It's the weekend. I just booked an order for some food, and I'm about to settle in to watch boxing (yes, of all sports, boxing is what I continue to watch 25+ years later).

I paused at the checkout, where it asks for a tip. Certain of these forms like to auth your credit card to assume the tip. That bothers me - a lot. So I've resorted to carrying singles around and leaving the field empty, so I can adjust my tip appropriately. Annoying for me, but it is what it is.

The last time I ordered from this specific company, the delivery driver flat out ignored my instructions to park on the cross street, rather than the address road, due to my home's layout facing illogically (which is to accomplish two things: one, make sure I see them coming so they're not waiting long, and two, avoid the nosy neighbor syndrome). Nope, she just blatantly parked on the opposite street, and when I called her out on it, she said, and I quote, "I saw the house number fine". Which was never the point.

This time, just as a courtesy, I put said instructions in all caps and added REQUIRED to the front of it. I'm trying to be helpful here.

I am known - quite well known - as a person who believes strongly in the statement, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression". I also believe that people have to be held responsible for what they do and the decisions they make. That has a lasting effect; it's not a one-time slap on the wrist situation. Change must happen, or there's no way I can look past it. Direct apology must be given or there's no way I can forgive it. Both are ways to prove to me that you acknowledge your issues.

I was talking about tips with a colleague of mine who used to be a waitress, and firmly believes you "always" tip, 20%. I don't support this notion.

Used to be the tip was a way to indicate to your server how well you thought they did on the job. Now, it's being treated as an assumed entitlement; that because restaurants violate minimum wage ethics, customers should foot the bill.

I don't agree. I don't.

I can rattle off three specific restaurants where I've tipped so high the waitress actually questioned whether I handed over the wrong denomination bill, but I won't bore you. Instead, I'll just tell you the highest I've ever tipped was $100...on a $25 meal. Olive Garden, if I recall, Carmel Mountain.

Why? There are three main reasons.

First, this gal did an excellent job start to finish. She got our initial beverages fast, she took our orders accurately, she double checked that the orders were made per what we said, and she didn't annoy us with too many check-ins. So there was pride in what she was doing.

Second, it was the day before Christmas Eve, and as used to be my tradition, I felt like randomly giving a valuable present to someone. (I don't do that anymore.)

Third, this gal is working the day before Christmas Eve. Clearly, she either loved the job that much or really needed the money.

So what's the lowest I've ever tipped? Zero.

Yes, there have been times I've tipped nothing. Not very often - I could probably count them on one hand, but they have happened. Usually happens in only two cases.

One, they don't follow my instructions.

Two, they're egregiously late. As in it takes you 10 minutes to ask drinks, another 10 to take orders, etc.

I don't like tipping nothing, but there's no other way the driver will understand the consequences and learn and improve. The narrative that it's taking money out of their pocket should be directed at the employer, not at the customer.

Delivery guy showed up - reminded me a bit of a scrawny Sage Northcutt - followed my instructions, positive, 2 minutes earlier than expected. I tipped him the full 20%.

I fully accept whatever comments, but in my opinion, we need to get back to using tips as tools to help servers get better at their job, by setting the percentage of tip according to the quality of service. That serves society better than assumptive entitlements based on popular social justice.