Verbal Gratuity

“My dad always told me that when a customer at work says “Oh you’re a great waiter!”, they call it a ‘verbal gratuity’. Sometimes they actually do give a good tip, but my Dad says a lot of the time that compliment is the only tip they get. That’s why they also call it the ‘kiss of death’.”

An example of occupational folk speech, this piece illustrates the experience of working as a waiter in a restaurant. As they depend heavily on tips, the amount that a customer tips them can have a huge effect on the happiness and wellbeing of a waiter. I imagine an instance such as this, in which a customer seems satisfied with the service but still does not leave a tip, can be even more frustrating than it would be otherwise.