Cheap vs Frugal


March 1, 2010


Has anyone ever called you cheap?  Do you know anyone who is penny-wise but pound foolish? What does it actually mean to be frugal?  From a potential social faux pas to a major  financial decision- LET’S TALK ABOUT IT!  While frugality may be in vogue, being cheap is never in style.  Each week, we’ll post a scenario and let the forum decide- is the story frugal.. or just cheap? What do you think?!

Is It Ever Okay Not To Tip At A Restaurant?

There’s nothing like great conversation while being wined and dined by a witty, handsome man on your first date together. To this day I still remember his piercing blue eyes… Everything about the evening was perfect until it came time for Mr. Blue Eyes to leave the tip.  As he was signing his name, he looked at me and said, “I hate tipping. I think it is a ridiculous custom. They don’t do it in Europe, and I only ever tip if the service is extraordinary. Which is usually never.” And he wasn’t kidding!

The worst part was, he actually seemed proud of himself for ‘taking a stand’.  I felt like I was going to puke up the very nice meal he had just (sort of) paid for. I also felt like telling him that if he was so into European customs, then dinner in Paris would have been fine with me!  But we weren’t in Europe, we were in the West Village, in Manhattan, in the US of A, where it is most definitely customary to tip – and in my mind that means 20% unless the server literally drops boiling soup on you and/or cracks a wine bottle over your head.

I guess after seeing the look of horror on my face, he begrudgingly left a 10% tip.  He obviously didn’t realize that his lack of tipping was the biggest aphrodisiac killer on the planet.  Any possibility of kissy time was shot! I was just so turned off by his cheapness.  I told him I thought he was being ridiculous and that she certainly deserved a 20% tip, (I did make up the difference).

So, do you think he was as disgustingly cheap as I do, or do you think his views about tipping understandable??

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5 Responses to “Cheap vs Frugal”

  1. Paige says:

    I understand his concerns. However, he is not in Europe, he is in the US. What he doesn’t understand is that typical wait staff in the US is paid well under the minimum wage. In Europe, wait staff is paid much higher, so they are much less dependent on tipping to earn a living wage.

  2. Holly says:

    I am proud to tip for great service. It is totally cheap and in poor taste not to tip if the service was to your expectations. Not liking it, I understand, but then you should avoid places where you have to leave a tip.

  3. Christine says:

    Being in Europe (UK) we certainly do tip if received good service. That to me is polite and expected. If the service was just ok then usually I would just leave a token amount but if the waiter was pleasant, attentive and just generally nice why not show your appreciation.

  4. Erin says:

    As a person who worked in a hotel bar/restaurant for 4 years, I cannot tell you how many times I was “stiffed” on a tip eith they left way less than the average tip or worse they left nothing at all (sometimes they were kind enough to leave me all their small change as a tip). I think that if you’re in a country where it is customary to tip, then you tip and if not then you don’t. If he doesn’t have the money to tip the waiter/waitress for their service then he shouldn’t be dinning out!

  5. Kate says:

    Definitely tip a waitress/waiter! 15% is standard, 10% for lousy service and 20% for great service. I tip baristas less though, since they aren’t bringing the food to the table or really doing that much work. Handing me a bagel and an empty cup for coffee is not service above their hourly wage.

Any Thoughts?