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How To Tip During a Pandemic

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How To Tip During a Pandemic

Here we are heading into a full year of living during a pandemic and there are still so many situations we don’t quite know how to navigate. Things are ever-evolving when it comes to dealing with Covid and each day presents a new challenge. Just when we finally get used to wearing a mask, we learn that maybe we should start wearing two of them. Right when we get accustomed to eating outdoors, indoor dining is suddenly a thing again in some places, even though vaccine appointments are far and few between. One constant throughout the pandemic is the amount people should be tipping their servers when they eat at a restaurant or order takeout: a lot.

Every industry has been drastically affected by the pandemic, but the restaurant industry has been particularly hard it. Restaurant owners and workers alike are at the mercy of elected officials who decide when and if restaurants can stay open or not. Schools have it hard, but they have the option of remote learning. Retailers have it hard, but people can still shop online. Airlines have it hard, but they get bailed out by the government.

Meanwhile, servers are going to their restaurants and hoping that customers will come in and that those customers will tip. If you are able to go out to a restaurant, please dig a bit deeper into your pocket when it comes time to tip the staff. Tip as if these people are about to lose their jobs, because it’s very possible that they will. And those tips might also be going to people other than the person who took your order.

Depending on the state and how much the server is getting paid per hour, it’s feasible that some of that tip is also finding its way to the people who cooked the food or the person who washed the dishes. Anyone who is going to eat in a restaurant right now is in a fortunate situation; they have enough expendable income to pay for the luxury of someone else cooking and serving their food. They should recognize that privilege and tip a MINIMUM of 20% to the person who is wearing at least one mask in order to serve the mask-less person who who wanted jalapeño poppers and a $15 margarita.

As for takeout orders: tip big for the same reasons. It doesn’t need to be 20%, but 10% is a start. It matters not that you didn’t stay in the restaurant and take up a table or that you were only there for two minutes to pick it up. Being able to afford restaurant food puts you in a place of privilege and as is said in the musical Hello, Dolly, “Money is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around, encouraging young things to grow.” Share the wealth and watch things grow, like the smile on the face of the person who put together the to-go order.

Going to a coffee shop and see a tip jar? Put a dollar in it. Is that any more outlandish than spending $7.00 on a Trente Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino® Blended Beverage?

Is there a tip jar at Chipotle? Put a dollar in it.

Do you see one at the deli counter when you buy your ham and cheese on rye? Put a dollar in it.

Vaccines are on the horizon and so is the light at the end of this very long tunnel. The only way we’re going to get through this is to help other people out and if you can do that with a few dollars, then where’s the harm? We all wear a mask (or two) to help the people around us, so let’s also tip to help out. Just the tip. You’ll like it if you try it.

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Bitchy Waiter

Bitchy Waiter

Darron Cardosa is a writer, actor, singer, and waiter. He lives and and works in New York City and enjoys "The Brady Bunch," "The Facts of Life" and cocktails almost as much as he hates your baby.

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