There are a lot of great tippers in the world. In fact, the service industry (or at least the people who provide the service part of that industry) knows this and relies on that extra cash to supplement their less-than-minimum wages. That’s the reason why when you go out, you’re usually going to have a pleasant experience. Your waiter or waitress wants you to have a good time because if you do, the chances you’ll leave them those extra few bucks go up exponentially.
And then there’s the flip side: the bad tippers — the ones whom every server can sense coming a mile away. Everyone, even those of us who’ve only ever been customers and not servers, knows what a bad tipper looks like. A site for servers to rant on, stainedapron.com, puts it best when they listed the signs of a good tipper:
“You actually look at me when I am telling you the specials; you might even smile. You don’t answer a hello from your server by yelling, ‘Two coffees!’ You say please and thank you. You don’t make faces as you are being told the specials, even if you hear a dish you don’t like. You don’t order water with lemon. Your free-refill soda lasts more than 2 seconds. You check to see if your dining partner is ready before you belt out your order. You don’t slap your kids in public. You don’t immediately demand to see the cheapest thing on the menu. You answer questions with actual words rather than grunts. You start your requests with ‘May I please have…’ rather than ‘Get me’ or ‘I need.'”
You get the underlying point here, don’t you? Good tippers don’t act like jerks; bad tippers do. But what about bad celebrity tippers? Is it those stars who everyone already knows are jerks? Or are some of them our favorites and sweethearts? Let’s find out — here are the 15 worst celebrity tippers.
15. Britney Spears
“Oops, she did it again…” Or didn’t, as the case may be. Good old Britney, who is worth more money than some whole restaurant chains, is well known in the service industry as a starlet to avoid if she comes prancing into your establishment. In fact, her attitude toward tipping is so “Toxic” (you see what I did there, right?) that we could have done a list of incidents involving only her. Here are just a few of her tipping misadventures. She once left a $25 tip on a $500 bill. That’s an insanely low 5%. She also once tipped a valet by taking the change in her purse and throwing it at his feet, yelling “There’s your tip.” I’m not sure that even qualifies as normal human behavior, let alone appropriate tipping behavior. She’s also demanded that waiters leave their restaurant to get her Starbucks and not tipped or thanked them upon return. I suppose it was either the drugs, booze, or supposed mental illness that caused these behaviors.
14. Scottie Pippen
He’s a six-time NBA world champion. He was the sidekick of Michael Jordan, a good enough basketball player in his own right to be a Hall of Famer, and picked as one of the “50 Greatest NBA Players of All-Time.” He made at least $110 million in salary alone during his days with the Chicago Bulls and Portland Trailblazers, and if you know how Chicago lavishes its favorite champs with endorsements (just ask Mike Ditka, if you don’t) then you know Scottie Pippen made millions more in that line. Yet, his nickname is “No-Tipping Pippen” to the industry. Wow — he must have worked hard to get that moniker. There are multiple reports of his less-than-generous nature when dining out from coast to coast, especially in the ritzy Chicago suburbs he lived in. But his biggest ugly incident had to be when he tried to negotiate a bunch of strippers down from their usual rates and didn’t tip them. C’mon Scottie — show the ladies some love!
13. Tiger Woods
Here’s another sports superstar who has even more money than Scottie. Tiger Woods, in fact, has about $500 million, even after his messy divorce. But the former king of the greens, the man who was supposed to dominate golf for another quarter of a century, has an infamously bad habit of stiffing the little people when it comes time to tip. There are corroborated reports that on a trip to Vegas, he never tipped a single bartender, server, clubhouse attendant, or casino dealer, forcing the mystery woman who was with him at the time to tip for him. C’mon, Tiger! There was also an incident in Vegas when Woods, who was playing very high stakes blackjack at the time (as in $10,000 a hand high stakes), tipped a table waitress $5, realized he had tipped her earlier, and then demanded his money back. If you want a story about cheap, I suggest you start with that one.
12. Michael Jordan
You would think that if Scottie Pippen was stuck with the nickname “No-Tipping Pippen” that his more famous counterpart, billionaire and the greatest basketball player ever, Michael Jordan, would be a generous tipper. Well, not so much. In fact, Charles Barkley, a man known for his wonderful tipping ways, has publicly said that His Airness is a terrible tipper and perhaps not the nicest guy around. Barkley, guesting on The Conan O’Brien Show, once said, “There’s nobody cheaper than Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan… Oh yeah, [Jordan is] cheap. I always give homeless people money, and he will always slap my hand [and tell me], ‘If they can ask you for spare change, they can say, ‘Welcome to McDonald’s, can I help you, please?'” All I have to say to that is — that’s cold, Michael. No wonder you’re the billionaire franchise owner and Sir Charles is just a TV talking head, right?
She might be living in a material world, but good old Madge sure isn’t sharing the wealth. Which is strange. I mean, I understand that one way to stay rich is to keep your money in hand, but seriously? Madonna has a reported net worth of $650 million, and yet she managed to once tip less than $20 on a $400 restaurant bill in London. I wonder if her then-husband, Guy Ritchie, wanted to have a bunch of street-smart waiters rough her up for that disrespect. She was also once caught skipping out of a dinner at the famous restaurant Babbo in New York City without leaving any tip at all. That’s just plain rude. The queen of pop is also well known for being quite rude to servers everywhere, which I suppose makes sense as her entire public persona is centered around being a bit of a b*tch.
I have a “confession” to make (you see how quick I am as well, don’t you?). The stories about Usher and his tipping ways drive me a little bit crazy. Why? Because they just seem so dumb. It turns out that Usher is quite the guy when he dines out. First of all, he’s well known for a certain stinginess, almost always trying to get friends, acquaintances, and others that he dines with to pick up the tab. That would be OK if he were a struggling act, but the guy is worth a cool $150 million — he could pick up his tab, your tab, and the tab of the guy sitting in the corner without even noticing it. But worse, he likes to leave autographed pictures of himself at the table. As the tip. That’s right — not “in addition to” but as the tip itself. Cheap, Usher. Cheap.
9. Bill Cosby
Well, I guess if you think you’re God’s gift to women and you were worshiped by an adoring public for decades (you know, until it turned out you were the worst thing to ever happen to women — all women), then you would also probably think that you don’t have to tip anyone, ever. That’s apparently the attitude the former Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable brought to the table, quite literally, when he tipped a fantastically measly $3 on an almost $400 meal. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a tip of less than 1%. I don’t know about you, but I think if I got a 1% tip, I would probably accuse the guy who tipped me such an infinitesimally small amount of something, anything, just to get back at him. Well, I guess the good doctor will get his in the end, and servers across the land won’t have to worry about him coming through their door anytime soon.
8. Tipper Gore
We start off our list with somewhat of a misnomer. After all, you would think that with a name like “Tipper,” this wife of former Vice President (and “inventor of the internet,” wink, wink) Al Gore would be on an entirely different list. Like, oh, “Best celebrity tippers of all time.” But sadly, it’s not to be. Tipper is notorious for not sharing the wealth when out dining. There have been multiple reports by multiple servers (yes all you stars out there — waiters and waitresses do shop talk, especially in an age of social media and free information exchange) that she rarely tips above 8%, which is basically half what she should always tip. In addition, there are stories out there that she does ridiculous things like spill beer or drinks on her waitresses and doesn’t apologize. Those are harder to determine, but “Tipper” should definitely not be her name.
7. Mick Jagger
Apparently, if you’re Sir Mick, you can always get what you want, and you don’t even need to try very hard to get it. The legendary rock & roller is well known to enjoy his dining out pleasures, whether it be in posh and lavish digs or just the local joint down the street, so it’s rather surprising that a report surfaced of the lead singer of the Stones stiffing a waiter at Washington D.C’s Pizza Paradiso to the tune of a 10% tip. I know, I know… it’s not the worst celeb-tipping disaster on this list by far. But here’s the kicker: after this story came out, other servers started chiming in that he had actually dined at the restaurant another time and left no tip at all. Who knows? Mick could be old and confused and thought he was making up for the “no-tip” visit with a 5% gratuity for both visits the second time around…
6. Katherine Heigl
She seems so nice, but deep down inside, Katherine Heigl really hates the service industry. On second thought, the actress doesn’t seem so nice at all. She’s actually rather infamous for being difficult to work with and a diva on set, so it’s definitely not a shock that she would be difficult to the “little people” she encounters as she glides through the life of a Hollywood starlet. And it’s not just the bad tips this actress doles out like she was down to her last penny. She’s also reported to be insanely high-maintenance when dining out, often sending back dishes multiple times, complaining vocally about the service, and in general, making a nuisance of herself. Her behavior at restaurants is an anatomy of “how not to.” But she seems so nice… Oh wait, I already said that…
5. Sean Penn
This one doesn’t surprise me one bit. In fact, his may be the least surprising name on this list. And that’s not just because he was once married to Madonna (more one her later) either. Notorious Hollywood bad boy Sean Penn has been mentioned numerous times, at numerous restaurants, as a less-than-generous tipper. In fact, there are corroborated reports that he once dined at a New Orleans restaurant with three friends and left no tip. That would be OK if… wait — no, it wouldn’t, not ever. Anyway, the actor’s table had a bill of $450, and they couldn’t manage to leave anything? What happened? Did he misplace his net worth of $150 million that night? I suppose everybody involved should just be thankful there weren’t fisticuffs involved — another Penn signature move when out in public. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to be the one to call Mr. Penn out…
4. Kirsten Dunst
Personally, I don’t even think that Kirsten Dunst is all that. I just don’t see it. I mean, I get that a certain segment of the Fanboy fan base will always remember her as the best Mary Jane ever in the original Spider-Man franchise. I get that she was just so awesome in her appearances on Saturday Night Live. But really? Nah. Anyway, I guess that’s also why I’m a little bit happy to hear that she’s just a brutal tipper. There are reports that she once walked out on a $250 bill at a restaurant without leaving any tip at all. There are also reports that another time, at another restaurant, the manager comped her entire bill, and the actress didn’t deem it necessary to tip her waitress at all. Umm, Kirsten? When your whole bill is comped, you’re supposed to do the wait staff a solid and tip them extra, not nothing. Maybe she just doesn’t know how tipping works.
3. Jeremy Piven
Maybe sometimes, when you play a total snark on TV, it rubs off on you in real life as well. At least, that could be one explanation for actor Jeremy Piven’s behavior at one restaurant. Piven — who played, shall we say, “bad-tempered” characters in Entourage and Mr. Selfridge — had himself quite a fun evening in Aspen, Colorado, winter home to the jet-setting ski crowd and Hollywood elite. It seems that the actor brought a large group (yeah, yeah… his “entourage”) to the famous dining spot Nobu Matsuhisa on a very busy night. His party had, of course, no reservation. Since Piven is a big shot, a table was still provided for them, and every attempt was made to give the actor the service he deserved. Apparently, it wasn’t enough, as he told the manager at the end of the meal, “Thanks for nothing,” and tipped the waiter with a DVD copy of season one of Entourage. Umm, Jeremy… waiters can’t pay the rent with DVDs, no matter how funny they are.
2. Rachael Ray
Everybody loves Rachael Ray. Am I right, or am I right? The bubbly TV chef (and daytime TV hostess and author and magazine chief and…) made her bones with her Food Network show $40 A Day, which purported to show all of us schleps out in TV land how to travel to major cities and tourist destinations and eat our meals on $40 or less a day. This sounded like a great idea at the time, and I’m sure many, many people took Rachael’s advice to heart when they went a-travelin’. But there’s a bit of a dark underbelly to this story — one that Rachael, as a member of the industry, had to be perfectly aware of. You see, Rachael told her viewers to tip 10%. 10% is better than what Madonna doles out on an average meal in NYC, apparently, but it’s not the average tip. An average, normal tip is 15%. Rachael left her own peeps high and dry with her advice.
1. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
I like The Rock; I really do. He seems like a pretty affable and down-to-earth guy. A lot of other people, both celebs and everyday Joes, seem to feel the same way about him. So maybe he was just having a really bad day when this incident occurred. It seems that Dwayne Johnson (nee The Rock) once asked a steakhouse if they could open up a little bit early so that he could dine in peace without fans storming him during his meal. Whether you agree with that or not, it’s a typical Hollywood request. The restaurant happily complied, The Rock got his meal, and then he reportedly walked out, leaving a $7 tip in his wake. The story hit the Internet, with the waiter who served him going as far as to say, “This guy is not a ‘Rock’ to me, just a cheap pebble.” Wow — I guess he really wasn’t on top of his game that day.