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Tipping – Should I tip you ANYTHING? Why should I tip?

Tipping, Gratuity, Leaving a bill or 2 in the jar – Should I tip at all?

In this post, I’d like to explore your thoughts on Tipping for the service you receive. 

  1. How much should I tip for service?
  2. Why do people tip, and what’s acceptable?
  3. What do I tip if my service is crappy?

If you don’t have a position on this issue, my hopes are after we are finished you will! I’ve got a few expert opinions we will discuss on both sides of this issue. We will look at those perspectives and see how close or far away we personally are from those ideals. Whenever I do something like this I find that my opinions may change SEVERAL times on an issue that, I thought, I was totally sold on to begin with.

I want us to have a deeper conviction for what we already think is right or customary. Or, I’d like us to have totally changed our perspectives in the end. We will also check out some STATS and see what those look like that relate to Tipping and Gratuity, and try and connect some dots in society today.

Possible thoughts coming in:

  1. You might think that you are at a restaurant and your server is there to SERVE. They are being paid by the establishment they work at right?! So I don’t tip much because they are getting paid twice. You could be right.
  2. You may think that you have never seen a rich waitress. You struggle to think back to the last time you saw a waiter drive up to the Red Lobster driving a Bentley. They don’t make very much money so you are more than happy to tip for service good or bad. You too might be right.
  3. You might just hate the idea of a tipping for service. Is it a RULE, is it a custom, is it a MUST? You just don’t get it. You too could be right. Those are valid questions.

Let’s respect all opinions…but one opinion might be more Reasonable than the other, so lets take a look!

Tipping Debate

There are different types of people. Here are some of the ones I know personally.

  • Big Tippers, they tend to tip above 20% for services rendered. A $15 lunch will likely earn at least a $5 tip. $800 in landscaping work might get a check rounded up to $1000.
  • Poor Tippers or Smaller Tippers might tip a few dollars for the same $15 meal. They might not tip at all. After all, the hostess walked you to the table, you sat down and knew exactly what you wanted to eat. You placed your food order along with your drink when the waitress came over the 1st. You finished your meal in 20 minutes flat, left your money on the table and walked out….why tip? What did they “really” do for you?
  • Uncomfortable Tippers. These Tippers might become really frustrated with the idea of leaving a tip. They may not know how much to tip, why tip, and ultimately might not tip at all. Not because they do or do not want to spend any money, they just don’t like making the decision. They just want lunch!

I think I’ve covered everyone…which group do you reasonably fall into? No seriously, where do you stand! That’s why you are reading this blog right?

Let’s TREAD lightly. That’s Reasonable…..

  • TELL your position. (Here is what I think!)
  • REAFFIRM your position. (I knew I was right! I was just checking!)
  • EXPLORE your position. (Here is what I think. Am I missing anything?)
  • ALTER your position. (Whoa. Never in a million years!)
  • DISCOVER your position. (Oh, that’s what I think! I had no idea!)

My Position…

Most of us tip when we are at a restaurant or when receiving any services, but since we all tip at restaurants, we will stay along that line.

Ok, I have mixed feelings about this. For starters, I love tipping. But I don’t know if it’s because I want to make sure I keep my server happy, and therefore my food unmolested! Or, if it’s because I just want to show the waitress, how great I thought her service was. Either way those are both selfish reasons. I’ve tried my hardest to figure out what tipping formula was best, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. So I had to find something that didn’t lie, and that’s THE NUMBERS.

I started here:

  • What does a waiter or waitress make at their restaurant?
  • How did the service compare against the other servers I’ve had?
  • Who is the best server I’ve ever had? How did that server make me feel?

The Argument for Tipping and Tipping Well.

Ok so lets take the time to go over the NUMBERS The Department of Labor states that:

  • Where I live in Maryland, restaurant workers make a whopping $3.63 per hour. That’s about $29 PER DAY! 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, gotta take a couple weeks off….you make $7,260 A YEAR. What the heck!!!
  • In Washington D.C. servers make $2.77 an hour. That’s about $22 BUCKS A DAY and $5,540 ANNUALLY!
  • In the OVERPRICED state of NEW YORK there is a Basic Minimum Wage of $8.00. Yeah $64 DOLLARS A DAY. Earns you $16,000 EVERY YEAR!

Ok, that’s not a lot of money. I don’t care who you are, or where you live. Tipping is INCREDIBLY important to the quality of life for all tipped employees like waiters and waitresses. They NEED that money LITERALLY. 

That’s not enough to live on? Wait a second, that’s not my problem is it?! After all, I just came there to eat, not solve the financial problems of the waitstaff across America!

If you feel like your server didn’t make you feel bad, rushed, or frustrated during your meal, then maybe that’s enough to pony up a good tip. If you even remember the name of your server, or they made sure you had all of the honey mustard you could handle. Your syrup bottle never ran out, or your water never went below half full….maybe they deserve that awesome tip, for being so attentive, without being a bother.

The Argument against Tipping. 

That waitress chose that job, and there are a lot of great tippers out here. I’ve seen waitstaff take care of a table with 12 people or more. They got drinks and desserts, 20% of that check is gonna be a lot of money! Why should I tip, or even tip well?

Maybe service industry workers should form a union or something, to get better wages. The restaurant makes plenty of money. Why pass the burden of tipping on to the patrons? Why not just pay the employees more?

I don’t know what to do. The customary tip percentage also seems to change. I think it used to be 10%. Now it’s 15%-20%. Will it be 30% in a few short years from now? Maybe I just shouldn’t tip.

There are plenty of questions surrounding tipping. But, the numbers don’t lie.

Societal Effects and the peoples perception of tipping.

It’s funny I sometimes tip out of guilt, or because of the unspoken American custom it’s grown to be. WE TIP here in AMERICA! Yay….we might even feel socially superior to be able to tip well. We might feel that we are adored by those that provide us certain services, and that makes us FEEL GOOD. That’s scary…..maybe it’s not bad, maybe it’s not good, but it’s scary.

Society perceives you as bad, disrespectful, and rude if you don’t leave a tip. Think of how AWKWARD it is when the check comes to the table when you are with a  group of people. You might not want to, but if you can catch a glimpse of what another person writes on that line next to “Tip”, you will.

  • You immediately start to consider what you would tip, if you were paying..
  • You then question if your tip amount would be adequate. If the other person tips more than you would’ve, you begin to consider if you are cheap, or rude, or if you’ve offended other servers in the past.

Talk about PRESSURE!

Oh yeah, don’t forget about when you are with that large group, and the check has to be split. GOOD GRIEF. The very personal decision to tip MUST be made public and discussed.

  • Someone that ordered a meal totaling $15 may decide to toss in a $20 and be done with it. That’s me sometimes, less to think about.
  • The lesser tippers out there give $2 dollars more than their order. Nothing wrong with that.
  • The larger tippers might toss in $21 bucks or so. That’s ok. Hey that’s close to a 50% tip!
  • Then there are the rounders. That’s usually me. It takes me a while. I see my meal total. I then calculate 20%, I then round the number UP to the nearest dollar. So, a meal for $12.75, leads me to consider what’s about 20%, about $2.55. The sum is uh uh….$15.30. I’ll add another $1.70, it’s ONLY another $1.70 to pay $17.00 total. After all, the other guy tossed in $20. Even though my meal wasn’t as expensive, I felt the need to move closer to $20 than to the $15.30 20% my calculations said I should tip.

WHAT AN AGONIZING PROCESS!!! Not to mention I’ve been out of school for a while, it’s takes me longer to do simple math!

Let’s Finish Up

Have you moved from your initial position? Or have you put down permanent roots where you were before, and have a deeper conviction on where you stand…I’m very curious.

I think I’ve gotten PISSED OFF with our US custom of TIPPING. I don’t wanna do it anymore. BUT I CAN’T NOT TIP. These people bring me my food, and they don’t make much money. I feel obligated! AHHH! I just know I don’t want to tip! It’s too much pressure.

I think I like Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn, she wrote a piece at theguardian.com, where she discussed the opinions of restaurant owner Bill Perry, who plans to ban tipping and pay a fair living wage at his The Public Option Pub, in Washington, D.C.

I’m going to get my Podcast up and running and I hope to invite Bill Perry on to talk about his position on TIPPING. Let’s see if I can contact Bill. He made some interesting comments in his washingtoncitypaper.com article I’d like to discuss those with him.

What is appropriate, and who makes that decision? What’s Reasonable?

Every topic we discuss here will not have right and wrong answers. Even if you feel that there are right and wrong answers. There may only be more Reasonable or less Reasonable answers. We together will always seek what’s most Reasonable.

Let me know where you stand, if you changed let me know in the comments below. I’d love to chat with you guys about this. Don’t forget to be Reasonable in your comments!

It’s Action Time!

Ok, this is the section where I give you 3 ways to experiment with how you might try to become more Reasonable. This can be through passive action, assertive action, or aggressive action.

Passive Action – Small step that won’t usually affect anyone else. This step could be something no one ever knows you take, but taking this action could lead you to taking more assertive action in the future.

Assertive Action – People may find out about this action and what you’ve done to become more Reasonable. Change of a habit or even a mindset change. Could be temporary or more permanent.

Aggressive Action – This is an action that unmistakably identifies the Reasonable action you’ve taken to change your habits. The attempt to become directly more Reasonable in your mindset and how you approach  EVERY situation in your life.

Passive Action

The next time you are out for a meal, and you ARE NOT paying, resist the urge you have to look over at the check to observe what’s being tipped. If you ARE PAYING for the meal, before you get the check, pull a crisp $5 dollar bill out of your pocket and slip it under a coaster. Write $0 in the space marked TIP, and walk out. Tell me how you felt when you did either of those things. My need to know how much was being tipped even if I wasn’t paying is really high! Who knew! I didn’t think more or less of the person that was paying the check, it just made me 2nd guess my own actions! Good Grief!

Assertive Action

Ask your friends what they think would be a good tip. I know it’s awkward at first but, hear them out, you may be closer on ideals than you think. Then come up with your own tipping percentage. Unless this person went above and beyond your expectations…..you’ll tip them 15% ONLY or whatever you come up with. Use the calculator on your phone if you need to, and don’t round up your numbers like me! I think I’ll keep rounding up though, even numbers are great!

Aggressive Action

ASK THE SERVER. Ask the server what they think is a fair tip for the service they just provided. The server may say something like do what you feel. That’s fine, you can stop there if you’d like. I’d urge you to push a bit harder though. Ask them AGAIN. LET ME TELL YOU, that WILL BE UNCOMFORTABLE. Let me know how that goes! I know some of you are bold enough to have that conversation.

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You are Reasonable too, I knew it!