Being overly critical or demanding when ordering food at a restaurant is one of the quickest ways to annoy the server and embarrass your dining companions.

An internet user asked, “Am I a jerk for leaving itemized tips to compensate for my wife’s behavior?”. We need to hear your thoughts.


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The Original Poster (OP) and his wife (in their 30’s) dine out every once in a while but not too often because of OP’s wife’s annoying habit, inherited from her family.

She always complains, sends food back if it’s not absolutely perfect, and makes needless requests/substitutions (she doesn’t have allergies or sensitivities).

What Usually Happens

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It can easily take 5 minutes for her just to order her own food and sometimes OP has already finished his meal by the time she gets her food because she sends it back, asks for modifications, etc.

What Does OP Say

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“I know restaurant staff don’t appreciate it. I’ve tried talking to her about this but she doesn’t see an issue with it.”, says OP.

OP Found A Solution

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Anyway, they make decent money and they use their combined fun funds on dates/dinners. OP recently started writing what his wife does on the receipt and then calculating a tip (in addition to the normal gratuity) to compensate. So, to a receipt, OP might add:

– Complained about not having a beverage, +$5

– Asked 5 questions about a single menu item, +$5

– Asked for a new drink because too much ice, +$5

– Sent meal back, was exactly what she ordered, +$5

OP’s Wife Finally Noticed It

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OP’s wife didn’t notice OP doing it the first two or three times but last night, she noticed OP was spending a lot of time on writing a tip amount and asked why. OP showed her what he wrote.

OP Says

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“She’s been mad at me since, saying I’m embarrassing her to the staff. I told her she was embarrassing us both. Am I a jerk? Petty, maybe, but a jerk?”, asks OP.

Some Additional Information

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OP later edited the post and added the following information:

“My wife is otherwise a very nice, caring and generous person. She does always say please and thank you even for her most absurd requests. Annoying each other like this is our love language, but this time she’s pretty mad.”

That’s Such A Great Idea!

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“Not the jerk. This is great. Maybe seeing it written down will give her some perspective.

These types of patrons are the worst, and it’s such second-degree embarrassment when they are at your table.”

Your Embarrassment Isn’t An Overreaction

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“Not the jerk. I’m a former server who worked at multiple restaurants. I would have HATED your wife, no matter how polite. I have other tables and she sounds like a time drain who’s impossible to please.

Your embarrassment isn’t an overreaction, the servers are definitely judging and gossiping about it. I appreciate your itemized receipts. They would have made me laugh and been shown to work buddies.

Too much ice? Really? Get out.”

I Feel Your Pain

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“I feel your pain. I have a relative with whom I literally won’t eat out unless they agree, in advance, that they won’t speak to the wait staff at all (not one word) but that all the communication will go through me.

It’s a different situation from yours in that my relative is flat-out rude to the wait staff in their multiple complaints, but I only wish I’d come up with your brilliant plan on my own. Not the jerk.”

Try Doing This

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“Not the jerk. You should start with $2 for the first infraction and then double the previous tip amount for each subsequent infraction. Loudly announce the amount as soon as the infraction occurs. She’ll like that.”

Everyone’s In The Wrong

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“Everyone’s in the wrong. Some of that is perfectly normal. The two of you need to find a middle ground. You can ask for your food however you want.

You can ask about menu items. That’s literally what the waitstaff is for. If they mess up on an order like putting pickles on or it, she has every right to send it back.

I feel like you’re one of those types who takes everything as is, doesn’t like to rock the boat, and doesn’t want to be noticed at the cost of your desires. She’s clearly not like that. Maybe you both need therapy. Separately.”

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