If they were paid minimum wage, the quality of servers would go down.
I have heard this argument several times and it's always puzzled me, because it simply isn't my experience. I've been to many restaurants in tipping and non-tipping countries both, and have seen no real difference in the level of service I receive in the different countries. But tipping affect the cynical side of me. If I receive good service in a non-tipping country I think, "Wow, excellent service. Cool!" If I receive good service in a tipping country I think, "Hmmm... Angling for a better tip there, aren't you?"
It's not the norm to tip where I live, and that's definitely what I prefer (restaurants aside, I felt terribly condesending tipping the bell boy, which I know is completely irrational), but "when in Rome...", so I never stifle people of a tip when abroad - and I err on the side of caution which has resulted in a UK waiter coming up to ask me if I really meant to tip him that much
What's wrong with working hard to make more money?
Yeah, I wondered that too.
To me, it seems that it's not just hard work that earns more tips, but also friendliness that counts towards the total. So it feels like I'm paying for someone to be nice to me.
In our non-tipping culture, I look at the prices, know how much I'm going to be paying at the end, and then relax, not having to analyse the waiter's performance and provide a monetary ranking at the end of the meal.
Unfortunately, tipping is being suggested more and more here. I don't like it, and don't tip as a matter of principle.
I would tip in the US - don't worry!