News flash courtesy of Salon: Apparently the level of service we get in a restaurant doesn’t matter a whit with regard to how much we tip. It’s actually all (or at least sometimes) about reverse psychology and our sniveling need to be liked. By our waiter. What, are we all Sally Field now?
Salon writer Francis Lam interviewed veteran server Steve Dublanica (of Waiter Rant fame), who says, “[T]he thing that’s always amazed me is that the quality of service has almost no effect on tipping.“
Instead it’s a game of playing to personality types. Waiters may even act aloof, so that the customers have to win them over. Says Dublanica, “Some [customers] are trying to win the waiter’s approval. In those cases you play it like a girl playing ‘hard to get.’ Because they want to say, ‘This waiter was difficult and I turned them around, because I’m so good at dealing with people.’ That’s what the customer wants from that experience. They’re looking for the waiter’s approval, not for their service.”
And here I thought tipping just involved a simple mathematical calculation.