DEAR JANE: My rich banker husband REFUSES to tip in restaurants – and I am so horrified by his selfish behavior I don’t know if I can ever dine out with him again

  • In this week’s agony aunt column, best-selling author Jane Green gives advice to a wife struggling to cope with her husband’s refusal to tip in restaurants 
  • She also offers some words of wisdom to a mother who is worried that her 40-year-old daughter will never settle down and be happy 
  • Do you have a question for Jane? Email [email protected] or ask it below
  • READ MORE: My sister is being SCAMMED by her drug addict daughter

Dear Jane,

My husband and I live a very privileged lifestyle – and I feel very fortunate that we are able to do so. My husband has worked in finance for many years now and we’ve always been very well off. 

I’m so incredibly grateful to him for giving myself and our children such a wonderful lifestyle, ensuring that I’ve never had to worry about money like I know so many people do.

Which makes me feel even sillier that I’m bringing this up because, in truth, I have a great life and marriage. 

However, since I’ve known my husband, he’s always been a terrible tipper. And by that I mean he refuses to tip anything at all and I’m always so mortified by it that I find myself no longer wanting to go out to eat with him.

Dear Jane, my wealthy husband never tips in restaurants – and I’m so embarrassed by his behavior I no longer want to eat out with him 

He always insists that it should be the restaurant’s responsibility to pay the staff appropriately – and doesn’t seem to understand that it just isn’t OK to leave nothing when we eat out. 

Any time I bring it up, he gets so angry with me and accuses me of trying to take a stand against his personal beliefs. We’ve had so many uncomfortable and awkward run-ins with staff because of it and it’s now reached the stage where I carry around cash and try to secretly leave it behind if we do end up at a restaurant because I’m so scared about servers getting angry.

My husband really is the most wonderful man in so many ways but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to get over this tipping hurdle – and my reluctance to go out and eat with him is starting to take a serious toll on our marriage.

How can I explain my feelings to him without setting him off?

International best-selling author Jane Green offers sage advice on readers’ most burning issues in her weekly Dear Jane agony aunt column


Tipping Over the Edge

Dear Tipping Over the Edge,

Your husband may be right about the restaurant’s responsibility to pay the staff appropriately, and in the UK and Europe, that is indeed the case. 

Servers are paid a full wage and tips, or ‘pour boire’ as they say in France, are small amounts of money to thank the servers.

Sadly however, in America, servers in full service restaurants are paid a ‘waiter’s wage’, a specific minimum wage, designated by the state, that expects employees to make up the majority of their salary in tips. 

Depending on the state, that minimum wage can be as little as $2.13 an hour. Although many restaurants will then supplement that to meet federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, that still means that a 40 hour week at the federal minimum wage would be $290.

I wonder how your husband would fare living on that?

Working in the service industry is fantastic for teaching humility, discipline and a great work ethic, but the downside can be dealing with the public, who, like your husband, do not know, or perhaps do not care, how hard the job might be and how little servers are paid. 

Most servers in the United States rely solely on tips to make up what they hope will be a decent living wage.

You say you are both very well off and are lucky enough to have a wonderful lifestyle. Take the emotions out of this conversation by doing your own research into just how little servers are paid in your state. Once you know, sit down and show your husband the figures, and let the facts speak for themselves.

Once you are both fully informed with the facts, tell him you are no longer comfortable going to a restaurant with him unless a tip is left. 

Should he not see the light, perhaps suggest he tries living on your state’s minimum wage to see how he gets on.

Dear Jane,

My only child, a daughter now aged 40, is still causing me sleepless nights.

I brought her up alone from when she was three years old after her father and I divorced. She has always been anxious and had a hard time at high school and didn’t settle at college, leaving after 18 months. 

Her employment record is not good either. The longest she has ever worked for any company is around 15 months. Her anxiety and depression escalates whenever she has a disagreement about something and she ends up quitting her job.

I wonder if she will ever settle down and be happy. She has lived on her own for a long time after splitting up with a former partner around 10 years ago. Since then she has had a few boyfriends but not lived with them. 

She recently met someone new and she really likes him and they have been talking about the future together.

The problem is that she is so messy at home. This may sound very trivial and none of my business but it is getting out of hand. 

I am currently looking after her dog while she is away for a couple of days and the house is dirty and untidy. I don’t even want to begin trying to do anything other than the washing up. Cooking is a problem as everything looks grubby. 

If I say anything to her she immediately gets huffy with me and tells me she’ll do it but never does.

Dear Jane’s Sunday Service 

There is an old saying that goes, ‘Other people’s behavior is none of my business.’ 

The sooner we realize we are powerless over other people, allow them to live the lives of their choosing and focus on our own lives instead of on theirs, the happier we will be.

I feel that this is part of her mental health issues and will ultimately impact on her relationship. Do you have any advice?


What a Mess

Dear What a Mess,

I am so sorry that your adult daughter is still causing you sleepless nights. We spend all those years sacrificing to give our children what we think they need, expecting them to go off and live happily ever after, and I know how difficult it is when that simply isn’t the case.

It sounds as if your daughter has a long history of very real issues that haven’t been treated. 

It’s completely understandable for you to be worried given that your daughter is now 40 and still struggling. 

Although you cannot step in to change your daughter’s life, you can encourage her to get help for her anxiety and depression, and look for guidance on how you can more effectively support her. 

I would suggest finding a therapist or licensed behavioral health specialist for yourself.

Unfortunately for you, your daughter is the only one who has the ability to help herself, whether dealing with emotional issues, work, or a dirty house. It’s clear that she doesn’t have the tools she needs to navigate her life well. 

Encourage her to find the right support for herself, without telling her what she ought to be doing with her life.

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