Tipping When Service Is Bad

January 13, 2011  |  

(New York Times) — To find out what to do when service is bad, we asked Peter Post, an etiquette expert at the Emily Post Institute whom we featured in an Ask an Expert series last year.  According to Mr. Post, the time to show your disappointment with bad service is not when you’re giving a tip. Instead, you should complain before. “The time to complain about it is the time when the service is poor,” he said.  The tip, Mr. Post said, is part of what makes a waiter’s income livable and is often shared by many people.  So, for instance, if you are at a restaurant and service is slow, or the waiter or kitchen messes up your order, Mr. Post recommends talking to the offending person and the manager and expressing your dissatisfaction. Often, you’ll even get a free meal or at least a discount as consolation, much more than you would save by cutting the tip.

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