Is NFL quarterback Drew Brees a bad tipper, or has the Internet blown the receipt-based scandal completely out of proportion? Depends on who you ask.
According to gossip site The Dirty, the New Orleans star is a cheapskate who tipped three dollars on a $74 order from the Del Mar Rendezvous restaurant in Del Mar, Calif. The site's founder Nik Richie ran a picture of the receipt this week with the caption, "Drew Brees must hate America like he hates writing zeros. Thanks for not helping our economy Drew."
That post sparked a firestorm of criticism targeting Brees, who will earn $9.75 million plus a $250,000 workout bonus this season, according to Sports Illustrated.
Almost as quickly, however, people started coming to Brees' defense. The Del Mar restaurant released a statement apologizing for invading Brees' privacy.
"I would like to personally apologize to Mr. Brees, my staff, and anyone else offended by the posting of this image," the restaurant's managing partner Daniel Shalom Schreiber wrote. "We believe Drew Brees to be a great guy and pillar of the community in New Orelans as he was and still is in San Diego through his immense charitable giving and wonderful leadership."
And yet Brees' reputation for generosity may be hinging on perhaps a bigger question: Do you tip on takeout? And if so, how much?
Schrieber pledged to donate $888.88 to Brees' charity, and noted that the receipt appeared to be a takeout order, which people rarely tip for.
The mystery of the order was then formally addressed by Brees himself on Tuesday.
In case anyone still cares about this report: I tipped $3 on a takeout order. Had we sat down it would have been 20%+ http://t.co/Ktfnnl10pX
— Drew Brees (@drewbrees) July 31, 2013
The tweet appeared to vindicate the quarterback in the eyes of many, including a writer for Fox Sports, who argued that anyone who had criticized Brees should "eat crow and apologize."
"If anything, Brees has proven that he's generous," Fox Sports wrote. "It's not like he sat down and made a poor waitress do her job and then stiffed her."
Business Insider notes that Brees' revelation "opens up a whole new can of worms" about whether or not one should tip on takeout orders.
Deadspin concluded that the whole affair simply emphasizes the folly of posting celebrity receipts online:
It's not worth it. You will get fired, even if you're trying to show how generous they are. And what's the return? A couple of days of mild internet fame? A tepid and fleeting shame for the athlete? (When people see Melky Cabrera, they don't automatically think "that asshole left a 13 percent tip one time.") So just don't do it.
Potential receipt revealers could take the example of a waiter at a North Carolina steakhouse as a cautionary tale. The waiter was fired after posting a photo of quarterback Peyton Manning's very generous $200 tip -- added to a $740 bill already including gratuity.