4/11/2012 01:59:00 PM

Crazy Tips: 12 Tales of Unusual Gratuities

Everyone who's worked in a restaurant has at least one story about a crazy tip. There are  customers who leave no extra money even though you've done nothing wrong, folks who leave way too much on a small check and even a special few who decide to leave a noncash gratuity (Wendy's gift card, really?). We've reached out to some veterans of the industry who shared some of their favorite tipping tales for good and for bad. Click through the below slideshow to hear about some out-of-the-ordinary offerings, and, for the record, when someone offers to tip you $100 if you make out with them, the answer should probably be "no."


  1. I've always remembered the out-of-town date I took to an old Cincinnati German beer garden where the curmudgenly waiters were nearly as famous as the restaurant. When our bill was delivered, my date put down a small tip and told me "I don't tip except for exceptional service, and this is the worst service I've ever had!"

  2. Come these stories are lame where are the real stories!!!!!!!

  3. Always interesting reading about tipping. My story occurred not as a bartender (which I was for short spurts some years ago), but as a New York City taxi driver (which I also was for a short period some years ago).

    I was in line at a taxi stand outside the old Hotel Lexington in midtown Manhattan. When my turn came, a young couple who were arguing with each other got into the cab.

    They continued arguing, so I asked them where they wanted to go. The guy leaned forward and gave me $10 and said, "Take her wherever the hell she wants to go." He then got out of the cab and walked off.

    The young lady leaned forward and asked me, "How much did he give you?" I told her he gave me ten bucks. She said, "...the cheap bastard..." and handed me a twenty. Then she got out of the cab and walked off.

    I made a $30 tip without moving. And this was in the mid-70s, when $30 was probably worth a hundred of today's dollars. This is probably my best tip story, although I have a couple of pretty good ones from my days as a bartender too.

  4. My favorite beats all of these. I was working at an expensive midtown Manhattan restaurant. One night I had as a guest a controversial public figure. My homosexual manager came over to me and said, 'That man gets nothing for free from us', and I couldn't have agreed more. He had a great time, he ordered a middle course of white truffle and scallops, and a bottle of very expensive wine. His total bill came out to around $2000. He signed the check, complimented my on the food and service, and left. I looked at the tip line, and it read $4000. I knew it wasn't a mistake because he wrote it twice, with a 'Thanks!' written next to it. I was in utter shock, because that man was Rush Limbaugh.

  5. I worked in an all you can eat seafood restaurant. Young couple were difficult at best. The female in particular. Nothing was right. One of her many choices which she didn't like was fried fish filet. There was a miniscule dark piece of fish. Se went ballistic!I remained calm, and got the manager. He offered anything on the menu for no charge. They stayed about 1.5 hr. When they left I went to clean the table. There was a one cent tip. I caught up with them on the parking lot and returned the penny. I said your service was excellent, the good was good but your tip is far too much. So I'm returning it because apparently you cannot afford it [tip]; so use the penny in good health. I smiled sweetly and gave them a bag of about a half dozen crab legs and told them to have a wonderful life. It took them a few moments before they got into their car, sat there for a few minutes longer then left. I turned and walked back into the restaurant. Several of the other customers gave me a small round of applause and thumbs up.