Monday, April 12, 2010

Re: To Tip Or Not To Tip

This article is a direct response to an article on LeslieStar.ca

From my understanding, tipping someone is a voluntary gesture that is designed to reward them for exceptional service rendered. I once read that tipping started as a way of gaining better than average service. This idea would be similar to tipping the bouncer at a club to let you in, or get you a better seat somewhere. However now gratuities are almost mandatory and in some cases forced.

Why do we tip a waiter and not a sandwich maker at Subway? I mean, the gal that makes the sandwich to your exact specification is actually preparing the food and giving it to you while still asking 
"would you like a cookie with that?". The difference is that we are programmed to tip only those people who provide a service that varies in either customer service or skill. We tip cab drivers because they can vary in hospitality and route knowledge. It is safe to say that you are going to give a decent tip to the cabbie that opens your door and gets you to your destination early. What about the cabbie that doesn't open your door, has a filthy cab, wreaks of fish, drives like a maniac and takes a long route to earn a higher fare? Do you still tip him? I mean, we are supposed to tip him right? WRONG! Tipping that driver only encourages his poor performance. Some people would justify only giving him a small tip. Please just stop your bleeding heart right now! If the waiter, bell hop or cab driver doesn't at least meet, or specifically exceed your expectations then GIVE THEM NOTHING! The whole point of a tip is that they went beyond the job description to serve you so that you feel as though they deserve a little extra for their efforts.

Some restaurants or party locations will force a gratuity on a bill. That is 
total crap! Is that location saying that they guarantee the server(s) are going to vastly exceed every visitors expectations? I'm sure it's a lot more work to manage a large table but if they do it well most people are willing to tip accordingly. I refuse to attend a location where a gratuity is either requested or forced.

So what is a fair tip amount? Having a standard tip percentage in your mind is defeating the purpose all together. Obviously some people are going to tip more than others for the same service but that's because they can afford to do so or perhaps they just want to feel more generous. Don't feel forced to tip to avoid feeling cheap as 
it's their fault your questioning the tip in the first place. My personal thought is that if they do a terrible job, they get no tip. If they meet or exceed the standard they get around 10% and if they vastly exceed the standard they might get around 15%. I feel that these workers make far too much money in gratuities and that tipping has become an expense and is highly inflated.

P.S. I 
will not tip delivery people when they have "delivery charges" added to the cost of the food.


  1. Really great article. I love the pictures and how the article runs very smoothly. You have set up a great site Ian! Great response to my article.

  2. I felt a bit attacked by your post! I used to be a server while going to school and if it wasn't for the tips I would not have been able to pay my rent or eat! I was a kick-ass server though, so I would get decent tips. (Once I got a $10 tip from a guy who bought a $7 lunch!!!) I do agree that a poor job doesn't deserve a tip, but I still get that guilty feeling if I give somone a crappy tip just because I've been there and done that and I know how it feels to live on tips.

  3. Hmm.. I don't mean to attack those who are, or were once good at the job. If someone was an excellent server and went beyond the expectation AND I had more money then I could see how I would be tempted to leave more. My sour outlook on the situation is vastly affected by my lack of spare cash. I do feel that no matter what, it is an unfair world where a server can make $200-300 in one regular shift as opposed to construction workers or administration people who may not see that cash for 2-3 full shifts.


  4. I agree with most of what was said here, but keep in mind that nearly every restaurant server has to pay a tip out percentage on the amount of total sales every day worked(usually at least 5% if not 10%+).. In other words, if you don't tip at all, they actually take a loss for serving you and end up paying out of their own pocket for you to eat. Also many restaurants force the servers to pay out to a % of their tips to other staff such as the cooks, hosts etc.. So by stiffing the server, you are basically saying the food was garbage was well. Skipping the tip should only be done if service was EXTREMELY poor and you have 0 plans to ever return to that particular restaurant EVER. If you decide to go back, be prepared to have a fresh pube salad, with a side of Jizz. I know a ton of servers, they have a hard life, it's hard work and dealing with extremely rude customers all day only to get stiffed really sucks.. They never forget. So anyway, Some days they make a killing, but 95% of the time they end up making minimum wage +$20-40 bucks.. Really crap for the shit they put up with. I would agree with: -0% tip atrocious food/service, never plan to come back. -15% minimum tip, poor service, dislike server but plan to come back. -20-25%+ Really enjoyed the service/food plan to return. Good article overall.

  5. The tipping percentages here seem to fall in that "mandatory" category again. First off I never base my tip amount on the quality of the food, as the tip has nothing to do with the food. Obviously some restaurants have shared tips and I can see how that would lower the overall wage of the target server but that does not make me feel sorry for them. To me, a person bringing me my food, asking if it tastes good, bringing me a refill, taking the plates away, asking about desert and then eventually bringing the bill is not worth any more than 15%-20% no matter how nice or how much he/she flirts with the customer.

    I mentioned it above though, it all has to be based on what one can afford. I'm not a rich person and struggle to buy the things I want in life. I've worked in the food industry and have seen first hand how a minimum wage job can end up at a $20 equivalent (also not claiming taxes). I don't see the justification in the wage increase when they are merely doing the job how they should. I don't believe that even the greatest server should end up with more than 15% over the set wage.

    I guess the whole idea is in the eye, or even the pocket of the customer.


  6. I wonder if you know how much servers get paid. In my home state of NJ servers are only allowed to make $2.14 an hour. That amounts to a zero dollar paycheck because it all goes to taxes. The tips are our wages and if we have 10% tips we make no money. The bartender gets 1% of sales, back of the house 3% so some shifts we would wind up with nothing. It is why we need to survive on tips alone. In most other states yeah, servers make more hourly but it isn't minimum wage. It's still under. I have worked as a server where I was paid $12.00 an hour and received no tips but it was understood that we made more hourly. I agree to base tips on service and bad service means a bad tip. And that person is probably in the wrong business. If you can't afford to tip then I say don't go out to eat. I've been there where all I could afford was cup o noodles but when I get my feet back I treat myself to dinner out and that means the waiter as well. I go with 15% to start not because I'm supposed to but because that's usually how much you can live off if you tip out. Rob B. made a great point. We do deal with a lot of crap daily. I just say do more research into a servers life before you say to tip or not to tip.