Should there be a price to pay in the form of a tip, even for bad service?

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By now, the workers at the La Fisherman restaurant in Houston, Texas are probably wishing they would have just let the whole thing go. But they didn’t, and now the story has been splattered all across the internet.

In case you missed it, a family went into the establishment for dinner and decided that the service they received was not worthy of the required 17% tip for parties over five. When Jasmine Marks informed the waiter that she wasn’t going to pay the gratuity, the staff responded by locking the doors and calling the police.

Is it illegal not to tip?

Marks wanted to know if it was against the law not to tip, but when the HPD arrived, even they didn’t know what to do.

In the end, Marks took the high road and paid the bill, gratuity included, just to end the stand-off.

Obviously, the folks of La Fisherman forgot that we’re living in a world of immediate and widespread news … thank you very much internet!

Regardless of who’s in the wrong, this couldn’t have been a positive PR move for the headstrong restaurant.

Rewarding bad service is a bad idea

Personally, it’s hard not to side with the consumer here. If you’re going to assume that a mandatory, predetermined tip amount is necessary, then you better make sure your service is up to that expectation.

Marks claims the wait staff messed up their orders and were rude in the process. So fine, losing track of what someone ordered is one thing , but the rudeness needs to be addressed, and most certainly shouldn’t be rewarded.

The opposition will claim that a business has the right to enforce it’s own policies, and if you don’t like it, eat somewhere else — but is that really the point?

What’s the point of tipping?

Tipping used to be defined as a social custom, and voluntary, depending on how you felt about the service provided to you.

I understand that in the present economy, those working in the customer service business are feeling the same strains that we all are feeling, and most likely, many waiters and waitresses are working for far less than they should.

The flip side is, consumers are more careful with spending, and less likely to pay for something they don’t feel is deserving of their hard earned money.

So what about the cops?

Well, although the law was unclear in Houston, the Bethlehem Township police department in Pennsylvania had a different interpretation of the law in 2006 when they arrested a couple for denying a mandatory tip due to their dissatisfaction in service.

What was the charge?

The charge was theft, but eventually the case would be dropped by the police department, but the young couple still got to experience being handcuffed and booked for their trouble.

Should there be a price to pay in the form of a tip, even for bad service?

Feel free to sound off in the comments below.

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