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Is It OK To Tip Your Server Less If These 13 Things Happen During Your Meal?

Hair in your food, dirty tables, rude staff, and more unfortunate events.

If there's one thing that really seems to get the internet riled up, it's tipping etiquette. Everyone has different opinions about what should — and shouldn't — impact a server's tip.

a server annoyed by a small tip
Sdi Productions / Getty Images

Now, full disclosure: I'm a former server and bartender, and I believe strongly in tipping at least the standard 15% to 20%, no matter what. But I know not everyone agrees with me — so let's find out what the rest of y'all think.

a person leaving coins as a tip
Kathleen Finlay / Getty Images/Image Source

Tell me whether each of these 13 different scenarios would make you tip less:

  1. 1. Scenario: The food arrives, and your order is wrong. The server apologizes and sends it back, but you'll have to wait a bit for the new order.

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1. Scenario: The food arrives, and your order is wrong. The server apologizes and sends it back, but you'll have to wait a bit for the new order.
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm still tipping 15% to 20%. Mistakes happen.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I'm tipping less for that.
  1. 2. Scenario: The server is rude to you. Not like, calling-you-an-idiot rude, but unfriendly and dismissive for the entire meal.

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2. Scenario: The server is rude to you. Not like, calling-you-an-idiot rude, but unfriendly and dismissive for the entire meal.
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm still tipping 15% to 20%. People can have bad days.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I'm tipping less for that.
  1. 3. Scenario: You ask the server if you can modify one of the menu items. The server tells you it's against the restaurant's policy to make substitutions or changes.

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3. Scenario: You ask the server if you can modify one of the menu items. The server tells you it's against the restaurant's policy to make substitutions or changes.
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm still tipping 15% to 20%. They don't make the rules.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I'm tipping less for that.
  1. 4. Scenario: You made a reservation in advance, but when you showed up the table wasn't ready for you. You have to wait 20 minutes to be seated.

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4. Scenario: You made a reservation in advance, but when you showed up the table wasn't ready for you. You have to wait 20 minutes to be seated.
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm still tipping 15% to 20%. It's not the server's fault.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I'm tipping less for that.
  1. 5. Scenario: The food was disgusting. You decide not to mention it to the server, and just eat what you can get down.

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5. Scenario: The food was disgusting. You decide not to mention it to the server, and just eat what you can get down.
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm still tipping 15% to 20%. The server didn't cook the food.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I'm tipping less for that.
  1. 6. Scenario: The server greets the table next to you first, even though you were seated before they were.

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6. Scenario: The server greets the table next to you first, even though you were seated before they were.
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm still tipping 15% to 20%. It was probably unintentional.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I'm tipping less for that.
  1. 7. Scenario: The food arrives at the table ice cold. You saw it sitting in the window for at least five minutes before the server delivered it to you.

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7. Scenario: The food arrives at the table ice cold. You saw it sitting in the window for at least five minutes before the server delivered it to you.
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm still tipping 15% to 20%. Shit happens.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I'm tipping less for that.
  1. 8. Scenario: Your server accidentally spills water on you while refilling your drink. They apologize profusely and get you some paper towels.

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8. Scenario: Your server accidentally spills water on you while refilling your drink. They apologize profusely and get you some paper towels.
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm still tipping 15% to 20%. That server is probably mortified.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I'm tipping less for that.
  1. 9. Scenario: The server went missing for half your meal. They never checked on you after the food was delivered, and you had to ask another server to refill your drink.

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9. Scenario: The server went missing for half your meal. They never checked on you after the food was delivered, and you had to ask another server to refill your drink.
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm still tipping 15% to 20%. Maybe they were swamped with customers.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I'm tipping less for that.
  1. 10. Scenario. You find a hair in your food. Your server apologizes and has the kitchen remake your order.

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10. Scenario. You find a hair in your food. Your server apologizes and has the kitchen remake your order.
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm still tipping 15% to 20%. At least they took care of the issue.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I'm tipping less for that.
  1. 11. Scenario: Your server went to grab that extra side of ranch you asked for, but it never shows up. By the end of the meal, it's clear they totally forgot.

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11. Scenario: Your server went to grab that extra side of ranch you asked for, but it never shows up. By the end of the meal, it's clear they totally forgot.
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm still tipping 15% to 20%. We all mess up sometimes.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I'm tipping less for that.
  1. 12. Scenario: You finish your food, but the plates are never cleared. You're stuck staring at dirty dishes and napkins for the rest of the meal.

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12. Scenario: You finish your food, but the plates are never cleared. You're stuck staring at dirty dishes and napkins for the rest of the meal.
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm still tipping 15% to 20%. Not a big deal.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I'm tipping less for that.

And finally...

  1. 13. Scenario: You tell your server about your severe tomato allergy, but when he brings your salad over, there are tomatoes all over it.

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13. Scenario: You tell your server about your severe tomato allergy, but when he brings your salad over, there are tomatoes all over it.
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm still tipping 15% to 20%. The server should be more careful, but at least we caught the issue before anyone got hurt.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I'm tipping less for that.

Still not sold on why you need to tip when dining out? Check out: