I was just talking to my mother about tips at restaurants. I know we've talked about the percentage on here, but that's not my question is about. My question is why do you tip? Is there a standard, agreed-upon reason? My impression is that you tip nothing if your service is terrible, a standard amount (again, not trying to discuss exact amounts) if your service is good/decent, and then more if your service is great.
I treat tips like a commentary on the quality of service. However, my mother was just talking about a notorious, awful dinner we had a year ago. The servers were bored and listless the whole time and some were actually rude. I told my mom "Well, I guess they didn't get tipped!" and she said no, they got tipped the standard amount. When I asked why (the service was truly, extraordinarily bad) she replied "Well, that's how these people make their living." She and my father are of the same mindset, that you tip "just because", so I was wondering if I had the wrong (or an odd) idea about why you tip.