An Economist's Tipping Strategy
I have a friend with whom I regularly eat out at restaurants and from time to time we disagree on how much to tip. Traditionally, I have been a hard-wired 20% tipper. But since studying the racial effects of taxi-cab tipping, I’ve been more attracted to tipping less – sometimes closer to 15%. This has at times created disagreements between my friend and I on how much to tip. He always wants to tip 20%. But when we’ve disagreed, we’ve always resolved the issue by tipping the larger amount. We always split the bill—including the tip—50/50.
But a few weeks ago, my friend and I were eating dinner and experienced exceptionally bad service. The server twice put in the wrong order and charged us for items that we had not ordered. I suggested that we reduce our tip to 10% (I note that while I’m high maintenance in many aspect of my life, I’m not persnickety about restaurant service and the last time I reduced my tip to 10% was probably more than 1000 restaurant meals ago). My friend agreed that the server had made these errors (and indeed, the sever himself acknowledged that the service was subpar), Nevertheless, my friend still wanted us to leave a 20% tip.