Something that has become commonly spoken about Christians is that they tip low or even tipping nothing but a pamphlet. A story that went viral on the internet was Pastor Alois Bell’s restaurant check having 18% as a pre-written tip, where she crossed it out and wrote below “I give God 10%, why do you get 18?” She also included Pastor as part of her name. When the picture went viral, she demanded that the waitress be fired.
Other church groups have sometimes left, what at first, looks like a ten-dollar bill, but it turns out to be something else, with a note saying, "SOME THINGS ARE BETTER THAN MONEY like your eternal salvation, that was bought and paid for by Jesus going to the cross."
Some have been suspicious that all these stories of Christians tipping low are made up stories to make Christians look bad. However, I know someone who used to be a waiter for restaurants. I sent him an email asking what he had to say about it, and here is his response:
"[T]hat was back in the days before the 'kinder, gentler' fundamentalism. In my long career as a waiter I can recall numerous occasions of the salvation pamphlet tip. Everyone in the industry at the time knew about this practice (and every waiter hated it). It used to be that when you saw people at a table holding hands and praying, you'd think, 'Oh no' and exchange looks of sympathy with whoever was unfortunate enough to be stuck with them. Occasionally there would be a paltry amount of money left with the pamphlet as well--never anything approaching a suitable amount--but most frequently not. Some enterprising 'Christian' printer even had a line of products the title of which was 'Your Tip' (sic, quotation marks and all). The particularly infuriating thing about this was that such diners were clearly not lacking money, and would frequently rack up big bills by ordering numerous courses per person. As a general rule they were very demanding--wanting, for instance, multiple refills of coffee--which of course only twisted the knife in the wound. (It's an industry truism that the most demanding customers are generally the worst tippers; they see it as the only way to get the quality service that they know they don't deserve.) As I moved up the echelon of restaurants, I'm happy to say that for the most part I left this kind of behavior behind. I hope that it doesn't still happen today.I was always struck by the arrogance of this behavior. How did they know that I wasn't 'saved'? Did they not remember the injunction that 'The laborer is worthy of his hire?' Cheapness masquerading as charity is the basic nature of this transaction. Could anyone honestly be [naive] enough to think that to be cheated out of labor in this way would make anyone more sympathetic either to them, their message, or their god?"
Unfortunately, things don’t seem to be any different than they were when he was a waiter. Maybe things are even worse. There has, however, been a group called "Tips For Jesus" that tips very generously at restaurants. There are many who are skeptical of whether it’s a scam or not. Even if it’s not, do we really need an organization for Christians to tip generously or can’t Christians do it as individuals?
Here’s another idea; maybe members of Sunday Church groups should start to be kind to their waiters, thankful for all they do, and tip generously. If they’re not willing to do that, they definitely shouldn’t use their Christian faith as an excuse to keep money for themselves.
Written by Robin, CToBM Administrator