Tipping: A Thesis

Some friends and I were discussing tipping this morning and it really got me thinking. People seem to think it’s something to be proud of to refer to yourself as a ‘good tipper’. And while you certainly wouldn’t want the monkier ‘bad tipper’…isn’t blindly being a good tipper, almost worse…?

I believe that tipping in the United States has gotten out of hand. Everyone asks for tips, from the barista at Starbucks, to the cashier at Burger King. But think about it – what IS a tip? According to Wikipedia, TIPS does not stand for To Insure Prompt Service, as most people believe. But most people believe that it means this and when they put the little “tip cup” out on a bar – that is the impetus behind the creation of such a vessel. It’s like I’m being guilted into tipping these people, regardless of worthiness.

And there’s the rub. WHO deserves a tip? Does the barista that takes my order and then hands me my $4.00 coffee deserve a tip? I do not believe so. They are doing their job. That’s what they get paid to do. It’s part of their job description. However, waiters who bring you your food at a restaurant, they not only bring you your food (that’s in their job description) but they can also go above and beyond and provide good service. They can be friendly, be very prompt when bringing refills, bring the correct order (and be extremely contrite should their be an error), they should come back to check on you after leaving the food. They should bring condiments without having to be asked. These are the EXTRA things that a waiter can do, and for these things I believe they deserve a tip.

Tipping without considering these factors is irresponsible. If you blindly tip 20% – you’re rewarding bad behavior – and that waiter will continue to give mediocere service because they know that even if they do the bare minimun they will continue to receive this gratuitiy, their 20%. But that’s not how it should be. The tip should be directly proportional to the quality of their work. When I sit down, a waiter starts out with no tip. They have to earn that tip. And I do not feel badly, if I get bad service, leaving only a quarter. And I believe it’s important to leave something…because I do not want the waiter thinking that I might have forgotten. I want them to know I think they were lousy. The twenty-five cents is a statement.

My point is to get you to think before you tip – ! Do they deserve your money? You work hard for your money. I know I do. I had to put up with bosses, stupid coworkers, getting up at 5am and driving an hour to work. Paying for gas. I work HARD and does this person deserve MY money? Think about it before you just blindly put down 20%. Thank-you. My name is Nevis and I approve this message.

And if you read all that, I would like to reward you with a funny video that perfectly illustrates my ideas on tipping. Enjoy!


~ by Nevis on May 7, 2008.

17 Responses to “Tipping: A Thesis”

  1. I can’t watch the video now so I will have to check it out later…

    I believe in tipping if the service is awesome or if the waiter has gone above and beyond to make my time there fun and enjoyable. I have tipped cashiers and such before because they made me laugh or we had a good chat. I have also walked away from an expensive dinner leaving just enough change to round up to the next dollar.

    It all depends on the service.
    My husband likes to tip big for bad service so they remember us when we come again and then leave nothing for the ‘better’ service we get the 2nd time. I am not sure if this works though…

  2. Sounds like this tipping thing really gets your goat . . . Mommy wholeheartedly agrees with you, although she usually will leave 10% if the service is not good. Daddy is too nice and will always give at least 15%.

  3. I completely agree! I don’t know how tipping got so out of hand in America but I’m guessing its related to the smug pride derived from being a “good tipper”. When I receive bad service, I tip 10%, but I complain to a manager. I feel the waiter would just go to the back and bitch with coworkers if I left less than 10%, and then take out their crap attitude on the next table. Complaining actually causes something to be done, at least I hope.

  4. I agree that it’s gotten out of hand. In restaurants, the wait staff is paid a small hourly wage with the expectation of tips comprising the rest of their income. We all know that, and it’s fair, and usually is in balance. Good service = good tips. However, when did the “rule” change so that 20% is average and 15% is a bad tip? I missed it when that happened, apparently. But what I really object to is the tip jars at the coffee shop, ice cream store, etc. Workers there are paid their hourly wage without the expectation of tips making up a large portion of their income. Furthermore, they aren’t spending a large amount of time with each customer who comes in. I’m with you, the jar is just trying to make us feel guilty and compelled to put money in.

  5. Yesterday, I had a ham sandwich and thought of you. I left a 20% tip. Why? Good service despite a badly organized restaurant. Also, people seem to assume women are bad tippers — I’m fightin’ the stereotype.

    Did you know that in many states, restaurant staff don’t get minimum wage because it is assumed they make a certain amount in tips?

    It’s very rare I leave a poor tip or no tip at all. If I do, I write the reason on the receipt. For instance, if a waiter chronically ignores us or just brings the check without asking if we want coffee or dessert, — tsk, tsk — not hospitable. If I have to do half the waiter’s job for him, no tip for him.

  6. PS I’m a sucker for hardworking teens earning money for school or Wii. They usually get good tips.

  7. I agree about not tipping at the coffee shop or the ice cream store. When service is bad, we do tip accordingly. My friend told me that to a waitress, a penny means you stink.

    Roxy’s mom

  8. We have to confess- we are hard judges of a waiter…they start out at a certain level, and can easily drop…it will take a superior job to bring it up! However, while we will register complaints of bad service, we are also the first ones to call great service to a manager’s attention.

    kari & kijsa

  9. I am a softie when it comes to tipping no matter the service so thank you for the food for thought on what I am really rewarding. MacLean’s magazine which is Canadian just did an editorial on tipping and it was funny how many responses theyu received from irate servers who felt the money was a part of the job.

    We are offline for a bit while we drive to Nevada– catch up with you and your blog when we get settled!


  10. I generally concur with your thesis. However, hardworking canine imams should be well tipped.

  11. This was very well written and my husband and I agree completely with you!

  12. awesome girl!!! I LOVE this post!

  13. Okay I have to admit I am a mindless tipper. Thanks for making me think about this. I LOVED the video.

  14. By mindless tipper I mean we almost always tip 20% but I am starting to realize we don’t need to do this. I like Terry’s idea of writing on the check what the bad tip is for.

  15. I agree with you on this! Loved the video! Too funny. I used to watch “3rd Rock From the Sun’ all the time.

  16. I tip great when I get great service. I don’t tip the starbucks dude for handing my drink out the window, but if the service goes above and beyond I’ll tip.

  17. You would be proud of me. On vacation, we had a crummy waitress who never came to our table and I had to ask for water. We left her a TINY tip! 🙂

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