What’s your philosophy on tipping?

Gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer suggests that restaurants could pay waiters and waitresses less than minimum wage because of the money they make on tips. Today’s Question: What’s your philosophy on tipping?

  • dmox

    Remember when George Bush stopped at a grocery store and couldn’t figure out a scanner because he was so out of touch that he’d never had to shop for himself? This is that moment for Emmers. Perhaps the wait staff at the restaurants he can afford to frequent make six figures, but the vast overwhelming majority of waiters in this country work at the bottom end of the economic scale. Even those that make what we would consider middle class wages still have to provide their own healthcare.

    Get real Tom!

  • Gerald Myking

    What I really detest is an assumed gratuity. I have always tipped according to the person serving me. There have been some that should haved tipped me or the employer for not firing them. I also like my tips going directly to who I intend them for. I know that in some places they share tips but without knowing I want the person I tip to handle the exchange. I look at the wage issue as such. If you have employees making that much you must be doing very well yourself. In addition your the boss, you can fill one of those positions yourself if you don’t think your making enough as owner or manager. So don’t cry us a river, the Missisippi is high enough.

  • Steve the Cynic

    If waitstaff were paid a fair, living wage to begin with, tipping wouldn’t be necessary. But that would mean raising the prices on the menu, which restaurant owners are loath to do. As with any business, it’s easier to fleece the customers if some of the costs are hidden.

  • John O.

    I worked at a local establishment part-time through college and experienced the same things that wait staff have to put up with today.

    When I am out for a meal, 15 percent is the norm. If I believe the service is very good, I will gladly tip more. I have also had my share of bad servers. Their tip reflected it.

  • Gary F

    What’s a “fair living wage”?


    Here is some research into whether base pay makes a difference with tip earners.

  • James

    If the server is good —10%…. goes down if the service is bad.


  • Tara A.

    We start at 20% and tip more if server was really great and added to the experience. We are not quick to be critical and so rarely have such a bad exper that we tip under 20%. We feel tip is a sign that service was great but also we recognize that this is virtually their only income. We won’t notice a loss of additional $2 or $3 but that additional amt can make a huge diff to the server.

  • Roxanne Johnson

    20% Tip NO MATTER WHAT. (Excluding extremely rude or unprofessional behavior-then I would talk to the manager) If the service is great then I will tip more.

    In the U.S. where servers rely on tips for their basic living expenses, I think it is extremely rude as well as selfish to not tip at least 20%. If someone is serving you, I think you should be grateful and show your appreciation. My mom always told me to be nice and thankful for people doing something for me.

    In New Zealand it is considered rude to tip, but that is because servers make a LIVING WAGE. They don’t here.

  • Tristan

    I always do 20% and then round up to the next dollar. Whenever I go out the servers do really well and deserve their money. Especially since I know plenty of people who either don’t tip or give some really dumb small amount. And NO tips should not be factored into base wages. A server can have a really good day and make a lot of money, or they could have a bad day and not be able to buy gas. It’s just too iffy.

  • Bill

    I am retired and travel about 7 months each year. Most of that travel is outside of the USA. Everywhere else in the world waiters are paid a living wage and often a good wage. Patrons are not expected to tip and in some places it is discouraged. Folks who tip do so because they have received extraordinary service. I clearly remember being told by a Mexican in Mexico that tipping should be restrained. I would much prefer such a system in the USA. The menu price would then reflect the actual price.

    In the states I tip between 10% and 20%. Abroad it is usually 0%, but it could be up to 10% with very good service.

    I think it is disgusting that wait staff cannot rely on their employer for a living wage, and that they must rely on the whims of the restaurant patrons.

    Emmers should have to work as a slave and hope for the largess of a patron.

  • Amy

    At a restaurant, 20% even if it is bad service. Sometimes my boyfriend and I tip even more if the service is really good. At a coffee shop, a dollar a drink, even if I am just getting a cup of coffee, $2 if the barista is especially nice. I worked as a server and a barista in graduate school, so I know first hand how miserable the job can be and how rewarding it is to count your tips at the end of the shift. It always made me feel really good when a customer at the coffee shop I worked at gave me a good tip. Not only did it help my pocket book, but it showed me that I was providing a quality product in a quality coffee shop.

  • Eric

    I always leave 20% as a former sever. If you have bad service, you should still tip but also let the manager know that you had a problem with service so it can be corrected. I do not know if I am just getting older but service in the majority of restaurants has went extreme downhill in the past 10 years. MAybe I am doing to much “back in my day” but many servers today seem clueless about the basics of good service.

  • G.Lee

    The age of customer service is dead. It’s hard to get good customer service anymore, whether online, over the phone, or face to face. (Rhetorical q)Why do we have to feel guilty for not paying someone extra to do a job they are already being paid to do? Isn’t it the employers obligation to make pay for servers fair? And what’s with mandatory tips?(ie. groups of six or more, etc.) It’s not a tip anymore if it’s mandatory. It also lowers the standard of service. I’m never surprised to see a mandatory tip on my bill after receiving less than respectable service.

    This given, I always tip 12-17% with given a choice. When it’s mandatory, I never give more than they have taken.

  • Andrea

    Emmer opposes the pay demands of nurses and wants to cut the pay of waitstaff. He is targeting two female-dominated professions.

    I guess when women get 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, that is really too much (National Committee on Pay Equity data, 2008).

    We really should be grateful for less and just keep serving with a pleasant smile.

  • J Smith

    The only people I always tip are delivery drivers — they are risking their own vehicles (in many cases) and their lives to go out and bring me food because I didn’t want to go eat in or pick it up. I try to tip 15%, with extra if it’s especially fast or otherwise good service, or if the weather is at all bad (rain, snow, etc.).

    In restaurants, I usually tip — though just an average experience, I might only give 10% or an actual dollar amount rather than a percentage. If the service is really good, attentive, and so on I definitely tip more. I think it’s absurd to still tip even if the service is bad. I understand that employees count on tips as part of their income, but I don’t think people should be rewarded for bad work. If service is less than ok but not awful I will tip less. If the service is incredibly bad, I won’t leave a tip at all. But thankfully I don’t usually have service that bad anywhere.

    In the case of beverages, I think tipping anyone to hand you a drink is silly… like a can of beer, for example. That takes little to no effort of any kind. Tipping to prepare a mixed drink (in a bar, a coffeehouse, and so on) makes sense though because they actually had to do something to get you the drink.

  • Khatti

    I bartend part-time in Southern Minnesota. What I made in tips the last time I worked (July 2nd) was $3.25. People tip when they figure they got the money to spare–which isn’t now!

    I don’t have any great solutions for how to deal with our economic woes, but cutting the wages of people in tipping industries isn’t one of them.

  • Joanna

    I grew up surrounded by people in the restaurant business. I know how hard servers have to work and how often they are underpaid. I always tip 20%, although I am also critical of substandard service. If the service is bad enough to warrant a complaint, I would speak to the manager. Emmer’s attitude toward the whole idea of wages, tips, and the service industry is indicative of his ignorance of how it works, but also of a basic attitude that somehow working people should be punished. It’s an attitude of contempt for working people that has no place in public office.


    Servers work really hard and deserve everything they can get, so i tip generously 20%!

  • Kevin

    Unless a server was actually rude to me, I always give at least 18%, usually 20 (being a full time grad student, it depends on my own financial status at the time).

    I worked as a busboy for four years while in high school and college, and thus witnessed the multitude of things that can have an adverse effect on “service”. Although servers are the public face of the establishment, they are quite limited in what they can control. Being a truly team oriented environment, I could never punish an individual for what in all likelihood was beyond their purview.

  • Terri N.

    I think waitstaff should be paid a living wage, but also have the chance to earn more when they provide excellent service. This would encourage those in the service industry to always strive to do their best and provide better experiences for us customers.

    I personally do not believe that any of us should have to tip at all if the service was poor and the experience bad due to a bad waitstaff person. We must pay for the meal but it’s up to the restaurant to maintain waitstaff who help their business. At the same time, a good server who helps provide a wonderful experience should be tipped accordingly. I’ve often tipped over 20% in those situations because the experience was worth it.

  • Joe Schaedler

    I tip 1 dollar for every 5 paid on the bill (20%), regardless of the quality of the service (unless it is exceptionally good or bad service). Servers would not be able to live on that plus minimum wage.

    Mr Emmer’s recommendadtion to cut their wages further is thus despicable, since servers are generally living hand-to-mouth. He uses anecdotal examples of the cream-of-the-crop servers to justify cannibalizing the living of the 99.9% of servers in the state.

    Server incomes are not the problem for our state’s society, and Emmer’s suggestion is thus simply bad policy from a bad politician.

  • Sherry

    I tip 15% for “regular” service – no issues, not great, no bad. I will tip more for good service which could be anything from being friendly and remembering anything extra. If service is bad I do not tip. I’ve been in nice restaurants where I’ve had to find my own silverware, for example, or ask for something simple (like water) repeatedly. I’m not tipping for that. Most recently a waiter offered me his own cheaters so I could better read the menu – I think that is good service. Guaranteed no tip, ignore me, or any female at the table, in order to provide service to the men. This seems to happen more in cocktail type settings but it’s very, very annoying.

  • Bill Haverberg

    Usually 20%. It saddens me that servers must rely on this instead of being paid a living wage.

    I also ofteh throw a buck when I’m someplace like McDonald’s or Subway or a gas station, especially when I’m being served by someone older – they really need the money in those situations becase of the pay and having to stand so much and having grownup bills. They used to be surprised and declined the money lately this hasn’t happened as much even when its someplace I’ve never been before.

    For pizza, its $2 or $3, but I make it a point to be out at the door with money ready when they pull up so they can get in and out fast.

  • PJ

    I hate tipping – it is a stupid American tradition and a waste of my hard earned money. I don’t get tips on my job when I draw a really great illustration or come up with a top selling item so tipping the person who handed me food even though they didn’t prepare it is asinine in my opinion.

  • Marcus

    I think people who don’t tip or tip low shouldn’t go to places where the staff lives primarily on tips. Tips are taxed and although most servers/bartenders don’t record all their tips, the tax for tips that do get recorded takes a big gouge out of an already low paycheck.

    Tom Emmer is an ignorant jerk for making such a suggestion.

  • Sarah

    To speak of a waiters as a homogeneous group when it comes to income fails to acknowledge the wide range of restaurants that they could work at. 20% on a $10 meal is a lot different on a $100 meal.

    As well restaurants given the option to not pay their wait staff as much to hire more also fails to take into account that with more workers the tips will be spread thiner resulting in a pay cut from two ends for those working.

    My philosophy on tipping is that we should do away with it. Many places I’ve traveled there is no tipping. The quality of service doesn’t suffer. The wait staff knows what they are going home with so aren’t nearly as stressed. However while in a place where tipping is how people make their living it takes particularly bad service to make me not tip 20%. My wages aren’t docked for having a bad day so neither should theirs.

  • Joe

    20+% super service

    15-20 normal

    10% minimum…even if it is the worse experience ever. It is never ok to not tip. If your dissatisfied step up and say it face to face vs a smug face and walking away like a cheap skate. Also don’t forget about us deliver drivers….I’d argue we have the most dangerous serving job…we risk our lives to deliver you your food when it’s raining, snowing, and late…we also have much more expenses than servers do (gas, maintenance etc). The delivery charge is not all for the driver and the portion that is is for mileage/gas….the tip!!! is our income. As a driver, the minimum should always be at least the cost of a gallon of gas (rounded up) or 20%. And when your pizza is late on a -15 January blizzard please don’t take it out on us.

  • Noelle

    Always 20% (or more), even for breakfast and lunch, or drinks. The only time I will tip less is if the service was exceptionally poor. One of my biggest pet peeves is eating out with those who are continually evaluating their server throughout the meal and thinking about what kind of tip they will get…it seriously detracts from the enjoyment of the meal. For this reason alone I would advocate to do away with the current tip system in the US and move to something where gratuity isn’t needed to pay someone’s wage.

    If we have exceptionally good service, we let the manager know. It always amazes me to see the scared look on a manager’s face when we ask if that’s who they are, and then watch it melt away as we extend our compliments to their waitstaff.

  • Jordan Prosser

    I constantly tip upwards of 50% (depending on the cost of the service). I enjoy giving to people. A 10 dollar tip for a 13 dollar haircut would not be uncommon for me. It puts a smile on people’s faces, and if I have the money to give, why not make another human happier? It’s not just a monetary gift, it’s a gift of gratitude and kindness.

    My mother’s philosophy for poor service is the server is having a bad day, and a big tip will make them happier for the next customer. And if they already do a good job and are happy, then a large tip for providing an enjoyable environment.

  • Amanda

    For great service, I am happy to add a generous tip. I give my hair stylist 30%; plus a little more during the holidays. For service that’s good but not outstanding, between 15-20%. I think the tip should be based on the cost before tax (something I picked up from my dad).

    If I can tell that someone is trying to enhance my experience (whatever the experience is), then I want to show them I appreciate it because it really does make a difference.

  • Victoria

    I am fifty-four and have worked as server for most of those years. It’s a very physical job that can cause lots of wear and tear on the body. I depend on tips to live. I have to behave a certain way to receive those tips. It’s almost like going on stage and playing a role. So a server job is both physically and metally taxing and not everyone can do it. You especially need to like people and end up serving all different kinds.

    This is the system we have in the US, tipping is here to stay because employers would never be able to pay servers enough. Cutting wages will get you less professional service, because I couldn’t do it for less and I do consider myself a professional. My customers have a wonderful experience because I know what it takes to give them that experience.

    Emmer is out of touch and an extremist. I have faith that he will never win the Governor race because Minnesotans would never back his extremist ideas. Thank you MPR for asking the question…..

  • Ryan

    20% always! No matter what! More if service is great. If service is poor, speak to the manager.

    Servers work the front of the house, and handle 95% of customer relations. However, there exists a multitude of factors—cooks in training, underpaid kitchens, swamped bartenders, inexperienced wait assists, under/overstaffing—which may affect a customer’s experience but are simply out of a server’s control. If looking, one would find very few if any servers who “don’t care” about providing great service; their rent and electric bills demand that they care! To those of you who “evaluate” your server throughout your meal, determining and attaching a dollar amount to a server’s “level of concern” towards you, try and remember the myriad factors that go into making your experience a pleasant one. Don’t dock a server’s living wage, their rent money, money used to feed their kids, due to something they couldn’t control. Tip 20%. Don’t be cheap. Don’t be a jerk. Good tippers make great lovers

  • Kris Jacobs

    Wages have fallen so much, why not tip people who, for example: know where to find what you need quickly and can give advice on its use, like a hardware store. I’ve done this and I get great service every time they see me.

    My time is valuable and I appreciate efficiency and know-how. Drive-up window workers of all kinds: low paying jobs all. EVERY little bit helps.

    Give what you can when you can. Make someone’s day by showing that you appreciate them. You are the one who will gain the most.

  • David W

    Tipping is a slang term for a Gratuity. A gratuity is a gift for exceptional service. I resent being forced to a specific gratutiy level. It shouldnt be my job as a customer to make certian that there is good service, I shouldnt have to tip at all! Employers should be ashamed of forcing their customers to do their job of making certian their employees are doing a good job for a good wage.

    Regardless, I tip 10-15% but I will gladly tip more for exceptional service, but is will tip less for average or less service, and have tipped nothing right before speaking to the manager for rude service.

  • Michael Swenson

    TOP 5 reasons to take care of your server.

    1. I’ve been working for minnimum wage at the same bar & grill for over 8 years. The only wage increase I saw was federally mandated. How many businesses other than bars & restaurants get away without giving veteran & more experienced (more valuable) employees a raise?

    2. I’m worked my (sweaty) butt off every night this 4th of July weekend, while you had fun.

    3. All first time customers receive fast & freindly service. When you see the same guy getting faster freindler service than you’re getting…there’s a reason cheapo.

    4. Students, single parents, and people working a second 2nd job make up a HUGE share of the service industry workforce.

    5. Can I get some extra ranch dressing?

  • Gretchen

    I worked as a server for 7 years.

    I am a generous tipper because I know how much work, physical and intellectual, that goes into creating a great dining experience. Servers need to be smart, intuitive, sociable, tactful, and experts at conflict resolution! They need to balance a try of drinks in one hand and a plate of food in the other, while always thinking five steps ahead.

    If a server makes $100,000/year, good for them, they deserve it. But most don’t and most servers don’t get any kind of benefits. And don’t forget that most servers also tip out to bar tenders, the kitchen, and other staff!

  • Willi

    I really appreciate all the sympathy people on this list show for, “those poor people who wait tables.” The reality is that lots of people who have minimun wage jobs work very hard in jobs that are more physically and mentally taxing than waiting tables. I waited on people for 10 years – from carhoping in high school through fine dining – as I put myself through school. These jobs were no harder than other jobs and I can assure you that, from an hourly standpoint, I was paid way above minimum wage on tips alone. And I can tell you now from tracking server tips for tax purposes (those given on credit cards alone), on an hourly basis, servers are paid out of proportion to the other valuable people in a restaurant (often averaging $20 per hour on tips alone excluding whatever they may have received in cash). Small restaurants especially struggle with having staff available just in case customers might show up. In this economy especially, restaurants struggle with cost in the face of people cutting back on meals out and couponing like mad. There is no reason why MN shouldn’t do like the Federal Gov & most other States and allow employers to apply a portion of the tips toward minimum wage.

  • Julie

    This bears repeating.. and should apply throughout all areas of your life.

    “Give what you can when you can. Make someone’s day by showing that you appreciate them. You are the one who will gain the most.” -kris

    As far as Emmer’s suggestions go… I think they are outrageous! Is he just out of ideas for punishing the working class and has to stoop so low?


  • Julie

    This bears repeating.. and should apply throughout all areas of your life.

    “Give what you can when you can. Make someone’s day by showing that you appreciate them. You are the one who will gain the most.” -kris

    As far as Emmer’s suggestions go… I think they are outrageous! Is he just out of ideas for punishing the working class and has to stoop so low?


  • jend

    20% is an appropriate gratuity for almost all siutuations. Any less and you are cutting into someone’s pay. Most restaurants require tip sharing; So the bartender, food runner, bar back, and busser are all tipped according to what is left in the tip line.

    Generosity is a virture and if one cannot afford to tip according to the total sales, one cannot afford the service.

  • Julia Harrison

    I have waited tables at various points in my life, when I was younger, and I wanted to give you my opinion of your idea of lowering minimum wage, and ask you why you think it’s ok to cut the small amount of money that people make. First, it’s very hard work, physically and mentally, dealing with customers. Second, waitpersons almost always share their tips with the other restaurants staff (bus people, dish washers, hosts and cooks) and they don’t make a lot of money to begin with. So they may make $100,000.00? That is obviously the limited exception, not at all the rule – you know that as well as I do, and aside from that, who cares? They have earned the money if they are good at what they do, and it isn’t up to you to cap wages for people because you have decided to try to help business people. Are the restaurant owners making more than the wait staff? Of course they are. Please stop promoting an idea that just proves you are there for business and not for the people as well. We all need to make a living, and the wait people don’t need you nosing into their business.

  • Al

    I tend to tip 20% or just above if the service is good. I’ve worked in restaurants and other service jobs. I understand how the vast majority of waitstaff make far less than I do now and are trying to make ends meet or put themselves through school. I can afford to be generous.

    So how many waiters and waitresses make $100,000/year, Mr. Emmer? I suspect that those who can make $100,000/year are working at upscale establishments with very high prices. Paying them minimum wage in addition to tips would be a drop in the bucket for the restaurant owners. I just love listening to the non-sense coming from Mr. Emmer. Which group of low and middle income people will he alienate next?

  • Willi

    “Of course,” restaurant owners are making more than the servers? Obviously spoken by someone who does not own a restaurant. I personally know restaurant owners who are making less than servers in this restaurant environment. Open up your eyes. Restaurants are bleeding red ink while desperately offering insane coupon discounts just to get warm bodies in the doors for the servers to wait on. This is selfish? Why do you think four of the premier restaurants in Minneapolis were shifting alcohol inventory and cash between restaurants? They were trying to keep the doors open long enough for the customers to come back and start spending again. Meanwhile, watch while more restaurants go broke and close. Then the out-of-work servers would be happy to be able to have the Federal Minimum Wage just to be able to have the opportunity to earn tips from customers. The restaurant business is hard and low margin – especially for small independents. Tho it rubs you the wrong way, owners have put their savings and time on the line. They deserve some sympathy (and a break) too.

  • wiseone

    Mr Emmer in a visit to an upscale bar and restaurant left a tip of $1.80 on a bill of $198.20. Tough to live on that.

  • Sam

    Tipping is not gratuity, it’s motivation. The service industry is pretty close knit and your tipping habits will get around. If a server knows that table A is going to be a good tip and table B is going to be a bad tip, which table do you think is going to get the most attention?

    I tip at least 20%. Being a good tipper has gotten me free drinks, free deserts, discounts on my meals, and lots of other goodies. I’ve even been given a phone number or two.

  • Willi

    And who pays for all those freebies you get because you tip well? Except for the phone number, the server is getting you to tip better by giving away product that doesn’t belong to him or her. Serving labor ought to be paid for just like any other business. If the business raised prices by 20% and then asked you not to tip, you’d think $33.60 for a $28.00 steak was an outrageous price and never eat at that restaurant. I’m not defending Mr. Emmer – IF he indeed did what you say – but you people are all ignoring the issues as you sanctimoniously brag about what great tippers you are. Believe it or not, I also am a great tipper, but that doesn’t mean the system isn’t unfair and shouldn’t be changed.

  • D C

    I never understood this custom of tipping. It’s not universal, in Canada they don’t tip. Now I’m not cheap or stingy, (unlike Mr. Emmer), and I do tip average or above for good service. But why are there some professions where the worker is paid by the whim and will of his clients. Obviously it’s not a “reward” for good service or something to be withheld for bad. Most people will tip even if the service is lousy. To me, an employee is to be paid by the employer, regardless of the work being done. In turn the consumer pays the employer to compensate the worker. So why do we tip bartenders or the hostess and not the plumber or electrician. Tipping is a silly custom. Let’s do away with the whole concept an pay those in such industries a fair living wage for their work just like the rest of us.

  • Chris

    It appears that I’ve been living in the past for quite some time now! Twenty percent? I’ve always tipped around 12-15%, sometimes more if my group was exceptionally large or the service was far beyond what could be reasonably expected. If 20% really is the standard, I guess I’ll eat only at Fast Food restaurants.

  • Sandy Molin

    There’s always been alot of controversary over tipping. I have worked jobs that you receive tips for. When I go out I tip according to service, the better the service the better the tip. BUT, WHAT I DON’T UNDERSTAND IS: What give Mr. Emmer the right, or anybody else for the fact, to say anything about how much money a person makes after tipping. How much money a year does Mr. Emmer make???? Maybe he should take a pay cut. It’s nobody’s business if a person working in a tipping position makes $100,000 a year or not. If we are going to start wage caps on things like this then maybe Mr. Emmer needs to take a pay cut and see how he likes it. If he’s so worried about small business’s keeping open then he should be talking about tax breaks for small business’s not cutting employees wages. How does he figure buy cutting employees wages is going to save the company that much money? If a small business was going under and they needed help from employess in the line of wages I bet alot of employees would take pay cuts to help them out, but you start getting into tipping business’s cutting pay wages but not cutting prices so they can make more money for corporate america, ie, Perkins, Denny’s, Applebee’s, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and the list goes on and on and on. These corporate business’s would be the first to cut as low as possible and you would never see their prices come down. Just more money for the top dogs.

    By the way, what does Mr. Emmer do for a living???

  • JB

    I’m getting to this discussion late, but I want to give a different point of view.

    Think of a server as half host/ess, half salesperson. They are making sure your stay is enjoyable and, in some cases, upselling a product (Offering a wine pairing or a dessert to compliment the meal). Many salespeople are given a commission, and the good ones make more commissions for more sales. Tips should reflect the meal purchased, with more if the server did their job well. Unfortunately in this case, the commission must come from the customer and not the employer, but I won’t comment on that.

    If someone does their job well, they should not be punished by being paid a substandard wage. Where would the motivation be to serve well? If this idea were to become law, customer service would be truly dead (and you thought it was dead now).

  • suestuben

    I would not mind tipping if it were equitable across the vast field of workers. Why do we tip the people we tip? I fear that oftentimes we tip out of fear of retribution, like having someone spit in your food.

    There are many workers who deserve tips more than servers, like immigrant workers who are working at the mercy of their employers. I gave a good tip to a crew of Mexican men who put a new roof on my home because I know they were making next to nothing. I have been a child support officer for years and have obtained large settlements for my clients but I’ve never been tipped. I was working for $16/hour when I obtained a $56,000 settlement for a parent, I was not even thanked for my efforts but was yelled at because it wasn’t more! I mention this because their are people you run into everyday who deserve a bump in their income more than someone who brought you a plate of food. How about the pilot who landed in the Hudson? Maybe the next door Mom who noticed your child in distress and acted quickly, saving your child’s life? How about the cheerful bus driver who picks you up everyday and starts your workday off with a smile?

    My point is that we should be free to decide who we tip and when we tip; it should not be a requirement in just a few arbitrary professions. I practice tipping more freely and wish more would do that, it might catch on and stop the tyrany of the servers.

  • Steve the Cynic

    With a tip, you’re paying an employee to give you better service from the employer than you would get otherwise. If the employer were the government, we’d call that bribery. Why should I, the customer, get worse service just because someone else can pay a bigger bribe, er, I mean, tip, than I can?

  • Chuck

    I spent years in the Army risking my life for next to nothing, years working tough construction jobs for $10 / hr. with no benefits and no one ever tipped me. I do not believe it should be my problem whether someone is paid enough or not; it should be the workers’ responsibility. If one is not satisfied with their pay, find another job that pays more. If people did this, then employers would be forced to pay more to attract good workers. I think that 20% is ridiculous, but I will begrudgingly tip that amount due to social pressure, but most of the time I tip 15%. In Europe and other countries, the gratuity is included in the bill. That is a much better way, imho.

  • T. Day

    Counting on receiving tips for doing your job is essentially begging, looking for a handout. I’ve always assumed that panhandlers are people who have exercised the worst of all personal career management decisions. Putting yourself in a position where you actually expect people to make up for the salary you accepted ought to be embarrassing, but some of the people who do that are downright arrogant. Some of the people who have replied here are examples of that.

    A lot of the expectations of tipping have changed radically in the last 50 years. My father, a high school teacher, probably tipped no more than $50 in his whole life. His father, a depression era Kansas farmer, definitely never tipped. I’ve worked all sorts of jobs, since I was 13, and I have never been tipped or expected it. Honestly, I think I’d be embarrassed if someone offered a tip for services I’d already charged for.

    Someone here said that people who don’t want to tip lavishly should avoid places where servers expect to be tipped. I think places that employ people like that ought to be required to post warnings on the door, “Caution, our servers are underpaid, arrogant, and will aggressively panhandle our customers.”

  • JC

    I always tip. My tip is always in the form of a nice little note left on the table. The note reads:

    I do have a tip for you. Get a job that does not require customers to pay your wages. Your employer is the one that should pay your wages, not me.

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