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Off the Air With Jeremy: Tipping Etiquette

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

So, you know when I was having my lunch alone yesterday at Olive Garden? I want to thank you for all of the phone calls last night on the air, and the comments here on the blog. That makes me feel a little better about eating by myself!

Here are a few comments I received from you blog buddies:

I’m not sure I’ll be rushing back any time soon to do it again, but I guess I don’t feel as stupid, thanks to you!

Okay, here’s the thing: the service was terrible! I mean, there probably weren’t 10 people in the whole place, but it took me over 10 minutes just to get my drink order. My meal was all wrong, and it was just a mess.

Here’s my question. When you have terrible service — the kind where you think it’s obviously because they don’t like you, their job or both — what do you do? Do you still tip 20%, do you just leave a couple of bucks, or is it ever okay to tip absolutely nothing?

What is the tip etiquette nowadays? Is it our responsibility to pay half of the waiter or waitress’ salary, or is a tip a special thanks for the above-and-beyond service I just received? If it is the latter, then I should have left nothing — but I went ahead and left 20%.

Stupid me? What are your thoughts?

Jeremy Robinson is the host of Taste of Country Nights, a syndicated radio show that airs on 41 stations across the United States on weeknights. Radio has been his life since the age of nine, when he “hosted” a show out of his bedroom. After almost 16 years on the air, country music isn’t just his job — it’s also his passion.

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