Unless you are eating at a really expensive place, the 20% tip you leave will be less than $10. So a wait staffer who gets a $10 tip is likely to be very pleased. But they should not rejoice too soon. Apparently some people leave what looks like a $10 bill but is in reality a fake with some kind of religious message on the back. (You can see a clear image of the bill and message here, posted by a wait staffer who got one of them.)
The idea that Christians are poor tippers apparently has been whispered in service circles for a long time. Many waiters try not work Sunday brunch, so as to avoid notoriously stingy churchgoers, claims Justin Wise, the director of a Lutheran ministry in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Christians don’t tip very well,” he wrote for The Lutheran magazine in January 2009. “As a matter of fact, we’re pretty cheap. What makes this worse is that we paint ‘cheap’ with a religious-sounding veneer and call it ‘being a good steward.’ Nothing like hiding behind the Bible to camouflage your stinginess.”
One woman wrote back: “It was almost 100 percent true that the worst tips were on a check with a Bible verse or fish symbol.”
But studies suggest that the average tips left by Christians is about the standard. What seems to be true is that those who are poor tippers or tend to stiff the wait staff entirely tend to be disproportionately Christian, skewing the perception of them.
It is curious the justifications people give for tipping poorly, such as this person who says that she and her boyfriend eat out 3 to 4 times a week. She says they don’t have much money which is why they don’t even order sodas and yet the bill for each meal comes to $25. As a result, she says that she can only afford to tip $2 or 8%. She seems totally oblivious to the hypocrisy of claiming poverty while spending $100 just on eating out four times per week.