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Why do We Tip for Some Professions but Not Others?

Michael Pollick
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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In most countries, the practice of tipping remains more of a custom than a mandate. In fact, there are entire organizations dedicated to the complete eradication of this practice, which they say compels the public to compensate for the low wages paid by greedy or stingy employers. Nevertheless, it has become a very common practice when dealing with those in the service or hospitality trade. There are a number of things to consider when it comes to the seemingly arbitrary practice. It does help compensate lower paid employees, but it also rewards service people who go above and beyond the call of duty.

One reason we tip certain service employees such as waiters or bellhops is to help compensate for a gap in wages. Employers are legally permitted to pay less than minimum wage to certain employees who routinely benefit from tips. This means a waiter may only receive a few dollars an hour as a regular salary from the restaurant, so the difference must be made up in tips. A waiter may also be responsible for tipping other employees such as bussers and bartenders. Without regular tips, waiters and barmaids may not even earn the legal minimum wage.

Other employees of the same restaurant are rarely tipped, however. Cooks, hosts, and dishwashers are generally paid at least the minimum hourly wage for their services. Their job responsibilities are the same regardless of the volume of business. Tipping a cook or dishwasher may seem counter-intuitive to most diners, since there is little personal interaction and those kitchen personnel appear to be properly compensated already. Waiters and waitresses may have to compete for part-time hours, while cooks and other kitchen staff are usually guaranteed full-time work or even overtime.

Tipping is also more likely to occur whenever the employee performs above and beyond the call of duty. A hotel desk clerk is only performing his or her duty during the check-in process, but a bellhop may carry several large suitcases directly to a customer's room and offer to fill the ice bucket or demonstrate the room's amenities. Many people equate giving a tip with rewarding good service. By tipping the bellhop or concierge well, the customer may receive even better treatment on a return visit.

Sometimes the decision between tipping or not is a matter of perception. Some customers of a family-owned restaurant, for example, may not tip the owner of the establishment if he or she waits on their table, but will tip a hired waiter. The idea is that the owner of the restaurant is already well compensated through total sales, but the hired waiter still depends on tips to earn a decent living wage. The owner of a hair salon may earn a decent salary through product sales and specialized services, but individual stylists who rent booths may rely more on tips to earn a living wage.

Some experts speculate that tipping is also a form of social equalization, a means to share the wealth with a hardworking but underpaid service worker. The practice used to be connected to the perceived quality of services provided, but in modern times, it has become almost ritualistic. Regardless of the actual quality of the service, many customers realize that service and hospitality workers do work extremely hard for relatively low wages. One reason we tip certain professions and not others is because of this perception. It simply makes us feel better knowing we can reward others for their service and attention.

WiseTour is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick , Writer
As a frequent contributor to WiseTour, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Discussion Comments

By anon1003924 — On Oct 08, 2020

"Employers are legally permitted to pay less than minimum wage to certain employees who routinely benefit from tips. This means a waiter may only receive a few dollars an hour as a regular salary from the restaurant, so the difference must be made up in tips. "

Actually this is lawfully, untrue.

By law the employer is required to ensure that the employee receives at least the minimum wage.

If the State or local wage is higher than the Federal minimum than that is the wage that is required to be paid.

By anon1001902 — On Jul 22, 2019

I know a lot of people working for minimum wage and they don't receive tips for doing what they were hired for. The standard is if you want better money get a different job.

By anon993092 — On Oct 22, 2015

Why should we tip at all? People work in many service industries and do not get tipped and to those who say if you can afford to go out and eat you can afford to tip, I say 'bull crap.' Those people may have saved to go out for a special dinner. That's their right to do so. After all, they are paying for the overpriced food to begin with. You do not know their financial status to be a judge of them. Where does tipping end for any service provider? And to places that tack a tip onto a person's bill, shame on you. That is an illegal practice. By the way, both my children are waitresses and I know what they make and the $10.70 per hour they are paid.

By anon978577 — On Nov 19, 2014

O.K. Let me point out we are not paid to serve you. We are paid "To Insure Promptness" TIP. Yes, we have to bring you the food you ordered, and your drinks, but We don't have to give it to you in a timely manner you can have your steak two hours after its cooked, that is if you are still sitting there waiting for that steak, because we don't care if you eat here or not because we know you don't tip well the first time.

We don't have to refill your water, give you good service, or be a slave to you. A lot of people think they're entitled to spectacular service, or just service, because my job is "Customer Service," which doesn't mean I have to make the customer happy. I just have to provide the service that I am supposed to.

If you haven't gotten my point yet, it is, sure, you don't have to tip, but if you come back the second time, expect something.

By AtlRealtor — On Mar 03, 2014

It's always a pleasure to tip for attentive and helpful service, no matter the industry or profession.

My quandary is when any business professional pointedly asks what percentage tip you would like to leave. Another dilemma is when a restaurant compels you to valet park, which implies that you will provide a tip for a service that you do not need.

Then there is the tip jar! When I walk into an establishment, pick up my own food (sometimes pre-made), wait in line at the cashier's to pay, and either take-out or bus my own table should I elect to eat in, what is the purpose of the tip? Isn't choosing to spend your money in the establishment a reward in and of itself?

I am a Realtor, and frequently provide valuable market information for buyers and listing evaluations for sellers. I have never received a tip, or offer of compensation, even when folk are obviously "fishing" for information with no intention of buying or selling.

I must invest time, energy and resources to interview prospective clients and determine whether there is a mutually profitable business opportunity. I am paid once services are successfully delivered, and if anyone changes their mind or is not able to move forward for any reason, then my time, expenses, and opportunity costs are lost. These are the customs in my industry, and I accept those. Sometimes I make good business decisions, and sometimes not so much. And, unfortunately, sometimes people will outright lie.

However, knowing how hard I must work for the opportunity to be selected as a service provider, then to exceed all expectations to provide extraordinary and time sensitive service, I am perplexed by the tip jar, and the frequently manipulated expectation of a tip by other service professionals.

With the exception of food service, I make my tip contributions to most service professionals with a healthy dose of reluctance and lack of understanding. If value and service are good, I will be a loyal patron and refer my friends; if not, I will not.

Aren't service excellence, repeat business and personal referrals the foundation of any successful business or practice? Aren't these, with a few exceptions, the ultimate "tip"?

By anon925272 — On Jan 11, 2014

Tipping is ridiculous! Why tip only bartenders and waiters? Are they special? Why do they deserve an additional 15 or 20 percent for doing their job? The people in the kitchen have a tougher gig than them! There are so many other occupations that do similar work for low wages and do not complain nor receive tips.

It's their job! They signed up for it! Blame the government standards and the business for not paying them a decent wage.

If they don't like their jobs, then work towards a new profession. They should stop blaming the customers for their dislikes and financial upsets.

I worked in a restaurant when I was a teenager and enjoyed the extra tip money because to me, it was free money for doing what I already got paid to do. Getting paid minimum wage was a motivation for me to search for bigger and better employment opportunities. I worked multiple jobs, took out loans for college and eventually graduated. Working as a waiter or bartender should be a transition job for people to one day obtain an education or certification for a better career. If you are trying to make a career out of those occupations then you should not complain!

How about tipping your bus driver, grocery cashier, bank teller, gas attendant, receptionist, retail, security, fast food workers, janitors, trash service, gardener -- and the list goes on.

Life is not fair. To me, it seems like nowadays more individuals are too comfortable and want a bigger handout for everything and anything. Everyone wants to make the big bucks but they do not want to put in the effort, sacrifice and discipline to move ahead and achieve greater things.

Think about it: If people could earn good money working as a waiter or bartender, then why would anyone want to find another career? No motivation, no college education and no trade school certification equates to a disposable workforce. The business owner's mentality is that if you won't or can't do the job then there is someone else who will and the cycle never ends.

Eating at Olive Garden with my family I generally receive a bill of about $125 for five people. Now I'm supposed to automatically give 15 to 20 percent for tip for them doing their job ($19-24) + (8.80- minimum wage)? I know some college graduates who bust their tails all day conducting research, computing, analyzing samples and still don't make that hourly wage.

Anyway, I'm sure all the individuals working in such fields will reply with absurd scenarios, sad stories and comments about myself being a cheapskate and not to eat out if I cannot tip.

I don't go to my favorite restaurants for your bar-tending/waiting services. I go for the good, flavorful food! I would gladly get up and walk to grab my own drinks and food if the restaurant allowed it.

I donate to charities and homeless shelters without any concerns, but when it comes to tipping it irks me for some odd reason.

By anon352226 — On Oct 20, 2013

Why should I give someone extra money for doing their job? No one gives me extra money for doing my job. My job also entails providing customer service. I don't complain that I don't get tipped either. Servers feel as if they're entitled.

I live in Las Vegas and something that I just can't grasp is why bartenders, poker dealers, etc. feel as if they're entitled to a portion of your winnings. I do not understand the logic in this. They're simply doing their jobs. What entitles them to a portion of what I have won while gambling because they're standing behind a counter and handing me drinks? They're providing me with customer service. Point being? It's their job.

By anon352225 — On Oct 20, 2013

It's the employer's job to pay the employees. If they need to bring in more money to pay their employees better, raise the prices. Don't get mad at me for not tipping you. Get mad at your employer for not paying you well.

By anon352224 — On Oct 20, 2013

I find it interesting that people who make tips look at people who do not tip as if they're not good people. It's all a matter of perspective. Are servers not good people for not tipping the friendly cashier at the grocery store? I doubt that most of them have even offered a tip. This sounds a bit hypocritical to me. It seems as if people who earn tips are extremely selfish. It seems like they care so much about the money being taken out of someone else’s pocket to be put into their pockets. It seems like the server expects everyone to care about the amount of money in his/her pocket but could care less about the amount of money that's in the customer's pocket. Oh, but we shouldn't go out to eat if we can't tip. Well, they shouldn't accept a job if it means they’re not "making enough." Not happy with it? Go to school.

Also, every argument I've read pertaining to tipping seems so invalid. If we're going to apply these arguments to servers then we should apply the same standards to other occupations. There are a lot of people who provide customer service, make minimum wage and do not get tips.

If the people who are in the food industry would lower their customer service value if they stopped getting tips, then they're a disgrace to that profession anyway. Let's get people in there who are appreciative of their jobs.

By anon352220 — On Oct 20, 2013

I truly do not understand the logic of tipping. It's such a huge social norm that it seems as if people are incapable of looking at it objectively.

Plenty of people have the argument that servers (and people in other professions) "don't get paid enough." How biased is this? There are a lot of people who "don't get paid enough" who do not receive tips. Why aren't we tipping those people as well? Furthermore, where I live, all employees are required to make at least minimum wage (including servers). So, the argument that these people "make less than minimum wage" does not apply in the arguments following.

I hear the customer service argument a lot. Has anyone stopped to think about that customer service is part of their jobs. There are a lot of people who have jobs that require them to provide customer service. I should not have to feel obligated to give someone a bonus because they're doing their job. Do we tip receptionists? They are required to provide customer service, and they usually don't make much (depending on the place of employment). Do we tip our bank tellers? Do we tip nurses? Servers are making a lot more than a lot of these people, because people feel that every server is entitled to a tip. We're overcompensating. I have friends who are servers who are making $40/hour sometimes. Can someone please explain to me how these people aren't making enough? They're making more than many with college degrees.

One of the arguments that is very interesting to me is that servers are providing a personal service. It's their job. They signed up for it. When I go out to eat, it is my duty to pay the amount on my bill. Why should I have to pay someone more for doing their job that they're already getting paid to do? If someone has chosen an occupation expecting tips, they should expect that it's not going to be entirely consistent, and they should not get annoyed with someone if they "stiffed" them. You didn't get "stiffed." You're getting paid, and you're getting paid for the hourly amount that you signed up for, just like everyone else who works for minimum wage and doesn't make tips.

Lastly, this may be a generalization, but people who earn tips somehow feel as if they're entitled to earn as much as people who go to school for four years and graduate with degrees. Shouldn't education and skill be factored in to how much someone makes? Most people are capable of being a server. Yes, some training may be required, but overall, it's pretty much a job that anyone in the general population who has somewhat of a decent personality is capable of doing. I hear the argument that they "get busy." Don't we all? Being busy and being required to provide service in a decent and efficient manner is part of their job. A lot of people get busy at work. That's reality. Servers seem as if they're people who feel as if they're entitled to bonuses because they work hard. A lot of people work hard in many different occupations, and guess what? They don't get tipped.

By anon343372 — On Jul 29, 2013

I am a waitress and have been for five years. My restaurant does not have a hostess, so customers sit wherever they would like, with no knowledge of waiters' sections (which, I get it, how could they?) But, because of this, sometimes we will get double, triple, heck, even sometimes six tables seated at once. That means greeting all of the tables, taking drink orders, making the drinks, delivering the drinks, answering any questions that customers have about menus, taking orders, placing orders, plating the food, serving the food, refilling drinks, getting people anything extra that they need for their meal, (sauces, wetnaps, butter, etc.), clearing away empty dishes, figuring out tabs (people who are splitting bills, multiple families sitting at one table, not sitting near the people you want on your bill, moving to different chairs or tables, etc.).

And I know, all of this is in our job description. And I am happy to do it without expecting a tip. But wait, what about all of the other crazy requests we get as servers? What about kids wanting a certain colored straw or the plastic swords meant for garnishing cocktails, small children having temper tantrums and you go out of your way to bring them a sucker in order to make all of the other guests, as well as their parents, have a better time, people who make sexual advances toward us and think that is okay, changing the channel on the TV so a customer can watch the NASCAR race, turning on and off fans for people who are too cold or hot, helping them to the bathroom when they have gotten too drunk and need to throw up, cleaning up said vomit, calling taxis for people who can't drive, breaking up fights, and so much more! All while trying to do all of those normal things for the six tables all at once, then yeah, that deserves a tip.

And to those of you saying that we are just doing what is in our job description, I am pretty sure it doesn't say anywhere that I will be getting called vulgar “pet” names by my customers on a regular basis.

By anon338133 — On Jun 11, 2013

1. They do a good job, so they deserve a tip.

2. Tipping is needed to maintain service quality.

3. They get low pay, so they need a tip.

4. Government assumes they get tips, so they should get tips.

5. If you don't tip, then you should go somewhere else.

You're what they call an 'enabler', hence the reason there has not and will not be any change.

Also, who in hell gets out of bed for $3.50 an hour and the privilege to beg money from complete strangers. Does America have no pride? Maybe it's time these people stop blaming others for their failures in life and make some changes.

By anon331973 — On Apr 26, 2013

To all those that think we should go to McDonald's if we don't feel like tipping, why don't you simply go work at McDonald's? They are always hiring, and they pay minimum wage. If you're tired of getting stiffed and making less than minimum wage, it would seem ideal. Unless of course, you actually do make more than they do. Or maybe it's the fact that they have to do more than carry plates and remember an order.

I just gave a 3 dollar tip and got followed to the parking lot so that the server could educate me on how I should give him more. After all I had only given the restaurant 40 dollars for two turkey sandwiches. How can I expect them to pay him properly with such cheap prices considering the astronomical price of turkey?

So here's a tip: If you get anything at all, be happy for it. When people throw a dog a bone, we don't care to hear if there's enough meat on it.

By anon322725 — On Mar 01, 2013

Even if servers are not tipped, the owner has to pay the server minimum wage, but I've actually seen owners work around this by claiming more tips than the server made and then asking the server to try and prove it or say he knows you did when you did not.

I was working as a server where I made $2.15 an hour plus tips. I made just $80 in tips for the week and my employer claimed $180 and I got screwed. I becomes a cheap back handed game of prove it, which you can't -- only report it. Most owners can take advantage of this in a job market. I quit and guess what? I'm going to lose my home. I chose not to work there like many said and didn't want to be peed on, but I'm paying the price now in a down economy.

It's hard to get even a crappy retail job these days and waiter jobs are a lot easier to get, for obvious reasons. Even more these days, the tip thing need to be changed. Some people have to deal with making $4.50 an hour regardless of the law due to the fact the owner is shady and knows you need the job to support yourself and a family.

By anon321694 — On Feb 23, 2013

I am a waitress at a restaurant where our base wage is $2.25/hr. I (obviously) do not like it when people do not leave a tip, however I also believe that tips are optional for good service, not service, period. Many of the girls I work with have bad attitudes and provide poor customer service, then complain when they get tipped poorly. Customers in those situations are only tipping because they feel socially obligated, not because the service was good.

I do think customers should be able to claim tips, since they're expected to pay my wage. I also think my employer being allowed to pay $2-$3/hr is wrong; we should make minimum wage or more, with tips being something we receive if a patron feels that we deserve it.

By anon321050 — On Feb 20, 2013

"Without regular tips, waiters and barmaids may not even earn the legal minimum wage."

Federal law requires the difference between what the worker made and the actual legal minimum wage is to be paid for by the employer.

Do not tip, and if you do, go tip your police station for keeping you safe. Sure your taxes pay them, but your bill at a restaurant pays the waiter, and law enforcement actually risk their lives. Where is their tip?

By anon317870 — On Feb 04, 2013

The whole idea of tipping is ridiculous. As many posts have already mentioned, you don't tip anyone in retail or any other harder working low paying positions. Why is it that you feel entitled to get more than what the position gives to do your job to begin with? It is the job you applied for to begin with, with so get over it and do better in life if it's such a problem. What are you people talking about making $2-3 hour? I call bullcrap on that. Narly everywhere you are making $7-9 minimum and if you don't, why are you there? It sounds very shady. I have no sympathy at all so remember the next time you go to any grocery store get that extra $20 out for that checker to "just do their job."

Restaurant people are the worst people next to insurance workers. You add no value to society yet expect this "Do my job tax". No story will make your broken logic any better.

By anon317394 — On Feb 02, 2013

OK, I have to admit that the idea of expecting a tip, especially of a certain amount is over the top. You are there to serve me, not the other way around, and if you're expecting me to pay you just for doing a job that you were hired to do, and took on knowing what the pay was, then that is expecting me to serve you, and then you call me the snob for not tipping you? What gall! Who's the real snob here?

Aside from that, a percentage of the bill when the server at IHOP and the server at the most expensive establishment in town are doing the same job, yet one should get paid more simply because the food costs more? Nonsense! If I'm going to tip at all, I'll tip the same amount to the IHOP waitress as I will the server at the expensive joint because they're doing the same job. No matter whether it's 20 percent or more at one place and less than 2 percent at the other has nothing to do with the amount of work required or done. If wait staff don't like how they're paid, that's really not my problem. They can take it up with their employer and the IRS, but I'm not their employer and I don't owe them a damn thing. In fact, they owe me something: the job they're hired to do and I'm already paying the establishment to provide in the form of my bill.

If a server has acted like I'm the only customer he's got or I can see that he or she is way overworked and still is courteous and competent, I'll reward the server for it, but it's just that -- a reward – and my choice to give. There's also the fact that what a server thinks is a good tip and what I think is a good tip are probably vastly different, and it's ultimately my money, so my idea of a good tip is what goes when I go to a restaurant, not the server's, nor your employers, nor the IRS.

By anon311383 — On Dec 31, 2012

A typical restaurant's employees costs the owner about 12-20 percent of the sales they produce. (e.g., $1000 in sales = $120-$200 employee cost). So, if we were to stop tipping servers so that the business owners "pay them what they deserve," this cost would raise to about 40-50 percent. Tack on approximately 30 percent food costs and 25 percent liquor costs, plus other expenses. Would you run this business?

By anon309364 — On Dec 16, 2012

I don't believe in tipping at all. Read your job descriptions waiters/waitresses. You signed up for it. I'd gladly get off my chair, onto my two perfectly well and capable legs and walk over to the counter to pick up my food if a restaurant really wanted me to. No trouble at all! You're not doing anything for me that I can't do for myself. If I could, I'd go and refill my own drink.

If you have issues with the amount you're being paid, take it up with your employer. I expect to pay for my food and my food only. How much you get paid for waiting tables isn't my business, it's your employer's. I'm not obligated to tip you a thing!

By anon306679 — On Dec 01, 2012

All of you people are very uneducated about tipping. Anyone that says bartending or serving is not a difficult job, you have no idea what you're talking about! If you say you were a server and beg to differ, then you weren't a good one. Being a bartender is a science, and dealing with jerks like most of these people who say, "I don't believe in tipping. Do your job" takes all the patience you have in your entire body, plus some. A customer tells you he's dying, or lost his wife, job, dog, etc. And you have to console them while babysitting the drunk guy who's whistling at you, and went into the ladies room, serving food, and making a mojito, buttery nipple, and ten other complicated drinks. At the same time, you have to do the dishes, and someone comes up and tells you the soap is out in the bathroom, there's a flood behind the bar, and a party is disputing their tab, not to mention the fifty other people you have to take care of, and always there is someone who wants to run you for ice water, napkins, and is ill that you didn't give them a pink straw in their drink, or that you did and remember this is all happening simultaneously.

Now, the drunk guy wants to start a fight, so you have to go break it up and call him a cab. Then he pukes on your carpet, falls down and cuts himself and you have to bandage him up, clean up his puke, and meanwhile he doesn't pay his tab. The guy who ordered the mojito, and ten other time consuming drinks wants to know why he has to pay $7.50 for the mojito and you have to explain to him the steps and product that go into that one drink, but because his bill is so high he stiffs you on the tip. Then the liquor control board does a surprise stop by and fines you for the drunk guy waiting on his cab, and if that one drunk guy decided to get into his car and goes and kills somebody then you can get sued for the rest of your life. This is all on the minimum wage or less that the owner pays me with no benefits whatsoever.

At the end of the night, you're exhausted from all the running you did on a concrete floor, and the kegs you had to lift, but you still have to clean up everyone's mess and restock the bar, sometimes the kitchen, plus do your till, and all in all, after tipping your door guy and cook, you walk away with sixty dollars. This is a realistic night as a bartender. Sometimes it can be better, and sometimes worse. Hopefully, this story makes you look at things a little differently. By the way, you don't tip doctors, lawyers, accountants, because they make a lot of money. You also don't tip your McDonald's worker because they don't wait on you like a server does, and the quality isn't all that great. When people don't tip, it actually costs me money, and that isn't fair, and I always know if I give poor service, and don't expect to be tipped in those cases. But, when you're one of many and I go out of my way for you ( and that's not a part of my job description) then I do hope to be handed a gratuity -- a thank you. It's not just cultural; it's common courtesy.

The owner of an establishment pays me to be there and sell his product, I simply cannot be rude, and still be professional and just drop off your drink, or food and be on my way. When you tip, it's for the experience you receive.

Try this next time you go out: tip ahead of time. You will get a different attitude, and overall experience. Most likely, you won't ever get bad service again. Let me also clarify this information. Your food and drinks are overpriced to pay for all the other things you take advantage of, like using the toilet, when you use fifty napkins, or get to listen to music, and the lights that you see with, the sports package that costs $3,000 dollars a month, taxes to have employees, insurance, and rent space. In the place I work, the bar gets taxed on rainwater. In a business that isn't corporate, you hope you can just break even sometimes. The last thing I want to say is the world needs diggers. Whether you think my job is mindless or pointless, someone has to do it, and I don't want a different job because I'm happy doing it.

By anon287302 — On Aug 24, 2012

I work in a grocery store. I've had many customers try to tip me for helping them as best I can. I don't expect a tip, but if someone is courteous enough to tip me I wouldn't complain. It doesn't matter though because corporate prohibits us from accepting tips.

By anon282233 — On Jul 28, 2012

(I have worked in the service industry before and even I don't agree with tipping practices.)

Business owners need to pay their employees fairly. Giving customers the choice between outrageous tipping or spit in their food is ridiculous. End of conversation.

By anon280073 — On Jul 16, 2012

I agree no tipping makes the owners pay a decent wage, so quit expecting your customers to pay your employees' wages.

By anon258892 — On Apr 03, 2012

I think tipping is ridiculous. I pay a price for a meal expecting that it will be prepared, brought to me, and taken away. I understand serving is a stressful job, but so is every other job. The stress and hardships associated with serving are part of what you are paid to do; it is part of your job to serve food and drinks.

There seems to be a lot of attitudes of entitlement - as if customers owe servers a tip. Sorry, but we are not your employers. If your job doesn't pay you well enough, find a different job, but don't label customers as cheap because your expectation of a tip wasn't met. There are plenty of countries in which servers are not tipped and provide excellent service at all times, and the price of food is no worse than in the US (Japan is one such country).

Seriously, to everyone claiming wait staff only makes $2-3 per hour: that isn't the case. That is the base rate at which they are paid. In theory, any tips received raise that rate to something equal or greater than minimum wage. If in the end, the amount of tips plus the base rate does not equal minimum wage, the employer is required to make up that difference.

So, regardless whether a server is tipped or not, they receive at least minimum wage before taxes and tip sharing.

Now, to servers' credit, it seems unfair that they are taxed at a flat rate for tips, regardless of the true amount the received. However, considering that amount is about 15 percent or so, that is a fairly standard amount for a minimum wage job. A cashier at the grocery store making minimum wage pays about 15 percent in taxes from their paycheck, too, and they don't get their salary bolstered with tips. Tip sharing makes sense in a way, but still seems unfair to those who make a proportionally less amount of tips.

I've seen people lament making $0 paychecks - that I call crap on. Sorry, but if your weekly/biweekly paycheck is $0, you're being cheated and need to leave that job. If you're still doing that job after several instances of receiving $0 paychecks, then you are just cheating yourself.

By anon256360 — On Mar 21, 2012

I have read every comment, and according to all those tipping supporters here, I can summarize their logic into:

1. They do a good job, so they deserve a tip.

2. Tipping is needed to maintain service quality.

3. They get low paid, so they need a tip.

4. Government assumes they get tips, so they should get tips.

5. If you don't tip, then you should go somewhere else.

In my opinion, these reasons totally don't make sense at all. If reasons 1 through 4 are valid, then every job should use this system to make things fair. Let's go protest today and make the government assumes everyone gets tips from customers/bosses. Since this is unlikely going to happen, maybe I should open a restaurant that does not allow customers to pay tips but still has good service quality. That's like a 15-20 percent discount every day. I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of customers.

By anon252244 — On Mar 04, 2012

I work at many jobs in one little restaurant, two of these jobs are dishwasher and line chef. I have also worked as a host and food runner. The way I rate the jobs by difficulty is food runner was easiest then host then dishwasher then chef. But I got paid more as a food runner and host because of tip share.

The chefs and dishwashers at my restaurant don't get tip share, even though tips largely depend upon food prepared by chefs. Servers at my restaurant make double what I do and work half the hours.

I work six days a week and can barely make it by, while I hear that the servers walk out of there with $300 for five hours of work. I find this system very ridiculous; you shouldn't get paid more for less work. When I'm a dishwasher, my job is food prep, dishes, for some reason deserts, and picking up everyone else's slack, including the servers. I would be in the back constantly working while I hear the servers goofing around in the front, and still because we get a rush they make twice what I make.

I want to hear from servers who believe that being forced to tip out cooks and dishwashers, how is that system fair? I'm there longer, work harder, and make less money. It's bull. I think that a tip out system should be bracketed based upon sales. For example, if were busy enough for the servers to make $300 each 40 percent of that should go to the cooks and dishwashers. They still make over $150, and that's more than fair for five hours of work. And if we have a slow night when a server only makes $60 or less, all of that should stay with them and the cooks and dishwashers shouldn't get jack. So current/past servers tell me what you think.

By anon252057 — On Mar 03, 2012

Personally, I don't believe that tipping is required. To prove my point, it is certainly not. The only thing I am required to pay in a restaurant is money for the food I purchase. It is the employer's responsibility to pay a fair amount of cash to his employees/waiters, not mine. If the waiters/servers have a problem with not receiving tips, they have to take the initiative to consult their boss/consider a new job. Customers don't need to do anything.

To those people who believe in tips and tell those who dislike tips to stay home, I strongly suggest you to stop and face reality. Tips have only added to America's financial issues. Supporting them will not improve the situation.

By anon249915 — On Feb 23, 2012

The reason you should always tip servers is because they make about $2 an hour (just to cover the taxes on their tips). A lot of times, they have to tip their bartenders and hosts a percentage of their sales, regardless if you tip them or not. So in effect, if you stiff a server, then they are paying to wait on you.

I was a server and a bartender a couple of years ago while in college and more often than not, my check every two weeks would be void because the $2 an hour pay didn't even cover the taxes on the tips I had to declare. I see why they have to tip the bartenders and hosts, too. If the bartender doesn't have anyone at the bar, but they are furiously making drinks for the servers' tables, then they aren't making any money even though they are working really hard. Think of it that way.

On tipping everyone else however, it has gotten way out of hand.

By anon241674 — On Jan 19, 2012

Tipping = scam.

By anon235028 — On Dec 15, 2011

@anon221919: The way I see it, tipping is the equivalent of giving someone a small gift, not a financial transaction. People don't usually receive a tax credit for the expense of personal gifts. It was your personal money at first, and then you decided to give it to a server after he or she performed a service.

If the tip had been added automatically to a large bill during a business lunch, the entire cost would be included in an expense account. An individual tip is not necessarily seen as a deductible business expense, since there was nothing in the original customer/restaurant "contract" that included gratuities.

The idea of paying servers a nominal hourly wage is often used as a motivator for better service. A server who puts out minimal effort during that hour is not going to earn much in tips, so it falls on that employee to show some initiative and improve their rapport with customers.

The only time I disagree with the below minimum wage concept is when a manager forces someone to perform untipped side work (rolling silverware, cleaning booths, vacuuming carpets, etc.) for that entire hour on the clock. I think side work should be limited to an employee's final hour on the schedule, after he or she has had enough tables to earn a decent wage.

By anon230311 — On Nov 18, 2011

Oh my, people, where are you living that your wage is only $2.25 an hour?I have not heard of that wage in well over 30 years. I live in Northern Alberta, Canada and the waitresses here are making around $9 an hour plus tips!

My problem is not with tipping. It is people expecting a specific amount! I feel 15 percent is fine for average service, but for people to expect a 20 percent tip is just wrong. Some of these girls are taking home anywhere between $60 to $300 a night in tips. Way more money than I make.

By anon221919 — On Oct 14, 2011

The thing that I don't understand about tipping is this: When I leave a tip, why can't I write that money off on my taxes?

If I earn $15 dollars, $5 of it goes to taxes at 28 percent, so then I have a $50 dollar meal and leave a $10 dollar tip.

Why isn't that portion of the waiter/bartender, (et al) salary that I'm paying tax deductible for me?

The waiter now has to declare his income

(which we pay most of) and pay taxes on it so the government gets it from me and the server.

I don't mind tipping but I'm starting to feel ripped off by the system in place, and yes I was a waiter for about 15 years and I still do banquets from time to time.

Someone really needs to start asking about this. I didn't know where to turn so I'm posting it here for the first time. If you agree. Spread the word.

By anon220944 — On Oct 10, 2011

Also, the arguments that the prices for food would be more than if you just paid a tip, are completely untrue.

Tipping is not allowed in Japan. The prices for Japanese food restaurants are cheaper than in America, the food is higher quality than America, and the service if better. Did I mention no tipping?

Face it: waiters expect more for nothing. Waiters think they are better than the rest of us. Waiters expect us to pay them to do a good job. In fact, waiters have the worst work ethic. You should do a good job because it's your job and you're getting paid to do it and it makes you a better person. If it's not paying your bills, find a better job.

By anon220943 — On Oct 10, 2011

Tipping is a scam. We all get paid, and most of us do not get paid extra for no reason. If your pay does not match your job, then quit. Don't expect strangers to pick up the slack for your employer.

To tip a someone to get "better" service only undermines the entire system, and creates a situation where those workers will only provide good service to those who tip.

The idea of tipping should be looked down upon, and mandatory tipping should be illegal.

People who tip are ignorant, bottom line.

By anon213268 — On Sep 10, 2011

@post 18: Your mother could and should have asked for a freaking raise, hence no need for tips anymore and to all the bartenders/waitresses out there when you come into my work establishment where I get minimum wage and you buy a pair of jeans that I helped you out with, are you going to tip me? You know the answer.

By the way, I don't sell jeans anymore because no one would supplement my wages through "tips" Now I make decent money because I decided to volunteer here and there on my free time and the next thing you know I'm shop foreman and rolling in the dough!

By anon212608 — On Sep 07, 2011

Oh my gosh. I get so tired of hearing people say that servers expect a good tip. No server expects you to tip them for bad service. But we do somewhat expect to be compensated for good to great service.

Again, I am a server, and I agree, if your service was poor, then the tip should be poor. But, if your service was good to great, then it would be nice if your tip reflected that.

For those of you saying that tipping should be done away with, and that servers should be paid minimum wage:

1.) If that was the case then your bill would end up being more than what it would have been with a 15-20 percent tip. Trust me, it would be cheaper for the customer to pay the 15-20 percent tip than if servers were paid hourly.

2.) If all servers were being paid the same amount of money no matter how the service was, then you would see an end to great service. I am not saying that you would always receive bad service, because you wouldn't, the managers would fire people giving bad service, but you certainly would not have great service, and super attentive servers anymore.

I know that for every good server there is a bad one, and I know that sometimes a good server can have a bad day or can be double or triple sat by the hostesses and in turn ends up giving less than great service, but if that happens then the server expects their tips to be affected by that.

By anon204920 — On Aug 10, 2011

Restaurants can't afford to offer a waiter a $50K salary, duh. So stop being cheap jerks. People who don't tip are subconsciously cheating themselves by affirming, "I don't have enough so I have to take from another by denying them their due".

But waiters who keep all the tip without tipping out all who made it possible (cook-dishwasher-buser) need to be facepalmed with a frying pan.

By anon182583 — On Jun 02, 2011

The article didn't go anywhere near the question posed at the beginning -- why we tip for some professions and not others. The below-minimum-wage thing was a follow-on effect of the custom of tipping, not the other way around.

By anon177392 — On May 18, 2011

Restaurants and bars are in business to make money. They require people to serve food and drinks. Without those people, the business would not function.

I go to a restaurant to have food prepared for me at an extra cost over what it would cost me at home. And to have it presented to me at my table, i.e., served. And to have the plates, etc. taken away and washed at the restaurant's expense. That's what a "meal out" means.

I just sit there and for a premium, I get a meal provided. I don't expect to have to pay extra for just the service. It's a cost to the restaurant. It needs to employ good people and pay them adequate wages. If they are no good, or the food is no good, then the restaurant will ultimately fail.

If I get service way beyond "good", then I might want to recognize that with something extra.

Let the restaurant pay all their staff the right money, and then they will succeed. Please don't ask me to bear some of the cost. Its their business, not mine. --Roy K

By anon174190 — On May 09, 2011

I have been a server/bartender for five years and agree that tips are not mandatory. I work very long shifts, on my feet all day, often without a break or even a chance to use the bathroom right away! However, I only make the money that I do, because I take great care of my guests. I remember all of my regular's names, food and drinks of choice, a little something about their personal lives, etc. A tip is meant to be serviced based. Meaning terrible service, deserves a terrible tip.

In all the time I've been working for tips, I have heard several of my co-workers complaining about the lack of a tip left by their tables. I can't help but notice that it's always the same servers that complain about getting stiffed. My response to those people is: get better at your job so people will start tipping you, or get a new job. I can't stand listening to servers who spend all night in the bathroom, texting on their cell phones, or outside smoking, whine about not getting tips. It's those same servers whose tables always need something and they are never around to get it for them. If you don't take care of your guests, you shouldn't expect a tip.

For some reason, the definition of 'good service' has changed. People in service positions just expect money to be handed to them for showing up to work today. It frustrates me when my lazy co-workers are jealous of the tips that myself and other good servers who work hard make. Don't expect a 20 percent tip when all you did was take their order, drop of drinks, and then ignored them until it was time for the check. Serve them! Work for the money you are expecting these people to leave you! It can be a demanding job, I know. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen!

By the same token, I believe that I provide above average service to the majority of the people that I wait on, and I get very frustrated when I receive less than 10 percent. You people are remembered just as easily as the people who tip well. I'm not saying that I spit in people's food, but do not come back and expect me to waste my time and energy on you, when I could be devoting my service to someone who is going to compensate me for it. You will get the service that you paid for, and nothing more.

My job requires me to pay attention to several people simultaneously, remember everything, grow extra arms and carry everything, and be in multiple places at once. If you don't think I deserve a tip, that's fine. You are entitled to your opinion. Just don't get upset with me when I throw you an empty box and have you wrap your own food while you watch me wrap someone else's for them, for example. I take care of the people who take care of me, and you should too.

All you servers on here threatening to spit in people's food, and wishing ill will on others: stop! Getting stiffed stinks, I agree, but you're making all of us look bad, and only giving people who don't like to tip more reason not to start!

By anon173861 — On May 08, 2011

I'm a server from Guam, we don't do service charge where i work, but people are jerks, from young, too old. they see the bill, they see the price, they pay, but don't leave a tip at all. even if i went the extra mile to get what they asked for.

sober or drunk, islander, or mainlanders, everyone is a bunch of jerks who don't know how to read "Servers Charge not included" right on the bill. Even you white and black people from the military station here like to harass me, even when drunk.

Still no tip and with the prices going up and being paid 5.25 an hour and only working 20 hours a week i mostly live off tip. So American mainlanders, start tipping your servers, or go home and cook your own food.

By anon169304 — On Apr 20, 2011

i don't tip. i don't believe in it.as far as I'm concerned, they're just doing their job.

By anon167205 — On Apr 11, 2011

I have been a server for many years. i find it rude to go into a restaurant, get outstanding service and not leave a dime, when the service you get is outstanding.

it is very tacky to leave without gratuity to your server and makes you look like a fool and labeled a cheapskate. you won't get the same outstanding service when you come in the next time. You're labeled a cheapskate.

By anon163019 — On Mar 25, 2011

Most wait staff make $2.38 an hour. The reason a restaurant, by law, can pay this awful wage is because it is assumed that the customer will tip. In my state it is assumed that a server is getting a 12 percent tip. At the end of the night, the computer does the math and makes the waiter report 12 percent income on the total sales for that day, regardless on if he made 12 percent or not. Then the computer asks for another 2 percent from the server, because the server now needs to pay for the other employees who make below minimum wage: bartenders, $4.50 and busser, $3.75. It matters not to uncle sam or the corporate powers what that server made. They must pay taxes on that 12 percent tip and they must pay the other employees, even if they had a horrible night for tips. It's just not a good formula to keep the poor working folks on some kind of predictable fair wage.

Yes, I know that in some fancy big city restaurants servers can make good money, but the majority of servers live poorly and from day to day. I argue that servers should be paid at least minimum wage to protect them from poverty level.

As for the silly argument of not tipping for just good service, I have this to say: many a time, I have had very poor service at my doctor's office, like waiting forever for my appointment. I have had bad mechanics and rude cashiers. I have waited in long lines at stores, because they don't want to pay staff: 16 registers and 2 cashiers. I have had rude nurses and mean deli personnel. In all those less than over-the-top experiences, I still paid full price for the service. I did not say, "Oh, I am not going to pay $150 dollars for this doctor appointment since you made me wait 45 minutes and rushed through my exam.” Or, “I am not going to pay full price for my Kmart bill because I had to wait so long to cash out.”

I am not saying the system restaurants work under is right, but until someone changes it, restaurant servers rely on tips to compensate for the unlivable wage of $2.31 an hour. And good luck getting this changed. Corporate America is enjoying its slave labor.

By anon152935 — On Feb 15, 2011

Id rather the mark up on the food and drink be higher so that the employee could make a fair wage and people would not have to tip.

By anon152933 — On Feb 15, 2011

I've been a bartender and a server in the past. Neither of these jobs are at all difficult, nor do they require any special skill. I never expected any tips when I was working and after being in the industry, I still think that tipping is a ridiculous custom that we should do away with!

Those who are commenting on spitting/snotting in people's food, stop complaining and do your damn job!

By anon147110 — On Jan 28, 2011

I certainly don't tip whenever I get Dominos Pizza. They tack on a two dollar delivery charge. Screw that. The delivery charge is your tip, jackass.

By anon146488 — On Jan 26, 2011

Problem is most of the "servers" now expect a 20 percent tip regardless of what service they provide. It should not be expected unless the service warrants it!

"People who don't tip are cheap.? That statement really gets my blood pressure up. How about "Servers don't give more than average service". The term "tip" to me, means if I like the service given above and beyond what is expected of you, then you should get a "tip". Why should I just be obligated to give you money for doing something you're supposed to do in the first place?

I have friends making upwards of $150-$200 on a Saturday night from their tips. Now how many of those who get "tips" actually report all of the income?

I tip 10 percent for average service (which is 95 percent of the servers I've experienced). I do tip service that has been exceptional, and they are tipped very well. I actually offered one waitress a job. She still waitresses, because I'm sure she's making a lot of "tips" because she does provide exceptional service. I (and I'm sure I'm not the only one) specifically request that we get a table that she serves when we go to that restaurant. Now that's service that deserves a tip!

Servers who provide me with "memorable service," I'll gladly tip them deservedly so. The rest? Meh.

By anon142525 — On Jan 13, 2011

Bottom line: If you have the poor server running around like crazy getting you everything you ask for, you need to tip. They are probably not even getting minimum wage and they are serving you, trying to give you the best possible service, so that they can earn a few dollars. Stop being cheap.

Yes, you are, if you expect the best without giving anything! It's not your fault they are paid a low wage but this is how the world is and it's their job and lots of these people have children to feed at home. If you don't want to tip, go to McDonalds or stay home and serve yourself.

By anon131781 — On Dec 03, 2010

in quebec, canada, the waiter is taxed as if they had received a fourteen percent tip for every sale. so, if they are not tipped, they are actually losing money for having served a table. this is a legal gray area, insofar as they are being taxed on an imaginary amount. i work in a small family owned indian restaurant, and receive almost minimum wage as a waitress.

i am by no means rich, and i work very hard at my job and provide friendly service. also, my employers are by no means rich, and do not exactly take home bucket-loads of cash every night. if not for tipping, a quality restaurant like the one i work in could not survive in a small town. tipping is about showing appreciation for the service rendered, and respect for those rendering it. if the custom in any given country is to tip, i think that it is only a matter of courtesy to want to tip.

complaining about this state of affairs is degrading to the employee, whose living is based on this form of payment. people don't tip in france, and are insulted if you try to tip there. their custom is to be paid a living wage by their employer, rather than rely on tips. ultimately customs differ from place to place. when you find yourself in a place where the custom is to tip, it would be unfair to the employee, who didn't themselves make up these customs,to either not tip, or complain about this state of affairs.

if you can afford to eat in an expensive restaurant, which will likely have a high overhead, then you can afford to be generous enough to leave a few dollars for the waiter as well. tsk tsk indeed.

By anon126257 — On Nov 12, 2010

Tipping is primarily based in a master/slave mentality, which is why expensive restaurants exist- ain't the food, folks.

It's also a type of corporate welfare for employers and owners of food establishments, as is the huge issue of illegal workers they knowingly employ. Tipping will not simply go away, as it's too ingrained in our society.

Probably the best solution is what many restaurants are now doing, which is including a "service charge" or "gratuity" to the bill, which is a percentage of the total bill.

Legally, I don't know how they can do this, since it's supposed to be voluntary, but it's done nonetheless.

By anon116760 — On Oct 07, 2010

If there wasn't tipping involved I would for sure go out to eat more. I hate tipping. I can understand giving the server something if they did a good job, but it's the social norm to tip even if they just did an average job.

Don't even get me started on bars. To the guy that said something about servers being in college and having to pay their way through it, ever heard of financial aid? Chances are if you are that poor, you are going to get most of your education paid for if not in financial aid then loans and scholarships. That whole too poor to afford college point is not even arguable anymore.

Yes, I am a college student myself and no I'm not rich, i barely make 500 a month and when I do go out, I don't want to have to use a quarter of my paycheck just to have fun with my friends.

By anon111603 — On Sep 17, 2010

I for one am really sick of the tipping thing. Everywhere I go there is someone with the tip jar out. I don't tip my doctor or my accountant. Why do I need to tip someone to give me a coffee or cut my hair. Get off your butt and get my order and shut up! If you want better pay get a better job. Stop stiffing everyone for your income!

By anon111018 — On Sep 14, 2010

believe me, I owned a food establishment for years and i only believe you leave a tip if you feel like it. If you don't have a good cook, good dishwasher etc. that waitress or waiter would be screwed. I paid my employees well and i don't think they should get away with having to not pay minimum wage. Believe me they would still make a profit, people.

By anon98754 — On Jul 24, 2010

Here’s what I don’t get. Friday morning, I go to my local diner for breakfast, alone, and get change from $10. That night I take my girlfriend out for dinner, and the bill’s over $150 (including wine).

So the diner waitress can count on less than $2 (assuming 20 percent) for three table visits; while the restaurant waitstaff should expect $30 (more than 15 times as much) for making twice as many visits?

I got great service in both establishments, so why such a huge discrepancy in expectation?

By anon93295 — On Jul 03, 2010

Posts #23,24 and 25 prove my point. You guys can't make it in life without a hand out and yes, you are just a step above those who depend on government handouts. It's the same mentality: "I can't stand on my own two feet so other people owe me free money. It's my constitutional right."

I'm sure you graduated at the top of your class in high school, received scholarships to the finest universities, attended the most distinguished graduate schools and did several years of internship to land yourselves such a respectable career as a bartender or waiter! After all, you pour beverages into glasses and that's a real specialty.

Think of the consequences if you were to miss the glass: you might have to wipe it up with a napkin or something. Or what if you put too much ice in a glass or something- gee, I wouldn't want to trust just anyone with such a weighty responsibility! Or what if you run out of maraschino cherries before your shift is over- I hate to think what could happen!

On the contrary, you are probably the ones who were really 'cool' in high school, and did a lot of stupid things. I'm not being judgmental because there is redemption for anyone who wants it, but nobody owes you your redemption- you have to earn it.

I don't tip my doctor, or my insurance broker, or the McDonald's workers who work much harder than you for a lot less money. What the hell makes you different? You deride McDonald's and their workers so you obviously think you are better than them. You seem to be suffering from delusions of self-importance because you carry plates and glasses to people's tables.

Subtract your beloved tips from your paycheck and that is what you are really worth in today's labor market: about $4 to $7 dollars an hour. Your mentality is demonstrated by your comments about spitting and snotting into people's food who don't tip you.

Here's a tip: Stop whining and go make something of yourselves.

By anon89635 — On Jun 11, 2010

All you people should petition the government to stop taxing our tips. It seems most of you don't want to leave a tip anyway - it's like a gift for good service, right?

Let the government find new and exciting ways to get their hands on your money. Oh, and if I get taxed on money I don't earn, I will snot in your food/drink. Either that or sail to a new world.

Remember this, people. You have been warned. We are everywhere.

By anon81816 — On May 03, 2010

I hope every one of these Randian selfish gits who rail on paying/tip poorly/refuse to tip sees themselves in a position where they can finally commiserate with people who work for tips.

I am in college. Many servers are in college. And you know what? Those of us who can't afford college, or who aren't meant to go to college, are entitled to make a decent living wage off of hard work.

I bet the same people saying "make something of yourselves!" are the same people who also hate people who receive food stamps and welfare, and preach "get a job!" nonsense. Yet, when we do get a job, they don't feel we should get paid at all.

I guess those who weren't fortunate enough to be born into a situation that allows for that sort of opportunity should just live on bread and water. And live underground, where we can't disgust the ~worthy~!

I hope someone spits in your pate, jerks! I'd do it personally if I didn't have a sense of empathy and a decent human heart, unlike you.

By anon81663 — On May 02, 2010

This is to the complete cheap piece of crap who complains about tipping. I am a bartender and rely on tips for a living. I make a very good living doing it and I always remember the jerks who stiff me.

To make somebody run their butt off and not compensate them is pathetic, stupid and just plain cheap. I sincerely hope that every time these people go out to eat that the servers remember them and spit in their drinks because that's what you deserve.

If you don't like tipping then stay home or go to Mcdonalds where tips are not required and let those poor servers wait on more worthwhile customers.

By rrr1938547 — On Apr 06, 2010

Traditional tipping has degenerated into outright communism and we should not participate in it. Where does it stop? It used to be 5 percent, then 10, then 15 and now 20. Says who? Says the service workers.

Of course they want as much of my hard-earned money as they can get. When the 'tip rate' reaches 50 percent, 90 percent or 200 percent of the bill, are people just going to blindly pay it so as not to feel guilty?

Nobody contributes to my income to help me pay my taxes, or to help me study or get a better job so why should I pay for other people?

If you think I should, you have an entitlement mentality that probably goes a lot deeper than just tipping.

You think the world owes you something for the choices you have made and that someone, other than yourself, should foot the bill for your mistakes.

Voluntary tipping has turned into a tax, an institution and a 'bailout' for people with bad jobs and employers who don't offer competitive wages.

When you tip, you are not helping anybody out- you are playing into the 'victim' mentality, perpetuating a vicious cycle of crappy jobs and cheap employers and wasting your money.

I am not cheap, but I am not a communist either. Nobody has a right to lay claim to any amount of my money, no matter how much or little I have, in this country.

Also, nobody addressed tips in excess of what the government charges workers. What tips represent 30 percent of your income and the government only charges you as if you had made 16 percent. Where does that extra 14 percent go? Do you give it back to the customers, report it to Uncle Sam or pocket it? I think I know the answer. Anon

By anon72389 — On Mar 22, 2010

I was a server for eight years. I never made more than $2.63 an hour. At the end of the week my paycheck was always zero dollars. Why?

Assume I sell you the customer $4,000 a week in food/beverage sales.

The government th3n says that because I am in the service industry a minimum of 16 percent of those sales needs to be added to my earnings. Now assume I work 40 hours at $2.63 which is $105.00 and 16 percent of 4,000 which is 640.00.

I the server then get taxed on $745.00 not my $105.00 in actual earnings. So if you tip less than 16 percent i am getting taxed on more than what I am actually making.

Now as to why we only make 2.63. Imagine the number of food/beverage establishments there would be if entrepreneurs had to come up with the operating cost paying all of their staff regular wage.

A normal food/beverage establishment runs on a staff of 20-60 people. It would not be financially possible or your burger would be about 30 percent more, to make up for the remaining wage.

Right, it might be easier to just have to pay 16.99 instead of 12.99 for a burger, but the system implemented allows the already uncertain food/beverage industry to not have to come up with all the overhead costs if the business is not there. Get it?

By anon70362 — On Mar 13, 2010

I do not agree with all points in this article. I live in WA state where servers are paid at least min. wage ($8.55 hr.) plus tips - no gap in wages here and with tips most part time servers earn more than an office clerk working 40 hours a week. Would you still tip 20 percent on an overpriced and 10 percent taxed meal?

I understand the waitress wage and tipping, having lived in other states, but here in WA state where middle of the road restaurant food is mediocre and Southern hospitality is certainly missing I find expecting a tip of 20 percent because "I served you" attitude a bit much.

The servers I know hate to serve women, hate it when a customer doesn't order drinks, appetizers, and only orders water -- ugh. That would be me and usually service is just okay and barely with a smile.

My server friends are pressured to have their customers order drinks, sodas, appetizers, and desserts. They are being paid to serve me and sell the overpriced menu items. I hate those types of restaurants and have stopped patronizing them.

Having lived abroad in a non-tipping country where eating out was a different experience and service was exceptional (maybe because I was foreigner?) it has been a hard cultural adjustment being back here.

I now feel like I have to pay someone to be "nice" to me when really the eating establishment is paying them to serve me. I admit I have been spoiled by living in a "service oriented" culture. I am a little jaded.

Where does it start here and where does it end? Do you tip the flight attendant for her service on your flight (pillows, blankets,water please and how do I operate this t.v and remote?), your nurse, doctor, pharmacist, cable guy, bank teller, shoe salesman, the guy behind the meat counter, deli counter clerk who takes my complex order for how I want each meat and cheese sliced, store clerk for directing and showing me the aisle and products, etc?

Tipping should never be expected. It is out of control with tip jars seen everywhere these days.

By anon65566 — On Feb 14, 2010

Regarding no.1 Anony 9714: My mother worked as a waitress for 50 years! She worked very, very hard to help support us. It is not "unskilled" labor-- if -- you do a good job. It takes skill, patience, stamina, efficiency, knowledge, and a pleasant, courteous personality to make a decent living.

My mother worked for a chain called O'Connells for 25 years (on Michigan Ave., Rush Street, and other downtown locations in Chicago)and at other restaurants for another 25 years. There were customers who sometimes only wanted a cup of coffee and would wait in line for her station rather than get a waitress who was not on a par with my mom.

Some would leave her a $1 tip just for a cup of coffee! and this was when a $1 was worth lots more than it is today.

Now, having said that, boy, she earned it! My mom was tipped well because she did a terrific job. They served breakfast through dinner, and she memorized how her regular customers wanted their food: toast, buttered/dry, light/dark, etc. If the egg was to be based and was not, she would not serve it to her customer, and instead would bring it back to the cook and the aay customer would not eat it, redo, please. (And, that's how they became her regular, well-tipping customers.)

She'd fill coffee cups before it was asked for, brought food when it was hot, and always with a smile, and, if time permitted, a brief chat, etc., etc. In other words, she got her tips for what it's original meaning was: T. I. P. S. was derived from the phrase "To Insure Prompt Service."

For you to tell people, if you don't want to tip, take your lazy butt home and do your own cooking is ridiculous, rude, unreal and unprofessional. By your own standards then, you are "lazy" if you buy ready-made cookies or go to a bakery.

No one tells you to get your lazy butt home and do your own baking if you don't like the way you were waited on or the quality of the baked goods is lousy. They get minimum wage, and you accepted a job without that. So, it is your choice to stay or leave as a wait person.

A tip was never meant to be automatic. It is a gift from the customer, the way to say "thank you" for good to excellent service. No one owes you a tip, you must earn it. I tip according to the way I am treated/served when I eat out.

And after watching and listening to my mom all those years, no one knows better than I how good or bad that service should/could be. If a wait person is inefficient, indifferent, or unpleasant, I am certainly not going to reward that person with a tip for bad performance. Life is tough and you need to be able to work around it to survive. If that means improving your skills or changing to a different job, that's what needs to be done. You need to be real in the real world.

By anon61992 — On Jan 24, 2010

We should just abolish this "custom" of tipping! Everyone should stop tipping. Employers should just pay minimum wage. A business would not survive without customers and customers should not be the one making up that wage difference!

By anon60560 — On Jan 14, 2010

If people who work for poverty wages are unhappy about it, they have no right to take it out on their customers! They should spend their time with their nose in a textbook they can get used for $3 and then get a better job, and not stop until they get the job they want.

I can always tell who is unhappy in their work, and if they pull that crap on me with a bad attitude, I mark it down, leave, and then tell everyone on the Internet where I saw said behavior.

We don't owe you a life. Be happy in your work or get another job. And don't blame the government, it's up to you, and nobody else. If you don't believe that, read these last sentences again until you do.

The more that people hold back money, the more it will stagnate the economy, given that not all jobs have gone to China, so for the service jobs that remain it is up to the employer to pay a living wage and give full time and not this 20-hour a week crap.

By anon60559 — On Jan 14, 2010

It is no one's "fault" for cooks and servers to be paid low wages. Service jobs always pay lower because they are regarded as unskilled, but tell me -- how can it not require skill to cook well and serve professionally? TIP = To Increase Profit.

A Tip is always optional, it is never mandatory, except some establishments that require a minimum gratuity on parties of six (or 7) or more. But when it is mandatory, it is not a tip, it becomes a service charge, which I totally disagree with. Bottom line: if the food and the service are good, I will leave a tip commensurate with that product or service.

If the food is good I will specifically say to the server, please give this to the cook directly, since cooks work harder than foodservers and rarely receive tips, while servers work less and make more money, which is not fair.

I hate to see the servers counting out $125-$200 a shift and I make $80 for working harder, that is wrong!

By anon57814 — On Dec 27, 2009

Most EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) only make minimum wage! The ones who make more then minimum wage only get about a dollar or two dollars more then minimum wage and they save people's lives for crying out loud. It is against the law for them to even accept a tip, so why is it OK for someone to serve food to expect a tip?

I understand some kids are trying to put themselves through college as most EMTs want to become a paramedic or a firefighter but why does someone who serves food expect a tip?

How can the servers say go eat at fast food if you don't want to pay a tip? Should the EMTs say don't stop breathing? Make sure your heart keeps beating?


Don't become a server because of the tips. The tips are a bonus!

The person who said it is called a waiter because people wait on you, it is called a tip because people are tipping you extra money for doing a good job.

If you do not like the way that the business is run then get a different job. It isn't the responsibility of the public to pay you money -- that is your company's responsibility.

How do you people have the audacity to get mad at the public for not paying your bills? The person who hired you should pay you money, not the person who happened to get lucky enough to have you work there.

If it wasn't for the public, the company you work for wouldn't be able to stay in business to even pay you. It is not the public's responsibility to keep your company running and to put you through school.

Most people don't care to give you an extra $5 so you can go buy your next pack of cigarettes or your 12 pack of beer.

The rich do get richer. The poor prevail by using their brains to get ahead.

So how about all you servers put your hands back into your pockets because the rich do not need another hand out to laugh at. Use your brain and be somebody! :)

By anon53556 — On Nov 22, 2009

I feel that tipping is out of control. The only ones who should get tipped are waiters/waitresses only! A 15 percent tip is sufficient at that.

As for hairdressers they should not receive any more than a $5 or $10 tip no matter what service they provide. They already take in 50 -60 percent of what they bill you, as well as a percentage of the products they sell you. They get a commission from that also.

You are paying for the service twice: once on the bill they give you; next on the tip you leave them.

Getting a haircut or coloring has become a major expense with all this tipping. If you pay for something once, that person should do a good job so that you become a repeat customer. You should not have to tip in order to ensure good service.

The hairdresser is making a very, very good salary on your service. (Look at your bills.) Why are you paying them again with a tip to perform a job they have been very well compensated for? It doesn't make sense. We tip people that make a good salary just because they give us a service. Masseuses also make a decent salary and yet they expect 15-20 percent tips.

We are the fools who spoil these people into thinking we owe them a tip when in fact they should do a good job for the price they chare us. These services are not free. They are lucky to have clients and a job in an economy such as our country has now.

Do you tip your grocery cashier? No you don't. They work very hard also, don't they?

Do you tip a mailman/garbage collector/gas attendant. No! They also give us a service and don't make a lot of money. Where does this ridiculous tipping stop? It was started to compensate the waiters (who don't make a decent hourly wage), not every other service around.

By anon53519 — On Nov 22, 2009

If I get decent service, nothing spectacular, I leave ten percent for average.

If they smile and come to the table often to check up and I didn't have to hunt them down, I give fifteen.

If my drink is refilled before I have to ask for another, or they bring extra napkins if they see a potential mess and are friendly I tip 20 - 30 percent.

If I am in a restaurant with a group of people where they add a tip of whatever and the service is horrible, I amend the tip and tip accordingly. I don't care what the menu says or a receipt or a sign on the wall says. If I don't think they deserve 18 percent I don't leave it.

On the same hand, I hate when they add it in. If I think they were stellar, but they add in, let's say fifteen percent, and I would have left more, I will not leave the extra.

By anon49714 — On Oct 22, 2009

it is not your fault that someone is paid a low wage. it *is* your fault when you go to a sit down restaurant and do not tip! why do you go out eat? because you want to be waited on! where do you think that title came from (waiter/waitress/waitstaff) -- see the connection there? if you do not want to be waited on, stay home and do it yourself! If you feel the meals in restaurants are so overpriced, learn how to cook for yourself! you want someone to wait on you hand and foot, cook your food, bring you your drink, listen to you and smile, act like we give a crap and be polite to you, and then tip them nothing for doing all this work? More goes into it than you realize, and I guarantee you have never worked in any type of customer service before. If you don't want to spend the money tipping someone who runs around like a lunatic for your lazy butt, go to a fast food restaurant, where you don't have to tip!Servers pay taxes on their sales, not their tips. so when you come in and spend $60 on dinner, and do not tip, we pay our taxes from our whopping $4 an hour, on your entire bill, not what you leave, or don't leave, as a tip. We are also required by law to report a certain percentage of tips, once again based on our total sales -- not what we actually are tipped. So again, when our sales for the week total over $3,000, we have to claim $300 to be taxed on, when in reality we only made $150 for the week (because of poor/non tippers like you), we are the ones getting screwed.

By anon49219 — On Oct 18, 2009

some places is mandatory if you go in with a party of six or more. tips should be a choice and most pay according to how well the food and service were. restaurants should let people get their own drinks and stuff then, like an all you can eat does cause i would get more drinks than waiting on a server.

By anon48972 — On Oct 16, 2009

Tipping is an awful practice. If low wages are the issue then charge me more up-front rather that charging me one price then making me feel that I am being ripped off because I have to pay an additional 15 percent. In some countries and cultures there is no such thing as tipping. These people don't even declare tips on their income tax returns. Also what about people who work for less than waiters- why should they tip?

By anon44599 — On Sep 09, 2009

I do not agree with tipping. I feel that waiter/waitress should be getting a decent working wage. No one tips me (and I wouldn't expect it either) for looking after elderly people every day, it is my job, and not an extremely well paid job at that.

Why tip taxi drivers? Surely I am using their business. Hairdressers why? Again I am using a business. Tipping surely is a thing of the past. Hope I haven't offended anyone with my views, but I feel awful if I don't leave a tip or if I haven't left enough for that matter.

By anon28116 — On Mar 11, 2009

The meals may seem overpriced, but in order to pay the staff more that means that you will have to pay even more to compensate for the increase in wages. Also, every restaurant I have worked in the server is required to tip out based on their sales. In my current position I tip out 5% of my sales even if I do not get a tip. This means when a table is cheap and does not leave a tip I have to actually pay to serve them because I still have to tip out the hostess, busser, kitchen and bartender. I do tip estheticians, hair dressers, cab drivers, etc.

By anon23308 — On Dec 21, 2008

omg! servers get paid 2$ an hour (in texas) and that is why you tip. OK, it's not your fault that the owners only pay that, but it's the custom and that is how it goes. If you have a problem with it, just go to a drive-through. Don't eat out, take up a waiter's table, and not tip. That table could be used for someone who would tip that server, so they may pay their bills and college tuition...

By anon22732 — On Dec 09, 2008

On tipping: Tipping first started out as a means to insure better service. As a former waiter and cab driver (both tipped positions) Customers that tipped always got better service. They appreciated me going the extra steps. That it brought my less than minimum wage job close to the minimum wage many times. That's right: I often made less than minimum wage because so many people couldn't understand the need to tip. The federal government actually taxed me on tips that I did not make. If you want full service, be prepared to tip. If you don't wish to tip, go to McDonald's.

By anon22141 — On Nov 28, 2008

do you tip manicurists? Or people who do artificial nails?

By anon19939 — On Oct 22, 2008

I wonder the same thing...why is it my fault that someone is paid a low wage? Why don't restaurants just pay their waiters a decent wage?!!!! When you really think about it, probably 70% of all employees in all kinds of businesses are "serving the public". We don't tip them, their employers "pay" them for their services. It has never made sense to me.

By anon14774 — On Jun 24, 2008

i hope you are rich because if one day you are poor, don't complain why others didn't help you out. And you should only go eat at a buffet and serve yourself so you don't ever have to tip. Only cheap people don't tip. If you have the money to go out to a restaurant why not tip someone who served you?

By anon11777 — On Apr 22, 2008

but why is it my fault that someone is paid a low wage? why do I have to pay even more for an already overpriced meal by tipping someone to do what is in their job description, ie, waiter/waitress/waitstaff? is that not what they are supposed to do??? tsk tsk, it is true, the rich do get richer .....

Michael Pollick

Michael Pollick


As a frequent contributor to WiseTour, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
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