My Response To Those Who Think Tipping Should Be Banned

I’m assuming that many of my readers understand that tipping is largely an American custom.  In many European countries tipping is not compulsory and the servers are generally making a higher hourly wage.  In America servers make anywhere from two to five dollars an hour and rely on tips to pay their bills.  This is, or should be, common knowledge to most people.  So why don’t American restaurants just pay their servers more and put an end to the custom of mandatory tipping?  I have many opinions on why this American custom should steadfastly ensue but I’ve never felt the need to exert them via the internet until I watched this unsettling video from College Humor……

He makes a good argument.  If restaurant owners simply paid their servers a livable wage customers could simply enjoy their meals stress and computation free and servers would not be scrambling to make ends meet, right?  This sounds great in theory but, like Communism, when put into practice, it doesn’t work, at least not for America.  Here are a few reasons why.

1. A So-Called “Livable” Wage is not Actually Livable.

How much do you think a server deserves to make an hour?  Ten, fifteen dollars?  Sounds reasonable.  But wait a minute, I make more than that.  A lot more.  On an average busy day I can make anywhere from twenty to thirty dollars in hour thanks to the generosity of the general public.  However, if you think I’m living the high life, think again.  Due to inflation my wages only afford me a steady roof over my head, a daily cup of Starbucks, and the ability to keep my linens smelling of Gain laundry detergent.  Why, you ask?  The truth is, most servers don’t work a normal forty hour work week.  Due to business demands, our shifts are usually only about six hours long.  On top of that, many servers work less than five days a week.  This is why so many people are able to serve their way through college.  If servers were to get paid a so-called livable wage, we’d actually be taking a serious pay cut.  Do you honestly believe any restaurant owner is willing to pay their server $180 dollars for six hours of work?  I don’t.  Serving would become just another crappy customer service job and no longer be a respectable way to make a living without the luxury of an education.  As a result, professionalism would suffer.  This leads me to my next point.

2. A Tipped Employee Wants to See a Business do Well.

Anyone who’s ever worked in the service industry knows how exciting it is when business is booming.  No matter how flustered we get at the sheer volume of business, we remain positive because we know that at the end our shift we are going to make it rain ones and fives.  Our goal is in line with the restaurant owner’s and this creates a unique dynamic between restaurant employees and owners.  Servers often advertise for their employer through word of mouth.  Servers also try to ensure they give quality service to new patrons to elicit their return.  But what would happen if the custom of tipping were to be eliminated?  Servers would have no reason to take pride in their performance and no desire to see their employer do well.  They’d take little pride in their work and simply become another work mule for “the man” instead of working together with their employer to bring in business.  Ultimately, morale would drop and the pleasant ambiance of dining out would become a thing of the past, which brings me to my final argument.

3. Hourly Employees Have Little Reason to be Nice to You.

Think about the last time you went to a fast food restaurant.  How was your experience?  Did the employee go out of their way to ensure you recieved superior service?  Or did they roll their eyes a little at your annoying request for no onions? Most likely the latter.  Why?  Because the employee has no reason to be nice to you.  He’s going to get his eight bucks an hour no matter what.  Sure, if he were to be outright nasty to you he’d probably be fired. But so long as he is reasonably pleasant, he will maintain his employment and hourly wage.  His only motivation for treating you with respect is to remain employed. As Peter Gibbons from “Office Space” said, “That’ll only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired”.

Do you really think your server would jump at your request for more ranch if she weren’t expecting a tip?  Sure she’d get it for you, but you’d be waiting much longer.  Of course, many people are professional enough to provide superior customer service no matter what the incentive but there are just as many people who would slack if tipping weren’t an expectation.  Think about the reasons you go out to eat.  Sure, you may have heard raves about an establishment’s food but a big part of any restaurant experience is the quality of its service.  If you eliminate this aspect of the dining experience you will have diminished its appeal.

So to all those claiming to be rallying for us servers by suggesting our employers pay us a “livable” wage, to all of you who so bodly assert that tipping is an archaic custom that should be done away with, I argue this; the custom of tipping is what makes the restaurant experience what it is.  If you want ambiance, you have to live with tipping.  Thank you and have a good night!


11 thoughts on “My Response To Those Who Think Tipping Should Be Banned

  1. Randy

    I think you should quit bitching about broke people who can’t afford to tip when you already make so god damn much in tips to begin with. And you are wrong: tipped employees can be the worst in customer service unless the customer looks like a rich tipper. At least an hourly wage employee treats every customer equally.

  2. Randy

    You people guilt trip us into thinking you’re poor broke people who can’t make rent and that’s why you treat non-tippers like shit, when in reality you make FAR MORE in tips than you would with minimum wage. WTF do you have to bitch and complain about?!!

  3. Randy

    You people think poor people shouldn’t be allowed to have dinner in a restaurant. We should stick to McDonalds or eat at home. You claim you NEED every person’s tip to survive because, poor you, you make less than minimum wage, even though you brag about how much more than minimum wage you make in tips. Yet if any person can’t afford to include a tip because just going out to a restaurant alone puts a, relatively, huge dent in their wallet, but they want to do something nice, you treat that person like a piece of shit and make THEM feel guilty for not being able to afford to tip.

  4. Randy

    Seriously, your complaint is that you don’t make much because you work PART TIME. Wish I could afford my apartment and bills working just part time, holy fuck life would be so relaxing with all those days off. Or I could work a second job and have enough to go out and enjoy life on a regular basis! I could buy a PS4! I could go paintballing, or snowboarding, or to concerts and festivals! No, I have to work full time to barely make rent and OCCASIONALLY go out, and feel guilty for not being able to tip you when I do. You tipped employees are fucking assholes.

    1. You’re awfully bent out of shape Randy. Firstly, waiters don’t usually work part time by choice. There is a such thing as being “under employed”. Luckily, our schedules allow us the freedom to work a second job or go to school and advance our careers. I’m not bragging by any means. It’s expensive to live in America, as you know. I don’t have money to go out all the time or to buy PS4’s. Also, I don’t bring home $200 every night. I average about $100 a day when you factor in slow days. No need to spew hate on the page just because you supposedly can’t afford a six dollar fucking tip. All I’m saying in this article is that if you want to enjoy being WAITED ON then you should get used to the custom of tipping because it facillitates a dynamic between the employee and the patron. We work harder to please you. Serving is a hard job. Not everyone is very good at it or can do it. You’ve clearly never done it yourself. I’ not apologizing for the shitty servers of the world. We know they exist. I’ve worked with more than a few. I know you think that because anyone can hired and it’s unskilled labor that it must be any easy job but go work an eight table section at a popular restaurant during the Saturday night dinner rush and you’ll see what I mean. Also, you completely misunderstood this article. I was not in any way complaining or bitching. I was making the argument that tipping enhances the restaurant experience for customers, servers, and restaurant owners. If you can’t afford an extra five or six bucks then I don’t think you can really afford to be eating out at all. Maybe you need foodstamps. I also think you should channel this extreme fervor you possess into a more meaningful cause than trying to avoid tipping. And please, please stop saying that I’m bitching. I bitched about nothing in this article.

      1. Randy

        OK, I’m sorry for lumping you in with the many other articles and comments by waiters that I’ve read. I came to your blog by a waiter bragging about how much he makes in tips. And I don’t think your job is easy, and when I was making a good amount of money, I did tip at least 20% and sometimes more, and when I’m drunk, damn, I’d tip way too friendly. When others at my table would complain about how long the food is taking, I’d look at how busy the restaurant is and try to help them understand.

        I just hate the fact that now that I can’t afford to tip, I’m told, indirectly, that I shouldn’t even go out to a restaurant, which you’ve also mentioned. And that’s what bothers me about the tipping experience. That people aren’t treated equally. You work harder to please, not everyone, but only those you think would tip well.

        I find it hard to believe that we really need tips to get good service, because there are many customer service jobs that are hourly, and I have rarely had a bad experience with them. Even the people in the DMV are pleasant!! But tipped employees look at the good looking, fashionable, nicely dressed people and serve them before the not so fresh clothed people. And then I’m still expected to tip for that because it’s not an optional favor, it’s my responsibility, because the owner has absolved himself of paying you guys a decent wage, which you know is not decent. You know you make more in tips than minimum wage, but you can’t treat everyone equally and be happy with that higher than minimum wage check. Instead, you gauge whether or not a person is worthy of your service. Maybe not you, but the other waiters and waitresses I’ve read from. And that makes me hate the tipping system.

        Anyway, I hope you have a good life and take care. You seem like a very decent person.

  5. Jay

    Based off of this article I am going to say that you dont want tipping to be eliminated based on the fact that you are greedy and don’t want your tipping money to go below whatever it is you make. Not everyone that works a tipping job is fortunate enough to work at establishments where high tips and 80k a year is the norm. I know plenty of pizza drivers, red lonster waitresses and bartenders (etc) that really dont make a lot in tips due to the location/demographic of their specific job. If you look at higher paying no-degree required jobs like Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Costco you will notice that your logic of “high livable hourly wages equal shit service” is flawed. These companies provide the best customer service, along with the Chick-fil-As and Chipotles, and they are all paid by the hour.
    A tipped employee does not mean that they want to see a business suceed, it means they need to be nice to make a good tip. If we paid everyone a livable hourly wage, got rid of tips then essentially we would be able to weed out the shitty, rude, fake and distasteful servers with ones who are genuine who REALLY DO CARE about their job and arent trying to half ass everything after working two jobs and serving hundreds if people for $2 an hour. A smart employer will pay a higher wage to those that truly help the business, being left with only good servers.

    1. It’s not about greed, it’s about being able to survive. I don’t know about you but I can’t live on $10 an hour, which is what is considered a livable wage in America. Servers at almost every establishment are making more than that and the only people willing to work for $10 an hour are high school kids. If you want to be waited on by teenagers, fine but I’m sure the quality of service will be below average. You’ve obviously never served before because for some reason you can’t seem to understand that very few people are passionate about working in customer service. These jobs are often taken out of necessity. What makes serving so unique is that we have a daily motivater in cash tips. This aspect of the job is attractive to many smart and driven people. These people aren’t going to work for a crappy hourly wage. I find it amusing that you call me greedy when you’re, in fact, the greedy one for not wanting to tip your waitress or anyone to ensure good service. By the way, I’m not making 80k a year either.

  6. Troy

    Just think about why you live off of “minimum wage”, sorry for your whining and complaining, but just get a better job then, most of people who starts with high salary worked hard to get a good paying job by investing in education with student loans and worked their ass off to be there, and paying the loans back. Sounds like you work hard too based on your whining, however it’s your fault and your shortage on talents and effort that you didn’t make it to where the high paying salary jobs are. if you truly worked hard as those people, you would have not made this posting. You waiters/waitresses are ready for who you are, and guilt tripping daily consumers and customer who makes up your business going already paid the over priced food. It makes me sick of going out eat anymore when I tipped 10-15%, but you demand rudely for over 20%.
    Second, you mentioned that getting a higher hourly salary is like a communism? Good in theory but doesn’t work that way? Nope, Are European countries communist? Just stop whining and complaining to daily business users and customers, and start a movement to change the minimum wage with this kind of passion you have. I would love to see you guys get paid higher hourly salary so consumers don’t get shit on. I pay what the price of menu is, which makes up your wage. Be thankful that at least you have that job.

  7. For your information, I am in college. I work, go to school, and raise a child. I won’t be waiting tables forever, hopefully. Some of my coworkers have 4 year degrees because the economy is shit. I wrote this article because I enjoy writing. It’s called a hobby. Maybe you should get one. I am thankful that I have a job. In fact, I don’t think I complained about my job, or even bad tippers once in this article. You probably didn’t actually read the article. That would be fine, accept that you commented. You also didn’t understand the metaphore about Communism. Get back to me when you have an intelligent response based on the information in the article.

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