TMZ reported that President Obama "dropped over $200" on a burger lunch for himself and a large group of campaign volunteers at Ted's Bulletin Restaurant in Washington, D.C. -- and that he "tipped more than 35%."
However, not all famous people are as generous. In fact, our elite tier of celebrities makes a whole lot more money than Obama. We would like to think of these wealthy stars as feeling at least a little gracious toward the public that has helped catapult them to the top. This is especially true when that member of the public is literally serving the celebrity, as when a waiter delivers them their meal and drinks. I'm not saying every fabulously wealthy person has to be as generous as Johnny Depp, who while filming Public Enemies reportedly enjoyed a $2,600 meal with friends and left a $1,500 tip. And in 2009, Depp is said to have handed a lucky waiter a $4,000 tip.
Actually, maybe I am saying every fabulously wealthy person has to be like Johnny Depp. But they're not. And numerous websites apparently keep track of these things. We took a look at a slew of such sites and put together a composite list of the worst tippers among them. Criteria used are number of cheapskate lists each person appears on, stinginess relative to how wealthy the person is, and how low the tip comparative to how high the bill. I know, it's complicated. But here are our ten scrooges:
10. Rachael Ray shows up on quite a few lists of measly tippers. "Tipped $1 on a $10 tab" according to List of the Day, which also accuses her of "promoting less than a 20% tip on a show that millions of people watch!" Rachael might have to rename her series of $40 a Day books $40 a Day -- Not Including Gratuities.
9. Bill Cosby is ranked #6 on Glamorati's list of 34 notoriously bad tippers, and the Cos makes it onto just about every other list too. He is said to have once left a $3 tip on a $350 order. This from a man who preaches about the importance of setting a good example.
8. Sean Penn and three others had "New Orleans waiters waiting on them hand and foot. The tip left on a $450 tab? Absolutely nothing. There are lots of instances of Sean Penn stiffing waitstaff," Glamorati reports. He takes the number three spot on the Frisky's compilation of measly stars as well. Of course Penn was in N.O. helping out poor people, so let's at least acknowledge he's generous with his time, if not his money.
7. Mariah Carey is said to have kept a restaurant open late with a very large party. Glamorati, getting its info from the New York Post, wrote, "Mariah and crew were very diva-ish with their demands. Despite keeping staffers jumping and a high tab, no one left a tip."
6. Usher is consistently cited as one of the worst tippers, including the Stained Apron's 44 tipping "sinners" and the number five spot on the Frisky. "Always tries to get someone else to pick up the bill," reports glamorati.com. More damning is the oft-repeated tale of Usher having once left his autograph as a tip.
5. Jeremy Piven, according to Zimbio, showed up at Nobu in Aspen with a party of 12 -- without a reservation. After being seated and served, Piven reportedly told the manager: "Thanks for nothing," and left a signed Entourage DVD as the tip -- which is at least a bit more generous than an autograph. According to the story, a Nobu employee hurled the box at Piven as he was leaving, and Piven was banned from ever returning to Nobu. Sounds like something Ari Gold, his Entourage character, might do. The alleged act earned Piven the number one "worst tipper" on Zimbio's list of ten worst tippers, number two on thefrisky.com, and at or near the top on most others. We would have placed him higher, but he doesn't make as much money as most folks on this list, and it's just one incident.
4. LeBron James comes in at number four on thefrisky.com's list, and perhaps for good reason. Seems he once made a Cleveland steak house stay open until 4 in the morning so he could finish his feast. The bill: $800. The tip: $10. Obviously LeBron is waiting to win a championship and use the windfall for tipping.
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3. Barbra Streisand is mentioned again and again for being a cheap tipper as well as a rude and demanding customer. Glamorati says, "Doesn't always tip." Thefrisky.com notes that at a New York restaurant, Babs once "left a $10 tip for a $457 tab." That's not so funny, girl.
2. Madonna: It's just like the old days: Madonna comes in number one on chart after chart. Glamorati in 2008 named Madonna numero uno in its list of the 34 stingiest celebs. "Doesn't always leave a tip, and when she does it's a cheap one." A year later, List of the Day put her atop its cheapster listing and reported that she and then-husband Guy Ritchie left an $18 tip on a $400 tab (Madonna's worth, incidentally, is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions). Madge is also the cover girl for bad tippers at thefrisky.com, nabbed the number five spot on zimbio.com's list of worst tippers, and also appears on LoveToKnow's survey as well.
1. Tiger Woods came in number four on Zimbio's scrooge compilation and was cited on every single list. The reason he doesn't tip: The man worth more than $500 million says it's because he never carries cash. The Frisky reports Tiger dated "a gal in Las Vegas who had to tip for him whenever they went out." And according to List of the Day, Tiger once "pulled a mulligan on a $5 tip, repocketing the money meant for a waitress after realizing he had tipped her earlier in the evening. He was possibly distracted by the $10,000 hand of blackjack he was playing." Hey, Tiger, we have a tip for you: When it comes to leaving money for those who are serving you, just do it.