A small explination of my family's tipping procedure is in order. Generally my parents had enough dollar bills and change for a tip. Occasionally, however, they did not. In those cases they would take their bill (to the cash register in the case of Denny's) and ask for the change to be in dollars (or fives) so they can tip. Whenever this happened my sister or I were left to "guard" the table so as to make it absolutely clear to the waitress/er that we weren't leaving and not to come looking for a tip.
My family went to Denny's for dinner one day (because it was the best Denny's in the area). The meal went well, and I don't recall any bad service there. My parents only had some pennies and dimes that day and big bills. Not enough for a tip. They left what little change they had on the table (they didn't need it) and went to pay the bill and get dollars for a better tip.
I have no idea what happened, but my sister and I were not guarding the table. So I totally understand why the waitress would have misunderstood and thought she was only getting a few dimes and a penny for a tip. What she did next, however, did not improve her chances of getting a tip.. much less any tips from anyone. o_O
I believe my parents had just paid for the meal and were talking together near the entrance/exit door about how much to tip. Standing near the door, of course, just made the waitress think they were leaving. However, if you'd been to this Denny's, you'd know that it was so small (think Waffle House only a little bigger and the tables not as well placed) that when it got busy (and it was) the only place to stand and not get trampled on by customers or servers was near the door.
The waitress charged up to my parents and threw the pennies and dimes at my parent's face! She then proceeded to loudly cuss them out about the small tip. I destinctly remember the shocked look on my Mom's face, the utter look of rage passing over my Dad's (which is only the 3rd time in all my 22 yrs that I've ever seen him angry) and the look of utter horror that was passing over the cashier's face.
I can not recall much after that. But I believe the waitress did not get the rest of her tip and I think she got in big big trouble after that. I don't think we ever saw her there again.
To this day, my parents always make 100% sure that one person is left at the table if they need to go to the register and get change. I also do this 100% of the time as well. I avoid using pennies and dimes as a tip too. o_o