How to Distribute Hard Earned Profit

THE QUESTION: You pay for your college costs 100% by waiting tables while going to college. Another server was assigned to wait a table but you ended up helping that table out quite a bit. The table is lingering and the other server is getting off her shift. She asks you to give her the tip tomorrow when you work together and you agree. As the table is leaving, the person paying the bill gives you a large cash tip and says it’s specifically for you because you did such a good job helping out and you stayed late. What do you do?


A.  You report what happened to the restaurant manager and leave the decision to her about the tip.

B.  You divide the tip between yourself and your co-worker, because you both deserve part of it.

C.  You keep the tip for yourself because in truth you worked for that table and the tip has explicitly been given to you.

D.  You give the other server the whole tip, as this was the agreement.



I picked A.  You report what happened to the restaurant manager and leave the decision to her about the tip.


Coming from the restaurant industry, I can tell you this has happened to me on many occasions. In the end, I do feel like I earned the tip (making B and D irrelevant). However, I understand I wouldn’t have the opportunity for the tip if my coworker didn’t leave. So I do feel some sort of responsibility to her, especially if she did do some of the work (maybe getting the drinks, bread, or taking orders) (making C irrelevant).


This leaves me with choosing answer A. I feel like the manager may have a policy for this already, which would help in these sorts of situations. The manager also most-likely knows both of us, and would have a feel on how to split the tip.


Well, what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know your answer and why in the comments below.


Click here to read an evaluation of this Dilemma from Fulvio Di Blasi, a world-renown scholar in the field of applied philosophy and business ethics.  


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