Sapp to it: Is it ever polite to not tip a waiter?

07/03/14 by Rennie Detore

Warren Sapp no longer revels in the bright lights of NFL stadiums, the adulation of thousands of people watching him play on Sundays and the multi million dollar contracts that players of his ilk typically draw.
And, he has the receipts to prove it.
Sapp, a Hall of Fame defensive end most notably for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, made headlines recently when he visited a restaurant and stiffed his waiter on the tip, as in leaving zero dollars on a bill that reached nearly $70.

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Sapp, who has had his own personal money and financial woes in recent years, quickly defended his actions on Twitter, basically saying that the service, food and the entire experience deserved a zero dollar tip, and he's only receiving backlash because of his name.
While Sapp might have a point as far as why a lack of tip at a restaurant has garnered mainstream publicity, but his decision to not leave a tip at all actually brings up quite an interesting question.
Is it ever OK to not tip a waiter or waitress?
Most of you probably would argue that writing a big, fat zero on the check to denote your dissatisfaction isn't really a reasonable alternative in your eyes. You may feel sorry that your waiter or waitress makes a meager $4 per hour and, despite service that is less than satisfactory and food that you wouldn't eat twice, you are inclined to at least leave a few dollars, and no less than the modest 10% tip on the total bill.
Truthfully, tipping should be directly related to the service, not so much the meal. If you have an issue with the taste, texture or aroma of what's put in front of you, that's something a general manager or supervisor should be made aware of and not cost waiters money out of their pockets.
Far too often, consumers hold the waiter responsible for poor food since they're really the only person they have contact with throughout the meal. That really isn't a fair assessment of how the waiter delivered the food, took your order or maintained an overall pleasant demeanor.
If they hustled, tried hard and listened to your concerns, they've done their job and thus deserve a fair tip. The flip side to that is a waiter that isn't interested in being attentive or helpful and really fails to engage the customer in any sort of welcoming, nurturing tone as part of the visit.
That, in conjunction with cold food, which suggests the waiter left your dish sitting, and lots of eye rolls from the server directed at the customer, is grounds for what Sapp did. But if Sapp, or any other customer for that matter, takes the servers to task for something that they have little or no control over, then here's a tip for him and the others.
Don't kill the messenger, who in this case is your server.

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