Using God as a Scapegoat?

You can read the article below, look at my synopsis, or both (which I prefer!)

Synopsis:  In short, Applebees fired a waitress who posted to Reddit a copy of a receipt in which the autotip kicked in (8+ people in party) and the pastor who was paying the bill marked out the tip of 18%, wrote a zero, and remarked (in writing) “I give God 10%, why do you get 18?”.

Now, we can look at the usuals:

1)  The waitress was tired and worn-out and just vented a bit.

2)  The Pastor was upset at the amount and chose an interesting way to state her anger.

3)  Applebees was trying to keep from being sued.

But, I think I will go with the angle of using God as a scapegoat to protest paying a tip.  The biggest problem is that, unless I have lost it, Applebees prints this autotip process in the menu.  If it is a problem, then everyone should pay their own way or split the ticket in half and the Pastor pays for both.

Next, 18% is 2% less than the 20% expected on a food bill and, while I find that quite a bit of money, I know that waitresses make $2.15 / hour (up $0.10 an hour from when I waited tables in late 70s and early 80s).  At between $80 and $100 per week paid by the restaurant, it is difficult to make ends meet for most waiters/waitresses.  If I am waiting a table for 9 people, getting stiffed will ruin me for the night as I will devote more to that table than to several other smaller ones because I will have to.  Usually, someone else will cover my smaller tables for that time.  To go 1/2 hour or more without tips is bad on the paycheck.  So, knowing I will get a bit less than 20%, but will get something makes me work harder.

Now, at no time did the Pastor ever say that the waitress didn’t do an excellent job.  She just complained about the tip.

This is what really bothers me:  if I make $400 week and tithe 10%, I give God $40.  That doesn’t mean that I can complain that I pay $45 week in gas or $85 in groceries because “I give God 10%”.   This Pastor is, in my opinion, using God as a scapegoat to complain about prices.  I find that people do this with religion all the time.  When religion makes a demand about something, it’s not right to use that rule or obligation as a source of complaint about other things.  It simply struck me wrong.

What I wonder is that, since the Pastor wasn’t asking or thinking that the waitress should be fired for what happened, then why isn’t she standing up for this person and saying, “Hey, I won’t be coming back to your restaurant if you are going to be that bad about this.”  I mean, she complained, but a simple “I am sorry.” might have sufficed.  Why didn’t Applebees ask the Pastor what she expected as compensation?  Why just fire the waitress for this?

Now, as a last thing, just to be fair, I suppose it would be good if the policy was to let the party know, up front, that they would be getting the autotip for the meal; however, should the waitress be responsible for saying something negative to her customers?  I fault Applebees for firing the waitress and the Pastor for not reading well enough.  She should have known that 20% was the usual and expected to pay that and been happy to save the 2% – she could have given that extra 2% to God…now, that, probably, never occurred to anyone.

What do you think?



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  • robincoyle  On February 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    A pastor gives God only 10%? I thought they gave 100% . . . of their life that is. He needs to re-read the part in the Bible about “Do unto others as . . . “


  • Courtney C.  On February 6, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    “This is what really bothers me: if I make $400 week and tithe 10%, I give God $40. That doesn’t mean that I can complain that I pay $45 week in gas or $85 in groceries because “I give God 10%”.”

    Interesting point that I hadn’t read anyone else. Never thought about it that way, but you’re completely right.


  • Andrew McGivern  On February 6, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I thought the God comment was funny. I used to be in the hospitality idustry and know very well that servers depend on their tips but I don’t believe in automatic tips. In fact if the service is bad I have no problem giving no tip.

    A tip isn’t supposed to be charity for the underpaid worker. It is a reward for great service. The hospitality industry in North America encouraged the convention of tipping in order to subsidize their labour costs so they wouldn’t have to pay their employees as much. In other parts of the world working in the hospitality industry is a well paid job with little to no tips.

    The story isn’t the fact that someone was trying to get out of a tip and made a joke on the bill…

    The story is how Applebees handled the public social media backlash to their actions. The story is how organizations still don’t understand that the world has changed and the rules of engagement are different now.


    • kindredspirit23  On February 6, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      I agree with your statements. In fact, Applebees is really suffering from this backlash now. I have a second post coming out in a few days dealing with it yet again.

      I like to tip big when I can and when it is deserved.


  • 4amWriter  On February 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    That’s too bad for everyone involved. There’s a lesson here, I think. As JM stated, the menus all have that policy printed out. In fact, I would think it’s a law to have it in writing because they are forcing people to tip that much. I always laugh at instances like this because my mother consistently tips 20% or more, and apologizes to the waitress for having to tip the 18% that is written in. She ends up leaving the extra dough to make up the difference, but she has questioned why restaurants chose 18%. Is it to make people feel better about not having to tip the preferred 20%, because tipping is not actually a requirement. It’s a courtesy for a job well done. I have waited on plenty of Canadian tourists who pretend they know nothing about the tipping courtesy and leave pennies.


  • Laurel  On February 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Unbelievable as it may seem, the pastor DID expect her to be fired. Truly a woman of Christian love and charity.


  • jmmcdowell  On February 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    It’s “religious” types like this who help give religion a bad name. I think the restaurant should have refused to accept the pastor’s “revised” bill from the start. The restaurant policy is clearly stated on the menus. The group knew that autotip was part of the bill.

    And it’s unfortunate that a small lapse in good judgment by the server resulted in her dismissal. I can think of many holier-than-thou business types who have done far worse and see no consequences to their actions.


    • kindredspirit23  On February 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      Oh, I agree. As a follow-up, the Pastor, later, apologized and said she didn’t think they would fire the waitress and how what she (Pastor) did was crazy. I agree, but she should have taken it one step further and asked sincerely for them to reinstate the waitress. I doubt they would have and she might have refused the offer, but still…


  • mymendingwall  On February 3, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Nicely said.


  • southernhon  On February 3, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Truth in the World Deliverance Ministries??!! Sounds like a bunch of snake handlers. I really, really hate stuff like this. That idiot “pastor” (who probably has no formal religious education or training) is showing people just how stupid and uncaring some Christians can be. Bringing God into this and using his alleged tithe to justify his behavior is reprehensible. He’s the one who should be fired!!


  • behindthemaskofabuse  On February 2, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    i hate when religion does that.

    i will say though, i often wonder why it’s up to the customer to pay most of the restaurant staff’s wages, why shouldn’t the restaurant being paying most of their staff wages?

    i come from being a hairstylist where it’s a similar situation to waitresses. i think our bosses should be paying our wages not our customers…


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