Dining » Dining Lead

Screw Your Waiter

TurtleTip.com hones the art of lousy tipping.


In a development hailed by tightwads and chickenshits everywhere, San Franciscans Stone and Nikkie Melet have launched TurtleTip.com, a new website they claim provides "a clever solution for turning bad restaurant service into a good experience."

The key lies inside the company's "Turtle Packs," little sticker packets "complete with pictures of a sleepy looking cartoon turtle dressed as a waiter." Keep the packet in your pocket, "and anytime you get mediocre service, simply leave a sticker on the bill, letting the server know their tip is less than 20 percent because of less-than-perfect service."

Theoretically, Turtle Tippers will then speed home to donate the difference between the standard tip and the amount actually left on the table to a favorite charity, thereby helping those less fortunate while at the same time teaching the server a valuable lesson.

Yeah, right.

Not only does such thinking reek of yuppie cluelessness, it also prompts the question: Have these two ever actually worked for an hourly wage? The Melets profess concern that the system not be perceived as patronizing or punitive. Thus, each Turtle Pack also includes a few smiley-faced stickers saying "Thanks for great service!"

"We've actually handed out more of those than of the negative type," says Stone, adding that he hasn't stuck around long enough to actually gauge servers' reactions. Good call there.

Apparently, the Melets' mission was inspired by concern that many of us leave generous tips for mediocre service "out of fear of confrontation or of appearing cheap."

And from that perspective, turtle stickers probably are a fix. Slap one of them babies on your dinner tab and pocket the tip, and no server will call you cheap. Asshole, yes. But cheap? Nah, that kind of treatment is way beyond miserly.

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