We usually go out to lunch at a local restaurant during the work week. We have a few favorites, and hit them fairly regularly. The wait staff at these places recognize us every time we come in. They have come to know us, a few even by our names, and we’ve chatted with them a fair amount. I don’t carry much cash, so I put the lunch tabs on a credit card. I had been adding the server’s tip to the total on the card, which is what I believe most people do.
Recently a friend gave me a worthwhile tip. It turns out that the credit card companies take their fees out of the total balance on the charge slip, which means that it comes out of the tip as well as the meal charge. Therefore, when the restaurant goes to pay the server his/her tip as charged on the credit card, it pays them the tip minus the credit card charge on that amount. It does make sense on the restaurant’s side of things, since they’re paying a fee to the credit card company not only on the food cost, but also on the tip, which doesn’t benefit the restaurant. However, since many of the servers we know are young mothers or students, I’d like them to get the full benefit of the tip I’m leaving. Therefore, it’s better for them if I leave the tip separately, in cash.
The most difficult part of this, for me, is to have dollar bills in my wallet. For some reason, they disappear quickly! A smart server recently gave me change for a twenty with two fives and the rest in singles. Smart girl! And, after leaving her the tip I wanted, I’m good for a couple more tips!