Cute waitress charging customers with a credit card terminal;The hand of the waitress takes the tip

r/EndTipping/Reddit antoniodiaz/ShutterStock lunopark/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘What kind of math is this?’: Restaurant offers tipping suggestions, but the customer catches that the math doesn’t add up

'You’d think a computer would be good at math, but alas, we are proven wrong.'


Phil West


Posted on Mar 18, 2024   Updated on Mar 18, 2024, 11:25 am CDT

A restaurant provided tipping suggestions on its receipt, but the math wasn’t doing what it was supposed to, leaving someone confused enough to share it online—with a side of outrage.

The Redditor calling attention to it, u/ForeverNugu, did so on the r/EndTipping subreddit, which in its About section, notes, “The quasi-compulsory aspect of American tipping culture is toxic & and frustrating, and the U.S. should move towards a transparent, up-front pricing culture – e.g., the prices you see on the menu are what you pay in total.”

u/ForeverNugu, in her post on the subreddit on Saturday, asked, “What kind of math is this?” before showing the puzzling receipt.

The subtotal was $14.99 and the tax was $1.24, but the suggested tip totals were built around the idea that the bill was $20 and not the $16.23 total with tax.

The Redditor also wrote, “This is from my local counter service Hawaiian restaurant. (Think a scoop of rice, a scoop of mac, and some meat in a styrofoam take out container.) These percentages make no sense. Also, there was a sign about adding a 3.5% surcharge to ‘keep costs down.’ Fortunately, it is only on cc sales only…. for now.”

Tipping is a popular social media topic, with some contending it’s essential for service workers, and others decrying a “tipping culture” that wants to add gratuities to all manner of services that might not merit extra money.

Commenters were left scratching their heads about the suggested tip amounts.

“Bad math, that’s what,” one assessed. “They are basing it on you giving them a $20, I think, rather than on the $14.99 which it should be.”

Another cracked, “Good thing you didn’t pay with a $100 bill…”

That led someone else to chime in with, “They would say ‘You don’t need change back?'”

Someone else observed, “You’d think a computer would be good at math, but alas, we are proven wrong.”

That led another person to stick up for the computers—sort of.

“I’m a computer programmer for a living. Computers are very good at doing exactly what they’re told, but they also have no common sense,” one wrote. “I just don’t understand this system at all — why would they need to log the total cash tendered, and write out the change due on the receipt? And then how on god’s green earth are they calculating the tip based on the tendered cash? Like I said, I don’t get it.”

Another was accusatory regarding the tipping suggestions, saying, “They’re trying to trick you into giving up your change AND giving them more money on top.”

And someone else suggested action, “Confront the owner. Ask him what the heck is going on. Post a public review for this place with this pic.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to u/ForeverNugu via Reddit direct message.

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*First Published: Mar 18, 2024, 6:00 pm CDT