Dwonna Know What I Think?”
A social/lifestyle advice and commentary column by guest contributor Dr. Dwonna Naomi Goldstone. Dr. Goldstone is a Professor of English and Coordinator of the African American Studies Minor at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Dear “Dwonna Know What I Think?
What do you think about New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees leaving a $3 tip on a $74 take-out order?
Dear “Peeved Waiter”:
For those who are unfamiliar with this story, here’s a tiny bit of background. Last week, the New Orleans Saints quarterback—who is scheduled to make $9.75 million this year in addition to a $250,000 workout bonus this summer—left a $3 tip on a $74 takeout order from the Del Mar Rendezvous restaurant in Del Mar, California. A minor scandal brewed, led by the gossip site “The Dirty” which ran a picture of Brees’ receipt with the caption, “Drew Brees must hate America like he hates writing zeros. Thanks for not helping our economy Drew.” Brees quickly responded to the criticism via Twitter: “In case anyone still cares about this report: I tipped $3 on a takeout order. Had we sat down it would have been 20%.” The restaurant’s managing partner issued an apology to Brees and to “anyone else offended by the posting of this image” and pledged $888.88 to Brees’ charity.
The larger question, however, is should people tip on takeout orders, and if the answer is yes, how much should they tip? For those who have ever worked in the service industry or have known someone who lived on tips, tipping at least 15% even on takeout orders is probably standard.
I think one of the biggest “tipping fallacies” is that people should not have to tip on a takeout order because they did not get any service other than someone bringing out their food. Often this is not true, and the wait staff usually has to share their tips with the kitchen and the busboys. When I go to Cracker Barrel, for example, a waitress usually takes my order, and even though she often does not do much more than take my order and bring my food in a bag that the kitchen staff packed, she had to take time away from her other customers to take care of me. She deserves more than a dollar for her effort and time, and I always tip at least 15% percent.
I think it is good form—and good karma—to tip well, especially if you go to a place often. The staff will remember you fondly, and they will probably make sure that you are well taken care of the next time you come to pick up your order.
*Dr. Goldstone lives in Nashville with her four unruly dogs—Satchel Paige, Butterfly McQueen, Charlie Parker, and Lena Horne. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.