Monday, June 30, 2008

Tipping Is Not A City In China

. . .yet tipping seems to be so foreign to us. I've waited tables before, so has my wife. Perhaps our viewpoint is a little different since we've waited before, but from my personal experience "Christians" (or I should say "church attenders") are the worst customers in a restaurant. And because I've waited tables at a few different places (all in North Carolina) I know many wait staff feel the same way.

I remember when my life became about following Christ I was waiting tables at a Perkins Restaurant while attending college. I really despised working Sunday afternoon shifts because of all those "Christians" that came to have lunch after church. I remember being a little confused about my identity in Christ, as a new believer, because of how these "Christians" treated me.

Every time Sarah and I go out to eat a tip is an important part, not some unwanted chore that end a meal on the town.

This past week one of my youth and I met for some one on one time to talk about his journey with Christ. We met at a local restaurant. As we were about to leave my youth asked me, "how much tip should I leave". I showed him how to calculate 20% and told him that was the kind of tip you give when a waitress (or waiter) takes care of you but nothing exceptional or special happened (indicating that you should be willing to give more). It was obvious that he never considered that. But the really cool part was when our waitress, who I then learned had been listening to our conversation, turned around and started giving thanks and praise to both of us. She didn't even know how much we were going to leave her yet, but she was touched, the smile on her face said it all. How much else was she listening to?

I'm not trying to hold my life or actions up as some sort of example, but I do know there are many things Christians have a really bad reputation for doing and tipping in one of those areas that needs some serious revision.

Inspired by my father-in-law's post.


Mother of a Firecracker said...

I agree tipping is something many people don't even consider. I think that Scottie and I take into consideration the person and the hard work that they do. But I have an extremely hard time leaving a tip for someone that never comes back to the table to refill drinks or to make sure that everything is ok. Do you still leave a 20% tip if the person doesn't work for it or come back to your table once they have taken your order?


TerryKM said...

As a follower of Christ it's all about the action I choose to take. Another words, how will I respond to this not-very-good waitress (waiter)?

Christ didn't teach us to give others what they deserve or to have an attitude of giving only what others deserve. I think Matthew 5:38-39 expresses it rather well when Jesus says, "You have heard that it was said, `AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." It was even better expressed when Jesus gave us what we didn't deserve.

You want to blow someone away, rock their world, and really give them something to think about, then give them something they don't deserve. And do such a good job of it that they really take notice.

Jesus calls for us to act in truly revolutionary ways, ways that are very opposite to our culture. Our culture is about self preservation, consumption, accumulation, and gain, but Christ tells us to lay down our life for others and to deny ourselves.

If we consider that, what should our tipping then look like?

And if you really think about it, a tip is such a simple/safe way to lay down your life.

Rick Lawrenson said...

A tip is a "gratuity", which interestingly enough derives from the same word as "grace".

So a tip isn't giving them what they deserve, it's giving them what they don't deserve. Think about that.

When a restaurant attaches a "gratuity" with the charge of the meal it ceases to be a "gratuity" but is a charge. And typically they shortchange their services by attaching less than 20%. But then, I'm sure it all balances out because there are so many who would tip less or nothing.