Have you heard the recent news about the young New Jersey waitress who was stiffed her tip on a $112 dinner for eight people?
— Asbury Park Press (@AsburyParkPress) August 24, 2015
According to Fox8.com, waitress Jess Jones received the dinner receipt back from the customer at the end of the meal with “1 hour for food” written by the tip line and then “LOL” [Laugh Out Loud] written in for a tip. Jones then shared the story with the local news (including the photo of the receipt) and it has now gone viral.
And, as we usually do with everything on the Internet, we all jumped on the bandwagon of “Wow, those people really suck” and making some cursory judgments.
But wait, doesn’t it seem like there is more to the story? I mean, was the service particularly awful? Did the food suck? Was the waitress nasty? Or, did the waitress give extraordinary service and the patrons were just especially awful?
According to Jones, “Even though they did wait an hour to eat, they remained satisfied with filled drinks and proper notice that the kitchen was a bit busier than normal.”
But, let us remember, that is only one side of the story, as we’ve yet to hear from the group of eight diners. It’s true, writing “LOL” on the tip line is incredibly harsh, especially if they received exceptional service and were aware made aware of the lengthy wait, as Jones indicated.
But, let us also remember that tipping is not made to be obligatory.
Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines gratuity (synonym: tipping) as: “something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service.” A tip is meant to be given when services meet or exceed your standards or expectations. Google lists the synonyms for gratuity as tip, gift, present, donation, reward, handout. Those are all things that are not mandatory.
Therefore, a gratuity is up to the people giving it and it is completely subjective — which can be unfortunate for wait staff who bust their butts to give great service. Is it right for a group of eight people who supposedly received excellent service to punish the wait staff for the fault of the kitchen? Of course not. Is it in poor taste to write “LOL” for a tip? It sure is. But, a tip wasn’t required and those diners used it to prove a point to the restaurant. It sucks, but it’s their prerogative. The end.