Rock Bottom Brewery: Great Beer, Good Food and Self-Help Tipping

I recently killed an afternoon after work at the Rock Bottom Brewery at Ballston Commons, one of my favorite places to sit and enjoy a brew. Rock Bottom has a wonderful collection of beers brewed on premises by a master brewer. The food is good, although limited for vegetarians, which puts a bit of a damper on things. I am always satisfied with the nachos, though. Even if the selection is not great, what is there is excellent.

At my most recent visit, however, I paid my $12 tab with a ten and a five and waited about 15 minutes, reading the City Paper, and never got my change. Granted, I had planned to leave the change as a tip for the waitress, but there is still a social contract between a server and customer that had been broken. I at least wanted the option to leave the tip rather than having her assume that I didn’t want my change.

Is this weird? I am not a bad tipper and left her the money in the end but she seemed really offended when I asked for my change, as if I had asked to return the plate of onion rings for a refund after eating them.

When did tipping become compulsory? I am a big believer in rewarding good service, but part of that good service should include not assuming that the change is yours to keep.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Carl Weaver is a writer and brewer for and has been making beer and wine for more than 20 years. He is also an avid photographer and writer and just finished his first book, about a trip he took to Thailand to live in Buddhist monasteries. He considers himself the last of the Renaissance men and the luckiest darned guy in the world. Follow him on Twitter.

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