One of the most uncomfortable situations I faced as a bartender was the inevitable question. "What kind of tip do you want?"
I hate this question for three reasons. One, if I tell you what I really want for a tip you will think I am A. Greedy and B. Rude. So to avoid seeing your jaw hit the floor I tell you the more reasonable response.. which is twenty percent.
Which brings up the second reason. I have to size you up in about two seconds. Are you the type of person who is the average tipper or will you be astounded if I suggest anything more than twenty percent. If are a cocky guy I will test you. I will say something like forty percent and watch your face. If your jaw hits the floor, as most do, I will say ohhh ok well how about and go for twenty percent.
Now the third reason I hate this question comes into play. I start wondering why you asked me this question. Because most of the time you don't want me to say some ridiculous number and empty your bank account. Are you assuming that I'll be a good employee and only suggest the minimum fifteen percent? Do you know that I will say twenty percent and you were planning on paying that.. so you are trying to show off how much money you have without actually spending any of it? Sometimes I misjudge the person and they are actually willing to tip more than I suggest. They say something along the lines of "Oh that's it?" Which makes me disappointed because now I'm thinking about how much I could have actually gotten you for.
What I hate more than this question is this question with a twist. "What kind of tip do you think you deserve." This is like asking someone what their best qualities are. It's uncomfortable and presumptuous to compliment yourself. If I say something that you have never seen in me then you think I am full of myself and delusional. And if I don't answer you assume I have no confidence. Well the same goes with this question.. if I assume I deserve the best tip possible then you think I'm full of myself and delusional. And you might even point that out. And if I say I don't know then you say something along the lines of "Ok then if you don't care .. I'll just give you fifteen percent".
These are not hypothetical situations. These have actually happened to me. Have you ever had this question posed to you? And if so, how do you respond? What goes through your head? Why do you think they ask this question?
It's All in How You Say It
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