Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Tip Clock

Clock that counts down the tip as you wait
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Picture a clock that you can put on the table at a restaurant (e.g. "Mel's Meals" not "Chez Haute Du Jour"). Instead of time, it measures the percent tip you plan to give. In bright letters (for the server's sake) it clearly counts DOWN the tip from whatever you started at - perhaps 20%. Every minute (configurable), the number goes down by 1%...

There would be a single, large, red button on top of the clock. Hitting it would immediately drop the tip as well. This could be used by the patron should anything bad occur (meal not as ordered, cold when it should be hot, etc.).

The idea is that when you are in a hurry, the clock could communicate this better than words.

patissier, Jan 15 2008

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       I don't think I'd risk eating anything delivered by waiter who could see that his tip was already down to 3%.   

       More effective to finish your meal politely, not tip, and not return.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 15 2008
  

       Even more effective to finish your meal politely, not tip, not pay, and not return.
8th of 7, Jan 15 2008
  

       But then you miss out on the petits fours and the liqeur that they bring with the bill!
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 15 2008
  

       But it's often not the waiter's fault - what are they supposed to do, run into the kitchen and help stir the risotto?
jutta, Jan 15 2008
  

       There could be another version for people like me, which starts on $0.00 and goes down through "never coming back", "will relate poor experience to others", "will complain to chef or manager", "will not pay as service was not delivered as advertised" and finally "see you in court".
vincevincevince, Jan 16 2008
  

       jutta: what the waiter is supposed to do is stop by and reassure you that although your meal is taking a long time, it is on the way, and see if there is anything else they can get you while you wait. It's the personal service and attention you're tipping, after all. But yeah, patissier is barking up the wrong tree, which is odd given his/her stated profession.
DrCurry, Jan 16 2008
  
      
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