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Tipping doesn’t make any sense

Tipping doesn’t make any sense to me.

That’s probably because I come from Europe, or you could think that it’s because I’m a cheapskate, but US-style tipping is just wrong.

Why would it ever make sense to tip only in the restaurant business? Why don’t we tip the bus driver? And the doctors?

Tipping should be a customer-initiated act that is done when exceptional service is received, in any industry or situation. Tipping as a system has no rational basis. It’s not like I have the choice of not using the services of servers in a restaurant, right? If I had the opportunity to just go in the kitchen tell the chef what I wanted, ask how much it’d take and then go back and grab it, then paying a premium to have a server do that stuff for me actually makes sense, and would gladly pay (a reasonable amount). But I do not have that option, so why in the world should I pay more than what is written in the menu?

  • Wage: It makes no sense that the restaurant doesn’t have to pay the servers their full wage. In my business I can’t decide to pay my employees half their salary and tell them to ask tips to customers, so why in the world can or should restaurants do that? On top of that laws in the states of Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington require all employees to be paid at least minimum wage. So the argument that servers get paid less than minimum wage and I should make up for that portion, on top of being non-sense, doesn’t even fucking stand.
  • Taxes: It’s just mind boggling that in a country with such focus on taxation, restaurants can get away with not paying payroll taxes and servers can get away with not paying income taxes on their tips (40% of tips are never registered). And, if I understand correctly that servers are taxed on 8% more of their income, for supposed tips, then the IRS is part of the nonsensical show.
  • Tipping as a percentage of the total bill: This is so absurd it’s not even funny. Let’s say you go with your spouse to a restaurant: you order 3 appetizers at $8 each, an entree at $16, a dessert at $5 and 2 sodas at $3. In-n-out in 1h you get a $48 bill plus tax, so you leave a very generous 20% tip of $10 (ten bucks!!).  The next day my spouse and I go at the same restaurant, we’re celebrate our anniversary so we order 2 lobster plates at $30 each and a bottle of wine at $20. In-n-out in 30 mins because we have a ballet spectacle. $80 and a $16 tip. Do you start seeing the cracks in the system?

You stayed in the restaurant for double our time, required multiple trips and orders from the server to bring you your 7 items and probably a few refills. We stayed a minimum amount of time, ordered 3 things and need to pay 60% more tip. Nuts.

Every time I try to argue with someone about this, the reply tends to be along the lines of “but here it’s like this, live with it”. Well if I had to live with every problem I found I wouldn’t have studied Engineering and gotten into VC and startups. I still have to hear one single valid point to my objections. I can imagine quite a few people coming back at me with the quality level: “well if there were no tips, then service would be just awful”. Well, think a bit more about your point. Do you receive tips in your job? No? Does that mean that you do your job in a shitty way? I sure as hell try to do my best, without expecting to ask my CEO or our customers to “tip” me cause I had a productive day.

Restaurant owners should just fire the servers that don’t provide the quality standard they are demanding, and customers should signal they received low quality service by not going back again or informing the managers, like in every other business in the world. If owners want a higher quality standard, to charge higher prices, then they should expect to get better servers and pay them more.

Please keep in mind that I’m not saying that servers should get paid less. They should be paid way more, but by the restaurant and not the client! I, on the other hand, should know how much I have to pay for every meal. If I want, I’ll then add a small tip to show my appreciation for the service received. Period. I’ll be here waiting to hear reasonable objections at my points.

  • http://www.facebook.com/masterkain Claudio Poli

    I’ll completely agree that this practice doesn’t make much sense to me either; it should be the restaurant’s job to pay their employee.

    Personally I love sharing a tip with the waiter, the cashier or whoever provided a good service, but asking me a % on the final bill seems the wrong way of doing things.

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidsuen David Suen

    What makes tipping the most frustrating in the US is that there is an expectation from servers to have the baseline tip of 15% for lunch and 18-20% for dinners. I’ve literally been chased after for more tips from servers when I’ve left less than the “expected” amount when our table wasn’t satisfied with the service.

    In Hong Kong, there is a built in 10% service charge that is required and built into the bill. If the service is exceptional, people will leave more tip. Tipping is frictionless.

    Simply put, if there is an expectation for customers to tip 18%, then it should be built into the final bill. This avoids unhappy servers when customers leave less tip, will probably increase turnover time because people take forever to calculate how much tip to leave (especially after a few bottles of wine).

    The tipping culture in the US is borderline absurd.

  • http://www.callmejeffrey.com Jeffrey

    Unfortunately, without country-wide adoption of a new “normal” practice, if a restaurant on its own did adopt a “no-tip” policy and they paid the workers a full wage, they would likely increase the cost of the food to cover the difference, so you’d end up paying more anyway.

    • http://bernardi.me/ Stefano Bernardi

      That would be awesome. I don’t mind paying more, as long as I know how much it is upfront :)

      • Lou

        How do you not know it in advance? The practice as is isn’t for rewarding good service, it’s for punishing bad service. Not defending it, but that’s the clear difference between what we have and your proposal.

        Also, if you want to base your tip on time spent rather than cost of the meal, you are free to do so.

    • warcaster

      I don’t really buy that argument. I think that just like with Government subsidies, it helps to reduce prices in the beginning, but after many years of receiving subsidies as a “standard” practice in the industry, the companies will just become less efficient and “comfortable” with the Government paying for their costs, and they will eventually raise prices to what they would’ve been without the subsidies.

      I think tips are subsidies from the customer for the restaurants costs (on top of the price of the food), and that eventually the restaurants will price the food as much as it would’ve been without tipping to their waiters, while still trying to keep their salaries as low as possible, especially knowing that they will get more money from the customers.

  • http://www.pc-prime.com PCPrime

    I love it when they build in a certain percentage for the tip. It allows one to tip more if they deem to and at the same time it protects from cheapstakes.

  • Matt

    If you don’t want to tip, then don’t tip! Unless they have a policy stated somewhere (usually on their menu) concerning parties of a certain size then there is nothing that requires you to tip in American restaurants. You’re server just won’t be happy since they, unfortunately in their circumstances, rely on the tips for the majority of their income.

  • http://twitter.com/gwvatieri Giovanni W. Vatieri

    There is no much to say, what Stefano said is 100% true. Businesses’ go cheap, they have greater profits with no effort, customers spend on avg 15% more even when they are not satisfied of the service provided and employees are affected by the success of the business as if they were involved as partners. Without considering that the tip is calculated on overpriced goods. Easiest example? Get a commercial beer with a friend for ONLY 6$ and then the tip pressure makes you feel guilty if you don’t leave at least 2$ tip…really?! Insane.

  • napolux

    In Italy we have all sorts of problems, but tipping is not expected :)

  • Steve

    You see a benefit of US-style tipping every time you get great service in a restaurant. Servers know that poor performance results in poor tips. Tips account for > 80% of their income, so dissatisfied customers makes for empty pockets.

    I’ve eaten at many places outside of the US where the servers are paid a flat hourly wage. The service is generally poor. This is especially true at low and mid-tier establishments.

  • Jason

    FYI In the US you are supposed to tip bus and taxi drivers

  • Andrew

    By not tipping in restaurants where servers depend on tips to make a living, you are being inconsiderate of their welfare and are effectively saying you do not value their services. If the servers were paid a higher hourly wage to compensate, the overall price of food at the restaurant would go up to match that which they would have otherwise made in tips. No one way is really much better than the other, it’s a preference. However, by either giving a tip in the latter case or by not giving a tip in the former case (the usual way it is in America) you are insulting the server.

    • http://www.facebook.com/e92m3 Alex Park

      there’s enough people in the workforce who would be willing to work for minimum wage and try to keep their minimum wage paying job. what if your employee doesn’t perform well? FIRE THEM.
      I was born and raised in Korea and in Korea, there’s no tipping, but servers at restaurants provide much much better service than most restaurants in North America.

  • Varun

    No Objections.. at all!!

  • Jason D.

    I was just in Italy. My first time in Europe overall. I was there for 10 days with my wife. Eat out every night. One thing we found almost without exception was that the service sucked. No one ever bothers to come by and ask how you are doing, like happens every time in the U.S., and the service was slow everywhere. If there is no tip than where is the incentive for them? I like our system better in the U.S..

    • Federico

      US citizens should really get well informed about foreign countries before going in there and expect and pretend everything it’s like America. It is not.

      In Italy it’s NOT polite to come to bother you every 2 minutes and asking you how you are doing. Or bring you the check. Or keeping talking to you. You are meant to ask if you have to say something. I’m from Italy, I live in the US and honestly I hate the service in the US because I simply don’t like they keep me asking things and coming to me every 2 minutes, and no – i’m not done with that, I’m just eating slowly because that is how it’s meant to be – but I’m fine with that, because it is not my country, it’s not my culture and I’m the foreigner here and I don’t keep complaining about other’s culture, I accept it.

      In general, if you are nice and humble, you get very good service in Italy. If you are not, you get a very bad one.

    • http://www.facebook.com/masterkain Claudio Poli

      because the waiters here don’t know english ;)

  • Merlin

    The service in U.S. is far better than anywhere in Europe. Checkmate.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=609015520 Andrew McGrath

      Yeah…well the beer is better in Europe. DOUBLE CHECKMATE!!

      I’m honestly not from Europe, but i wouldn’t agree that the service is better in the US. I would say its much the same to be honest.

      • KurriKanadian Steve

        I’m starting to feel sorry for the hospitality staff with creepy smiles who hover around to top up my glass of water or cup of coffee.

    • @WalkerIan

      What about it Asia. where their service surpasses everything and there is zero expectation for tips? Uncheckmate Merlin.

  • b


    > Tipping doesn’t make any sense to me. That’s probably because I come from Europe

    You are probably talking about Italy. However, the situation in Europe is a bit more diverse than that: while in Germany, Austria, Hungary etc. a tip of up to 10% is commonplace, in other countries it is not expected or might even be seen as an insult.


    In my experience there is both good and bad service, no matter the tipping system.

  • http://twitter.com/chuggid Laird Nelson
    • http://www.facebook.com/charles.mamon Chuck Mamon

      holy crap the US government taxes your tips?! there are many countries around the world where tipping is under the table

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=609015520 Andrew McGrath

    Finally someone put this into writing! I HATE TIPS!

    Pay people a decent salary, get rid of tips. It drives me nuts, and its tax evasion!

  • buzzingrobot

    Wny are you expecting human behavior to make sense?

  • http://twitter.com/johncongdon johncongdon

    The thing to consider is that this comes down to training and the management getting it into the servers head that they are representing the owner’s business. The owner expects a level of service and if it’s not provided, the server should be let go.

    I should not have to ‘bribe a server to get good service.

    • http://bernardi.me/ Stefano Bernardi

      “I should not have to ‘bribe a server to get good service.”

  • Daniel Karpantschof

    You will often find that areas where tipping is encouraged actually pays a hire net enumeration to servers and service industry professionals, than areas where it is not encouraged.

    It incentivizes better performance regardless of the flaws in the system, much like any other bonus mechanism (an easy sale doesn’t pay any less than a hard sales, if the total sale is higher – it’s pretty straight forward).

    I don’t think it has much to do with Europe vs. US (you see hybrids of this system across both continents) as it is related to whether or not the enumeration culture is performance based or time based.

    • KurriKanadian Steve

      “incentivize” haha. Thankyou for increasing my vocab. Normally I just say ‘motivate’. Learn something new on the www every day :)

  • Acius

    I live in the U.S. and occasionally visit Japan for vacations. In Japan, there are no tips and the prices on the menu are the price — the taxes are all built in as well. If you have 900 yen in your pocket and the menu says 900 yen, you can get it (Japan uses cash quite a bit, so this is a normal thing).

    As for the service argument — at most places, Japan destroys EVERYONE on quality of service. Service in the USA is decent, but on average, Japan is just much better. The Japanese servers always spoke politely, were patient with my halting Japanese, regularly asked how we were doing during the meal, and every time you walked past them entering or exiting, they’d bow and thank you for visiting their restaurant. It made me feel like they really wanted me there.

    I am firmly in the anti-tipping camp.

    • Kai

      I live in Japan and I rarely tipped in the USA because of shitty service. Here in Japan they go out of their way to make everything as perfect as possible. If anyone deserves a tip, it’s them. But it’s considered rude, like that we think they are lowly and need money.

  • Brian Crockford

    Tipping isn’t strictly a food-service industry custom. While we don’t tip in every industry that provides direct service, we do tip those employees with low-end salaries. Your doctor doesn’t need tipping because he or she is paid quite well; your restaurant server or cab driver is unlikely to make much higher than minimum wage, however.

    By your own admission, tipping is a effective way to reward employees that provide high quality service. It is quantitative, direct, universal, and determined by the customer. Were you to argue for commission-based rewards, or to remove competence rewards altogether, there could be a discussion. Instead, your proposal is merely to reduce the tipping rate; without proposing an alternative solution this just seems petulant.

    That employees should not have their wages garnished to account for tips should be basic, and in that you have my full support. To any service employees reading, I’d recommend considering unionization, as this is precisely the type of issue unions are dedicated to preventing.

  • Gab

    Tipping is:
    a. A battle not worth fighting. Seriously dude, getting a little angry every time you pay a bill is not a good life. And it’s gonna make you grow into a grumpy old man…
    b. The way they do things here. Does it make sense? Not really. I’d like to see the price, pay the price, and leave a tip if I was delighted or feel generous. But no, taxes are not included in the price, nor are most of the server’s wages. They have this funny habit of adding those on top. Weird and counterintuitive, but when in Rome…
    c. An opportunity. Try this experiment: do the usual 15-18% calculation to figure out what you’re expected to tip, and then leave a buck or two more (that’s not gonna make the difference for you, isn’t it). Et voilà: you’ve just been given the opportunity to feel like a good and generous person, for just $2, every time you eat out. Isn’t that amazing? ;-)

    • Rob

      I totally agree with Gab – which is weird, because a few months ago I agreed with the OP. When I moved to the US, I got annoyed with how tipping made no sense. But I realized after a while there’s no point fighting it – if restaurants couldn’t rely on tips, they’d just increase prices by an equivalent amount.

      Now, I enjoy the easy generosity boost: round up, add 20%, then an extra couple of dollars if the service was genuinely good. Everyone wins!

      (But it still makes no sense)

  • barny

    I agree that in a scenario where tipping is mandatory, it makes no sense. However, from my own experience and the many conversations I have had on the subject with waiters/waitresses (my fiancée has managed a number of London restaurants and bars) I do think that the way tipping is done in the London (10%-12.5%) makes sense for a number of reasons:

    It gives you the ability to separate the cost of dinning out into it’s separate components. I have been for many meals where the food has been excellent and the service has been terrible; in these scenarios I have not paid for the servie. The inverse has also happend to me; I have had meals where the food has been terrible and the service has been great – in these scenarios I have paid for the service but not the food.

    The author states that “It’s not like I have the choice of not using the services of servers in a restaurant, right?” this is not always right in my experience. In many London bars you have the choice of going to the bar an ordering or having a waitress serve you at a table. In the same way, if you order takeaway, you can pay to have it delivered or you can go and collect it.

    Tipping makes a notable difference to service levels in my opinion. I have lived in other European countries where people do not tip and the average level of service has been considerably lower. It is ok saying that restaurants should fire servers that do not offer good service, but if you remove any incentive, the global level of service will gradually trend down, and you can’t fire all the servers.

    Most jobs have some level of incentive for people to perform at their best – this ranges from future career prospects, the fact that they love their work, bonus schemes, loyalty to a company, etc. etc. However, most servers I know, do not especially enjoy the work they do – it is typically a stop gap job and there are very limited prospects for career progression. If you wanted to maintain high levels of service you would need another underlying incentive; the restaurants would not have any reason to put this in place (as long as their service was satisfactory compared with the local average) so service levels would gradually decline over time.

    As a final thought, if you do want to get rid of tipping in a country then, in my opinion, the transition would be very difficult. Either it would be a push from the restaurant community, in which case they would need to increase their prices/salaries and unless they all did it at the same time, the restaurants which took the decision first would become less competitive, both in terms of attracting staff and customers (as I mentioned above, restaurants also have no incentive to do this as it works as a great incentive scheme). The alternative would be a nationwide collective decision, where the early adopters would be stigmatised by friends/family for not tipping and would receive bad service until the transition had taken place.

  • Coccodrillo

    Try not leaving a tip after you were dissatisfied. It looks like you are going to get eaten alive. The system is absurd and it doesn’t lead to better services as far as I can see, just subsidizing restaurant owners.

  • Nazima

    What part of ‘Gratuity'(tipping) [def:
    a voluntary additional payment made for services rendered] don’t people understand? No, I don’t want this built into my damn bill – it is supposed to be voluntary…period!!! Restaurants rake in hundreds of thousands+ monthly and expect me, the customer to step up the minimum wage they pay – this is such a typical North American sense of entitlement. Service will be good or bad regardless of tipping and I shouldn’t be expected to tip bad service.

  • HairyMezican

    Whenever I see “Tipping doesn’t make any sense” style remarks; I always read it as “I don’t like your culture”. Tipping, from a game theory perspective, obviously makes no sense, and yet the American service industry, as a whole, tends to be much better than any other, and the tipping culture is largely responsible. The tipping culture we have provides several benefits for the customer and to society at large.

    Tipping firstly ensures that SOMEBODY has a real stake in how well you are served. The alternative would be to complain to management, but typically that is reserved for exceptionally bad service. Tipping allows more of a fine-grained response

    Tipping makes the server’s income actually dependent on their service (which typically makes their service better). Who knows better about how well you were served than you do? If the restaurant just increased prices by 15% and gave that money to the servers, sure, everything would be more fair, but fairness is not the objective: excellent service is. And as far as being able to know the actual price ahead of time, it’s easy: either whatever you feel like paying or just 15% more than whatever the total is (even less if the service was bad, more if you’re feeling generous for good service)

    • Logic

      I have been to restaurants where the service was crap and yet the server still demanded a tip. Horse pucky. Tip stands for To Insure Promptness. If you give good service, you deserve a tip. If I am waiting for 15 minutes for you to take my order and I see you texting, you get nothing. And there are a lot of restaurants like this.

    • Kranzky

      I once forgot to tip after ordering a beer in an airport lounge in the US. The girl serving me went all Jekyll and Hyde. It just highlighted the fakeness of American service staff. They’re nice because they’re expecting you to pay them, not because they’re genuinely nice people. Nice culture, guys.

    • Greg Lam

      In context of the Japanese examples of service, and having been to Japan multiple times myself, I can attest that Japan has top notch service despite a lack of tipping.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mihnea.giurgea Mihnea Giurgea

    Some jobs are customarily tipped (taxi drivers, waiters, masseuses), while others are not (software engineers, PR, etc). The main distinction between the two classes is that the former implies the customer giving orders to the service provider (you can boss a taxi driver around all night, but you have no control over how a software engineer will do his/her job).

    In other words, because the feeling of ownership over somebody’s time is much stronger in the former case, we feel obliged to give tips, in order to somehow make up for the social inconvenience we caused to our service provider.
    However, tipping stoppes making any sense the moment it becomes mandatory :)

  • RandomCitizen

    Here is a counter-argument. In this day and age, business are doing everything they can to maximize profit. Its a simple equation (less cost, more revenue equals more profit). This partially explains why much of the manufacturing and labor has been off-shored. My point being is we can’t expect restaurants to magically start “caring” about their servers and offering them better pay. Even if a few restaurants here and there do this, this simply won’t become the norm. Furthermore, for the restaurant to still maintain a profit margin, they’d have to pass this cost down on you, the diner. Think about it. A burger at a joint such as RedRobin that would cost say $11 would have to cost $15 or more to factor in for the tip. Furthermore, this means that less people would be willing to go dine out for the same burger at a higher price (even if they’re still paying $15 after a tip). Its psychological. This in the end forces the restaurant to slash price, and with it wages yet again.
    Adding insult to injury, this presents the classical socialism problem of employee morale. If you get paid the same regardless of how well you did your job, why would you really care? The author is mistaken when he says your employer doesn’t pay you extra when you work a more productive day. This is what raises, bonuses, and stock options are (at least amongst the more reputable businesses).
    Look, I’m not saying a 15 to 20% “forced” tip is ideal. Heck I think even 15% is a bit crazy. I do, however, undersytand why they are here to stay, and sadly not much will change. Basic economics will overrule. After all, buessiness (including restaurants) are not a charity. They are in it to MAKE MONEY. Don’t like it? cook at home ;-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/mgrigolo Marco Grigolo

      I understand your point, but with the socialism logic, why should I bust my ass off since I am not gonna get a better pay than my other colleagues? For the same reason that waiters should not be tipped: if you do not do your job properly, and don’t bring the restaurant who employed you some profit, you get fired. For me at least this reason is good enough…

    • Logic

      And yet, many owners of restaurants are driving luxury cars like Lexus or Mercedes. If they can afford that, then they can afford to pay their staff a real wage and not rip them off.

  • Veritas1965

    You’re going to pay about 20% one way or another to get good service — so just pay it. If the restaurant has to pay more for servers, they’ll just increase the food prices so they make what they want to make in profit; after all,, that’s what it’s all about.

    If we all stopped tipping at all at once, the end result would be that we’d just end up paying for it in entree prices… I’d suspect about 18% higher.

    So, in this country, at least you have the option of NOT tipping much or at all if you receive bad quality service. I think (with your other points about taxations exempted) the system makes perfect sense.

  • Ronny Karam

    This system is similar to products vs. food treatment.
    When you buy food, 2 dates are present: production date & expiry date. The manufacturer is responsible for its quality between those 2 dates.
    But if you buy a laptop, you pay extra for you expiry date or guarantee.
    What does it mean when your product is shipped with a 1 year warranty? Will it start to malfunction in 12 months?

    Those are systems created to abuse your pocketS.

  • http://twitter.com/petachon Peter Chon

    I think they should change the term from “tipping” to “service charge.”

  • http://twitter.com/abs Andrei Soroker

    I recently cut back on tipping and it feels great! Who cares what the “rules” are.

    Perhaps a typo?
    we’re celebrate -> we’re celebrating

  • Jk

    It’s not borderline absurd, it’s just absurd, along with the war on drugs, Medicare, greek life, and the phrase “on line”, just off the top of my head.

    And to Gab below: you completely missed the logical argument of the post. It’s more about economics and rational pricing than being generous or polite. Your point on taxes is another (similar) argument against restaurant pricing, as well.

    • http://www.facebook.com/masterkain Claudio Poli

      greek life?

  • JohnUser

    I lived in Australia for several years. No tipping for anything, anywhere. As one restauranteur told me, “it’s my job to pay the staff, not yours”. Some restaurants had service that sucked, some were superb. Most of the waiters/waitresses were professionals, rather than students, because they were paid a decent wage.

    I much prefer that sort of system, otherwise where to draw the line? Tip the staff at Macdonalds? Your local grocer? The mailman?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628917384 Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson on Facebook

    Wow. How are you getting on with living in the Bay? ;) Coffee/beer in two weeks when I move over? I’ll leave the tip ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713625649 Stefano Bernardi on Facebook

    Sure! Want you to meet Elena! Let me know when you’re here :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713625649 Stefano Bernardi on Facebook

    Sure! Want you to meet Elena! Let me know when you’re here :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628917384 Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson on Facebook

    Will do!

  • JS

    You are always free to return to your European country of origin if the tipping custom does not suit you.

    I have found that in Australia where tipping does not occur, restaurant service is abysmal. Not having had the misfortune of traveling in Europe, I can’t speak about whether restaurant conditions are as they are in Australia, but I would be willing to bet that they are.
    You do forget that tipping is also commonly expected for hair cuts, taxi cabs, valet parking, and masseurs among others I can’t think of at the moment. In short, any job that involves personal service necessarily entails tipping by customers.

    • Joe

      If I ever catch any of you not tipping me, you will have a pleasant surprise when you return. Your drinking straw will have been in my ass. Guaranteed.

      • http://www.facebook.com/e92m3 Alex Park

        you are pathetic hahahahahaha go get a better job dude lol

        • Joe

          Anyone who doesn’t tip when they go out to eat is stealing. You are stealing service. You justify this by saying that the owner of the restaraunt should be paying the server, but for whatever reason, this isn’t the case, and the reason is irrelevant. If you don’t want to tip, you can always order carry out, eat at a fast food restaraunt, or save your money and cook at home since you want to be so cheap with your cash. Don’t take your self entitlement to a restaraunt, have a server wait on you, then steal their services by not paying and being a scumbag

  • Cactus

    In my country servers take offense if you try to tip them.
    This practice of tipping your server originates from masters-slaves times and in my opinion its too arrogant to tip your server and at the same time not so honorable to accept such money.

  • Chiara

    Hey Stefano!
    Your post is just brilliant and I couldn’t agree more. Considering I live in UK where people DO actually tip even cab drivers, I can really feel your battle.
    I had several occasion to express these same ideas to a number of (english) friends and there is no way in hell they will get me. The reasoning on this side of the ocean goes: tipping a waiter allow food prices to be lower as the resturant keeps menus cheaper because it is allowed to pay the waiters less so everybody just happily make up for the difference (around 10% of the bill). Madness.
    Myself, I stopped tipping and started voicing my discontent with the result that sometimes people at the table look at me as if I was a cheapsteak. And I don’t care. Not sure you can ignore tipping in the States though – I remember a friend saying she was actually chased by a waiter for not having left him a tip..

  • Allison

    I’ve lived in the US my whole life but have been fortunate to travel everywhere from Dubai to Zurich. Tipping standards are very different here in the US so I can understand how anyone not from here would not be happy about it. Consider this first everyone, unfortunately waiters and bartenders are only paid $2.63 an hour. It is not their fault that as an industry for generations that is how 15%-20% gratuity is expected.
    Dining out is a priveledge not a right, and remember that 70% of waitstaff are college students struggling to get by. You may not like US tipping standards, but before you decide to “stiff” your server consider this, that $10 is a few gallons of gas for their car to get to class at 7am the next morning cause their dream is to one day be a pediatric nurse after watching a child in their life struggle cancer or leukemia.
    It’s so easy for some people that sit behind a desk all day to voice opinions. So take 5 minutes next time you’re dining out to talk to your server then decide whether or not you want to be cheap or do the right thing. Regardless of your opinion, don’t punish the hard working server.

    • http://www.facebook.com/charles.mamon Chuck Mamon

      Waiters and bartenders are paid minimum wage, that is why is called minimum wage. You can call into your city officials to have that restaurant closed down for 3 dollars an hour. So your first statement is very unlikely.
      That 10 bucks is also 2 beers at the bar after staff discount.
      It’s very easy to voice your opinion if you’ve never worked in a restaurant. That’s why most of us leave the service industry. It’s good that you mentioned college students trying to educate themselves. They are usually the ones that don’t realize that their tips are a direct reflection of the service that they provide.

      You’ll see that the older service staff know the rules of the game. They smile all the time, they fake in interest in what you want to talk about and they provide speedy and attentive service. We know it’s fake, we’ve been on the other side of the serving tray. It’s part of the job. People working in steak houses and diners need to remember “Smiles are free” and the customers demand them.

      I reward my servers for the service that they provide. If they have to tip out at the end of the night and don’t make quota, then other people agree that there is something wrong with their service; managers quickly take notice of things like htat. And on most party nights my waiter buddies were pulling in a C-note after tip out. Yeah that’s 100 bucks a night in tips, tax free.

  • http://www.facebook.com/charles.mamon Chuck Mamon

    Having been a server, Stefano is generally correct and I applaud his
    perspective. There are additional points that I would like to bring to
    the table:

    1) some companies pay serving staff minimum wage as they expect that the
    tips will compensate for the low wage. Once again, better service will
    earn them the money, in otherwords the server will get what they

    2) “gratuity for the house” there are more people than the server that
    contribute to your meal. The server may be required to “tip out” and
    pay a certain amount of cash to the house so that the dishwashers cooks
    and other staff get their cut.

    3) You have the right not to tip. Feel free to call a manager over and
    explain your perspective. Pay the bill with no tip and then leave.
    Leading us to…

    4) The restaurant has the right to refuse you service. You of course
    have the right to boycott the restaurant. You also have the right to
    tell everyone you know (and their mother) about the horrible food,
    unattentive service and overal disgusting appeance of the restaurant.
    If the company decides to retain the server that you hate, make it
    known. And since keeping customers away from their restaurant will get
    their attention I encourage you to do it! It would be nice if you gave
    their management warning that you were about to cost them a couple of
    hundred dollars because of lousy service but at least you will ward
    your friends, family, associates and anyone that reads your posts about
    the restaurant. :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/charles.mamon Chuck Mamon

      I personally leave a tip which I think will cover the house gratuity if I don’t like the service. If I really hate the service at any North American steak house I will leave nothing as a tip and will explain my perspective to a manager. And yes by doing so I know that the server will tip out and have to pay out of their own pocket to compensate for their expected contributions to the house. It’s ok to bone a server but at least let them know why. As a former server I know that it takes a lot of guts to stand up for yourself but please tell the offending party that they need to improve otherwise they will think that you were having a bad day when they should be realizing that it was their service which was offensive to you!

  • 2dsjKwhya2

    I’m sure it thrills you to know that Starbucks now has a “Would you like
    to tip” option, so now instead of getting a $7 coffee you feel
    obligated to tip, and all they did was pour some boiled water and beans
    while wearing a fucking toque in the middle of summer, Awesome.

    Another thing that pisses me off is that I am currently a Welding
    student and that I will more or less be risking my health for good pay
    because, welding is hard on the lungs eyes and potentially ears, when a
    bartender on the other hand at some shithole club will probably make
    more money than me in a year and be in a lower tax bracket than me and
    all he did was put some fermented fruit into a glass, Amazing!

    Now if you think this system is fair, when I get employed to weld on a
    bridge I will gladly do a fucking hack job because i didn’t receive
    tips and smile when i see pictures of your car floating in some river
    with you trapped inside.

    Oh, and you make it seem like its Our fault ( the customer ) for
    avoiding conflict and not wanting to have someone lose a job, however
    shitty it may be. It is not the responsibility of the customer to insure
    good quality its your fucking job, That’s WHY you get paid, if I wanted
    to insure GOOD QUALITY I’d make it my own fucking self.

  • Melissa

    I have no problem leaving a tip at a restaurant. I will not, however, leave on in a tip jar. Not at Starbucks, or the gas station or even the jewelry store. Yes, there was one on the counter of a jewelry store I was in recently.

  • http://www.designisphilosophy.com Morten Rand-Hendriksen

    Yes. I too am from Europe and though I now live in Canada I am faced almost daily with the same illogical attitude towards tipping. Tipping should be an extra bonus for over-and-above work, not a bonus for showing up an doing your job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sean-Cowan/1666950044 Sean Cowan

    9 out of 10 times in an American restaurant (well I’m in Canada, same thing) the service has been abysmally slow, the servers have been unpolite and in a rush, and quite often the servers forget things about your meal, like requesting a non-standard side dish with something. Why on Earth would I ever tip one of these people? I tip maybe 1 in 20 servers I have, because only 1 in 20 are good enough to deserve one. Article here has it right, and you can’t argue with logic. And the bottom-line regarding logic on this topic is: tips started as an optional thing to show appreciation for an exceptionally good worker.

    How or where along the way they became mandatory I do not know; but making a tip mandatory has two effects, 1. its saying every single employee at any restaurant is the same and does the same quality of work (obviously not true) and 2. it effectively increases every employees pay by the amount of tips they receive. This brings their pay to the level ‘they are supposed to receive’. So then; pay them the amount they are supposed to have, and eliminate mandatory gratuity.

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  • tanya

    I’m a server and I don’t expect everyone to give me a great tip. What I do expect is that if you know you are not going to tip (for whatever reason you may have) then don’t ask me for 15 things and expect me to spend alot of time on you. you should let the server know you will not be tipping. of course you will still be served but most likely they won’t spend much time on you but hey it is what it is.
    also the reason you are supposed to tip is because most ppl are crazy and the server has to deal with their crazy hang up. still smile and take care of them. alot of ppl have crappy days and take it out on servers because they have to stand there and take it.
    i also want to add why do ppl feel its ok to be rude and ugly to a server and expect them to never say anything and take it. just saying

  • Rodvi

    I have to agree! Tipping makes no sense and it should be the restaurants reaponsibility to compensate their employees. I was chased by a server at a Disney buffet for not leaving 15%. It was a buffet and I served myself everything aside from drinks. So I ended up having to pay $8 just for her to pour my orange juice. The restaurant should be paying her for that.. It’s part of the job!

  • Courtney

    I am a server in the US and agree with you. At the end of the day Servers really are getting screwed over because we pay so much in taxes and, for people who do claim ALL of their tips because you can get audited. Restaurants should pay all servers a flat wage and if someone WANTS to tip for exceptional service they can. I get foreigners, regulars, grumpy people who don’t want to tip because of anything (my shoes, the sky, etc…) At the end of the day I know I gave the best service I could and still make a certain amount of money even if someone was unhappy. It clearly isn’t my goal to make a guest unhappy, but if I’m super busy and don’t refill their drink in time I would like for it not to come out of my pay/tip. But unfortunately I don’tknow of any resturants who pay a flat wage above minimum wage to servers.