A wise man once told me that tipping, and tipping well, was an essential part of living a joyful life. Picture this: You’re out on the town. Crabby waiter? Undercutting them by tipping lower than the standard doesn’t help anything, the wise man explained. Instead, the key was to tip inversely: If you had mediocre service, you likely encountered someone failing to suppress a foul mood or in desperate need of a motivational boost. Throwing them a few more bucks would brighten their day. That’s a nice feeling for all involved.
Need proof? Here’s what happens when two guys start tipping their waiters $200. They knew what reactions to expect, so they video taped it.
There’s an internal debate in the restaurant business as to whether Americans should continue tipping. Owners theorize that waiters could be more driven and focused on their jobs if the bonus of tips were out of the picture. Oh, come on.
Tipping beyond the arbitrary amount reflective of a dining experience has a ripple effect. Paying a recommended 20 percent — or beyond — when the world screams “slight them!” is a noble act. And your date can tell.
It’s possible to be an impressive tipper without adding $200 to the bill. In an inspired bit of lifehacking, writer James Altucher makes the case for investing in heaps of $2 bills, easily attainable from your local bank. He cites two reasons why this will wow anyone you wine and dine:
“When you go to a place where you plan on being a regular, always tip 30% and do it all with $2 bills. Nobody is ever going to forget you and you will always be treated well. Plus people will fight with each other to be the one serving you. That’s a nice feeling. You don’t have to be rich. You just have to have $2 bills.”
And for those wooing romantic interests:
“When I was dating, I would carry a thick wad of cash. A $100 bill on top, $2 bills filling out the whole wad. Time to pay for dinner, I’d bring out the wad (impressive), peel off a $100 bill (pathetic) and then amaze by tipping with non-stop $2 bills. ‘Where did you get those?’ people always ask. Give a cryptic answer. ‘I do some projects with the government.’”
You wouldn’t turn down a tip from a wise man, would you?
Matt Patches is a writer and reporter living in New York City. His work has been featured on New York Magazine’s Vulture, Film.com, Hollywood.com, MTV, and he is the host of the pop culture podcast Operation Kino. He continues to love Groundhog Day.