After a recent meal at a local restaurant, I was forced to question my tipping habits. Do you still tip poor service? How much should you really tip? Should you tip everyone involved in the process? Who...When...How...am I supposed to tip?

Have you had that awkward moment when you just want to leave that tip line empty? I mean, it is a tip after all. Shouldn't that be a notion of good service, not something that is expected to be received? I have numerous friends in the restaurant and bar businesses that truly rely on tips which has kind of molded me into an over tipper, if anything.


I'm not going to name the restaurant that I was at, but I will say that they have great Happy Hour deals and this was definitely not the first time or the last time I am going to enjoy those deals.

Here was the run down on the night: Myself and two of my friends sat down at the bar to enjoy a beverage and some food. Drinks, awesome. Food, awesome. Service, meh. My total was $9 and some change. I handed the bartender a $20 and received two $5 bills and my loose coins. No way am I going to leave $5 bills as the tip. That's more than a 50% tip! Way too much for one drink and a plate of food...UNLESS the service was really good. Like really good. This time it wasn't anything special and actually lacked a little.

So now I'm faced with the dilemma of no tip, loose coins as a tip, or simply the $1 i already had in my pocket as a tip. There has been maybe one or times in my life that I remember not tipping anything. Those were really awful nights where nothing goes right with the service what so ever and you leave with a bad taste in your mouth. This time, the food was good, drinks were good, the service wasn't necessarily bad, but it wasn't something that should be rewarded as better than normal. Luckily, my buddy had a few ones to break a $5 bill allowing me to leave $3 as the tip.

This is where my thought to even write this post came from. It got me thinking: Did the bartender give me the change the way she did to try to invoke what she felt was a good tip? Was she not paying attention to the change she gave me? Or did she not care if I left a tip? I have no idea!

My guidelines: If I'm at a bar, its a buck a beer or two dollars per mix drink/pitcher. If its food, I will normally double the tax and leave that as a tip which comes out to about 17%. If it's really great service and you are taken good care of, I will usually round things up to the nearest zero or five. It just depends.

You Tell Me: I want to know what your thoughts are. Everyone eats out or goes out and is faced with a tip at the end of the night. What are your tipping guidelines?
- Do you always tip or just tip on excellent service?
- Do you tip the bus boy?
- How about the Pizza delivery guy? You know they already charge a delivery fee of $2-$3.
- What about the kids at McDonald's or other fast food restaurants. They work hard, aren't they just as deserving of a tip for your $5 meal as the server of your $15 meal?

Take the 97 Rock Nation poll and tell us what you believe is a proper tip.