What should we make of the $1,000 tip that Ellen DeGeneres and various movie stars gave to the man who brought them pizzas at the Oscars? A cynic might say that when a famous person does this, the story is bound to get around – especially if, like DeGeneres, you interview the grateful tippee the next day on your show. Even $100 left on the bar after buying a beer gets you the most cost-effective PR available, and a beer.
But what is a famous person supposed to do? Leave a standard tip and you appear mean, because everybody knows you're very wealthy. Leave a huge one and the cynics will say that you are trying to buy our love. Even being moderately generous puts you at risk of being compared with other famous people who gave more – a dilemma once memorably faced by Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm. Of course, different stars approach the problem in different ways:
Drew Barrymore Rather than trying to tip the right amount each time, Barrymore is said to have a clever policy of putting 100% on top of every bill. The source for this is the actor and former bartender Ana Ortiz, who says she received that amount from Barrymore twice. As a result, though at a price, her generosity will never be questioned.
Russell Crowe If you are in the mood, this is how to do it. Don't just eat and sign autographs, but visit the kitchens, play the guitar, sing several classic rock numbers and leave a £600 tip on top of a £240 bill – as Crowe did during a break from filming Robin Hood. As one member of staff put it afterwards: "We were like: 'Did that just happen?'"
David Beckham In percentage terms, the $1,000 that Beckham apparently left at Joxer Daly's bar in California to pay a $100 bill puts him among the best tippers in the business. According to his waitress, Claudia Belden, he drank only mineral water and, despite having just played a football match, "smelled so nice".
Johnny Depp Leaving $4,000 on top of the bill at a steakhouse makes Depp one of the most generous celebrity tippers on record, although he had his reasons. The waiter Mohammed Sekhani at Gibsons in Chicago had served Depp many times before, during the filming of Public Enemies and learned to get the approach just right. "He doesn't like to be too fussed over," for any waiters reading.
Donald Trump PR mastermind that he is, Trump decisively squashed a story that he had left a gigantic $10,000 tip on an $82.27 bill at a restaurant in Santa Monica. As he told the New York Post: "This was done by the stupid restaurant to get publicity. It's not my signature." It is therefore a matter of record, in case it was ever in doubt, that Trump has no sense of humour. His tipping style remains unknown.
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