Deaf/HH Consumers - Do You Know the Rules of Tipping?

Posted by: Melissa echo Greenlee on April 10, 2012

Being a good tipper is a subtle act that leaves a heavy impression that can make or break your relationships – with businesses and with people. On a first date, forgetting to leave a tip (or, tipping stingily) can be the kind of faux pas that makes it nary impossible to score a second date.

In the Deaf Community, leaving good tips is the least you can do to cement a positive impression when receiving deaf-friendly service. Take it from Kurt Ramborger, an Austin-based deaf chef and owner of Viuda Bistro who was recently voted Eaters’ “Hottest Chef in America.” Many of you in Seattle may know him as former chef at deaf-owned restaurant, Abbondanza Pizzeria. In his TalkFusionDeafTeam VLOG below, he stresses the importance of ponying up better tips: “I’ve worked with many hearing servers, and many do not look forward to serving Deaf patrons because they know Deaf give lousy tips.”

Over time, many service providers can identify very specific tipping patterns of groups or cultures. Just ask any waitress or bartender who gives the worst tips, and you will likely get an earful. Sometimes it’s only a stereotype, but these can be difficult to erase.

Ramborger’s solution? Tip more. Or rather, strive to tip 20 percent. And, encourage your fellow deaf brethren to do the same. “The next time another Deaf person gives a good tip, servers’ perspectives of the Deaf will change from negative to positive,” advises Ramborger.

Committing to tipping fairly can be difficult when you are feeling the recession’s strains. But remember: Those who provide your services may also be struggling. “In many states, servers often earn below minimum wage, sometimes as low as three dollars per hour. That means without tips, they literally only go home with 24 dollars, says Ramborger.” Ask yourself: Can YOU survive on 24 dollars a day?

In the American culture, discussing money is often considered taboo. But tipping is a topic that cannot be stressed enough – so let's talk!

First things first: What does your tip say about you?

  • Your social etiquette – were you brought up to treat service providers fairly and with grace?
  • Your status – are you financially independent or a nickel short?
  • Your ability to be a good provider - (especially conveyed to a first date)

In a good amount of cases, faulty tipping may be less related to stinginess than simply being bad at math. After a few too many drinks or during a food coma, it can be tough to multiply numbers by 15 percent in your head (just try multiplying $38.33 by 15% right now – how long does it take you?). Not to mention how awkward it can be to scribble numbers on a napkin while your company is watching and waiting. 

Good news: You neither need to be loaded with cash nor be a math genius to get the tipping game down. Here is a trick that can be used to calculate the total tip due on a service in Washington State which is 9.5%. You can apply a similar strategy depending on your state’s sales tax and adjust up or down a bit.

1.Take the total of the bill, move the decimal over one digit to the left, then take that number & multiply by 2

Example: Bill total = $16.24

$16.24 becomes $1.62 x 2 = $3.24

($3.24 is 20% of $16.24)

Here's why: Washington State tax is 9.5%, which can be easily rounded up to 10%. Twice that percentage is 20%. Viola! According to etiquette, 20% just so happens to be the amount one should tip if there is excellent customer service. Of course, you can adjust this tip total a few dollars or cents depending on how good the service was, including whether or not they were deaf-friendly.

2.If all else fails, the following tip apps can be downloaded onto your cell phone:   

Android: Tip and Split or Tip Calculator

Iphone: Bowtie Tip Calculator or Tip Calculator Free or Bill Splitter

Remember! Never underestimate the power of the tip jar to change perspectives – and score more deaf-friendly service for yourself and future deaf patrons, to boot! Click to watch Kurt "The IRISH Chef" Ramborger's special message on tipping



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