The 1% Tip Hoax

Last week an image showing the "tip" left by a rich banker who had dined at a Newport Beach restaurant spread around the internet. The financial tip was slightly less than 1%, on a bill of over $100, but the patron also left a life-advice tip: "GET A REAL JOB".

Naturally, the image provoked the customary rage reaction from netizens.

The image originally was posted on a blog called "Future Ex-Banker" run by an anonymous blogger who said he worked in the corporate office of a bank for a boss who represented "everything wrong with the financial industry." He further claimed of this boss:

So proudly does he wear his 1% badge of honor that he tips exactly 1% every time he feels the server doesn't sufficiently bow down to his Holiness. Oh, and he always makes sure to include a "tip" of his own.

The image has now proven to be a hoax. The owner of the restaurant, True Food Kitchen, searched through their receipts and found the original copy, which included neither the stingy tip nor the insulting piece of advice. The "Future Ex-Banker" blog ( has been taken down.

I gotta say, the original image was a pretty good photoshop job. I'm guessing that the hoaxer scanned the original receipt, digitally erased some of the information, then printed out a new copy, wrote the new "tip" on it, and took a picture of it. That would be easier than doing the alteration entirely digitally.

I'm also curious whether the hoaxer was a liberal or a conservative. Given that the hoaxer had to know that the hoax would eventually be exposed, it makes me think this might have been black propaganda by a conservative, trying to make it look like a liberal/progressive hoax.

Links: Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Smoking Gun.

Photos Politics

Posted on Thu Mar 01, 2012


Ok - my problem is the "unaltered" copy in the second pic, the one that is supposed to be the "proof", says "Guest Copy" - how does that make it the "Original" copy and why would the merchant HAVE the guest copy in their records?
I'm not sure this is as "busted" as you'd like to think...
Posted by InsaniD  on  Thu Mar 01, 2012  at  01:27 PM
InsaniD -- I hadn't noticed that one was the guest copy and the other the merchant copy. Good eye!

It doesn't seem that unusual to me that the merchant would have the guest copy, since a lot of people leave the guest copy -- especially if you're given multiple copies of the receipt, as sometimes happens. But it raises the question of which copy was used to make the fake. And why was the tip written on the guest copy?

I guess the hoaxer could have signed the guest copy, left that at the restaurant, and then taken the merchant copy -- and used that to make the fake version.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Thu Mar 01, 2012  at  02:40 PM
That would be my guess, Alex. I would even go so far as to say they probably filled out the merchant copy like that and snapped the picture at the restaurant. Then signed the guest copy and left that as the actual payment (since that's the one the restaurant apparently has on record).
Posted by Tah  on  Thu Mar 01, 2012  at  11:40 PM
Tah -- probably what happened. Then the only photoshopping required would be to add a "1" onto the $33.54 to make it $133.54.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Fri Mar 02, 2012  at  06:28 AM
I noticed the "guest copy" thing, but I hadn't put the rest together. That scenario makes a lot of sense.
Posted by George P Burdell  on  Fri Mar 02, 2012  at  07:22 AM
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