The 12cent tip thread got me wondering if part of the divide on tipping is the difference between people who eat out to eat vs people who eat out as a treat or as entertainment.
We eat at 5 or 6 family run low end places on a rotating basis, so we're in there once a week or so. The typical bill for 2 is under $25 usually. These are Ethiopian, Vietnamese, sushi,, Thai, Chinese, Jamican, burrito type places. Owner operated, usually owner family servers. In many cases we have seen the kids grow from spindly pre-teens to post-university grads.
Routinely we tip +30%, even if the service isn't protypically 'good' because we get the courtesies of regulars, we want to them to stick around, and frankly, at a certain point % tips just don't scale.
We often do this when we are trying a new place but the bill is tiny. Like, the new dumpling place . . . no way we could eat more than $15 worth of food but leaving $20 didn't hurt a bit.
Are we the only ones that do this? I figure, an extra $1 or two isn't going to make any difference to us, and it's a huge difference in the expression of appreciation we leave. And I am all about saying thank you to those most familiar to me