serious question- What are other people or settings where we should tip?

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

josh p's picture

I usually give the garbage man a Christmas gift if that is considered tipping. 

kirkedoyle's picture

Assuming your meal comes to around $30, a 15% tip is $4.50.  An 18+% tip is $5.50.  It's only a buck to you and I, but as someone who used to work as a waiter I can tell you it is much more encouraging to receive a tip of 18%.  You feel appreciated, and appreciative of their kindness for only four quarters extra.  Let me tell you, you are being a testimony when you talk about Christ and then show that little bit of additional kindness.  It's worth it,you'll make someone's day... and maybe we can reverse this image of being cheap...

John E.'s picture

have worked in the service industry – pizza driver, waiter, and bartender. And I too am of the opinion that those who wear their “Christianity” on their sleeves are less likely to tip (in fact, probably not at all). I could give anecdote after anecdote, but I’ll limit myself to one. I delivered a large quantity of pizzas to a church. I wasn’t expecting a tip, that’s par for the course. What made this delivery “special” was that after the pastor handed me a check for the exact amount, he said, “We gave your tip to God.” To which, and I was an unbeliever at this point, responded, “Will you send him my car note, too?” By the time I got back to the store, the pastor had called and complained about the rude and irreverent delivery driver.

It may be anecdotal, but every single service industry employee I’ve worked with or know say the same thing – Sundays are the worst days to work if you’re working for tips. And, it doesn’t matter what the cost of meal is. Or the type of restaurant. Or the region of the country. Church goers across the country have a well-earned reputation of being bad tippers. They do leave a lot of tracts, so that makes up for it. Right?

FYI – and this deserves more fleshing out than I’m going to attempt, there is more to tipping than simply “did I get good service or not?” A server would pretty much have to punch me in the face before I tip below 20%. There are things that you the customer have no idea about. What may look like bad service to you, may simply be a short-staffed kitchen, something the server can’t do anything about, and generally is not allowed to tell the customer. Or, the server may be a single mom who had stayed up the entire previous night with a sick child and is stressed about the well-being of her child and how she’s going to pay for the medicine. You don’t know what’s going on. Plus, the IRS taxes servers a percentage of their covers to begin with. If you tip under that % (I don’t know what it is anymore), you’re stealing from the server.

Greg Long's picture

I was a waiter for almost five years.

  • It's absolutely true that Christians had the reputation of not tipping well. Normally the wait staff would prefer non-smoking to smoking sections, because they would get better tips...except on Sundays, because there was a higher chance your customer in the non-smoking section would be a Christian (not that Christians would be in the smoking section on other days, just that a higher percentage of them were in the restaurant on Sundays, in the non-smoking sections...I think you know what I mean Smile ).
  • When the GARBC conference came to town, there were a lot of complaints about how bad the tipping was.
  • The worst, of course, is when a tract is left. If you don't leave a very generous tip when you leave a tract, it will go immediately in the garbage, probably accompanied by an angry comment.
  • I agree that the difference between a decent tip and a great tip is usually just around a dollar, so does it really hurt to skimp when instead of leaving a bad impression or no impression, you could leave a good impression, especially when accompanied by prayer before your meal, and a smile and kindness to the waiter/waitress?
  • HSAT, because I was a waiter, I tend to be fairly picky about the performance of wait staff, especially in restaurants where the waiters don't really do much except take your order and maybe refill your drink if that. (Where I worked, I had to bring drinks out, take the order, bring bread out, bring salads out, bring the main course out, refill drinks, clear finished tableware if customers were still sitting there, and periodically check to make sure everything was OK.) If you can't do even the bare minimum well with a smile, why should I "reward" you? I guess because of grace, huh? Smile

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Jim's picture

Working since 16 - almost 50 years

I've never received a tip (but I've never been a waiter) 

As I recollect I've never asked for a raise. I have lobbied twice for a promotion ... and in both cases received it in a matter of months. 

This year I received the lowest raise I've ever received - 1.25% 

And I thanked my manager and I thanked the Lord

"godliness with contentment is great gain"

------------- Update -------------- 

I have changed jobs to make more $$ - a strategy that I have used multiple times over my career

GregH's picture

John E. wrote:

have worked in the service industry – pizza driver, waiter, and bartender. And I too am of the opinion that those who wear their “Christianity” on their sleeves are less likely to tip (in fact, probably not at all). I could give anecdote after anecdote, but I’ll limit myself to one. I delivered a large quantity of pizzas to a church. I wasn’t expecting a tip, that’s par for the course. What made this delivery “special” was that after the pastor handed me a check for the exact amount, he said, “We gave your tip to God.” To which, and I was an unbeliever at this point, responded, “Will you send him my car note, too?” By the time I got back to the store, the pastor had called and complained about the rude and irreverent delivery driver.

It may be anecdotal, but every single service industry employee I’ve worked with or know say the same thing – Sundays are the worst days to work if you’re working for tips. And, it doesn’t matter what the cost of meal is. Or the type of restaurant. Or the region of the country. Church goers across the country have a well-earned reputation of being bad tippers. They do leave a lot of tracts, so that makes up for it. Right?

FYI – and this deserves more fleshing out than I’m going to attempt, there is more to tipping than simply “did I get good service or not?” A server would pretty much have to punch me in the face before I tip below 20%. There are things that you the customer have no idea about. What may look like bad service to you, may simply be a short-staffed kitchen, something the server can’t do anything about, and generally is not allowed to tell the customer. Or, the server may be a single mom who had stayed up the entire previous night with a sick child and is stressed about the well-being of her child and how she’s going to pay for the medicine. You don’t know what’s going on. Plus, the IRS taxes servers a percentage of their covers to begin with. If you tip under that % (I don’t know what it is anymore), you’re stealing from the server.

Anecdotes aside, the study posted above shows that the rap on Christians tipping is urban myth. I will take studies over anecdotes any day.

Generosity is a virtue but it should not just apply to servers and service people. And by the way, people besides servers have problems and bad days.

I consider it highly ironic that Christians get beat up on this issue in large part by people whose entire charitable giving for the year probably consists of a few hundred dollars in extra tips, etc. If you (like most of us) actually give away a substantial part of your income to your church, I would not lose sleep over your tipping percentage.

 

Darrell Post's picture

DLCreed,

I do normally tip above 15%. But more than that, we have had more than one food-worker who we have carried on lengthy friendships with, even giving a Christmas bonus, cards, baked cookies for, etc. But my point is, we do tip partially based on performance. Merit based pay is something that is found in most places of employment. If I am trying to choke down my meal and had to finally resort to sucking on my straw in an empty glass so loudly that other patrons hear it, but the table server still doesn't, then why would I reward such terrible service with a generous tip? I recall once being seated at a Friendly's (ironic) once, and after 25 minutes, we still had not been offered anything to drink and no one had taken our order. So we got up and left. Should we have left a tip? Well, I guess 15-18% of $0.00 would be $0, but you get my point.

Even though you took exception to my post, I do think there is a place for resisting the entitlement mentality that is out there. No one is entitled to receive pay for no work.

Greg Long's picture

Keep in mind, servers make far below minimum wage in pay, so they depend on tips to make a livable wage. Whether that is the best way or even a valid way to do in your eyes is beside the point; that is just the way it is, right or wrong.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Pages