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    To tip or not to tip, inside gratuity

    12:11 AM, Feb 2, 2013   |    comments
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  • LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- After Chelsea Welch posted a picture of a controversial receipt to the web, Management fired her from her job at a St. Louis Applebee's. Hundreds of our Facebook friends chimed in to this story, so we decided to see for ourselves what is proper tipping etiquette?

    If you look at the receipt that caused the stir online, you can see an automatic gratuity was added to the check, but the customer scratched it out with an ink pen replaced it with zero and wrote "I give God 10%, why do you get 18?" The customer then signed the receipt, "Pastor."

    "I hate to eat and run" has a new meaning especially on the other side of the bill. Before dodging a tip, you should think twice.

    "Servers are literally living off of the tips they receive," said Josh Blevins, Owner of the House Gastropub in Hillcrest. He believes his servers do well, generally receiving 20 percent or more, and they need the extra pop. "The server wage in Arkansas is $2.63 an hour."

    While Blevins said he rarely tips below 20 percent when he goes out, it takes a little more to convince college student, Caroline Beavers.

    "I always look at the service really. That's the main thing. How observant they are, when my drink's empty, and that kind of thing. And, how friendly they are, and how well they know the menu," she explained. Beavers said she generally tips between 10 and 20 percent at restaurants.

    Etiquette expert, Ellianna McCray said that's a good rule of thumb.

    "If you tip someone, they're going to remember you, and you'll receive excellent service. So, if it's something you can't afford, then don't expect the service," she said.

    McCrary suggests self service restaurants or take out if you're not able to tip. For those wondering, 'What if the service is absolutely horrible?' McCrary said it's okay to lower the tip, but do leave something.

    "There's definitely an expected, and if you have a problem, make it aware to the manager discretely if you think it's something they need to be aware of," she added.

    Blevins said he would support a wage increase for servers in Arkansas as long as it's across the board. But, for now he hopes customers realize how far their gratitude can go.

    "The servers are trying to give the best service that they possibly can, and in exchange, they hope that your favor will shine upon them," he said.

    Quite a few THViewers responded on Twitter about their beliefs on tipping etiquette.

    @ajrenee said,"If you don't have enough to pay for a meal and a tip, don't go out to eat. Simple."

    @ourfamily178 said, "I think it depends on the service, if we get good service we always tip. I don't believe in tipping for bad/slow service."

    The etiquette expert tells us usually hair-dressers and hotel workers make more than restaurant servers per hour. So, while you can tip for quality, they usually don't rely on tips as heavily.

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