Thursday, September 20, 2007


I ran across a thread on on tipping. ( is a newsgroup with frequent off topic threads). It reminded me of an event long ago.

I was a waiter when I was a teenager, back when a 10% tip was considered a good tip. I'm talking about somewhere around 1963. Prices where a fraction of what they are these days also. This was also before the common practice of automatically tacking on a mandatory tip for parties of 6 or more.

I was working at a family oriented resort ranch in the Texas Hill Country (Eagle Rock in Wimberley Texas). One large family did not all seat at the same time, and did not all order at the same time. They didn't eat a lot that night, but they dribbled in one at a time (I think there were 5 of them in all) and although it was all one check I had to make a lot of trips to the table to take individual orders and deliver individual items. I think a hamburger was probably about 65c back then.

Anyway, by the time it was all done I presented the head of the family with the check, $9.80. It was not the norm back then in family restaurants to pay the server but he handed me back the check with a $20 bill. I went to the cashier to pay the check for him and get his change.

The cashier (I remember her name, Mrs. Littlefield) gave me two dimes, 5 ones, and a five. I handed the 5 ones back to her and said "Don't do that, give me 2 fives".

She objected, trying to explain to me that he would need change to give me a $1 tip.

I responded, "He's going to leave me $5". She scoffed at me but gave me the five dollar bill I asked for.

He left $5.20 as a tip.


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