Is not tipping ever OK?
Should a tip be considered a reward for good or excellent service at a sit-down restaurant? Or is it something you should always do?
Are you in the camp that believes that if you can't afford to leave a tip, you should not be dining out?
I am, but that sentiment is not universal. Most recently, the no-tipping debate erupted again after a photo was posted on Reddit of a credit card receipt for $138.35 for a restaurant meal. In the line for the tip, someone wrote "single mom sorry" and added a cheery note, "Thank You it was great."
Some bloggers figured the receipt was a fake or, worse, was intended as a slap at single mothers. "I think the diner was not really a single parent, or at least not one who couldn't afford a tip, but rather someone trying to imply that some single moms feel like they are entitled to a pass because they are struggling financially," wrote Mari-Jane Williams on The Washington Post's On Parenting blog.
Mommyish blogger Lindsay Cross said she thinks the note on the receipt was "a very awful prank to make single moms look bad."
Since we have no way of knowing anything about the signer's intentions, let's focus on the basic question: Are you ever right to not leave a tip at all?
The Emily Post website seems silent on this question. The site's recommended tip for sit-down dining is 15% to 20%, pretax. However, no exceptions are listed. Tipping.org recommends the same range for tips.
Others who have commented on the topic seem to fall into one of two groups:
- Those who recognize that the tip is a part of the server's pay and thus always tip. (This group generally includes those who work or have worked as a waiter and understand how hard the job can be.)
Wrote one commenter on Yelp in San Antonio:
"It's never acceptable to not tip your server at all! Even when the service is terrible. Now, I'm not saying you must leave a GOOD tip but keep in mind that these people live on the measly change you're leaving them. If there is a serious problem with your service/overall experience then let management know and trust them to take care of the problem."
- Those who think a tip is a reward, and thus can be withheld.
"This arrogance that tipping is required for service is ludicrous," wrote Chris Thomas, a former server, on the Brass blog. "If you don't like working for minimum wage or less, don't work in service expecting more."
We can think of a combination of factors where you might be tempted not to tip. (This applies to sit-down restaurants in the U.S. In some countries around the world, tipping is not expected because restaurants pay the wait staff a living wage. Yes, hard to believe, I know.) The service would have to be really awful, like the server repeatedly ignoring requests for water refills, screwing up orders and delivering cold food -- all delivered with a bad attitude. Many recommend complaining to the manager in such cases.
On the other hand, we can see why you might always want to leave something -- perhaps 10% -- even if the server was rude. Here's why:
- Unintended consequences. "If the restaurant is a 'pooled house' (where servers share tips with runners, busboys and other employees), when you don't leave a tip, you're punishing all the other staff members too," Helena Echlin wrote on Chow.
- You're messing with someone's pay. Base pay for servers is lousy, with the median in the U.S. at $8.81 an hour in 2010, according to a 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics report. "Imagine if someone docked your salary every time you missed a deadline or made a typo at work," wrote a poster at an eGullet forum.
But not tipping because you can't afford it is never legitimate. As one commenter at Yelp in Portland, Ore., wrote, it's like saying, "Can't pay my rent because I bought expensive furniture."
Is not tipping ever appropriate? Why or why not?
More on MSN Money:
I think many of you could benefit by spending time in the restaurant industry and I suspect that you are the same people that no one wants to wait on when spotted in the restaurant. First, some of you have implied that perhaps servers should go get different job, one with a better base pay, thus getting you off the hook paying a tip. Here is what many of you do not realize...... many of these lowly servers are in fact college students paying their way through school. There was no way I could have worked a job with normal hours while attending college. Serving was the only way I could still work and focus on school. Second, many of you question why you should tip more if your bill was more... let me educate you. Servers are taxed on the amount of their sales. Therefore the more you spend and not tip, you are actually taking money out of the servers pocket. Also, servers tip out bartenders, bussers, hosts, etc. on the amount of sales. So, if you order an expensive meal and do not tip, you are again costing the server money. I do agree you would tip on service, but has to be a percentage. It is true, there are lousy servers out there, but there are some good ones too! There are definite standards that should be met and if not, the tip should reflect it. I myself have not tipped before too, but before doing so I encourage you to evaluate whether your poor experience was cause by the server, or some other factor?
I am of the school that a tip is earned for good service. Like the guy said if you don't like working for minimum wage, get another job. This is America no one can force you to work where you don't want too. I worked for minimum wage for a long time and I busted my butt, unfortunately is was not in the service industry where they expect tips...for an uneducated position...so therefor they better deliver excellent service if they expect more than thier minimum wage. I have been to dinner many times where the waiter made more per hour than I make and I went to college for six years. I believe that tips should be recognition based for a job well done. I don't owe the wait staff anything, except to recognize and reward a job well done.And I really hate walk up/ fast food places that have tip jars...get serious. Maybe I should have a tip jar at work for a job well done!
its not our fault the government taxes wait staff for their tips some wait staff knowig people will tip them anyway are rude the tip is supposed to be given for good service the fact that is sometimes shared with others goes to show how your attitude at work can affect your co workers. I believe should tip but if the waiter or waitress didn't earn then they shouldn't get it I have only with held a tip twice in my life and it was greatly earned. I have also payed more then the recommended tip when it was earned as well I am sorry the goverment taxes them for their tips it shouldnt be that way but we shouldnt be obligated to tip for bad service just because they are besides how will they change if they dont learnn they wont get tipped if they dont act better.
TIPS= To Insure Proper Service.
I have worked in the service industry, but that does not mean I'm going to leave you a TIP if you give me crappy service. I don't even go to restaurants that add the tip on for 8 or more people. You want a tip, then do a good job.
I usually tip 20 - 25%, when the bill is low I feel guilty just giving 20%. I eat out often - multiple times a week- and I've only not tipped twice in my life(I'm 40). Both incidents were really bad service, and one of them the waitress was a racist. Usually when I feel the service was poor I will only tip 10 - 15%(very rare). Thankfully God has blessed me financially and I am able to do this, however, I don't believe that you have to tip for poor service. The whole reason the they get paid low wages is to incentivize them to provide great service and earn their tip. I know others are also relying on the tip because of pooling, but if the waiter/waitress is bad, how would they be incentivized to do better if they always get tipped no matter what.
I know I may sound hypocritical because I pretty much tip no matter what, but that's only because I feel guilty not doing so. But if you don't have that guilt, I think you should withhold the tip if the service is poor. On the flip side, you should always tip if the service is acceptable - if you can't - take it to go.
Also, I did complain to the manager regarding the racist waitress, and he offered to comp my meal. I told him that I will pay for the meal, but that the waitress has no business working at any restaurant.
Kansas minimum wage for serving staff is $2.15 an hour. Some of the Mom and Pop old fart patrons give a $1 tip. Some younger folks are guilty of cheapskate tipping too. Don't even think a person who works in a restraurant will get a free meal. There folks have to pay for their food at work sometimes even eaten bite by bite running back and forth from the kitchen to customers. But rest assured, the taxpayers are paying for the servers food at home through food stamps. There is not other way out.
SHAME ON AMERICA!
Just an added thought if the employer all the restaurants went to no tipping the cost of all menus would go up.
Second because waiters and waitresses or any service job did not have any reward for their service the quality of that service would be sh*tty like you have never seen before
Its called a tip for a reason. Reward for services performed. If a person performing a service is getting stiffed maybe they should reevaluate their performance standards.
There will always be non paying a holes. I am not going to tip (reward) for crappy service.
I agree with Paul & Kelsey....tips shouldn't be based on your food selection and whether or not the dish is higher in cost than others that are listed on the menu. I also feel that it shouldn't be a burden to customers that just want go out occasionally and have a meal away from home. It’s not our fault that the restaurants are paying them less than minimum wage. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with that anyway but that's the choice the employees made when they accepted the job and we shouldn't have to make up the difference in their salary. I always TRY to leave a tip but it's never what it should be (by the rules of the restaurant business). After I've paid the bill there isn't enough left for the 15-20% so I give what I can and really don't care what they say about it to others because it's better than nothing. What I hate is the attitude that you're given not only in restaurants but also in the hair and nail salons when they don't see a sizeable tip afterwards. I don't feel that I should have to pay double for them having to do their job! The whole idea of it all makes me very uncomfortable anyway so for the most part, I just stay at home or go to a fast food place where no one is expecting anything extra. I pay for the service given and anything else is optional. Due to the economy, I sometimes just don’t have the extra to give but still would like to enjoy life as best as I can without any hassles.
Base pay for servers is lousy, with the median in the U.S. at $8.81 an hour in 2010...
WTH does this mean? All the waitresses I know make $2.83 an hour...
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