The Joy of Tipping

This rant has been a long time coming, so my apologies to those who I’ve mentioned it to who have come here to find me procrastinating. As usual.

Diners of the world, hear ye, hear ye! Servers of the world, unite!

Together we approach the possibly controversial topic of tipping. Having been a full-time server for almost a year now, you’d think I’d have ranted about this long before now, but it’s only recently that I’ve noticed just how stingy some people are.

Fact: Servers don’t even make minimum wage.

Fact: Servers put up with a lot of picky, ignorant, cheap, snotty, and “special” people, and good servers like me keep smiling anyway. Usually.

Fact: A twenty percent tip is considered good; a fifteen percent tip is considered acceptable; a ten percent tip is considered bare minimum albeit ignorant because that was considered good about 10 years ago and hello, have you SEEN gas prices lately?!; and less than that is just plain mean and backwards.

Fact: In a place that has candles on the tables, jazz playing during dinner, $9 glasses of wine, and delicious, if simple, food, a ten percent tip is a slap in the face.

Wikipedia has this to say:

Though by definition a tip is never legally required, and its amount is at the discretion of the person being served, in some circumstances failing to give an adequate tip when one is expected would be considered very miserly, a violation of etiquette, or unethical.


In countries where tipping is the rule (for example United States), complicated social rules and etiquette have developed over the exact percentage to tip, and what should and should not be included in this calculation. In other cultures where tipping exists it is more flexible and no specific assumptions of the tip amount exist. In the United States, it is acceptable to tip anywhere from 15% to 20% if the service is good to superior, and less or even zero for mediocre service. In Canada, a 15% tip is customary for good service.[8]

Some establishments pool tips and divide them to include employees who lack customer contact. At some restaurants, agreements among the staff require the servers to tip out members of the support staff (kitchen, bartender, and busser) at the end of their shift;[9]; this means that servers pay a certain fixed percentage of their sales (most often a portion less than 15 percent of total sales) to the other staff. Thus when a patron leaves a small tip, it results in the server having to receive less from the tipping pool than other staff.[10]

Lately, I’ve had so many people tip me less than ten percent, it’s sickening. If you’re one of those people, give yourself and your wallet a shake! Do I have to launch into my Principles of Generosity lecture? Also, if I’m truly that shoddy of a server, do you think they would’ve appointed me Dining Room Manager? So. Since your bad tipping habits don’t reflect on my skill, it must be an indication of either ignorance or stinginess on your part. (If you’re a good tipper, please disregard these comments 🙂 )

I’d like to continue this rant, but I think I’ve actually covered all the ground I want to. I’ll leave you with this thought:

Wouldn’t you rather err on the side of generosity?

What do you think? Please don't be shy...

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