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Redditor Balks After Date Plays Cruel ‘Game’ With Their Server’s Tip To Ensure ‘Good Service’

Woman embarrassed by her date's behavior at restaurant
Prostock-Studio/Getty Images

We’ve all been on one of those terrible first dates, and it’s even worse when we feel like we shouldn’t leave the date, like at a restaurant.

But sometimes we have to walk out anyway, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor throwaway000059 was furious with her date when he was mistreating their restaurant server.

When he insisted it was the reasonable thing to do, the Original Poster (OP) decided the date was over.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for tipping our waitress 20 dollars despite her poor service, because my date was playing a ‘game’ with her tips?”

The OP’s first date turned terrible quickly.

“I met a guy on a dating app. We hit it off and we arranged our first date. Things were going well, we had sat down and started some small chat.”

“Our waitress came over, asking us what we want to order.”

“I said what I wanted and gestured to him so he could order.”

“He ordered and then pulled out what I think was about 15 dollars and put it on the table. He said, ‘This is your tip. Every time you mess up, I take some away.'”

The OP tried to talk to her date about what he’d said.

“The waitress looked nervous immediately. I was sitting there a bit shocked but mostly embarrassed because I wasn’t expecting this.”

“She must have been new as well, because she did spill some drinks on our table that night, gave us the wrong food, and overall just seemed lost.”

“He took away 13 dollars.”

“I asked him why he thought doing tips this way was a good idea. He said it was the best way to ensure ‘good service.'”

“When I disagreed, he said, ‘Can’t always be nice to these people, it’s not a respectable job.'”

The OP decided the date was over.

“I decided then that I wanted nothing to do with him and was just trying to finish eating, and called the waitress over to get the bill. I slapped a 20-dollar bill in her hand and got up to pay for my own meal.”

“Later that night, he demanded to know why I had given her the tip despite her poor service.”

“I told him it was because he decided to treat her livelihood like it was a game.”

“He said because of me, she’ll never improve her service and that I’m just a people pleaser.”

“I blocked him, but I’ve wondered ever since if that was really the right thing to do.”

“AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some reassured the OP that she was right to end this date as early as possible.

“I’ve never been a waiter but when people put needless stress and expectations on me (especially in an already stressful job) it definitely affects my performance, I could easily believe the waitress usually does a much better job.”

“OP handled it perfectly, you can tell a lot about people by how they treat service staff. NTA.” – DrWhoop87

“NTA. That kind of game isn’t even remotely a good way to ‘ensure good service’ it’s a good way to fluster your server into making even more mistakes cause they’re too hyper-aware that they’re being judged.” – HerosMuse

“To be honest, I feel like if someone did that to me, I’d assume I was gonna be faulted for bulls**t stuff and that I shouldn’t bother trying, and maybe should just have fun f**king with the guy.”

“Also OP, a better move would probably have gotten up and left without a word as soon as the guy pulled the ‘here’s your tip if you don’t mess up,’ but NTA.”

“Also, who cares about service if this is the adversarial atmosphere before the orders were even taken, like what a way to ruin a meal.” – DerpyTheGrey

“To be honest, I wish she had talked down to him right in front of him while giving the waitress that money.”

“Like, ‘This was supposed to be a romantic date and luckily he outed himself as a huge, disrespectful little s**t almost immediately. I’m sorry it had to be you as the target. Please accept this 20, you’ve earned every penny, and if anyone ever does that to you again, don’t even bother to bring them a menu, since they’re not respectable ‘people.'” – shelballama

“NTA. His way of tipping is a d**k move. I’ve heard of that before and if I was a waiter, I would be offended by this garbage and wouldn’t wait on him. It’s a horrible way to treat people.”

“Mind you, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and things don’t go right. Restaurants are short staffed and not all food is available. She could ‘lose’ tip money on things she cannot control. This is just bulls**t. Move on, lose that guy.” – Cokeycane

“It honestly feels like such a nasty ‘game’ though. Such a person is a foul person, to me.”

“When I go out to eat, I don’t want to bring in dog s**t vibes, lol (laughing out loud). Yeah, sure, I’m the customer, but the folks I’m interacting with are people. I appreciate them providing a good meal, service/recommendations, and maybe some light banter… and in return, it feels completely obligatory to me to be respectful to them too.”

“Wanting to play a game where we highlight all their ‘mistakes’ is inherently disgusting to me.”

“For me, if someone were to ever try this game while attending dinner with me (as a fellow customer), I’d probably tell them to go home and get f**ked, lol. I’m at a place in my life thankfully that I at least don’t have to suffer such w**kering cretins.” – madmaxturbator

“I work at a bar and if someone did this to me, I’d laugh and tell them they can go ahead and order at the bar then. I’m not playing their stupid game so I can ‘feel bad’ and obsess over every little thing that they perceive as a mistake.”

“This is not the way to ensure good service. We’re all human and have a life outside our jobs and bigger problems. I and most of my coworkers are university students. We don’t have the energy to worry about pleasing pricks like this.”

“OP, you are not the a**hole and that server is immensely grateful to you for standing up for her. Especially if she was indeed starting a new job. Everyone needs kindness, except that AH you went out with.” – beansbeans716

Others were deeply troubled by how the OP’s date treated service workers.

“NTA. So, he made her nervous, which likely made her service worse.”

“Then, then he has the absolute gal to say, ‘Can’t always be nice to these people, it’s not a respectable job.'”

“What?”

“He is using the service she provides and yet insulting her and all the people who share the same job. Jesus above.” – JudgeJed100

“If it’s not a respectable job, why did he demand pristine service? These people have to work during an ongoing pandemic with people who are even more unhinged lately.”

“OP, NTA. Anyone who treats servers like this doesn’t deserve your time and energy. this guy showed you who he was. You have to believe him.”

“NTA. I hope you find a dollar on the ground.” – likecommentsurvive

“We were sat next to a table and at one point the waitress brought them the wrong drink. And the guy goes, ‘Don’t worry I wasn’t going to tip anyway.'”

“And the waitress sort of laughs awkwardly and he goes, ‘No really I don’t believe in tipping.'”

“The waitress leaves the table and his partner proceeds to argue with him about how embarrassing it is for him not to tip and then he says if she wants to tip she should pay but she can’t because she is a SAHM.” – astrobuckeye

“I was a server years ago, and I had a table that did something similar. They put a $5 bill on the table and said I better give great service, because they deserve it, and this would be my tip if I did well.”

“I worked in a steakhouse, so a 5-buck tip would be really low. I took my time, and focused more on my other tables, but was still polite and gave them pretty good service. They left the tip, but I did think their behavior was gross.”

“I got those people with religious pamphlets that were disguised as $20 bills several times too! The same couple of groups would come in every Sunday and do that. Then they would complain they weren’t getting good service.”

“Well, if you tip poorly or not at all and keep coming back, the staff remembers you. We made $ 2.62 an hour, plus we had to tip 3% of our total sales to the house, to be divided among the hostess, busboys, etc. So the server would actually get stuck paying to wait on the table!” – sarahsignorelli

“You tip well, you get remembered, sometimes the bartender refills your drink for free, and sometimes you leave an extra $20.”

“In fact, every time I’ve gotten something for free, I’ve been so pleased that I ended up tipping the full cost of that thing plus an extra 10-20%. I’m so easily manipulated, I could probably get comped a $20 meal and leave $40 because I feel like I’m getting away with something.”

“Not that I mind.” – LackingUtility

“If I was a server and someone pulled this s**t with me, I’d probably give them bad service on purpose for being a d**khead. $15 isn’t even a great tip.”

“NTA, obviously.” – RenDabs

The subReddit was just as grossed out by the date’s behavior as the OP had been. They were grateful that she had stood up for herself and who she was not willing to date, and she had also ended the server’s evening on a better note than it would have been.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.