The Dreaded Penny is a gratuity phenomenon
that I've encountered in the wide world of waitressing
relatively few times. The Dread of The Penny stems from the subtle message
that you have provided the worst service
that the patrons leaving the single penny (in place of a tip) have ever experienced
in their lives.
Talking back, being rude
in general, and ignoring repeated hails for attention
are all grounds for the execution of the penny maneuver
For the record, I have never received The Dreaded Penny from anyone who wasn't female, between 25-35 years of age, tall, slim, and well-dressed.
The next node I write may very well concern the myth of The Penny having anything to do with quality of service and expose the farce of tight-wad nouveau-yuppie women.