The Service Was Great! But You're Gay—So No Tip for You

The gratuity line on a check is not a space for criticizing someone's sexuality.

(Design: Lauren Wade)

Oct 25, 2013· 1 MIN READ
Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.

Here are a few things not to take into account when calculating the tip you leave on a restaurant check. Your tip should not be contingent on your server’s race. It should not be withheld, dudes, if the attractive female server didn’t deign to flirt with you. It shouldn’t be a pittance because you just can’t afford to give anymore—that means you can’t afford the meal in the first place.

You certainly should not bring your personal religious beliefs, contra your server’s sexuality, into consideration.

Unfortunately, that’s just what one couple did after dining at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Overland Park, Kansas. According to WTVM, a couple neglected to leave a tip for a 20-year-old male server, instead writing the following on the back of the check:

Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD. [Homosexual slur] do not share in the wealth of GOD, and you will not share in ours. We hope you will see the tip your [homosexual slur] choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is never too late for GOD’s love, but none shall be spared for [homosexual slur]. May GOD have mercy on you.

The minimum wage in Kansas for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour, the same as the federal minimum. For people working in the service industry, like restaurant servers, the assumption is that the 15 or 20 percent diners tack onto the check will bump up their hourly take to something in the proximity of the non-tipped minimum wage—$7.25 per hour in Kansas (also the federal minimum).

So when you fill out the gratuity on a restaurant check, you’re engaging in a social compact—albeit a rather broken one, by most accounts—but the bottom line is, if you weren’t tipping, your meal would be more expensive.

In other words, it’s not a space to make some moral crusade.