Tales From “The Annoying Bar & Grill”: The “Tip Slip”


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No doubt many of you have heard of the “nip slip” made famous by none other than Janet Jackson (and repeated frequently by other attention-grabbers) . In the restaurant business we have something called a “tip slip”. It is the copy of your credit card receipt that is meant to be left AT the restaurant FOR the server. I have very little experience in the area of the “nip slip”, but I can speak with some authority on the “tip slip”.

I can do next to nothing about celebrities exposing their nipples either accidentally or on purpose, but I would like to take steps toward educating the general public about taking the wrong copies of their credit cards home with them. Do what you want with your nipples, people, but I am here to beg of you to PLEASE LEAVE THE “TIP SLIP” AT THE RESTAURANT! Please.

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Some of you or, as I like to think of you, the dopey few, do this because you are not paying attention. I do not call you something worse because I, too, made this mistake once as a result of allowing my mind to wander and my hand to pick up the wrong copy of the credit card slip following what was a wonderful meal at a very nice restaurant.

The difference between me and the countless other dopes that do this is that I understood the consequences of my actions. For any of you that might find yourself in a similar situation, there is a way to rectify it. It is fairly simple and requires only the use of a telephone. Please avail yourselves of this handy piece of equipment in the event that you discover that you have done the dopey thing and taken the wrong copy (or both copies) of your credit card slip when you next dine out.

The minute I got home and realized what I had done I called the restaurant and confessed to being an idiot of the highest order — I will admit to having blamed too high an intake of tira mi su for my momentary senselessness — and made sure that the server was given the tip that I had meant to leave for him — the one that was on the copy that I had mistakenly taken with me while reeling from a sugar high.

Had I not done what I did, my server (who I in no way held responsible for the escalation of my blood sugar) would have been out a very generous tip. And that, my friends, would have just been wrong. And, considering my line of work, some very bad karma.

It is disappointing that while I am a big believer in karma and, as a result of my superstitious tendencies and my firmly held belief that the universe is always hard at work seeking stasis, I, myself, constantly get screwed over by the dopey few or, worse, the cheapskates that have learned to play the system and deliberately take both copies (or leave the unsigned, tipless copy for this tough-out-of-luck server).

There exists no remedy to the server by his or her employer when, whether by mistake or by design, you go on your merry way without leaving the proper copy of  your receipt for the person who broke their ass waiting on you for two hours of his or her life. None.

Restaurant managers and owners do not conclude that you were meant to get a tip. They will not add anything to your credit card slip after you leave without your consent. You either have to call or return to the scene of your stupidity to resolve the issue. The onus is upon you, the person who enjoyed a five-course meal and seven hot water with lemon refills.

Please, for the love of all that is holy, make every attempt to erase your error. Because, and I do not know if you know this, when a diner leaves no tip it actually costs the person who rendered the service money to have waited upon you. Yes. That is true. And, yes, it is perfectly legal.

The people that are tipped out by your server — bartenders, buspeople, etc. — are tipped out based on the server’s total sales, not on the tips that they received throughout the course of the shift. The federal government also figures what they are owed based on this same information. In other words, everyone gets their pound of flesh except the server who you held hostage an hour after closing because you and your long-lost best friend, Sally, who “hadn’t seen each other in YEARS!” just could not wrap your heads around the fact that lights on/music off meant that you should pay your check and skedaddle.

The fact that you held on to the check book and chose to skedaddle in the one moment that your server went into the kitchen to roll her eyes, bang her head on the counter, and lament the fact that you needed to get a clue makes me slightly suspicious about whether or not your leaving the wrong copy was purposeful, but I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and place you into the category of the “dopey few”, but please, please, take a moment to call the restaurant and fix your mistake.

While I am very happy that you and Sally found each other again through the modern wonder of social media, I would think better of the both you and be oh, so very grateful, if you could please call and make sure that I get the gratuity that I earned (on your $110 check!). I am sure you meant to leave it for me, right?

If, indeed, it was deliberate, perhaps Sally stealing your husband is in your future. (Frankly, I wouldn’t put such a thing past Sally. She seemed less enthusiastic about the rekindling of your friendship than did you. Plus, I overheard her asking quite a few questions about John.) While I certainly don’t wish this upon you — or, to be fair, upon John (Sally did seem like kind of a bitch) — the universe does have a way of righting wrongs.

For the sake of your marriage, I urge you to do the smart thing. Use the telephone.

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