Tuesday, Aug 06 2013 06:00 AM

The Roadrunner Connection: Tipping tactics and how to stay out of the gossip column

In the 24-hours news cycle that has now worked its way into the sports world thanks to online media from ESPN, Fox Sports and others, sometimes you need stories to fill all 24 hours and keep website content fresh.

Enter Saints quarterback Drew Brees who was chastised last week after he tipped three dollars on a $75 take-out order at a San Diego area restaurant.

Brees' faux pas happened to make the rounds on social media after a disgruntled restaurant worker snapped a picture of the receipt and tip line, and posted it on Twitter.

Brees then spent the week listening to talking head sports programs debate his tipping tactics, while all acted astonished that this was actual news.

It isn't, but when you sign a $100 million contract and leave three bucks, its fodder for idiots.

While what Brees did begs the age-old question of proper tipping tactics, he said in his defense he tipped $3 on a takeout order, and had he actually sat down and eaten in the restaurant, he would have tipped 20 percent.

I can't help but side with the guy, despite his large pocketbook.

I mean a takeout order isn't being actually handled by a waiter or waitress who has a large portion of their salaries comprised of tips. It's being handled essentially by a host or hostess and some line cooks who are on the hourly scale. Not a great one, but an hourly scale nonetheless.

Nobody said Brees had to be Robin Hood when grabbing some takeout.

Still, tipping is a big deal among celebrity athletes.

I've heard from dealers in Las Vegas that everybody loves when Charles Barkley is in town because, "Sir Charles takes care of everybody." Maybe he should have taken care of that $400,000 casino debt in 2008, before Vegas prosecutors had to come chasing after him.

But that's another story.

Now there are cheapskates in the world.

Take for example Tiger Woods and Lebron James, two of the wealthiest men in sports, which were ranked last year as the worst celebrity tippers.

Woods apparently never carries cash and sometimes has those he's with do the tipping.

Reportedly, he once pocketed a $5 tip while playing $10,000 hand in blackjack, after he realized he tipped the dealer earlier that night.

Then there's Lebron, who legend has it once tipped $10 on an $800 bill at a Cleveland steakhouse, which came after he convinced them to stay open until 4 a.m. to accommodate his party. To be fair these are server stories and could be skewed.

And while you can't teach tipping, you can encourage it.

I've travelled with coaches that give explicit instructions to their teams when handing out per diem -- which is simply, "Don't forget to tip."

I don't think a server is going to drop dime on a Cal State Bakersfield kid for tipping light on a fixed budget, but at least we're steering them in the right direction.

Personally, I try to be as generous as possible. And while I'm not bringing in Drew Brees-type coin, I do my part.

However, much of it depends on service. Take out and drive thrus be darned, just because you put a tip line on my credit card receipt doesn't entitle you to squat.

So, give a man a tip and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to tip and he'll stay out of the gossip column.

Yep, that's what this world is coming to.

COREY COSTELLOE, a Tehachapi High graduate, is Director of New Media and Broadcasting for California State University Bakersfield.

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