The History of Tipping

by admin on December 8, 2015

I’m going to direct you away from Ehell again. This time to read a fascinating NPR article on the history of tipping.   Come back and let’s talk.

When Tipping Was Considered Deeply Un-American

{ 120 comments… read them below or add one }

NicoleK December 8, 2015 at 3:21 am

In America, a tip is not a tip, it is payment. Waiters are effectively not paid, payment is up to the whim of the customer. That is why it is unacceptable to not tip, you are basically a thief who is stealing the waiter’s services.

Now I live in Switzerland where waiters are paid properly. Tipping is minimal, if your bill is 58 francs you might round up to 60 or so. Or if you’re feeling generous you can leave 5-10 francs if you want, but it is not necessary.

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Ulla December 8, 2015 at 5:20 am

Should not it be the employer who pays the salary for their workers? What tipping basically is: It transfers the risk of enterpreneuring to the worker, leaving them with the risk, but without the reward of enterpreneuring: potential high profit. If one goes to yarn shop, and asks advice from the worker, is it not assumed that the price of the workers time is incorporated in the price of the product.

Even more so, you can’t decide in the restaurant (excluding fast food/buffets) that you do not want to have a server, you will pick your own food from the kitchen. You can’t do that, the service is part of the product they sell, restaurants don’t sell food, they sell experience, which usually includes the food. So as it is mandatory part of the service they provide, it is absolutely ridiculous to have it “billed” separately. That is unfair to the customer. And it is unfair to the server that they are left to the mercy of the customer, forced to provide service and do the job wihtout having any say how valuable their time is.

Because if they would be really enterprenuers, as they are taking the risk, they could set the price themselves. That is, after all, also one of the pros for being enterpreneuer. You can decide what your cost is. But, waiters don’t get that benefit, they still get only the risk. And if the customer does not pay your bill, you can sue them or try to claim your money by other means. If you are not tipped, there is nothing to do, because in reality, it’s not payment, they are not owed it in legal sense, and even barely in moral sense. If they are stiffed from the payment of their work, they have zero rights to claim it.

So, my opinion is that tipping is absolutely ridiculous and harmful system, used to exploit those in weaker situations.

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GeenaG December 9, 2015 at 11:47 am

If you don’t believe in tipping please don’t eat out and stiff your server because you don’t believe in it. If you don’t want to tip please confine yourself to eating fast food or preparing all your meals at home.

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Rebecca December 10, 2015 at 4:01 am

I don’t believe in it and still tip because that is the way it is done here, but I am still allowed to resent a stupid system. If my meal costs $20 and I leave a $4 tip, the meal including service costs $24, so why doesn’t the restaurant just charge me $24 in the first place and pay their employees themselves?

Also I hear from servers in some restaurants that they are making hundreds of dollars every night in tips in addition to their wage, which is at least minimum wage where I live (I understand that in some places restaurants are allowed to pay less than minimum wage, which I find despicable but it’s not the case here). So the servers are making more than I am, when I spent years in school qualifying for my work, and I am supposed to feel bad for them if they don’t make their usual hundreds of dollars extra that night?

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NostalgicGal December 10, 2015 at 7:46 pm

I sure would have liked to have one of those jobs, trust me.
I ‘slung hash’ and was a ‘French fry pimp’ many a time.
I had a few times and jobs that didn’t involve food service where I actually did get paid something worth taking home. That doesn’t happen often. I have a whole collection of framed wallpaper and titles and letters I can use with my name. Lately my best gig, is once in awhile the local ‘variety’ store owner calls me to bust freight for her. She got 38 boxes, the paperwork is a fright, and I go down there for 3 hours-ask her to make sure she has two on just to shelve, and she pays me in merchandise.

I’d have been overjoyed to find a waitress job in a place that paid more than minimum, they didn’t make YOU pay if you dumped a meal because someone tried to be helpful and take stuff off your carefully balanced tray, or somebody’s brat was running wild, hit the tray jack and just dumped six dinners and broke all the crockery…. or they snuck out on you and didn’t pay (especially in places that served liquor. Two couples x lots of food and just ONE more round of drinks wiped out everything the waitress made for two weeks.) One place you had to report to the floor all in uniform with little round drink tray 10 min before you were due to start (you couldn’t punch in for those ten minutes either) or they would fire you. [I was there with friends and it was 4pm switchover. A very good hardworking gal that had worked there for three years joined the clot of reporting in, last one, and this one time she was two minutes late, 8 of the hour. The shift manager started loud enough we could all hear about (xxx) you know we don’t tolerate sh*t like… She took the server tray and overed it and rammed it into the bartop as hard as she could. Sounded like an explosion. She followed it with her vest, armbands and cute bowtie and said AFTER THREE YEARS I GET THIS TREATMENT I QUIT!
Rest of crew and about 20 patrons that knew her witnessed this. She quit before she was fired so she got her unemployment insurance and the place had several former employees go in a suit about the unpaid 10 min…. she got a good chunk from that too.

sillyme February 2, 2016 at 11:15 am

A server may make “hundreds of dollars a night,” but that does not translate into a tremendous income necessarily. Servers may not work full time, and management usually schedules them differently each week, so that they cannot take second (or third) jobs.

Also, servers may have to purchase their own “uniforms,” or buy clothes that conform to a certain dress code.

Finally, it more upscale restaurants, serving is a skill. While the write “spent years in school qualifying,” the best servers consider themselves part of an industry. They will know and understand food and dining.

There’s also a hint of snobbery in the statement, as if “mental work” should earn more money than “physical work.” Having done both, I can tell you it is simply and excuse for people who believe themselves to be superior based on education. The physical stamina required for working and doing well in a restaurant is phenomenal and should not be undervalued.

Alo December 9, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Yet I suspect that many of the people who share your views on this would bitch the loudest if prices were raised to compensate for the higher wages the employers would have to pay if tipping went away.

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Ulla December 10, 2015 at 6:40 am

I live in non-tipping country and I’m happy to pay the price for restaurant food we have to pay here to guarantee the serves get paid. But, I realize I did not mention it in this comment (did in some other down the thread, but those were later), so there is no way you could have known.

However, to be clear, should I travel to tipping country, I would tip (and have done so) if I could not choose a restaurant with no-tipping policy. It is not the fault of that individual server that the system is horrible.

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Rebecca December 10, 2015 at 4:36 pm

No I wouldn’t, because the price is already higher than what it says on the menu. If my plate of food is listed at $20, I have to tip, and if I tip 20% it comes to $24. How about if the menu price is $24 and I don’t have to tip? It’s the same amount that appears on my credit card bill, whether I see the fake price of $20 on the menu or the real price of $24. Seeing $20 on the menu does not trick me into thinking it’s cheaper. (I’m leaving tax out of the discussion just for sake of argument, as that gets charged regardless).

They’ve had to crack down on airlines that would advertise an artificially low price, ie $499, but more like $1000 after the various taxes, fees, surcharges, airport fees, service fees, etc. Why can’t we have an honest representation of the real cost of eating out, listed on the menu?

When I sell my service, I charge what I charge. It’s $80, not an advertised $40 and then a plethora of fees added later such as heating the office fee, telephone fee, receptionist fee, booking fee, etc etc etc.

Ordering a meal in a restaurant, you know someone is going to bring you that food, clear away plates, perhaps suggest a wine. That should be part of the entire package and the price told to you up front.

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Marion December 8, 2015 at 5:31 am

Surely the “thief who is stealing the waiter’s services” would be the waiter’s employer?

I’m not sure what “effectively not paid” means – do they not get paid? Or just not as much as they think they should?

Having only worked in restaurants in the UK, I’m only used to low pay and am trying to understand how the US system works.

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amy December 8, 2015 at 10:01 am

Tipped workers minimum wage is around $2.15 in the US. It is expected that tips will bring them over the standard minimum wage. So when people don’t tip with the current system that waiter makes basically nothing.

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Becca December 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Legally speaking, restaurant owners are supposed to compensate the employee who doesn’t make up for the wages though tips.

However, the restaurant industry follows it’s own rules. They are taxed on what they report to the government, there is no estimate done. However some restaurants will charge their servers a percentage for bartenders and bussers, regardless of they make the money from tables of not

Working in the office of a restaurant for awhile, I’ve seen servers have negative tips on nights because they will be forced to pay bar staff, kitchen staff and bussers their cut, regardless of ever being given the tips. The only count tips put on a credit card.

This is because if someone tips in cash, there’s no way to count it unless you are extremely strict. So people are not able to follow an honor system and everyone is being punished for it. I know restaurant workers who will preach at you to tip in cash because it’s not reported wages.

It’s an ugly culture in the cutthroat restaurant business because there are so many and everyone is trying to make as much as they can. It’s worse than other business because it operates with cash often, that makes record keeping difficult. It also has huge turn over and high traffic. By the time you realize your hen house has a fox, the fox is long gone, searching the next diner down the street for their chickens.

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Lady Catford December 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Not exactly sure now but the minimum wage in BC was at $7.50 a few years ago. The BC minimum wage was for everyone who worked, no one made less because they were waiting tables. $2.15 an hour is ridiculous. No one can live on that except
the employers.

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Dee December 11, 2015 at 12:39 pm

Lady Catford – Minimum wage in BC right now $10.50ish, soon to be raised as I understand it. I’ve heard that it is a few cents less than that for restaurant workers. Don’t know who that all affects but it’s quite close to the overall minimum. If you work in a restaurant that regularly generates tips you will be making well over minimum wage when all is factored in. Not that you don’t have to work hard for it …

songbird December 8, 2015 at 11:52 am

Marion, the minimum wage in the US is set by the federal government. It is currently $7.25 per hour for non-tipped workers and $2.13 for tipped workers. Here in New York, our local government mandates $8.75 per hour and $5 for tipped employees. Tips are presumed to make up the difference. The worker must pay taxes on the tips, or rather, the tips they are estimated to receive. Bartenders and wait staff in high end restaurants earn more through tips than if they were paid an hourly wage without tips. But in diners, small restaurants, etc., that is not always the case.

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Marion December 8, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Thanks for clarifying Amy & Songbird,

I hadn’t realised that the “minimum” wage was deemed to be a ‘set’ wage!

Here some waitstaff are paid minimum wage, but that’s not necessarily the case; depends on the employer.

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sillyme February 2, 2016 at 11:23 am

In today’s economy, $2.13 or so per hour is “effectively not paid.” Because, taxes, social security (FICA) and other things are deducted. So, that’s less than $2.00/hour in a country where gas just recently went down to less than $2.00 per hour.

That means: based on wages alone, you’d have to work about an hour to earn one gallon of gas (after taxes.) Then, if you’re working a “double” you need to earn what you’ll spend on your meal (I have never worked in a restaurant that provided an area where one could keep “brown bag” lunches). Even with discounts, that may be another two hours of work.

So, in a five or six hour shift, you’ve already spent 2-3 hours of “wages.” What about rent, car (some areas of the US do NOT have public transportation), utilities, groceries, health care, clothing?

Then of course, taxes, etc., are paid on tips as well as wages. When I waited tables, we had to declare at least something for tips on our tax returns. (And when I was waiting tables, the standard tip was 10%).

And, if you don’t work in a very upscale restaurant, then you will probably NOT see “hundreds of dollars a night.”

I’m opposed to the tip system, but I understand the necessity of servers to earn enough money to make it worthwhile to work. Meanwhile, if mid-scale restaurants paid a wage that could eliminate tips, they would raise their menu prices so much that the middle-class could not afford them, and they would go out of business – causing more job loss.

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songbird December 8, 2015 at 8:31 am

I am a generous tipper — I usually leave 20% — but I’d much prefer the no-tipping system. Some customers withhold a tip if thy are unhappy with their dining experience, even if the problem originated with the kitchen staff and not the wait staff. Some customers use the tip as “power trip” of sorts — I encountered one woman on the internet who worked herself up over salad dressing and soda refills, to the point where servers dread seeing her in their restaurant. Some diners are just plain cheap; a friend told me he’s never going to a local chain restaurant that recently eliminated tipping but increased the prices by a modest amount to cover the increase in salary.

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Michelle December 8, 2015 at 10:51 am

Songbird- I think I know the woman you are talking about regarding the salad dressing and soda refills. She is, in my opinion, the worst kind of customer for anyone to try to serve. It’s like she is intentionally try to confuse servers. She posts about how each mistake (which is usually her fault because she is ridiculously picky and confusing) deducts the amount of the tip.

I wish we could do away with tipping and pay servers decent wages.

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Weaver December 9, 2015 at 7:48 am

songbird and Michelle, I believe I know the customer you’re referring to as well! If I recall correctly, she had a ridiculous obsession with ranch dressing, and, yes, soda refills. She had the most frightful, entitled attitude and I pity any server who ever came across her.

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psammead December 9, 2015 at 8:54 pm

We do not speak her name….

Kat December 8, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Marion: in the US, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour (which is chintzy already, not being a living wage). In some states it may be higher, in some cities it may be higher (for example, in Illinois the state minimum is $8.25, and in Chicago the city minimum is $10); but no where in the US can it legally be less than $7.25.

Unless you are a “tipped worker,” in which case the federal minimum wage is $2.15 per hour. And THAT is the problem. By the time income taxes are taken out (which are calculated based on your sales, not your actual tips/income), you end up with a weekly paycheck amounting to pennies, if that. Your tips are the ONLY money you’re taking home.

Technically, if tips don’t add up to an equivalent to the “real” minimum wage (and I’m honestly not sure if this would mean $7.25, $8.25, or $10 in a restaurant in Chicago), the employer is supposed to pay the difference. Try to find ANY restaurant that has that good a system for tracking tips, though. I worked for one place where I was required to put my nightly sales through such an obtuse mathematical formula that I never had the faintest idea if I was going home with the correct amount of tips, but I was never allowed to question the logic behind this math (and I couldn’t afford to lose the job — which is pretty much the reason why such abuse is so rampant in the restaurant industry). I’m pretty sure it was obtuse on purpose, to facilitate tip theft.

I read an article a few years back about a restaurant in San Francisco (I think) that decided to get rid of the tipping system, pay their workers a real wage and raise their prices by a proportionate amount. There was an uproar among certain customers because they wanted the option to stiff the server if they weren’t happy. Basically, they wanted the option to lord power over the low-wage worker busting their behinds to serve them. Rather than, say, bringing it up with management like you would for ANY OTHER customer service job, if your experience was that terrible.

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Marion December 10, 2015 at 8:05 am

Kat, thanks for all the ‘behind the scenes’ information – it’s enlightening and terrifying to think of employees being treated like that.

I’ve had to tolerate several rubbish jobs where the boss’ attitude would be ‘take it or leave’, but never one that wasn’t paying me!

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NostalgicGal December 10, 2015 at 7:52 pm

I still say I have yet to see a restaurant that if they pay less than minimum wage, and if the employee doesn’t make the tips, makes up the difference. Ever.

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Kirsten December 8, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Would that be ranch dressing by any chance?

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Michelle December 8, 2015 at 3:48 pm

Yes! Springs 1 (aka Springs131). I’ve read some of her ramblings. The server’s worst nightmare. Because you are supposed to know that when she orders bread sticks with ranch you are supposed to know that means ranch in addition to marinara. Why not just say bread sticks and can I have an order of ranch dressing as well as marinara. And never, ever automatically refill her drink because she might want Dr. Pepper instead of Coke or a mixed drink from the bar instead of soda.

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Lindenharp December 8, 2015 at 11:47 pm

It’s a good thing that the comments here are moderated. That woman Googles for mentions of her username, as well as for discussions on tipping on any kind of forum, then jumps into the fray. I’ve seen her post on sites devoted to hockey, pregnancy, military spouses, shaving, and home-schooling. I can’t imagine that her lengthy cut-and-paste diatribes would be tolerated here on eHell.

Dippy December 10, 2015 at 10:46 am

I went and found this character’s blogs. It amused the heck out of me on a slow work day yesterday!

Thank you so much!!

Kelly December 11, 2015 at 8:54 am

I just fell down a rabbit hole reading various posts and blogs by that Springs person. Unbelievable!!

Maureen December 8, 2015 at 4:57 pm

Wondering, Songbird, if that woman happened to have been named after a season? I have encountered such a soul myself. Condiments, too.

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Becca December 8, 2015 at 10:47 am

The employers are the thieves. The law states if tips do not add up to at least minimum wage, the employer is to pay the waiter that much. However, owners use their heavy hand of “don’t like that I don’t pay you according to law? Go find someone who will make me.” The struggling person will just leave it alone and keep trying to make it work or find another less disgusting establishment to work in.

Not all states have server wages but the entire country is tainted by the fool ones who does.

Then there are the countless restaurants who keep their servers quiet because they don’t report cash tips and they go untaxed. Everyone is to blame for the rather reckless and lawless service industry.

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DoubleYou December 8, 2015 at 5:50 am

Even though I’ve just learned that the custom originated here in Europe, tipping isn’t all that important – let alone controversial – over here these days.

In Belgium, wait staff are paid a normal wage: the net minimum monthly wage for a full-time employee (= 38 hours per week) is around $1,410 after tax, which over here is about $250 above the poverty line. A moderate income indeed, but one you can live on.

This does lead to (slightly) higher prices on restaurant menus, but contrary to the US, the prices on the menu are the actual prices, with service and tax included – so no surprises when the bill comes.

This doesn’t mean we don’t tip for good service, though… although it does mean the size of the tip can vary widely: usually rounding up to the nearest round number already constitutes a fair tip (€47 would become €50, for instance). But if the food and service are very good indeed, I would tip accordingly (and that €47 would become €55). On the other hand, if the service is sub-standard, I wouldn’t hesitate to leave no tip at all, and this would still be perfectly acceptable, because I know the waiter will still get paid a decent wage.

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just4kicks December 8, 2015 at 7:12 am

I worked a few waitressing jobs in my younger days, and it is a rough job.
Back then, if memory serves, I made $2.15 an hour, so you best believe I hustled my little fanny off for good tips.
Unfortunately, some folks didn’t tip….EVER. It goes with the territory.
These days, unless our waiter/waitress does something very over the top, I still tip, but have no problem giving a better than usual one to those who go above and beyond in their service.

One funny story: when I was in my late teens, I worked at Friendly’ s.
One Halloween our manager thought it would be cute if we wore costumes. Ugh.
On my BEST days, I came home covered in hot fudge, caramel….you name it.
I certainly wasn’t going to wear an elaborate costume.
One of my friends came up with what I thought was a cute idea.
I wore a light colored t-shirt and on my chest I put a very large capital letter “P”, around my eyes I used black and purple eye make up. I was a “black eyed pea”.
I waited that day on a table with two elderly couples, who were eyeing me very strangely.
When I dropped off their check and asked how their meal was, one of the ladies said how cute the costumes were.
I asked if they liked mine, and they gave me a very strange look.
I said, “See? I’m a black eyed pea….get it?!?”
They all laughed hysterically and the lady grabbed my hand and said “Oh, HONEY!!! We all thought your boyfriend beat the CRAP outta you!!!!”
I said “Oh my gosh….NO! It’s just make up!!!” and rubbed my finger across my eye to show them it came off.
We all had a great laugh and I got an AWESOME tip.

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wren December 8, 2015 at 4:05 pm

In high school I earned $1.65 per hour at my waitress job and I earned every penny of it — it was very hard work.

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just4kicks December 9, 2015 at 9:58 am

@Wren: I agree completely, (aside from unloading trucks at 4:00am) it was my toughest job I’ve ever had.
People you are waiting on don’t know or care that you’re sick, upset etc.
I sure don’t miss it.

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Rebecca December 10, 2015 at 4:09 am

Yeah, well…..I worked for around that amount in high school for a busy drugstore doing cash and stock and generally rushing around for demanding customers and it was very hard work too. No tips just because it didn’t involve food. I just don’t see why the involvement of food in hard jobs entitles anyone to more than the people working without food. (I’m in a place where tipped jobs get the same minimum wage as non-tipped jobs).

I worked in a restaurant before that and yes it was hard work, but no harder than my retail store clerk jobs.

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just4kicks December 10, 2015 at 8:09 am

@Rebecca: I too have worked retail, at Target unloading boxes, and at a gas station.
They are both thankless jobs, and you are correct that retail is also very hard work for which you don’t get tipped for your hard work.
I wasn’t trying to paint being wait staff is any harder than retail.
My apologies. 🙂

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Rebecca December 10, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Oh, I didn’t mean to rant at you. I just remember how I’d go for my break from my minimum wage job, go get something to eat, and I was expected to tip the restaurant worker who served me because it was a minimum wage job, ie the same as what I was making but no tips. Sure I could have applied to work in a restaurant instead, but it was more the general principle that bothered me.

Julidu December 8, 2015 at 7:16 am

Agreed. Tipping is now the majority of the server’s paycheck.

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stacey December 8, 2015 at 8:10 am

When it can be said of tipping, as NicoleK wrote, that “it is not necessary”, then it will have been obviated by a living wage and/or a living wage plus a service charge. The issue is all the same in that people deserve to be paid for their efforts. The rudeness permitted to customers under the system of tipping might be diminished under an income model that permits service industry workers to be less reliant on individual customers (or it might not). Withholding payment for services rendered is always rude. It’s rude to pay $2.13 an hour, to scorn those whose work is honest, to force wait staff to tip out to other staff or to pay tax (in some cases) on their total sales. A complex system full of vicissitudes that vary by state, by venue and by client served doesn’t seem likely to be done away with. It’s entrenched. For most of us, twenty percent (whether pre or post tax…) is about the acceptable baseline norm, currently. (Except for those who order wines in the hundreds or thousands…. certainly not I!… I believe there is a precedent for reducing the percentage in such a case.)

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Lerah99 December 8, 2015 at 8:37 am

I have a friend, Jay (not his real name), who refuses to tip because he’s “against supporting corporate slavery” and “believes it’s the restaurant’s responsibility to pay servers a living wage.”

We got into an argument once because I insisted that if he felt that way, he had two options:
1) Don’t eat in restaurants.
2) Tell the server as soon as you sit down that you will not be tipping.

His response was along the lines of “This is America!” he’ll “eat out whenever and where ever he so chooses” and “telling the server would just ensure poor service!”

So I proposed an experiment. We go out to eat together, I would let the server know we would not be tipping and see what happened.

We went to a chain restaurant. As soon as the server came for our drink orders I said “I think it is only fair to let you know that we will not be tipping you this evening. This is no reflection on your service or work. It is our protest against the way restaurants under-pay servers.”

She was obviously flustered but said “ok”. Then she took our drink order.

A couple minutes later a manager came over to confirm that we’d actually said we wouldn’t be tipping the server. When I stated that was correct, the manager said that he would be serving us in that case to free up the server for a table she where she wouldn’t lose money due to having to tip out the host, busser, and bartender.

I thought that showed tremendous care on the manager’s part. Good manager!
The service from the manager was excellent.

At the end of the meal, Jay went to use the restroom.
I took that opportunity to gave the manager and the original waitress $10 each thanking them for being so understanding and explaining the background.

The manager told me it was the first time he’d ever heard anyone be honest up-front about the fact they wouldn’t be tipping. But he also stated that rather than forcing restaurants to change their ways, a tipping boycott just hurts servers.

If people really want to change things, the minimum wage laws need to change.

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AnaMaria December 8, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Wow, I wish that had been my manager when I was a waitress! If I didn’t get tipped 20%, she would corner me and demand to know what I had done wrong. Clearly, it was my fault that I hadn’t “earned” a 20% tip, and the low tip in and of itself wasn’t punishment enough for “misrepresenting her business.” Of course, if I got a generous tip, she would corner me and “remind” me to tip out to the bartender and hostess, because I could NOT have earned that tip without their help. (I NEVER left without tipping at least 10% to those who had my back!)

Of course, I just recently saw that that restaurant closed its doors with no warning last week- people who had worked 15 or 20 years there are now looking for jobs.

But, point being, I know I’m not the only waitress who’s performance was judged on tips, and we ARE expected to tip out to hostesses, bussers, bartenders, etc. Not tipping is acceptable for exceptionally crummy service. If you got your food and the server was polite, tip at least 15%.

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Lisa December 8, 2015 at 12:58 pm

An excellent story all the way around! Although your friend Jay sounds like someone I would NOT be going out to eat with.

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just4kicks December 8, 2015 at 3:19 pm

I agree with @Lisa!
Kudos to the manager, he/she seems like he really cares about the staff, unlike most of the jackasses I’ve worked for in the past!
And, I certainly would NOT invite Jay out with me anymore.
It’s taken almost 20 years to get my husband to shell out decent tips!

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Weaver December 9, 2015 at 9:01 am

Excellent story! I’m glad the waitress had a good manager, and I’m also glad you had the opportunity to personally tip the waitress and manager and explain the situation. I must admit I wouldn’t have had the shiny ones to sit there and tell the server that I wouldn’t be tipping – kudos to you, Lerah99!

I suppose it’s too much to hope that your friend learned anything from your experiment. It should go without saying that if you don’t agree with a system, you don’t take it out on the people who suffer from it, but some people seem determined to think that way.

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renfield1969 December 8, 2015 at 8:53 am

When we visited Australia my wife pulled me aside after we left a café and said, “You didn’t leave a tip!” I replied, “Of course not, we ‘re in a civilized country.”

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Wild Irish Rose December 8, 2015 at 12:44 pm

That’s just mean.

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Agania December 8, 2015 at 6:13 pm

No it’s not. In Australia we pay our service staff properly. Tips are a bonus not an expected right. My brother tended bars during university. Tips were a bonus that went straight into his pocket. None of this sharing it with others etc. And since it was cash, it wasn’t declared to the Tax Office. Also, for larger bars there is a tipping jar. That gets shared out between the bar tenders who worked the shift, but again, since it is cash, it is not declared with your wage. Generally what goes into the tip jar is the change (coins) from your order. If I go to a restaurant and I get change from my bill, I leave some for the server if they’ve been great. If they are rotten, I leave nothing. But in doing so I am not reducing them to poverty as they are earning a decent set wage.

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Cleo December 8, 2015 at 5:15 pm

You still tip in Australia but only for exceptionally good service. Even then it might only be a dollar or two.

I’m struging to get over how low american pay rates are. As a waitress someone my age can expect minimum $20 an hour to work in a restaurant in the city. A restaurant that wants to keep good waitstaff would probably pay $25. My first job paid $10 and it wasn’t until years later I found out this was illegal and I was underpaid. I can’t even imagine working for $2-3 an hour.

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Weaver December 9, 2015 at 9:07 am

Cleo, as I understand it, waiting can often be considered more of a career, rather than “just a job” in Australia? I’ve heard people say that, but I’ve never visited Australia, so please correct me if I’m wrong.

In any case, it just goes to show that it’s perfectly possible to pay servers a decent wage, and still run a successful business where the staff take pride in their work. I doubt that Australian restaurants are going out of business left and right because they have the gumption to pay their waitstaff well!

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Skaramouche December 8, 2015 at 9:47 am

I look forward to the comments on this one…and to the extreme polarization. Tipping really, really, REALLY, irks me and it’s not because I’m cheap. I sincerely feel that a tip should be an expression of appreciation, and not a taken-for-granted payment. I acknowledge all of you who insist that withholding one directly impacts the server’s livelihood but I feel this is the crux of the problem. As long as we continue to enable the restaurant employer to pay staff a different minimum wage from the rest of the country, this will never solve itself. I resent bearing the responsibility for making up the difference. I also resent the fact that in order to reward good service, I have to take my tip amount up to 20 – 25% as 15 – 18% on top of the final total (with tax) is normal these days. So, with the tax being what it is in my area, I’m paying 28 – 31% on top of the listed purchase price for sub-standard to standard service and 33 – 38% for good to great service. Exceptional service is so unaffordable that I don’t even aspire to it :P. Does anyone else see something wrong with this?

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PJ December 8, 2015 at 2:16 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with this. If there is an expected standard amount that will get a server up to minimum wage, why not just charge that, and pay the server the state minimum? I don’t like this game of so-called “tips” which are just service fees that I supposedly don’t HAVE to pay, but are really expected. Just pay the servers an honest wage and charge your customers an honest amount. I’d prefer that very much over the current scheme.

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just4kicks December 8, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Throwing my two cents into the ring…I don’t mind tipping well when the server is really doing a good job, and do so often.
Around the holidays (if we have it to spare) we try to leave a fifty to a well deserving waitress/waiter when we eat out on my daughter’s bday in mid-December.
When they ask, or try to give back thinking we made a mistake, my daughter says “today’s my birthday and I’d like to give YOU a present too!”
One lady broke down in tears and said she is a single mom picking up extra shifts to buy her kids presents.

On the other hand, if we go to a restaurant (not on my daughter’s bday), where the tip is included and we are getting half hearted “oh, you have to tip me no matter HOW BAD my service is”, I will ask to speak to a manager if the service stinks.

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Powers December 11, 2015 at 4:02 pm

“If there is an expected standard amount that will get a server up to minimum wage, why not just charge that, and pay the server the state minimum?”

1) There are servers at some restaurants — including high-end ones, but also high-volume casual chains — who make plenty of money in tips, and are fearful of losing out on that money if diners think they don’t need to tip, even for exceptional service.
2) Many customers prefer to be able to withhold tips for bad service.

I don’t know that these are sufficient reasons, but they are the reasons.

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just4kicks December 13, 2015 at 5:59 pm

The wait staff at my sister’s first wedding were HORRIBLE!
They decided to have an evening wedding with cocktails and small bites passed around by a wait staff of four.
The problem was those guests seated towards the back of the room weren’t getting any service of the food.
The waiters would come into the room and not distribute throughout the whole room.
My mom, after being completely embarrassed after hearing a few guests complaining in the ladies room went up to one of the waiters to ask them to please make sure they circulated the ENTIRE room, which got her an “eye roll and a shrug”.
Oh, hell no.
My mom then asked for a manager who wasn’t much help saying, well, they have already been paid for tonight. Ummm, what?!?
Oh, yes the special event staff get paid up front.
The manager pretty much blew my mom off as well, so my mom and my dad and I started taking the trays of food from the waiters and walking all around the room with them.
My folks were FURIOUS, and my sister had the nerve to grab my arm and say “will you three STOP IT!!! You’re EMBARRASSING ME!!!”

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Devin December 8, 2015 at 10:20 am

My major issues with the normal tipping argument is that service jobs are only for young people who don’t have families to support and are unskilled. There are more service jobs in the US than there are ‘young adults’, especially accounting for the fact that in many states you really can’t be a server till you’re 21 due to alcohol laws. And for the claim that it is an unskilled job. I think everyone has eaten at a range of restaurants and you can tell the skilled servers versus the unskilled servers. A skilled server in a high-end restaurant deserves to be making more than minimum wage because they are performing a high end service to ensure an enjoyable evening. You wouldn’t pay $100 for a meal if it was served on a food tray by someone in a t-shirt, even if it was the best meal ever.
That being said, I am all for a service charge being added to all checks to eliminate the need for ‘tipping’, and a dollar or two to show appreciation for exceptional service. Until the laws are changed, or service workers are allowed to unionize, tipping is here to stay and anyone who doesn’t tip ‘out of principle over the law’ needs to stay home. Also, religious pamphlets are not a tip!!

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Wild Irish Rose December 8, 2015 at 12:51 pm

THANK YOU!!!! As a former server, I can tell you that when people refuse to tip “on principle,” I don’t necessarily disagree with them, and I will not compromise my work ethic by slacking off, but they need to understand that servers DEPEND on those tips–and often they are taxed on them whether they get them or not. If you are opposed to tipping, find a restaurant where it’s banned. They’re out there. Good servers deserve to be compensated for good work.

And don’t get me started on snarky comments on the credit card slip, or religious pamphlets, or any of that nonsense. When you tip your server, you’re not tipping for the food. You’re paying not to have to prepare it, serve it, and clean up yourself. If you have messy kids, the tip should be even bigger. Food service is physically demanding and not terribly lucrative. The least customers can do is be nice.

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just4kicks December 8, 2015 at 3:29 pm

I hate the smart ass comments making the rounds on social media on restaurant receipts.
Just rude and uncalled for, in my opinion.
NO ONE thinks you’re cute or clever….And believe me, if you ever go into that place again, they WILL remember.

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thoughtful December 9, 2015 at 9:45 am

Thanks to the influence of the people who read this website, I have started tipping considerably more whenever my children (aged 3 and 1) come to a restaurant with me.

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JO December 8, 2015 at 5:50 pm

Oh, the religious pamphlet tip…I remember getting a few of those…

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stacey December 9, 2015 at 1:18 pm

The snarky comments and the religious pamphlets- what do people think is being accomplished by leaving those? One leaves a bad taste in your mouth for the person’s attitude and the other leaves a bad taste in your mouth for members of that faith group. Now- if you want to positively influence someone… leave a ginormous tip and THEN maybe you could add some verbiage about your topic du jour… (not uncomplimentary or disrespectful, of course).

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just4kicks December 9, 2015 at 5:34 pm

Oh yes….the religious pamphlets.
Back in my day, they didn’t look like money at the top, so I usually would get a hand written note explaining my “tip” was everlasting life through Christ….I’m SURE the gas and electric company will take that as payment.

One time, I got a note saying that they WERE going to leave a tip but they heard me cursing so, they decided I needed the Lord instead of cash…..Yeah, I really let loose a few choice words after I read THAT!

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just4kicks December 10, 2015 at 8:11 am

….after my table left, of course, I didn’t complain to them….

NostalgicGal December 10, 2015 at 8:17 pm

Beats someone swiping one of the crayons we would give out with the kid placemats and write ‘don’t eat yellow snow’ and leave that for my tip.

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just4kicks December 11, 2015 at 4:54 am

@NostalgicGal: ….sheesh….how annoying!
Don’t you wish you could’ve said “here’s MY tip, don’t come back!!!”

A few weeks ago, my husband and I and our two youngest kids went out on a Friday night to do a little Christmas shopping and our weekly grocery run.
We decided it was too late to make dinner so we went through McDonald’s drive thru.
I don’t know exactly what happened, but there was a line of four or five cars which various employees were going back and forth on with bags of food because everyone’s orders in the drive thru were all messed up.
I checked ours and it was completely wrong.
I grabbed the bags and receipt and went inside to straighten things out and get our real order.
While I was at the counter, a young man, who looked and sounded mentally handicapped came back in from the parking lot very upset and in tears.
Just then I got my correct order and got in the car and we left.
I said on the way home how awful I felt for that young man.
My husband asked, “ummm, was that the kid with the dark hair and “Buddy Holly” glasses?”
I said, “yes….why?!?”
My husband told me at least three employees came up to my husband to inquire what we were waiting for, and this young man was the fourth one in about five minutes to talk to us.
My husband, annoyed this was all taking so long, snapped at the kid, “My wife went into get our correct order!!!”
The boy went inside then, after saying sorry.
My husband felt awful he made this kid cry, and said he was just trying to help and do his job, he (my husband) shouldn’t have taken it out on him.
After dinner, my husband and I drove back to McDonald’s, and he went in and asked for the young man with the glasses and handed him a twenty dollar bill, saying how sorry he was to have upset him.

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David December 8, 2015 at 10:47 am

Not tipping in ‘protest’ is a completely worthless activity.

It is like protesting the new shopping center they are building in Yourtown, USA by going to completely different state and picketing outside a small family-owned shoe store. It does nothing.

The restaurant doesn’t make money off of the tips. It makes money off of the food and drink and the fact that they don’t pay their workers a living wage. All not tipping does is make sure that your server is only making $2.13 an hour.

If you really want to protest tipping in a way that makes sense, write or call the restaurant’s owner and explain that because they don’t pay their employees a living wage you won’t be eating there. Then, don’t eat there.

Frequent places that pay their servers enough to live on, vote to raise minimum wage to something people can live on and remove the restaurant exemption.

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Green123 December 8, 2015 at 11:15 am

I’m British, and I find the US model of tipping abhorrent. Here, traditionally, tips were awarded only if the waiter/ess deserved it, as in, they went above and beyond. To me, above and beyond is not ‘correctly write down an order, convey it to the kitchen, then carry a plate of food and a glass of wine to my table’ – that is called Doing Your Job, and here in the UK we pay people a fair wage to Do Their Job whether that is waiting tables, fixing cars, scanning groceries at the till or performing brain surgery.

However, there is a gradual creep (as in many areas of life and language) to the Americanisation of restaurants, particularly in London, Oxford, York, and other locations frequented by tourists where large tips are expected and where ‘discretionary’ service charges of 10, 12, or even 15% are added to the bill, even if service is distinctly lacking. Often some or all of these ‘charges’ are creamed off by the management, as recently publicised in the UK press, so if I do want to reward the waiter/ess for good service and leave a tip, I ask for the ‘service charge’ to be removed and leave a cash tip for the person who served me – and I would never leave more than 10%.

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excentricat December 11, 2015 at 8:59 am

Re: management taking part of the service charge.
So why does everyone think that the US should just raise prices and pay the servers? Why is it so important to you (general you) that the restaurant get another opportunity to get a cut. And please stop complaining about the actual cost being more than the posted price unless you’re complaining about that with every.single.item. We could tell you the price including tax, other countries do. The store has to calculate it anyway. But they don’t so they can show you a lower price.

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NostalgicGal December 8, 2015 at 11:20 am

In the early days I waited tables nightshift at a 24 hour diner to get hubby through rest of his BS. I worked through the era where the US gov (IRS) decided that waitstaff had to pay taxes on their tips. I don’t know how they settled on 8% of your sales, maybe in the upscale eateries on Capitol Hill did that but my clients tended to be studying students who hogged a table and ordered little or the bar rush when the bar across the lot closed. We made more like 3%. First they started to try to deduct for that 8%; then went to the little ‘fink book’ you filled out every week, with your ‘actual count’ for each day and you kept a copy. This is during a time when some waitresses were getting close to zero paychecks or negative ones because the 8% was being taken out and they weren’t getting it. Some truckers carried a petition across the US for one gal that got a nickel in net wage. I got a letter from the IRS saying I owed them just over $1000 for tips. My gross including tips was $8000 … two people living on that much and I owed how much? I cried for three days. Then enough counter challenges got filed and the IRS backed off to the fink books and sent me a letter saying I didn’t owe them the grand.

Why didn’t I get a better job? I was looking. I even went through the state job service who a) sent me out as at least the 6th one and they hired the first one a week ago. b) I watched a card in a desk drawer start empty, fill up all week, then he decided to end me. Serious protest as I had watched that card fill up all week when if he’d given it to ME that Monday I might be working. c) I needed 40 hours a week job and they called me for a 1 night a week cocktail waitress job 15 miles from where I lived. Add on that I’d just turned 20 and that state required all those working around alcohol to be legal age, 21. I turned down going. Next week they called me again and threatened to not send me out any more. I told them I was not burning gas to make a 30 mile trip for a job I couldn’t possibly be hired for. IF I was within a month of 21 the place could hire me. Um, I just turned twenty, look on my file. I had almost 11 months to go to be hired at the place. It was NOT worth my going that far for a part time job I had no chance of being hired for. (I should have called the newspaper). Two days later I got the waitressing job that kept us alive.

The sub minimum wage for tipped should be abolished. Pay your help (delete it)

One I ran into in a fast food chain a few years ago, they had a handbell with a string tied to it by the door. If you thought you got ‘amazing’ service you could ring the bell. The most rings during a shift for the week got a bonus. We were staying in a hotel that was across two dark busy roads away so I went to get the food, read the sign while I was waiting, and on the way out, took my finger and lightly tinged the clapper on the edge. Someone in the back went “YES!!!!!!!”

They didn’t give tips but they did at least give them incentives….

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Becca December 8, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Hearing your story of record books make things so much more clear. Now I know the truth behind it and that whereas it’s been abolished (thank Goodness!) It’s left it’s scar and ghost to say the least.

How dreadful to be that age and get that letter. I don’t fear the IRS anymore because I’ve seen behind their curtain but now I understand where other’s fears land and that’s important.

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NostalgicGal December 8, 2015 at 7:49 pm

Exactly, my net wages with tips was $500-600 a month and my rent was $225 for a small hellhole near where I worked. At least, I was being paid minimum wage. But I needed those tips to eat, and pay some of the utilities. All of us at that place were barely making three percent, some less. Some were also getting less than minimum. That $2.13/hour has not risen in a very long time. So after too many lawsuits and the popular waitress at a truck stop that got docked the 8% and got 5c for two weeks wages (remember seeing a picture of her holding the check up) and hearing stories of some being billed by their employer because according the food they ‘sold’ they owed tips that they didn’t get get and the employer had already withheld their entire check. It took about one month for that one to turn around as the US average was more like 3% and the capitol hill upscales were making 8-10% for it to turn around, back wages and improperly withheld taxes to get paid back, and the amount expected, dropped to 3%. and our little cheap finkbooks. You filled out what was in your pocket at the end of the night and every week signed the line that said I swear that’s all I took in; and employer turned in with their paperwork. Very few of our crew hit 3%.

I can’t think of even an upscale restaurant, especially one serving expensive booze, making enough to live with over $5 a hour of their wage EXPECTED to be garnered in tips.

I know it takes a team but where the front staff ran theirs off and it has to be divided by the entire crew is not fair either. Front staff is probably being paid under, and the back staff are at least getting minimum…. and I heard of a coffee chain where the back office manager on duty was taking a share of the front jar too. They’re salaried not hourly, and they felt justified in taking a cut. (shakes head)

If you are my server and you serve me and get to keep your tip, I’ll tip for good service. If it’s an entire store jar, I’m afraid I don’t tip….

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knitwicca December 8, 2015 at 11:30 am

I worked as a server when I was in high school and college. It was not usual to have a paycheck of less than $75 for the 40-hour week (after taxes, etc) Tips were what paid my bills.
I agree that restaurants should not be exempt from paying the minimum wage that workers in other industries are legally entitled to by U.S. law. By the way, the federal law suggests that a server should probably make a certain amount in tips…which are taxed whether the server makes that amount or not.

One thing that I have not seen mentioned by others is that there are areas of the country where servers actually have to “buy in” to a job. There are restaurants where the competition for waitstaff positions is very pricey.

My last point….in many countries, being a waiter or server is seen as a legitimate job, a career. One must train under a more experienced staff member and demonstrate knowledge of etiquette, the menu, proper serving and clearing. They are paid a living wage and (often) accrue paid vacation.
In the U.S. it is usually seen as “unskilled labor” and a job which many young people are hired to do with little (or no) training, no insurance nor earned vacation. Waitstaff are seen as nothing more than a warm body which is easily replaceable.

I truly support a fair wage for waitstaff as well as removing tipping as a requirement for decent service. Hold all employers accountable for paying the same minimum wage, or more, regardless of the industry.

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Kate December 8, 2015 at 11:54 am

What I really liked about this article, and wished it also went into deeper detail about, was that servers DO NOT have a minimum wage different than anyone else’s. I used to work as a sales associate, and it drove me crazy that servers could earn above minimum wage through tips, while we couldn’t. Both servers and sales associates, and everyone else has the same minimum wage by state. The difference is, servers are paid by the restaurant part of their minimum wage, and if the REST of it is not made up in tips, then the restaurant is meant to pay the rest of it after the shift.

So if Susan works at restaurant B for 3 hours, at her base wage of 2$ an hour, makes 6$ total in tips, and her state has a minimum wage of $10 an hour, she has actually made $30. The restaurant, after her shift, will make up the $18 for the rest of her minimum wage.

Unfortunately many people don’t know this. In the comments on that article I saw at least one server talking about how important tipping is an complaining about working a 5 hour shift and only making 10$.

On the other hand, if Brad bartends at a high end restaurant for 6 hours, and on top of his base of $2 an hour, makes $300 in tips, his “real” wage that night is 52$ an hour. From what I have read it is mostly customers who want to get rid of tipping. Servers who work in high-end restaurants don’t want to get rid of tipping, and for good reason! : )

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Kat December 8, 2015 at 12:57 pm

In my experience the opposite is true. Servers want a predictable income. Customers want a way to have a petty power-trip over the “proles.” Also, being paid a living wage doesn’t preclude tipping, in the sense of the bonus for excellent service that it was meant to be; it just means that tipping really is a bonus, and not a wage that has been displaced to the customer instead of the employer.

As I mentioned above, the restaurant is SUPPOSED to pay at least the “real” minimum wage including tips, but getting them to ACTUALLY do so when the servers have no power and are essentially seen as disposable commodities is another thing entirely. In one restaurant, during training, they stated outright that their average turn-over was SIX MONTHS for servers. And they would and did get rid of you for anything at all, specious or not. No one willingly works for 2 bucks an hour when they have better options. That restaurant was later the defendant in a class-action lawsuit brought by a class of current/former servers, but the settlement amounted to less than $100 each.

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PJ December 8, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Thank you for pointing this out. I remember (also during my time as a salesperson), how often my coworkers would leave to work at nearby restaurants because the waitresses made much more money than us. The salespeople were paid minimum wage, and the servers were paid less-than minimum wage, but in the end, any shortfalls were made up, and there was the potential to go well beyond the minimum. Not even high-end, BTW (Olive Garden and other similar places).

Regardless of that issue, I am in favor of servers having the same minimum wage as other workers and getting rid of tips.

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Lerah99 December 8, 2015 at 5:04 pm

The restaurant is SUPPOSED to make up the difference.
In reality, if a server asks for that, the restaurant just stops scheduling that server.

There are many servers at 24 hour chain diners who make less than minimum wage.

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NostalgicGal December 8, 2015 at 7:53 pm

I never worked a food joint where if I was paid less than minimum and I didn’t make it up in tips, they never filled in the blank so I made minimum. EVER. Tough bouncie.

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Livvy17 December 10, 2015 at 11:08 am

I’ve never seen a restaurant that did that. Ever. I once worked as a waitress in an ice cream shop/restaurant. I remember several Sunday Afternoon shifts (which we all dreaded) where I only had $10 in sales, and $1 in tips. I never got compensated up to the full amount.
Actually, reading this article was the first time I’ve ever read that restaurants aren’t allowed to make servers share their tips….I think it’s still a wide-spread practice to make waiters share with kitchen staff.
Finally, some people have it even worse….where the restaurant uses average sales to calculate what they expect tips SHOULD be, and they report it on the server’s taxable earnings. That could mean having tips reported far in excess of ACTUAL tips, meaning the server would be paying taxes on money they didn’t even earn.

I’m not even going to go into the customers – who might not tip you if you don’t flirt with them, or don’t take a pinch on the rear well, or if you don’t look the way they want you to look, or you don’t have time to chat with them, or you are too chatty, etc. Read http://www.notalwaysright.com for a primer on the craziness retail & wait staff face all the time.

Bottom line, everyone should earn a real wage, one that should be enough to live on, and shouldn’t be at the whim of someone (whether customer or employer) who gets a financial windfall from withholding reasonable payment for services.

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JD December 8, 2015 at 11:57 am

We tip generously, but I hate the system. A person working at Burger King might not make much flipping burgers and running a register, but what he or she makes is guaranteed, right? A person serving in a restaurant with wait staff has no guarantee of wages except that ridiculous minimum, yet he or she is expected to be skillful, knowledgeable, hard working, and pleasant for the entire meal per table, and at several tables at once. I’m not denigrating fast food employees here, but surely we can guarantee everyone serving food to the public a consistent wage? The grocery store clerks get a steady wage, the guy changing car oil gets a steady wage, the receptionist at the doctor’s office gets a steady wage — why should hairdressers and wait staff and such have to live on the whim of their customers? Yes, my dining out food costs will go up, technically. In truth, it might actually go down, once you consider the addition of the tip to the cost we pay now.

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Melissa December 8, 2015 at 1:15 pm

JD – I’m with you! I do not agree with those who don’t tip out of protest, because that hurts the server and only the server (well, also any other employees that are “tipped out” by the servers), not the management or owners of the restaurant. But, the system is really flawed. I’ve always thought that tipping based on the amount you spend is silly, because you could order some very expensive entrees and drinks, but be pretty low maintenance, or you could order water and the least expensive entree available, but be a huge pain to your server, asking for refill after refill, more sauces, etc. I would happily just pay more for the meal itself and have servers paid a fair wage, with the option to add a little more if they went above and beyond. Like you, my cost could actually go down, because I usually tip a minimum of 20% and go up from there depending on service.

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Becca December 8, 2015 at 1:16 pm

To be fair, hairdressers rent a station. That’s overhead to be a business owner. That’s not the same as a server since we don’t look at waitstaff as “renting” the restaurant space to do their work.

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Reboot December 8, 2015 at 10:20 pm

The hairdresser thing boggled me the first time I heard about it, and then I did some research. Hairdressers are employed by salons over here; no renting of space required, and therefore no tipping required. Just another cultural difference.

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NostalgicGal December 9, 2015 at 11:29 am

Here some places the salon workers (2-3) went together and own the business. Some run a salon with several stations and the hairdresser rents their space from the salon. I’ve seen both.
(we just had one where two ladies started it, had a bit of a ‘spat’ and the other one moved two buildings down and opened her own (and employed nail people who pay a percentage of take for their rent) and put in clothing and accessories. #1 is still doing fine cutting hair and doing haircare products.
(me, I have psoriasis so I invested in my own decent hairclipper to keep my hair short to be able to put the medicine on, wear a lot of hats, and nail polish doesn’t stay adhered decently to my nails and I’ve had salons try their good stuff, and I’ll pop an acrylic in hours, so I’m not regular clientele…. I have several relatives and lots of friends in the trade though. One friend had just got in these new acrylics with a new adhesive and she put a set on me a) for practice and b) to PROVE I could wear acrylics. Held them up, yes they were lovely, picked up my tote to get out money (If they stuck I’d pay) and I popped 3. And they were short not glamor.

Back to topic, some salons are run by one or a few that own the place together; some rent space (that chair and workstation is theirs and they share the dryers and wash sinks); some actually do ‘hire’ people but often pay ‘by the head’ (big metro, big fancy store, had two salons, one was the ‘cutaway’ that was hidden at street level on one side. At that time everything basic was $7 (cut, perm, ‘fix’) was $21 for example; and the ladies worked by ‘the head’ and the services they performed. If they were good enough and proved it, if and when an opening happened upstairs in the fancy salon they would move up. (haircuts started at $30 there). Some were there a few months at most and disappeared, some waited over a year to go upstairs. This was where I had to have my hair done as that is where I could afford. I liked an allover short perky cut with the hair very short at the back of neck (where it would sweat and get ugly. The style that just came out was to shoulders from ears back and a bit of curl up top front. This is what I’d had mine grown into and I needed like 4″ off most parts to get to ‘wash and wear’. I got one of the gals that was trying to push through heads to make money. I told her what I wanted, she put the cape on, spent less than 5 min doing snip and handed me the mirror. She was already looking at the door to see who could be next. It was the style but it wasn’t what I asked for. I told her this, and she’s already filling out the bill slip and said ‘oh but it’s the style’. Back of crown of head I grabbed a fistful of hair (about 3″ maybe 4) and at least that much hair was hanging out past my fist. I said loudly, SEE THIS HAIR? she said yes. I said CUT IT OFF. But I cut your hair. (manager is now there). Gal is protesting this is the style, and I’m telling the manager hang the style, I came in and asked for (describe the haircut). She took (pointing to an almost clean floor) that much off and that’s not what I asked for. Manager told the gal, RECUT. You could trip on her lip, but now the manager is watching her and came over and checked her work like she was in beauty school. I was now a happy customer, that is the only time I have not tipped a hair dresser and she ‘lost’ two heads because of that. I came in a month later, didn’t see her, one of the other gals recognized me and said that was her last night. No getting in upstairs.

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Reboot December 10, 2015 at 5:23 am

Ugh, I can’t stand it when hairdressers don’t listen to what you want. But that system doesn’t sound like it’s good for anyone. The stylists sound like they must be rushing all the time if getting customers through quickly is what they’re judged on, and that will inevitably lead to unhappy customers. The standard over here is that they’re paid by the hour by the salon, like any other employee, with some higher-scale places offering commission as well.

NostalgicGal December 10, 2015 at 8:32 pm

@reboot, there was a fellow in there that did an amazing job, and he stuck it out, it took over a year for an opening upstairs. He told me the ‘by the head’ payment method they used averaged $7 an hour, (trust me I had a good job at the time and was just pulling that), so just doing their job and maybe honing a few skills, building a clientele, and proving how good they were wasn’t that bad. One day I came in, asked for him, and they said he finally made it upstairs. I asked where that salon was and was given directions. Yes I cried a hankyfull when now to see him started at $30 (haircut) and the $21 special was now about $110… I was happy for him but me and my pocketbook cried.

Harley Granny December 8, 2015 at 12:21 pm

1st off to tip properly you tip on the pre-tax amount. My husband and myself start at 20% and work it up or down depending on the service. I also try to tip in cash even when paying by Credit Card that way I know the server gets it.
It really boils down to how you want to divy up your bill. Should the establishment raise the wages to say $8.00 per hour (which no one can live on BTW) That would increase their labor cost by 275%.
How will the establishment make up the difference? By raising their prices on course.
So you’re either paying it to the server or your paying it to the establishment. Bottom line it is probably the same.
I’m amused at the 15% service charge in France…service charge is just another name for TIP.
I have three friends that work in higher end restaurants and asked them which they preferred…all three preferred the tipping. Even on a bad night they can take home up to $300. I do realize that these are high end restaurants and not the normal chains.
I’m still struggling to figure out how it’s uncivilized tho.

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Ulla December 9, 2015 at 3:38 am

No, service charge is non-voluntary part of the price, unlike tip. Basically it’s just explaining the billing to the customer. Which is done with many different type of bills. If you do more than one thing in car service, you probably get statement that shows “changing tyres $xxx, changing oil $yyy, total $xxx+yyy”. Or in phone bill you can see how many minutes you spoke or text messages were sent (if you pay by the minute, not a fixed plan). You can’t just say that okay, I’ll pay the tyres but not the oil because I don’t want to.

With tipping system it is basically same that car fixing company says: “Okay, you must pay for our tyre changing crew for their service, but you can choose if you pay to our oil changing crew. We don’t care.” It just makes zero sense.

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MaryFran December 8, 2015 at 12:43 pm

I suspect that restaurants where tips are “banned” will soon be like car dealerships that don’t haggle — there will be smatterings of them around, but by-and-large the system will remain unchanged. I do wish there were some non-tipping restaurants in my area, though. I would definitely go there, if only to encourage the trend.

Overall, I hate tipping because then the price is not the price (just like car dealerships). The US system of publishing prices without tax included is already confusing and complicated enough for consumers. Who is benefiting from these less-than-transparent dealings? You can bet that the direct beneficiaries are the restaurant owners, not the servers.

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Dee December 8, 2015 at 1:25 pm

A high-end restaurant in Vancouver (BC) tried to abolish tipping by paying their staff a high wage but it led to complaints from both staff and customers about the cost. Staff made MORE with tips and customers felt they paid LESS with tips. So, they’ve gone back to the old system. Here, servers make regular minimum wage before tips. You can make a fairly decent wage even in a lower-end restaurant.

I worked as a waitress in my teens. It was the hardest job I’ve ever done and I earned every tip I got. Customers expect servers to meet their every need for comfort, not just serve the food. That kind of expectation is what the tip is for. As a result of my experience I do not task the server too much but I know others who think nothing of demanding their every need be met. They have no idea how much running and juggling a server has to do to make a customer like that happy. Those kind of mental and physical acrobatics deserve a good tip. If tipping is to be abolished completely then the attitude has to change, too. You order what’s on the menu only. You don’t complain if the food isn’t right (that’s not the server’s fault – talk to the manager if you must). You don’t ask your server for attention outside of when he/she asks if everything is fine. You don’t ask to replace dropped cutlery or let your kid spill food under the table.

Because, in the end, the server’s job is simply to be the conduit between you and kitchen and everything after that is optional. That you get that extra service on a regular basis is because your server is running like crazy in the back to make sure he/she can fulfill all their regular duties PLUS your extra demands. So tip him/her. And 10% is just fine.

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Wild Irish Rose December 8, 2015 at 5:32 pm

I agree for the most part, but I’m okay with 15%.

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Ulla December 9, 2015 at 3:23 am

I somewhat disagree with you. I do agree that making server to pamper you is out of the question. But the examples you give, most of them are just basic good service here, in non-tipping country. As I said in other post, restaurants are not selling food. They are selling experience. Price of the server’s part MUST be included in the prices on the menu (menu shows price for the experience, not the food) and be enough to pay the server decent salary and the salary must be in line what are demanded from the server by the management. The service level is management decision, not decision made by customer (expect of course customer chooses the restaurant). If management wants somebody who just punches things in the register, or carries food, they pay according to that. If they want servers who give good service and make customers want to come back again, they should pay on that level. In addition, they should hire the amount of people that is enough to guarantee the management decided level of service.

Server is the public face of the company, just like any other employer in any other company. If there is problem with your product, you start with the public face. Now, of course it’s not the servers fault. It’s ridiculous idea that complaining to the server makes it the server’s fault (yes, there are rude people, I’m not talking about them, I’m talking about princible). Server is just interface who the customer is supposed to talk with. It’s not okay for several reasons customers to go in the kitchen or backrooms. The server is in the dining area because of that. And that’s why the server is default reaching point to customer comments. Now, obviously it’s up to the restaurant how they will manage complaints. Is the server always to get management to deal with it. Or is there certain level of compensation server can offer without involving management. Hostile customers should always be management’s problem because it’s management’s duty to offer safe working environment.

I do think that one feature here in non-tipping country is probably reducing the server’s work load: No dedicated tables. Because tipping won’t happen, it does not matter who takes the order and who brings food to table, or who replaces the dropped cutlery. Any one of the servers can do that, when they have time. It also means that if one table is making unreasonable amount of demands, those demands are distributed to several servers, or other servers take up more resposibility on rest of the tables and less juggling is needed by individual. And most importantly, it won’t screw anyone’s income.

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Anna December 8, 2015 at 1:27 pm

The problem with tipping is that it essentially makes paying the server optional. The menu price is the price of the food, and the tip is the price of the service. That you can choose to not pay for a service that has just been provided to you is ridiculous, and I can’t think of any other service that operates like this, except maybe donation-based admission and public radio.

That said, I did once significantly reduce a tip when a waitress was repeatedly and extremely rude to me. But in that case, the service was so bad that if it had been a no-tipping restaurant, I would have complained to the manager and asked for a reduction on the bill because of the incredibly poor service.

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Krissy N December 8, 2015 at 7:48 pm

I tip 20% (the norm in my area) as a general rule. Exceptional service usually gets an extra tip. If we linger at the table for a long time I’ll tip extra. A particularly entertaining server will often get a bit extra, too. And small checks tend to get a bigger percentage because I tend to always leave at least $5 or so even if my meal was a quick $10 breakfast or something.

I’m very understanding of most basic restaurant problems, and usually only take a quick word from the server in passing to know I haven’t been forgotten to keep me satisfied. It takes A LOT for me to reduce that 20% even a little bit. A particularly bad night might result in my leaving a 15% tip, but never much lower than that. In my life, I’ve left no tip exactly once, and in all honesty the experience was SO bad (the waiter, the food, the manager, the ENTIRE experience), that I resented even having to pay for the meal.

But what I do is pretty much the norm with the people I know. I agree that the customer shouldn’t be responsible (directly anyway) for paying the server’s wage, but the reality is, that is the way the system is set, and I feel it’s an expected part of going to a restaurant. I’d love to do away with the concept of tipping, but until that happens, I view it as my end of the social contract to tip.

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Songbird December 8, 2015 at 9:20 pm

Yes, ladies, we are all thinking of the same individual.

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Lara December 8, 2015 at 10:04 pm

I worked as a server for a year, and often saw customers refuse to tip or threaten not to tip over things that weren’t in any way under out control. On the other hand, to offer a different perspective, I have an old college friend who now works as a manager in a high-end restaurant. He once posted a link on FB that was written for some “in-industry” publication, and which argued for doing away with tipping, not because servers were being underpaid, but because their kitchen staff were. In these high end establishments, their servers often made $30 an hour or so, while the kitchen staff was making minimum wage. The restaurant owners themselves would like to be able to do away with tipping and instead raise the prices of the food, as that would allow them more money to spread around to all their staff, not just the waitstaff. Even successful restaurants operate on extremely narrow profit margins, which makes it difficult to raise wage otherwise. Unfortunately, as has been mentioned above, the customers often rebel against this.

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PrincessButtercup December 8, 2015 at 11:17 pm

I think it should be counted as criminal for a business to not pay at least minimum wage. There should be no exceptions for waitressing or mentally challenged (some goodwill stores have used a loop hole to pay mentally challenged as low as 25¢\hour). Minimum wage should be the minimum wage. Nothing lower and certainly higher if they prove to be a good knowledgable worker. Tips should be an extra on top of their reasonable living wage.
Honestly, I try to tip in cash as much as possible. If they opt to not report it, I have no problem with that.

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Skaramouche December 9, 2015 at 12:49 am

I came back here to read the comments and had a thought. I googled it and found out that in Canada (where I live), minimum wage is $10.50. In my province, it’s $8.90 for those in liquor-licensed restos (higher tips presumed??) and $10.25 in those that are not licensed. It’s definitely food for thought. While $8.90 is not riches, it is still quite close to what other minimum wage employees earn so the American wage argument does not hold. And yet we still tip in a North American fashion, as if the server’s life (and livelihood) depends on it.

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CEE December 9, 2015 at 5:12 am

In order to frame my comment, I will note that I am an Australian working as a waitress while undertaking tertiary education. My mother worked as a waitress while studying as well. I earn a living wage.

While I don’t necessarily agree with the American “requirement” to tip, I have been brought up to tip for good service – in cash – and when travelling to follow the customs of the country.
While saying that, I am very confused by the 15% tip expectation noted on some etiquette boards, as many of the people I know who either have or currently work as waitstaff are happy with any tip they get, regardless of the size. Granted, this may be due to living in a country where the minimum wage is a living wage and a national set.

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Weaver December 9, 2015 at 8:12 am

I’m in the UK, and I do find the US system a little weird. In general I feel it would be better if all waitstaff were paid a decent wage, and tips were more of an extra for good service. That being said, I don’t see it changing anytime soon, so I always tip 20% if I’m eating out in the US. That’s just the way it is there, and I’m not going to stiff a server just because I think the system sucks. Luckily I’ve never had bad service, or even disinterested service, in the US, so I’ve never had to make a choice between tipping less than 20%, or feeling like a pushover!

I do tip in the UK as well, but as dining out is more of a special occasion thing for me rather than a frequent event, I can budget a tip into what I’m going to spend, and at least I feel as if it’s a bonus rather than an obligation.

I waited tables briefly back at university. That was about fifteen years ago, and we got £3.00 an hour for waiting tables, and £3.50 for bartending (this was in a pub with a restaurant attached). The 50p difference was because it was expected we’d get some tips while waitressing, while tips were an extremely rare occurrence tending bar. As it turned out, I was much better at the bartending than I was at waiting tables, so I ended up doing that for much longer. Occasionally an American customer would come in, and they sometimes tipped me for their drinks, which was always an amazing bonus for me!

Of course, I was lucky enough to be working part-time to help with my university costs, rather than supporting myself full-time with a living wage, so my experience wasn’t the same as a full-time server or bartender’s would have been.

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Matt December 9, 2015 at 8:16 am

I think there is a dichotomy here between casual chain restaurants and fine-dining restaurants. I would prefer if chain restaurants went the way of paying their staff a living wage and abolished tipping by raising prices a bit.

However, servers at fine restaurants are highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals that provide a personal service. They do much more than remember an order and carry food and drinks. They should be tipped generously.

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Dee December 9, 2015 at 11:10 am

Servers at family restaurants are also highly skilled. The atmosphere is lower-key but that’s it; the service should remain the same. I don’t know how any server would do their job properly if they didn’t make the service personal. It often seems that the servers in family restaurants have bigger expectations placed on them, given the casual atmosphere and attraction for families. At least that’s the way it is here.

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KrissyN December 10, 2015 at 11:53 am

Hmmm. I’ve never noticed any difference in what a server does for me in any sit down restaurant, high end or not. I’m very curious what you mean. What is the “much more” that they do? Not trying to be snarky, I truly just don’t understand.

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Weaver December 9, 2015 at 8:26 am

Oh and just an anecdote: my husband and I went to Los Angeles on our honeymoon ten years ago, and treated ourselves to brunch at our favourite diner (yum!). We paid at the counter as we were leaving, and the waitress called us back as we were heading out of the door. We went back, thinking we must have underpaid or forgotten someting, but as it happens she thought we’d overpaid. Turns out she was British, that was her first day working, and she wasn’t expecting a tip! Lol. Her servive was amazing given that was her first day, I hope she went on to get many more tips 🙂

Actually on that note, we have sometimes had servers, and bartenders come to that, in the US seem surprised when we tip appropriately. I guess they must have had customers in the past who come from countries with less rigorous tipping cultures, and don’t always expect those customers to know what’s the right amount. Another reason why it seems like rather a flawed system.

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Redneck Gravy December 9, 2015 at 9:59 am

Becca is right on the money from the legal standpoint in my state (Texas).

I have kept books for restaurants that track tips by credit card only (as they cannot possibly demand the employee show their cash). If their tip out does not equal up to the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour the restaurant must increase their pay until it meets that minimum. I have NEVER had to make up the difference. Quite frankly if a waitperson couldn’t meet the minimum wage requirement they need to be in another line of work because something is seriously amiss.

In my area of west Texas during the previous oil boom some waitstaff were being paid up to $12 per hour before tips just to hire waitstaff! And at that point I stopped tipping at those places (that I knew for certain were paying that well).

I am also what I consider a good tipper – 20% but I hate the entire process. Only in a restaurant do I have to figure out what a product “really” costs, I don’t have to do it at the hardware store or the grocery store or at the movies for crying out loud. I hate, hate it – but I do it.

I am also seeing tip jars sitting out on drive thru windows – not just Starbucks, at a local hamburger place and at a fast food burrito stand. Really? Where do we draw the line? I keep books and write checks to subcontractors regularly – should I stick a tip jar on my desk?

I wish America would do away with the tipping system. Pay employees a fair wage and stop the tipping process entirely.

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A different Tracy December 9, 2015 at 12:05 pm

“I am also seeing tip jars sitting out on drive thru windows – not just Starbucks, at a local hamburger place and at a fast food burrito stand. Really? Where do we draw the line?”

Oooh, I hate this. I see it the counter in the coffee shop too. Am I supposed to believe the people working there are paid less than minimum wage?

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Devin December 9, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Unless you saw each servers pay stub, there is no way that you knew what they were making. Because of the tax code in TX, where I also currently live, they were still having expected tips (10% of their gross sales) being taken out of their check. So if it was a boom town with few dining options, a good chunk of their check was gone before they saw it due to assumed tips.
I worked in the service industry in New Orleans after Katrina and people were upset that restaurants (including fast-food) were giving huge (Burger King offered $3000 for anyone who stayed for 3 months) sign-on bonuses. Did that mean that everyone go those bonuses, no! Many people were simply returning to their previous jobs and for someone to stiff them because ‘they knew’ they were making more than minimum wage is just petty.

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Redneck Gravy December 9, 2015 at 10:04 am

Also, at the high end restaurant I kept books for the waitstaff tipped out of their tipped earnings to the support staff (busser, bartender, etc.) not out of their “assumed” wages (sales for the day). There is a huge difference if a waitperson gets stiffed on a tip. Why would anyone work to lose money?

I know this has been discussed before about the support staff. As a waitress in high school our group tipped out to the support staff out of our tips (all cash back then) not based on sales. Does it short the support staff if a waitperson gets stiffed, yes, but why would a waitperson lose money on their work? If a waitperson gets stiffed everyone does, it’s a team and that’s how teamwork works, you win we all win, you lose and we all suffer.

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Lacey December 9, 2015 at 11:48 am

That was a surprisingly good article. People have to realize that doing away with tips means doing away with the expectation that your waiter or waitress will be your servant for the duration of your meal, though. The same North Americans who complain about how “rude” the service is in Europe (I’ve never found it so, but I have worked in restaurants and don’t expect a personal servant for the evening) seem to be the same one who begrudge serving staff their tips, and they should think about that. People only go above and beyond for a good tip.

Also, I’m not sure if it’s already been said, but not only do tips supplement low wages, but the server also generally tips out the busperson, bartender, host/hostess, and kitchen – based on a percentage of sales, not on the tips the server makes. So if you don’t tip because you are against it, know that the server may actually LOSE money on your table. I’m all for servers getting paid more and ending the culture of servility, but having waited tables for a year, I have to say that restaurant owners would have to pay servers something like $20 an hour to put up with restaurant customers. The only reason people do these jobs is for the money you can make from tips.

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Devils Advocate December 9, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Slightly off-topic–I dislike the phrase “living wage”. Because what a living wage is differs from worker to worker. If I’m single and have three minor children–the money it takes me to live (rent, food, utilities, clothes) is more than a single person with only themselves to worry about….should we be paid differently because our non-work lives are different?

I also hate tipping on a percentage basis–a server doesn’t do more work because I order a steak vs a sandwich.

Otherwise I’m not sure where the tipping line is drawn. If the US we had a law that required servers to be paid minimum wage (not made up at a later date) would that change things?

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Lara December 9, 2015 at 10:00 pm

It wouldn’t necessarily be beneficial for the servers. A lot of people would probably stop tipping entirely, because they would think that the servers are already being paid well enough for their services, and since any good server can make more than minimum wage, that could actually mean a reduction in income for them.

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Green123 December 10, 2015 at 4:13 am

No, because it was your choice to have those three children, so you cut your cloth accordingly.

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Rebecca December 10, 2015 at 4:34 am

I recently visited a country where I was totally confused about tipping. My guidebook said it wasn’t expected, but appreciated. Oh great, NOW what do I do? I wasn’t rich and I scrimped and saved for that trip, so it wasn’t a matter of “oh well I’ll just tip anyway to be nice” if I wasn’t expected to. But the “it’s appreciated” part of the advice suggested to me that it kind of IS expected.

On the way home we had to change planes in the U.S. (we are Canadian) and we ate at an airport restaurant. My friend wasn’t going to tip because she was under the impression that “they don’t tip in the U.S.” I assured her that they very much do expect tips in the U.S., and they generally expect 20% based on my reading (15% is considered standard where we live).

Imagine all the confusion we could eliminate if the employers had to pay their staff themselves, like in every other service industry.

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Gabriele December 10, 2015 at 7:17 am

There is a dark side to tipping also. I worked as a cocktail waitress in a SF financial district restaurant but knew a lot of other waitresses; the food waitresses (lunch and dinner) there as well as cocktail waitresses at other places in the city.
I don’t know if it’s still done but there used to be Ladies’ Night when women got their drinks for a reduced amount/flat sum. Drove the bartenders crazy because so many ordered the fancy blender drinks. But I noticed another waitress calling in an order she had just taken and she quoted four of the six drinks as for ladies. The table stayed and had a couple more rounds, same thing every time. It was very busy but sometimes you notice something so you pay attention to it. I made a mental note and the next week, same thing. Except she had a lot of ladies drinks going to men, not just that one party.
We didn’t run tabs there, so she was paid each round and instead of being tipped each round (that was usual at the time although I didn’t like the practice, and didn’t do it) the party would tip her at the end of the evening. Big time. They were getting very cheap drinks and then tipping her the usual plus a big tip for the ‘special service’.
I mentioned to the boss (two brothers owned it and they were good, honest and kind) that she was lucky, she didn’t get many fancy drink ladies …the boss said yes, it was a pleasant change. But it put a bug in his ear and the next week he took a quick break and followed her into the back room (the front room had a couple booths and the bar) and observed what she was serving and who she was serving it to.
The premise behind a Ladies’ Night was to have young women come in (usually several, together, after work) and that would bring the young men in to possibly meet one of them…friendships and dating began that way for a lot of people. Since they all worked in about a four square block area, it was easier to keep a relationship going… So losing money on the ladies drinks was supposed to be made up by the increased number of men coming in (usually Tues or Wed, slow nights).
He said that if he was going to lose money on Ladies Night at least he wanted it to be ladies…
He used the excuse that his wife said it was sexist and they should just reduce the price on certain drinks certain nights. That was a great idea (even if it didn’t come from his wife) but the waitress who made out like a bandit was very angry…she left for another job.
And since business owners talk to others in the same business (just like the waitresses), my boss talked to the owner of the new place she went to work. They didn’t have a Ladies Night but there are other fiddles that can be done…she didn’t stay long at that job.
For me, the bottom line is that tipping can be for more than just the regular service. Someone comes in their local and they know the bartender. He puts a towel on the counter, they slide a flask under it, he wipes the counter, takes the towel away, turns his back to everyone and fills the flask. Gets a new towel and goes and wipes down the counter again. He didn’t drink, didn’t give strong drinks to anyone but his station always used more booze than the others. Owners couldn’t understand it. Someone else asked the owners if the bartender always had a super clean bar…yes, he did…and they were told what was happening.
And because waitresses and bartenders get tips (if they’re not split, which they weren’t then), it’s an almost foolproof way to make extra money no one knows about.

and then of course there are the people who steal the tips from the table when the rest of the party has left; I’ve even seem a few watch other tables and just ‘happen’ to go to the restroom when another party is leaving…not all of the tip, but part of it. This was before drugs became the problem that made people need so much money, I always thought it was a psychological problem. I wouldn’t usually clean someone else’s table but if I saw a lurker ready to strike I’d slip in and start picking up the empties, make certain the tips were put in the open and might even let the person handling the table know (‘I’m putting your tip under the candle’)…and as a customer now (since bus persons can also be
light-fingered) I’ll put it under a something so it won’t be easy to take some of it. Some places I’ll make
it a point to give it directly to the server…They’ve earned it, they should get it…

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Rebecca December 12, 2015 at 5:05 pm

I never leave money on the table if there are other people nearby and a possibility of theft. I hand it to the server who served me.

Speaking of light fingered bus people, I worked as a bus girl when I was a teen and I resented the thinly veiled accusations by one particular waitress, whenever someone didn’t leave a good tip. I never, ever, stole tip money, but this woman would approach me and say, “Is this really all they left? Are you SURE? Well they seemed like good customers, so I just can’t believe this would be all they left….” I was a shy teenager but if I was questioned this way now, I am pretty sure I would say, “Are you accusing me of stealing the tip money?”

The same waitress, I am pretty sure, would stiff me on the 10% she was supposed to leave me. I was never sure how much she made in tips on any given night, but I and other bus people were pretty sure she wasn’t giving us the full 10%.

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Livvy17 December 10, 2015 at 11:26 am

I tip, and tip well, but I do wish the system would be abolished. It’s unfair to servers, a boon for swindlers, and has become an entitlement (not a bonus) which seems to be spreading.

I’ve lived in the US my whole life, and yet tipping is still one of the most aggrivating and confusing areas, always changing. It seems now that anyone who does anything for me, regardless of how much they’re being paid, is expecting a tip. The hairdresser (and anyone who says boo to me in the salon), the mail carrier, the paper delivery person, the carpet cleaners, the movers, the barista, the workers at the fast food place. Where does it end? When do I start getting tips? I work in HR, I do a lot of stuff for a lot of people, should I put a big jug on the corner of my desk for TIPS, just because it would be nice to get some extra money?

Seriously, it needs to stop.

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Redneck Gravy December 11, 2015 at 12:39 pm

I agree with you – where does it stop?

I hate the process and I also consider myself a good tipper. Again, you have to refigure the price of things on the menu, moving cost, paper delivery, etc. by adding another 10% to 20% on the bill. If you had to do that for everything you purchased then online shopping & mail order would be booming even more than it is now.

I try to buy local if I can stay within 20% of online cost for same product and that works pretty well for me but the tipping is just aggravating to me.

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Goldie December 10, 2015 at 1:31 pm

I tip at least 20%, but the current tipping/pay system for food service workers needs to go away. It is ridiculous. Being paid $2.15 an hour and then taxed on the $2.15 an hour PLUS the assumed tips is ridiculous. The system is such a mess on many levels.

Another thing, back in the Groupon days, I found a great deal there for a dinner for two at one of the nicer restaurants in our area. My son and I went there for dinner and used the groupon. Of course I came into the restaurant planning to tip on the full amount. But our server apparently did not know that. The service we got was just a notch above horrible, until he saw the check I left, then it was “have a beautiful evening, please come back”. If it wasn’t for our weird tipping system, he wouldn’t have had any assumptions to jump to, and we would have received good service.

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excentricat December 10, 2015 at 3:31 pm

Here’s how I choose to look at tipping, that made me decide to like it instead of resent it.
When you are at a restaurant with waitstaff, you get to directly pay people for their service. You aren’t paying some corporation (I’m at chains way more than local restaurants) that’ll trickle down to the employees, you get to pay the actual people who made your visit what it was! Isn’t that great? How often do you get to do that in your interactions with the world? So, yes, I tip generously.

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VioletM December 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm

I live in TX, USA. And I worked for a small ‘bistro’ that only had three/four employees at any time (me another waitress, cook, bosslady). We usually only got one or two tables a day and a handful of togo orders,so she’d send me home shortly after lunch unless she had a call-ahead or we were busy. I was getting paid 2.25/hr plus one meal/day and I took the bus (5$/day), so tips were really the only money I made, and I had no idea she had to make up the difference! This was this summer! (I had no job experience, and was looking for something better, but there’s nothing hiring in my area, so I figured that at least I wouldn’t starve )

She was the owner and gave away food to /past/ employees (not discounted full on gave it away) then complained about either cooking me food or teaching me how to do it. So most days I didn’t even get fed.

Anyway- tipping /should/ be a optional reward/ gift to some one (anyone who you think did a good job) not a mandatory part of the experience. BUT as long as Tipped Wage exists, servers need tips to survive. Sign petitions, get involved, take the problem to the source, but please don’t take it out on your server.

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Livvy17 December 15, 2015 at 12:01 pm

One more note on the people who claim they don’t tip as a “protest.” If you really feel that strongly about it, petition your congressional or senate representative to change the law, don’t punish those who you are trying to “help” by refusing to pay them for their services.

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