I’ve waited tables for a long time, and I’ve tried to identify key phrases that hint at what type of tip to expect from a table. It’s not an exact science–there have been exceptions in every case–but there are a few that tend to push me off of the “tip cliff.”
As in, “Can I get some extra ranch sauce for my fries?” If ranch sauce is requested for a steak, all bets are off.
“Very Well Done”
If the table actually uses the term “hockey puck” to describe how they want their beef, it’s not good.
“You did a great job!”
The verbal tip is a solitary creature.
“What if she shows you her…”
No, free products are not exchanged for that sort of thing.
“Go-Plate” and “Go-Cup”
When used to refer to to-go boxes and cups.*
*One shining exception was the table that wanted a “go-plate for the chili cheese fries” because they “got a cat that just loves chili cheese fries–the bitch just loves ’em.”
They were very generous.