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State Legislator Leaves Hooters Waitress an Apology Instead of a Tip

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Sorrys don't pay the bills

Mike Mozart/Flickr

A state representative in Tennessee is being criticized after failing to leave her Hooters waitress a tip. State Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson dined at a local Hooters on Monday and decided not to tip her server; instead, she scribbled "SORRY" on the tip line, as the Nashville Scene reports.

Littleton's waitress, Amanda Anderson, posted a photo of the receipt to Facebook, writing, "State representatives are supposed to exhibit class and integrity... this one acted like a child." (It appears Anderson has since removed her post.)

Littleton was dining along with another state representative, Tilman Goins, who also didn't leave a tip. Littleton issued the following statement about the situation to the Scene, saying she didn't tip because the service wasn't up to par:

It is unfortunate that my private note to the server regarding the quality of service in this instance was made public. Due to the overall experience that evening, I decided not to provide a tip. In hindsight, rather than writing a note on the receipt, I should have asked for the manager so that I could register my concerns with the quality and promptness of service. As the mother of someone who has been a server, I know that servers have difficult and demanding jobs and, as such, it is has always been especially important to me that I make sure to tip generously when I receive good service.

It's true that Tennessee state representatives only make about $20,000 a year in salary, but as the Scene points out, "Littleton gets a daily spending allowance of $204 courtesy of the taxpayers" — and 20 percent of Littleton's tab would've been a measly seven bucks. The base minimum wage for servers in Tennessee is $2.13 an hour; they must make at least an additional $5.12 an hour in tips, or employers have to kick in to ensure they earn a minimum $7.25.

Littleton's not the first person to use her tab's tip line as a message box: Last year customers at a New Jersey restaurant opted to write "LOL" instead of leaving a tip on a $112 bill. Situations such as these only add more fuel to the ongoing tipping debate, with many suggesting that the burden of paying servers shouldn't rest on the customer.

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