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Are you a good tipper or a cheapskate?
A Japanese restaurant waitress secretly categorizes her customers

Blast San Francisco Bureau

Working at a Japanese restaurant is rewarding because the tips are better than those of Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants. The plethora of competing Chinese restaurants force all of them to lower their food prices and make customers tip less. Vietnamese restaurant-goers tip even worse because most owners keep the tips. Why should customers tip more when the money goes to the owner and not the waiters and waitresses?

There are not that many Japanese restaurants in San Francisco -- and as a result, they can charge more. While a typical Mongolian beef meal in a Chinese restaurant costs $3, a typical tempura dinner can range between $7 to $9.

As a San Francisco Japanese restaurant waitress, I notice a disparity in tipping habits from my customers. I hate to say this, but all waiters and waitresses remember customers by how well they tip.

Customers leave on average tips of 15 percent, although some leave as high 50 percent. One time, 10 people who ate $300 worth of sushi left a tip of $150. On the other hand, there's a couple that I treat very nice every time I come in. I bring them water, soft drinks, tea -- but they never tip.

So, are you a good tipper or are you a cheap skate? Let's just see which category you belong to.


You are the type of person that orders a bunch of expensive food, not caring about the price. As we all know, sushi and sashimi are some of the most expensive food at any Japanese restaurant. Depending where you go, 25 pieces of sashimi can cost up to $20. Therefore, if you order tons of sushi and sashimi that might cost about $70, how much tip would you leave? Well, if you belong to this cheap group, you most likely would tip $5. Guess what? You're really cheap.

YOUR ARGUMENT: You say "So what? That's already $5 for 2 people, it's a lot for just two people." But don't forget, you ate $70 and $5 of $70 is not even 10%.

WHAT YOU ARE: You eat like a king and queen, but you tip like a bum. You're a selfish cheapskate.

The Noble Group

You are the type that eat a lot and tip well. Recently, I received a $30 tip from a man who ordered $55 worth of food to go. You can call him crazy and weird, but I call him the "noble man."

WHAT YOU ARE: Generous, of course.

The Peasants

They don't order lobster, oyster or raw fish, but just a regular beef or chicken lunch that costs $6. They probably tip an average of $1 per person. They are the most stable crop of customers. You see them more than other types. There's not much more to write about them because they are just so plain and normal.

The Fakes

I hate these people the most. They come into the restaurant and smile nicely to get on your good side. They compliment this and that -- and about how wonderful you are. Then they ask for more of this and more of that. Fine, as a waitress, I yield in and give them everything hoping they'll be generous. I give them a check and they pay with a $100 bill. I go, "Wow, these people must be rich."

But guess what? They suck and their tips are crap.

They give less than 10 percent. Like this one couple that comes into the restaurant all the time. They eat well, pay with a $100 bill, but doesn't even give me a dollar. I'm angry because I'm really working for nothing.

You see these people everywhere. Just look at the person sitting next to you. Maybe they're a faker. People fake all the time, like when you see someone you hate and they say hi. So, you smile and say, "hi" back. But you didn't really mean it. If you do that, guess what, you're a faker, too.

The Users

I hate these people! They are cheap and greedy, absolutely the worst. They ask for everything: a fork, knife, spoon, water, tea -- everything. The worst part is that they never ask for everything at once. What I hate most is when they ask for tea, water and soft drinks. These stupid people don't even drink their water. They just ask for fun. Or worst of all, they'll just take one sip and that'll be it. It would be nice if these jerks would tip us well. But no, these people are usually the worst. A party of five may only give $2.50 in tips. Having worked at this restaurant the past four years, I remember these customers. I've recognized their ugly faces.

I truly hope that none of you fall into this last group.