If your restaurant bill is almost 120 bucks, a 15% tip would be another $18, and a more generous 20% tip would be $24. But a good way to signify that you probably have zero intention of eating there again—or that you're not interested in fairly compensating your server for their work—is just to round up to the nearest dollar and leave the server with a Scrooge McDuck-worthy 74 cents.
Anthony Dierolf did that very thing at a New Jersey restaurant last Monday night, adding an embarrassing 0.68% tip—yeah, that's a decimal point—before signing his receipt at the Colts Neck Inn in Colts Neck, New Jersey. And the reason that we all know about this is because a state senator shared a copy of that receipt on social media, calling Dierolf a "jerk" with "misplaced obnoxiousness."
Dierolf told the Asbury Park Press that he and his fiancée spent a week vacationing in New Jersey and, before returning home to Pennsylvania, they stopped for dinner at the Colts Neck Inn. He said that the service was "terrible" from the second that they walked into the restaurant—and then for the 600-plus seconds they spent waiting for a table—so he felt like his 74 cent tip was completely justified.
"If [the bill had] been $119.99, it’d been a penny," he told the outlet. "It is a terrible tip, of course. But when I get treated like a terrible customer, I just really reflected it back on her."
The next night, New Jersey state senator Declan O'Scanlon ate at the restaurant, and somehow he was made aware of Dierolf and his now-infamous 74 cents. The senator snapped a photo of that receipt—which the server had drawn an angry face on—and posted it on Twitter. "Wow...have to work to qualify for my calling you out specifically as a jerk," he wrote. "But Anthony Dierlof qualifies. Ashley is a great waitress and wonderful human being. Certainly not a malicious bone in her body. Makes Anthony...a jerk. Live with your misplaced obnoxiousness."
Ashley Sculthorpe, who had the misfortune of serving Dierolf, said that she didn't know that he was unhappy about anything until she saw that decimal point on the receipt. "Everything was great according to him, I asked him multiple times," she said.
A week later, no one is backing down. O'Scanlon has appeared on a local radio station to talk about the incident and about "calling people out when they act like asshats." Meanwhile, Dierolf is talking to an attorney to find out whether being addressed by name for leaving a 74-cent tip is worthy of any compensation.
The response to O'Scanlon's tweet (and to Dierolf's 74-cent tip) was unsurprisingly mixed. "You have every right to expose this person. I applaud you! [...] God bless you!" one woman responded. "Should you be attacking Anthony Dierolf to get him to pay more, or the person who actually pays them?" another wrote. And some of O'Scanlon's constituents just pointed out the irony of him complaining about this measly tip after he voted against a measure that would've raised New Jersey's minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2027. (“This law will have disastrous consequences for our business community and minimum wage workers," he wrote in a statement. "It simply goes too far too fast.")
Although it's hard, if not impossible, to justify leaving a 74-cent tip, it still seems like maybe proposing legislation to benefit service industry workers would've been a better way to address the situation than calling Dierolf a jerk on Twitter.
That said, bad tippers tend to be jerks.