Tipping is a complicated thing in our modern world. It’s a cultural touchstone that is far from universal. Expectations are different in certain places and countries, and even different generations of the same culture may weigh tipping for services rendered differently.
Andre Roberson plays basketball for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he’s one example of the social quandary that is tipping. Roberson signed a 3-year, $30 million contract with the Thunder on Wednesday that makes him a significantly more wealthy man than he was before the Fourth of July.
To celebrate, he went out with some friends to a place called the Chupacabra Cantina in Austin, TX. Roberson ordered a bottle and paid his tab, sure, but the guy who served him was angry enough with the transaction that he called him out directly on Twitter. And yes, he had the receipt.
So yeah, not exactly the best tip here. In fact, you could argue he just likes round numbers and that’s all he was really going for here. Why $13.97 otherwise, right?
Should Roberson tip more because he just had the good fortune of signing a big contract? Honestly, I have no idea. Should he believe a tip should match the price of the bottle despite the lack of “services rendered?” Yes, probably. Public shaming on the Internet may help change his mind—and quite frankly he’s used to public shaming—but he seems pretty adamant that a tip wasn’t required here. He even fired back at the tweet to state his case.
The replies to this seem mixed here. On one hand, he did get about $14 to hand a bottle over and run a credit card through. That’s pretty good, I guess. But it wasn’t like this was a bottle of cheap domestic beer or anything. People often like to fawn over the big tips pro athletes or celebrities give. We marvel at the big bar tabs teams rack up after they win it all. This is the logical inverse here—what a jerk this wealthy person is to not pay it forward to the little guy.
The truth is, however, much of life is a moral grey area. If Roberson can sleep at night knowing people tip better than him, he’ll probably continue to be a poor tipper. All you can do is put down the number you feel fits on the slip when you sign your own tab.