A Married Couple Discuss Tipping And Also The Probability That It Will Lead to Their Divorce

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid [“THE WIFE”] and Alex Reid [“THE HUSBAND”] are married. To each other.

Taylor Jenkins Reid: I feel like, if we ever get divorced, this won’t be the reason but it will be the thing where you say to yourself, “At least I don’t have to deal with her TIPPING anymore.”

Alex Reid: That is correct. That is 100 percent correct. I will never understand why you tip so much.

TJR: You know this is going on the internet, right? Are you okay with the fact that people might call you a cheapskate?

AR: I feel quite strongly that more people are going to think that you are the one that is wrong here.

TJR: Because I think you should almost always tip 20%?

AR: Yes. If somebody does a bad job or a good job, they both shouldn’t get 20%. It’s not a tax. It’s earned. Sometimes you will do this thing where we will get bad service and you will go, “Ohhh, I bet they are having a bad day,” and then you insist we tip, like, 18 percent. But maybe they are just a jerk and I’m giving away money to a jerk.

TJR: But servers all over the country live on the generosity of tips. It’s how they make money.

AR: But I also live on that same money. Just to be clear: If someone does a great job, I’m not saying you only give them 15%. But if someone does a bad job…

TJR: Wait, but I’ve always said that if someone does a bad job, it’s okay to give them 10 percent.

AR: That’s NOT TRUE. I don’t even think I’ve ever heard you use the phrase “10 percent.” I just think if someone is doing a bad job, you need to delineate that from the people who are doing a good job or a great job. If someone is outstanding, then, sure, 20 percent, if someone is good, 15 is standard. 10 percent if they are bad.

TJR: I just feel like I would rather give people too much money than not enough.

AR: Yeah, if people are nice. But I don’t want to give positive reinforcement for negative behavior. If I tip well to someone who did a terrible job, I’m encouraging them to continue to be bad at their job.

TJR: Okay, obviously this is an agree to disagree thing, but also, the thing I honestly don’t know if you’re right or not about is the tipping pre- or post-tax.

AR: You tip on the subtotal, not the final total. That’s just how it’s done. I’m not making that up. That’s, if you go into the history of tipping, that is how it started.

TJR: The history of tipping? Is that documented somewhere? The History of Tipping.

AR: I would be happy to cite sources. Honestly, I think the big issue in tipping for us is delivery. That’s where things get heated now. Because if I’m paying a delivery fee, I feel like tipping 10 percent on top of that is more than adequate. Because they are literally making one trip. It’s not like they are coming to our table fifteen times to fill up stuff.

TJR: Yeah, but they are driving out to your house and probably only bringing you, like, a pizza. So you’re giving them $1.50, which just doesn’t seem like enough. Any tip under three bucks seems paltry to me.

AR: I just think, again, if you go back to the history of tipping —

TJR: There is no history of tipping!

AR: That’s what people do. I think that’s the conventional thing. I don’t think I’m out of line.

TJR: But why not just tip more? Why not just err on the side of generosity?

AR: I mean, I feel like I tip much more now since I’ve married you. Wouldn’t you say? I feel like I’m a pretty good tipper, even if, logically, I don’t agree that it’s necessary.

TJR: Yeah, you do tip more now. And I try to tip a little more discerningly.

AR: Yeah, so I guess we can stay married. We don’t have to get divorced over this.

TJR: Phew.

Taylor Jenkins Reid and Alex Reid live in Los Angeles and usually tip about 18 percent.

Taylor Jenkins Reid [“THE WIFE”] is a regular Billfold contributor and she wrote a book! And you can buy it! It is called Forever, Interrupted and it is very reasonably priced. And how can you resist that cover. Endorse, Endorse, Endorse. Support a Billfold writer and buy it here.