Poll: LeSean McCoy's 20-Cent Tip
The amount of a tip for restaurant service is usually a private matter between a restaurant customer and the server, but not in Philadelphia, not if you're Eagles running back LeSean McCoy.
Football-mad Philadelphians are in an uproar this week after the owner of a local burger-and-booze joint posted an image on his Facebook page which reveals that McCoy left a 20-cent tip on a $61.56 tab for his meal with three others on Monday.
That's one dime each to split between the food server and the bartender. One dime on top of the salaries they are paid by the restaurant, which must be at least $2.83 per hour under Pennsylvania law. Employees who receive tips are exempt from the standard federal and state minimum wage, both currently $7.25 per hour.
McCoy's base salary in 2014 is $7.65 million.
It does not help that McCoy's nickname is "Shady," and that the restaurant owner's name is Tommy Up. These are the kinds of things that just supply verbal ammunition for all sides in a Philly squabble.
Meanwhile, actor Charlie Sheen, never one to duck a fight, on Wednesday sent a tweet announcing that he is pledging $1,000 to PYT to make up for McCoy's stingy tip. Because that's the kind of guy Charlie Sheen is.
Whatever McCoy's reasons for stiffing the staff, online chaos has ensued. Many are calling McCoy a cheapskate or a cad, or worse. Others insist that he's a "stand-up guy," and must have been responding to poor service. Some denounce the owner of PYT restaurant for posting the receipt. They say he's immature or unprofessional, or just a publicity hound.
The restaurant owner claims that the McCoy party got great service from an adoring staff despite being "verbally abusive to our staff in the most insulting ways," including making "derogatory statements about women."
McCoy's only public response so far was a brief but dismissive expletive. It is not clear whether the expletive was aimed at the restaurant owner or at the reporter who asked the question.
More to the point, it might be time to ask whether the venerable American custom of tipping for restaurant service should be changed. A standard service charge could be added to the bill, as is the practice in many countries. Or, minimum wage laws could be extended to cover service personnel.
You can express your opinion in today's poll.
Judging from comments on the McCoy story, there's little agreement even on the proper amount for a tip. Should you leave 15 percent for good service, or is 20 percent now the standard? Should you leave 10 percent or 15 percent even for poor service, or leave nothing? Can you refuse to tip, no matter how good or bad the service is, because you object on principle to the obligation?
Another recent AOL story, "What Your Waiter Is Doing Behind Your Back," is creating just as big a stir.
Some commenters resent the expectation that they will leave a tip regardless of the quality of the service:
From fernerobin: "We have simply stopped going to sit down table service restaurants with 'servers'...we greatly resent the 'expectation' of a 20% plus 'tip' or doing next to nothing."
Many people who work or have worked for tips responded, with comments like this one:
From April: "Before anyone actually can comment, walk a week in our shoes. In an industry where your tips are what you actually rely on to make a living, certain members of our human race lack the respect and intelligence to make the necessary contributions even when they have received great service."
Hello Bob made a sensible point: "I have never been a waiter but it seems you should always be nice to someone handling your food."
For more on secret revenge tactics of waiters