You love Jesus!? NO TIP FOR YOU!

A few years ago, my (very) militant atheist friend and I were having dinner at the IHOP here in Tulsa. Our waitress was perfectly competent. Not outstanding or anything, but attentive enough. About what you’d expect at an IHOP (unless your IHOP is really shitty). At the end of our meal, she brought us our separate checks and on the back of each, she’d written, “God bless you.” This offended and infuriated my friend and he said he wasn’t going to give her a tip. No tip at all. I thought this was a pretty extreme reaction and told him so, but he insisted on leaving her nothing. So, I looked at both of our checks, calculated what the tip should have been for both of them and paid his tip and mine. In the car afterwards, he really lit into me, saying I’d embarrassed him horribly by paying his tip. I told him I didn’t think he could possibly be any more embarrassed than I would have been if I hadn’t paid his tip for him because at IHOP, you pay up front at the cash register and the waitress wouldn’t have known who tipped how much, just that she’d only gotten about half what she should’ve from our table.

My feeling on tipping is that one should always tip fifteen percent at the very least, no matter how bad the service is. If the service is so bad that you’re tempted to not tip or to under-tip your server, you should tip them anyway, then inform the management. I won’t go into all the reasons I feel this way, but partly it’s because if you don’t leave a tip or leave a small one, the server doesn’t necessarily know why you did so and may just think you’re cheap. If you tell their manager, though, the manager can deal with the issue and (hopefully) make sure it doesn’t happen again. If that means firing the server, well, so be it.

Anyway, my friend and I were discussing the IHOP incident again recently and I told him that in addition to being an extreme reaction to what she’d written on our checks, not tipping her wouldn’t have done any good in the long run because she still wouldn’t have known why she didn’t get tipped. Plus—and this is really the most important point, I think—she didn’t really deserve to get shafted for what she did. It’s possible—no, I’d say probable—that she was only trying to be nice and give her service an extra personal touch, not proselytize. Yes, the extra touch was religious in nature, but I think it’s likely that it didn’t even occur to her that it might possibly offend someone. I told my friend he should have tipped her, but also told her—just as a piece of friendly advice—that he wasn’t happy about what she’d written on his check and that if she continued to do it, she ran the risk of really offending someone in the future. I told him that I just didn’t think she deserved to be punished for trying to be nice to her guests. He thought about it and said, “You know, you’re right. I should have told her that I was unhappy about the note. But I still wouldn’t have tipped her.”

So… Was my friend being a grade-A asshole, or am I being too sensitive? Should the waitress have been tipped or not? For that matter, should my friend even have mentioned the note to her or just let the matter drop? What say you, Dopers?

P. S. Yes, I’m aware that my thread title isn’t entirely accurate, but it’s not meant to be taken literally. My friend would never base a server’s tip on their personal religious beliefs. I just wanted a thread title that would catch everyone’s eye. It was also my (probably pathetic) attempt at humor.

As an atheist with a bit of a chip on his shoulder in regards to organized religion, I say with one hundred percent conviction that your friend is a flaming dickwad. It’s people like that that give the rest of us poor reputations.

I also say that if the waiter or waitress has done a horrible job of waiting my table, he or she isn’t going to get a tip. If they’re competent or even a bit below, they’ll get the full 20% but if the service is atrocious, I’m paying for my meal only and nothing more.


Your friend is an arsehole. Unless she’d been particularly god-bothery, that kind of little note isn’t something to get upset about.

I really, REALLY, don’t like it when people feel the need to “God” me. But I don’t think she was doing that. It comes across like a nice little well-wishing note.

Personally, I’d’ve tipped her, said nothing about it to her, briefly whinged about it to MaxBabe on the way home, then realised I was being an arsehole and forget about it.

I dunno. Your workplace isn’t a proper place to evangelize, especially to customers. I wouldn’t have appreciated her blessing- although I’d definately bring up what my problem was directly to her.

I always tip well. I also always mark out “In God We Trust” on all my paper money with a black pen.

“Well, he was a godless heathen, but he did leave a nice tip.”

(Oh, yeah, the guy sounds like a jerk to me, too.)

On the list of annoying things to say, “God Bless You” ranks down the list with, I dunno, “Bring your umbrella; it’s going to rain.” So your friend was being a jerk. Now, if the server had offered to lead your table in grace, that’s a different story. But she didn’t; all she did was write a reasonably inoffensive thing on the back of your checks.


Your friend isn’t really an athiest. He sounds more like a believer who’s just REALLY pissed off at God for some reason. I don’t know, maybe God gave him a small penis or something.

Anyway, your friend should seek help from a shrink…

BTW, ditto what Aesiron said. As an Athiest myself this guy really chaps my ass…


If she were actively trying to witness to you while you were eating or something like that, I’d have no problem with not tipping. But writing a note like that on the bill? Please.

Hypothetical Question:

What if she had written Allah al Akbar, As sallam u alaikum?
For those here who find no problem with “God Bless You”.
Same sentiment.
different language.
Would you tip her, or would you be offended and withold the tip?

She could have written “Hail Satan” on it in crimson ink and I’d still not be bothered as I believe in all three equally.

It was a little message written on a reciept and was totally innocous. Anyone that’s going to make a huge issue over it has some issues of their own that they need to work out.

Great hypothetical, devilsknew.

Objectively: It would make no difference.
Subjectively: It would make no difference at all to me personally, as someone who doesn’t care what name you choose to give to that Fat Black Lesbian In The Sky.

But I suspect that for a lot of people it would make a difference. Way to put folks to the test! Hooray, devilsknew, good job!

Although I’m an atheist myself, I think your friends reaction is childish and more than a bit cowardly. It reminded me of this thread.

It is so much easier to attack a waitress (and in a very indirect and unintelligeble way, too!) then to undertake positive, effective action for your beliefs, in the lions den.
I’ll take your friends atheism much more seriously when he volunteers when his local church needs an token atheist for the annual “open discussion”.

I’m a C’tian & if she’d written a pleasantry based on any religion or atheism (like- “too bad there’s no God because if there were I’d ask Him to bless you” L), I wouldn’t stiff on the tip. If she wrote “Jesus s*cks”, I’d not be as tip-happy.

Your friend- Major League Jerk, he’s not a proper atheist, he’s anti-theist

I might go over 20% for that. :smiley:

Theist checking in. It’s not a matter of language or religion, period. It’s a matter of someone wishing me well, being friendly. I don’t have to agree with someone’s religion to understand good intent.

There are plenty of well-wishes that don’t involve displaying your religion at work to a bunch of strangers.

As long as she was a competent server, I’d tip her. Although that’s not entirely analogous because “Allah al Akbar, As sallam u alaikum” isn’t a common courteous expression in this country. Someone on another message board where I discussed this issue wondered how I’d feel if she’d written, “Satan bless you,” on the ticket. Personally, I’d still give a tip as long as the service was good, but again, that’s not really analogous because a phrase like “Satan bless you” is clearly intended to shock and/or offend.

I think your friend was a jackass. While I don’t really agree with writing “God Bless You” on a bill (I think “Have a nice day” would do), it seemed like she was trying to express a nice sentiment.

About tipping, I disagree with tipping 15% even if you’ve received horrible service. I normally tip at least 20% because I realize that waiters and waitresses rely on tips to make their wages; however, if service is really bad, I don’t think I should pay them for it. I wouldn’t leave without tipping, but the amount I’d leave would decrease. And I know that someone will rip into me about this, but I have been known to write a small, polite note on the bill explaining why a tip is low. I’d rather tip low and let someone know why than tip low and have that person thinking I’m just a cheap bitch (though I’m sure that the server receiving the note & tip thinks I’m still a cheap bitch, even if I just politely let them know why).

Personally, while I think her intentions were good, she is truly clueless as to how offensive that is. I probably would have written: “But I didn’t SNEEZE!” right beneath it.

And I would certainly be tempted to tell her that she ALMOST didn’t get a tip because of her obnoxious behavior.