5 Signs People Think You're a Bad Tipper

No one wants to be known as that customer who's stingy with gratuity.

Even though tipping is deeply embedded in parts of our daily life, it's not something everyone gets right. Whether it's not leaving enough or forgetting to tip workers who are expecting a little something, the entire concept can admittedly be hard to stay on top of due to changing norms and new rules. But if you've ever wondered if people see you as stingy with gratuity, experts say there are a few hints that might tip you off to their feelings. Read on for the signs people think you're a bad tipper.

RELATED: 5 People You're Forgetting to Tip, Etiquette Experts Say.

1
You use mistakes to justify a lower tip.

Poor customer service from restaurant waiter.
Shutterstock

While the quality of service is undoubtedly a reason to leave a little extra on a tip, etiquette experts warn that it's not right to leave less in the event of a few minor slip-ups.

And according to Jules Hirst, etiquette expert and founder at Etiquette Consulting, the misguided "power move" could wind up costing you on your next visit in the form of less attentive or friendly service.

"Obviously, this type of person feels the need to punish the servers for these flaws and will do so by lowering the tip," she tells Best Life. "Maybe the server did make an error, but everyone makes mistakes and has bad days. Are you docked pay at work when you make a mistake?"

RELATED: 6 Places You Should Never Tip, According to Etiquette Experts.

2
You're calculating the tip based on the wrong amount.

According to etiquette experts, the ambiguity of whether to leave 15 or 20 percent for your server has been cleared up by the new norms for dining dictating that the larger amount is appropriate. But how you determine that number could be a sign you're prone to leaving too little.

"If you're known to calculate the tip based on the post-tax amount rather than the pre-tax amount of the bill, you might be seen as a bad tipper," warns personal finance advisor Sammie Ellard-King. "While this is up for debate and differs based on personal opinion, this can be seen as a faux pas in many circles."

RELATED: 6 Surprising New Rules for Tipping, According to Etiquette Experts.

3
You stiff your regular servers—or infinitely delay tipping them.

A server counting their tips with a disappointed look on their face
iStock / SDI Productions

Being a regular customer at a business can give you the advantage of friendly, familiar service every time you return. However, it can also provide you with insight into what others think of your tipping habits.

According to Hirst, staff at some establishments will recognize you and know whether or not you are a generous tipper.

"Not surprisingly, if you always pay the exact bill and fail to leave a tip or leave a low percentage tip, the servers will pray that you are not put in their section," she says. "And if that's the case and you are put in their section, then don't expect good service because the server would rather spend their time on their other tables and better tips."

It's also not just restaurants where this can occur.

"Bad tippers like to use the 'I don't carry any cash' excuse to get out of tipping valets or other attendants," Hirst adds. "Empty promises of 'I'll make it up to you next time' are another sign of a bad tipper. Does next time ever come?"

4
You forget to tip some service employees.

Customer using touch screen to make payment at a coffee shop
monkeybusinessimages / iStock

Most people understand that servers and bartenders are expecting a little something when the bill comes. But according to Ellard-King, neglecting to tip those in less non-restaurant service roles—including hotel housekeeping or a barista at the coffee shop—could indicate you've got some bad habits regarding gratuity.

"These individuals rely on tips as part of their income, and noticing the absence of tips is easy for them," he says.

If you're ever in doubt about whether to leave gratuity or not, it's best to trust your gut instinct at the moment to add a little something and to check what the socially acceptable norm is later.

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5
Someone in your party sneakily leaves more than you.

Individual Checks at A Restaurant
AOME1812 / Shutterstock

It's easy to see how a side-eyed glance or disappointed reaction from an employee could convey their feeling about your tipping habits. But in some cases, the hint could actually come from someone else in your party.

"You know you're a bad tipper at a restaurant when you leave, but another person in your party invents a reason to go back inside so they can add more money to the tip," explains Todd Stearn, personal finance expert and founder of The Money Manual.

If this happens to you, he suggests agreeing to add to the pot as well and to consider carefully calculating your tip to be a little more generous on your next outing.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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