To Tip or Not to Tip?

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I am a self-professed over-tipper. I tip everyone. Once, I even tipped the cable guy; my husband loved that. Given my predilection toward spreading the monetary love, why do iPad tip requests at counter service restaurants give me such pause?

You know what I'm talking about—it's that awkward moment when the person at the register hands you a smoothie or a sub and then flips the iPad screen of shame in your direction: 15%, 20%, Custom Tip, No Tip ... What's the right thing to do? I've been keeping an eye on what others do with these screens and I have noticed I'm not the only one getting a little pink in the cheeks.

When a server at a sit-down restaurant listens to my annoyingly nondairy food requests, takes the order of my daughter (who never speaks to strangers above a whisper), deals with my really sloppy son, muddles through my husband's craft beer questions, brings the food out, takes it back because the kitchen crew added cheese to my salad, chitchats with us about the weather, clears the table (you get my drift), he or she has more than earned that extra 20%. But when it comes to counter service, I'm stumped.

What do you all do? Go all in at 20%? Tip less than 20% since you are getting less "service?" Tip nothing? Plus, if we do tip, where does it go? Does a percentage of it go to the proprietor or franchise owner?

Most important: Are we total jerks if we go old-school and leave nothing?

The truth is, in these situations I still over-tip. But I don't always feel so good about it. So, score one for the counter service workers. I guess there are worse things than putting some extra cash in someone's pocket.

But Miss Manners, if you're reading this, I sure would appreciate an updated set of rules!

Written by Lisa Stickler, contributing writer for West Michigan Woman. Lisa, a Michigan native who currently lives in Florida with her traveling family, is forever a West Michigander at heart.

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