February 4 2010|08.47 AM UTC

Jonathan Rivers

The History of Tipping

Category: Personal FinanceTags: , ,

Although the addition of a gratuity or tip to a bill is now largely perceived as a gift for good service, the origin of the practice may be traced back to 18th Century English pubs when tipping was considered an essential incentive for better service. These days, many workers rely on tips as a substantial and necessary part of their income. In 2003, tips from U.S. restaurants alone were estimated at a whopping $26 billion. There are many emotional reasons people tip, such as to avoid embarrassment or to feel better about themselves because they know a tip is expected. Employees who provide services may also use tricks of the trade to manipulate these emotions to receive a larger gratuity. Have a look at the history of tipping below.

The History of Tipping

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

RaulJones February 5, 2010 at 6:11 am

I tip if it’s deserved. Squatting next to my table will only get you a weird look (and possibly a lower tip); if you touch me, you’d better be a good-looking red-headed gal. And I’ll get my own mints (note the plural) on the way out, thank you.


soubriquet February 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I fear that if I travel to the U.S. I’ll be hated and reviled.
Because, I believe a tip should be a voluntary reward for a job well done, not an extorted payment in a protection racket. Here in Britain, we expect people’s pay to be at an acceptable level, and don’t expect an employee needs tips in order to earn a living wage. For sure, waiting jobs tend to be at the lower end of the pay spectrum, but hey, if you want more money? get a better job!
You should not expect a tip for doing the job you’re paid to do, with a surly attitude. In fact, you shouldn’t expect a tip, you should be pleasantly surprised when it happens.

And yes. Been there, done that. And no. I did not spit in non-tipping customers’ food.


bedstuy March 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm


as a server for 10 years working now in the meatpacking district of new york city i was sad to read the first comment of your post. in the meatpacking district we host a lot of foreign guests who are delightful customers and also feel confused about the custom of tipping, so i often feel bad for the insecurity or awkwardness on their behalf. your second and last part of your comment i found to be ignorant, however. the idea of telling american waiters to get a better job if we want more money is a catch 22, because based off the american custom of tipping being a server in america it IS expected so it IS a part of our pay, and is due, therefore it is a fine job. i understand the experience in other countries is different but when you visit america you should try respect the culture difference as you would want americans to in your home country. if you decide not to, despite the fact that if american restaurants DID pay their workers an acceptable wage they would be forced to charge you a premium for food or shut down all together, then you could at least drop the attitude. i would never be so rude, condescending and critical while a guest in someone else’s country- or even in different areas of my own country.


Your a twit December 26, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Tipping was started to keep the cost of your food down. Well cost isnt down and your employer is at fault for paying a shit wage while he laughs all the way to the bank. Want a tip? saty in school and get a real job!


You're* the twit, actually July 28, 2012 at 12:23 am

Tipping was started to increase employee incentive to sell, thereby turning waiters into a commission based profession and simultaneously increasing sales. Furthermore, please do your research; when all is said and done the average restaurant only makes ten cents for every dollar. So, with the exception of a few select corporations, they’re not laughing all the way to the bank. Get your facts right, and if you’re going to make fun of the under educated at least don’t make a fool of yourself by shitting all over the English language, twit.


Tyler August 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Wow you sound exactly like a customer i just had the other day. listen a waiter only gets paid $2.00 an hour minimum wage in my state is 7.25 so i need those tips so does my son who is only 2 years old. Here i am providing you a service being the middle man for you and the restaurant. I make sure i give each and every customer the best experience i available i want that customer to remember me and come back to me in the future. while i do this i do expect a tip because im running around this restaurant for you making sure you have what you need and dealing with the cooks bull crap. Cooks can be very mean and for that reason right the we deserve our tip


service.ind.worker October 24, 2012 at 11:51 am

Waiters/Waitress pay in the U.S. is $2.33/ hour. That’s roughly $5/hour less than minimum wage. do your research and don’t be so ignorant


Christa February 5, 2010 at 6:00 pm

And in every country tipping is different. While it is 15% in the US, it is 10% in Austria. As in the other comment, one tips more when there is a reason. I always tip as it is part of the payment of a waiter, if he is very nice or not. I think it always depends if you tip with paying or if you leave the top on the table.


Fly Guy March 6, 2012 at 11:38 am

Everyone, so far I am reading about the food industry. Waiters/waitresses, etc. However, what about the barber who expects a tip for cutting my hair? What about the person at the carwash who drys my car? What about the person behind the counter at Subway who expects me to put money in the “tip jar” for making my sandwich? Did the barber cut my hair exceptionaly well? Did the car dryer dry my car exceeding well? Did the sandwich maker do something different when he made my sandwich that is worthy of a tip? I would venture to say NO to all of these scenarios. Can someone explain to me why I am expected to tip in these situations? I am patiently awaiting an intelligent reply. I am keeping an open mind, and am ready to be persuaded with a GOOD argument.


Paul July 28, 2012 at 12:16 am

Well, there’s two sides to this, part of which you answered in your own question. First, just so I can get my soapbox out of the way, it should be enough to know that their earnings rely on tips. I say that knowing people would rather save two bucks than make that person’s day, but I digress, on to the actual argument.

The reason I think you’re having trouble grasping the concept is that the connotation of the word tip implies that it’s not necessary, but in many cases it is. Would you deny a car salesman or real estate owner their commission because you think they didn’t go above and beyond? Many would scoff at you if you tried, and most of these tipped positions are sales-commission based; in these instances the customer has more input. In terms of it’s origins, what is one thing that most of those positions you mentioned have in common? Built in lack of job mobility. If you wash cars, short of buying the place there aren’t many promotions in your future. Even then it might be a temporary job for a student etc.. Knowing that promotions aren’t an incentive for employee achievement in these types of jobs, tipping is the incentive. Otherwise your employees would have no reason to deal with needy customers to everyone’s detriment.

This turns the hair stylist etc. into a commission based worker with a twist. If a salesman sells you a car, the car is the same no matter how he sells it. So, they get the same flat commission for their sale. With a hair stylist, you can’t give flat commission because the quality of the entire transaction/service is based on said employee. This puts their commission, if you will, in the hands of the customer.

Hopefully, a decent person looks at their hair or whatever and acknowledges that they deserve their commission for services rendered and gives them the standard tip plus or minus an issues there may be…hopefully anyways. Basically, dependent on the position, many employees who receive tips receive them on the basis of services rendered, not only services beyond expectation. How’d I do?


John February 6, 2010 at 12:33 pm

That is just it tipping does not get you any better service 99% of the time.


johnnywaiter February 6, 2010 at 12:50 pm

and that sir, makes you a d-bag. servers make 2.13 an hour, and we are forced to pay taxes on our tips, meaning that it is a required part of our society. i take great pride in putting my testicles in drinks of people i know aren’t going to tip. have fun drinking my ball water.


FrequentDiner February 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm

That 2.13 thing is a total myth. The Federal Minimum Wage is $7.25 — you receive 2.13 in direct wages, if you don’t make the rest in tips, your employer will match you. Stop the lies!


Hobs November 7, 2011 at 6:26 am

They say they will match you but there is no certain way to keep track of your cash tips therfore unless its on a credit card employers can say you made 15% off of every cash table which most of the time you do not. So there are no lies only misconceptions your helping to spread. Obviously you have never worked as a waiter.


anony-mouse February 6, 2010 at 3:16 pm

What about the tattoo artist? how much to give them for a tip, and beleive me, you will want to tip them if you need to get finish up work done…


james February 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I’d tip 20%, especially if you plan on going back, cause that shit DON’T come off. hah


Terry February 6, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Don’t forget tattoo artists. I usually tip 10-15%, more if they’re a good conversationalist.


Jimbo February 6, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Tipping is primarily to say thank you for exemplary service. Forget the other reasons. Poor service, poor tip. Great service, great tip.


Titus February 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm

So it’s a scientific fact that Black people don’t “know” what a proper tip is. Interesting. I wonder how the black community will respond to this? How does the white community respond? Why don’t we just have a “community” instead? And why “African-American” and not just “American”? You can tell if a Black person is black, the hyphen isn’t necessary, by the colour of their skin, and also if they don’t tip well. Bahaahha!


tomjones February 7, 2010 at 12:09 pm

By definition then, we should all be tipping doctors, dentists, surgeons, lawyers, police, firemen, and all government officials on a regular basis for “better service”. But due to a peculiar effect of cultural cognitive dissonance, society on both sides of the pond has deemed doing so unethical, to the point of making it illegal. In fact, even the people who view tipping as a social and moral obligation expect these people to do their jobs well on the antiquated premise that they were hired to do it well, not poorly.

It’s an odd sense of privilege when people can expect to be paid for work that’s poor under the presumed “norm” that good work is the exception rather than the rule.

I don’t mind tipping for truly exceptional service, people who go out of their way to provide above and beyond the expected norm, and often do. What I object to is the expectation that not tipping is somehow socially and therefore morally reprehensible, but that it’s morally justified that people should feel grateful for “not getting bad service” or that “nobody tampered with my food”.

Tipping is what’s made bad service and a poor work ethic the new expected norm.


David Owen November 7, 2010 at 1:20 pm

(Coming from a restaurant manager) I agree that the whole tipping agenda in the U.S. has gotten out of hand, and I HATE having to tip. BUT I will everytime, and this is why…

There are VERY VERY FEW restaurants anywhere in the united states who pay there employees more than 2.13/hr, and almost none even pay minimum wage. If you research the history of tipping further, US servants by any nature including restaurant waiters were a proud group of people who thought of themselves more as employees and not servants and would not accepts tips as they were in europe (completley opposite now). Over a few hundred years the entire platform has changed. In Europe waiters make GOOD hourly $$$, and most of the time you are paying for it in the price of the food. You should not think of tipping your waiter as a “tip”, but as paying him for dealing with your indecisive nature, your annoying questions, your pettiness, your unjust attitude…frankly dealing with you as a human being, LOL Like I said in Europe waiters are paid quite well, and in america they should be too. You are paying for a service provided.


cdf June 28, 2011 at 6:10 pm

u r all taken in by greedy owners who feel(and know) they can get away with paying under minimum wage that’s why they lobby to keep it that way. People should realize the owners should be brought to reality. I’m paying an inflated price 4 their food and labor is a cost of doing business. If the customer does not tip thet aren’t cheap. the owner is GREEDY! BOTTOM LINE! Don’t be moronic, imbecilic idiots all of your lives.


Ken February 8, 2010 at 8:53 am

I don’t tip at a coffee house . It’s not necessary nor is a tip expected at a drive thru.


Anonymous February 8, 2010 at 10:19 am

Of course, one problem w/ with tipping in the US is that in many areas wait-staff are not paid a fully salary with the “expectation” that they should make it up in tips. This turns a reward into an obligation in the sense that your server is not making a legal wage if you do not tip. Its an issue with the business.


Ami Simms February 8, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Get better tips by squatting down next to customer or touching them?! Oh NO!!!

97% of my readers did NOT like having waitstaff sit down next to them.



alex brewer February 8, 2010 at 6:46 pm

The amount of tip I leave is directly proportional to the amount of time my iced tea glass spends half full or less. I have thought it was amazing when I noticed the trend of tips increasing from 10% while I was younger (30 years ago) to sometimes over 30%! Insane.


Tai February 9, 2010 at 6:30 am

Almost any word that people claim to be an acronym, actually isn’t. http://www.snopes.com/language/acronyms/tip.asp


Your barista February 10, 2010 at 7:34 am

Please tip your barista. Barista’s are highly skilled professionals (if you’re in the right kind of cafe) and they train extensively to know the nuances of the espresso they are serving you in order to provide you the best drink possible. Throw a dollar in the jar!


cdf June 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Highly skilled pros should be paid accordingly….by their EMPLOYERS


Eric Wolf February 10, 2010 at 8:01 am

I find it hilarious that tipping is thought to have started in English pubs and was non-existent in the US in the 1800s. Now, unless your in a yuppie pubbar in London, you generally don’t tip the barman but in the US you do tip the bartender. I typically tip $1 per drink when I pay cash per order. A good bartender will typically remember you during the night. I’ve frequently had my last round comped.

The issue in the US is that Federal Minimum Wages are lower for restaurant staff which is currently $2.13/hour vs. $7.25/hour for non-tip workers (see http://www.dol.gov/elaws/faq/esa/flsa/002.htm) This tip-based minimum wage has also not kept up with inflation as well as the regular minimum wage. I think I was making about the same in 1992 when I last waited tables.

Further, food prices at restaurants have also held relatively steady except in large cities where more expensive restaurants have become more common. Unfortunately, the cost of living in these cities have gone up faster than restaurant prices (mostly in rent). Hence the general increase from 15% to 20%.

Finally, the US lacks a national health care plan. Very few restaurants provide health insurance for wait staff. These people are very much dependent on your tips.

I do feel for Brits visit the US, though. Not only do you get hit with a massive expected tip, but we also don’t typically publish prices with taxes included. So that $5.99 cheeseburger will likely set you back almost $8.


waiterboy February 11, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Hey johnnywaiter, forced to pay taxes on our tips??? I’m forced to pay taxes on my wages to. I’d punch you right in the balls, you are an embarassment.


Joe Miler February 13, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Non-tippers are the lowest of the low.


Sara Baker February 16, 2010 at 1:51 pm

to all you who feel like tipping should be voluntary, then email your congressman to demand minimum wage should be applied to all jobs. bartenders and waitresses make $2.13 ph – originally it was intended to be half of the minimum wage, but hasn’t been forced to keep up with inflation. if you don’t know how to do math, since 20% is too difficult for you, $2.13 IS LESS THAN 1/3RD OF THE CURRENT MINIMUM WAGE.
it is my most sincere hope that every time you stiff your bartender or waitress you think of your daughter/son/cousin/ any relative drastically affected by this shit economy/ the fact that your mother or father likely at one time or another relied on tips / your classmates who sleep only 5 hours per day after they spend 8 hours studying and attending class, they get to work for about 10-12 hours SERVING YOU.
if you don’t want to tip, then stay home and cook for your damn self. don’t waste my time.


C.B January 13, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Tipping is and should be voluntary depending on the quality of service rendered. It’s your job so if you have a problem with the salary YOU write YOUR Congressman or get a new job. People shouldn’t be rewarded for doing the job they signed up to do…..only for doing it exceptionally well.


Tina February 17, 2011 at 9:10 pm

yeah sara I am a bartender and have made the same wage for the last five years I’ve now returned to school and work 2 days a week one day 12hrs the other 8hrs last weekend i made a total of 100 dollars i have to commute t school and that doesn’t even cover the gas.these people come in and want me to have their $1 beer or $2 well drink ready when they walk up to the bar.I am a very good bartender greet most of my customers by name half of the time after several drinks and cashing their lottery tickets I get left a whole wopping $1


Bokolis February 16, 2010 at 3:13 pm

While many may fear being violated by a waiter, if you knew and thought about what your food goes through without the staff playing foot hockey with it, you’d never eat out in the first place.

This is a tricky game we play. Waiters hold a lot of power in their hands. They largely determine whether the experience was enjoyable. If I’m planning on ever returning to a place, I’m going to tip 30%. I don’t necessarily tip for better service; I tip if the experience was good. If the experience wasn’t good, I probably won’t be returning.

Of course, the obvious retort is, doesn’t that mean the service? Sure, but it’s not the only factor in the experience. The place might suck, but the waiter is on point, or vice-versa. An obsequious waiter is as bad as a surly waiter. I want out of my waiter the same thing that our bosses want from us; to have on hand what I need- whether food, insight, personality, or whatever- exactly when I need it. In the end, the customer does not want to feel like a schlub for the experience.

At the same time, such power belies the economic reward of the job and economic status of your bitchy waiter. I personally know waiters that make more than I do…and I make more than enough to pay the bills. They tend to the customer without regard to the tip. In their minds, that will take care of itself. And, if it doesn’t, it’s only money. That may be easier said than done when you’re dead-ass broke, but it’s why they work where they work and make what they make.

If you’re the type- in any job:

to feel any sense of entitlement,
that sits there and (figuratively) counts your money (in this case, assessing your tip prospect) while you’re supposed to be tending to the patron,
that complains about your lot in life and takes it out on the customer,
that pisses and moans because this struck a raw nerve,

you’ve fcuked yourself for good. I’ve met plenty like you, too. The snicker you’ll have to yourself for violating the patron is the kind of negative energy that has you stuck waitressing at some dive or, worse yet, at a chain restaurant, instead of doing what you’d want to do.


Laura K March 19, 2012 at 11:03 am

Bokolis, Thank you. I have worked in food service off and on for 20 years and there are always those jerks on the staff who have an inflated and unrealistic sense of entitlement. Messing with customers’ food or drinks is unthinkable to me.


Mikko April 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Way to go Sara Baker! You definitely called it. I would think differently about tipping if the people doing the service weren’t paid so poorly, especially waiters and waitresses. $2.13 is deplorable! If you can’t afford to tip at least 15% for adequate service, then you should be cooking for yourself or going for fast food. And Europeans: Yes, your service people do earn a living wage (relatively speaking), so tipping is not such a cultural phenomenon. And in my country anyway, taxes are already calculated into the price of things before you purchase them, so what you see on the menu/aisle/whatever, is what you pay. But in the U.S., hidden costs abound and must be accounted for. Remember the saying, “When in Rome…”


get off your high horse April 27, 2010 at 12:07 am

First, I would like to address the arrogant, out-dated fools that don’t tip. You should stop eatting out. Tipping has become a social norm across America,much like driving around in your hot new car, or wearing your designer suit, and just because you view yourselves as “too-high” a status to lower yourself by tipping someone “beneath you,” consider this: the majority of servers are not “stuck being a waitress or WAITER” (Bokolis is apparently of the sexist movement, seeing as he did not include the male gender in his less-than-subtle bash against people not of his self-proclaimed status)due to negative energy. Perhaps, since I am a server and have been since I turned 15, I could enlighten these hoodwinks of why a person ends up serving tables. As disapointing as it may be, people do not serve tables because they find joy in ridicule from those who believe they are above them, or because they enjoy fetching these people their “extra ranch dressing, spare napkin, pop refill, or their beloved second, third, and fourth servings of bread,” but because they, unlike the person who is “above them” know the value of hard work because their mommy and daddy didn’t pave the way and hand them every dollar they’ve ever had in their posession. Most servers, are paying for their training, colleges classes, or like myself, their graduate school. (Tough to believe that not everyone’s mommy and daddy do that huh?)And most servers are probably more personable and friendly than some stale suit like yourself that sits behind a desk all day, “doing what you wanted to.” Also, maybe if you weren’t so stiff, you’d understand that a server kneeling next to your table or touching you isn’t the end of the world, just because it makes you feel like a human because you’re for a moment relating to them by personal, relaxed means.

In regaurd to the comments stating that we may spit your food or sabotage your meal in some other ill-mannered way, you are all yet sadly mistaken again. If you could see past the end of your own noses stuck high in the air, you might be able to comprehend the fact that your, worthless little server, is in complete control of your dining experience. If they are less than delighted to see you, you will most definately leave less than delighted. If they don’t get your order in, in a timely fashion, you’ll wait,,,sorry! If the kitchen does a superb job cooking your 16 oz. steak, and your server decides to let in petrify in the window,well sorry charlie! We don’t need to spit in your foot to ensure ruining your dining experience. :) and I think any server would agree with me that it is always the arrogant prics that run your ass off that walk in wearing their prada shades,and letting their kids climb the curtains that tip like heathens. While the members of the real working class, who are polite, pleasant, and respectful, tip with the greatest appreciation. Also, the reason tipping doesn’t get you any better service “99%” of the time is because you tip after the meal. The service is done. I can assure you however, that if you are the d-bag that every server dreads, and you lack in the tipping department,servers will remember you; especially when you tipped like a hooligan your previous visit,and you can count on cold food and fake smiles (if you’re lucky).

If you are so cheap and self-proclaimed that the 5 dollars is going to break you, then stay home. No one wants to deal with you and your tude.If you don’t want to pay for the service, perhaps you should go to a fast food drive through or a buffet. servers are hired to do a job; serve food. there is no fine print that says: be pleasant, care about ur customer’s experience, fetch all of their extras free of charge, deal with their undisciplined children and their mess,keep their drinks above half full at all times, clear their table of unnecessary clutter, so they can have a nice,comfortable meal, adjust the thermostat and music volume to their liking, and make sure they feel as if the table placement is suitable for them. Those are all extras provided by your server! compensate them for it! tips are no different the commission earned off big sales or bonuses given during special holidays. They are an expression of appreciation for a job well done.

Like I said,,, just something to consider.


cdf June 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm

u r an idiot!


Anonymous October 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Please….give me a break!! First of all, exactly how do restaurants get away with paying only $2.13 an hour. Isn’t it a law – MINIMUM wage, and don’t tell me, “it’s in order to keep the cost of food low”. It is at an all time high. I am a surgical nurse. I do not get paid extra tips to do the duties of my job. I can’t “choose” the level at which I can perform my job based on whether or not someone pays their bill. The hospital where I work does a lot of charity work and people don’t even pay their bills, they still get the same excellent service. So…we are expected to pay extra for someone to bring our food to the table. What’s the alternative, to get the food from the kitchen myself? Fine…if it will save me 15-20% off my bill, that’s a deal. If the restaurant world is too cheap to pay their employees, why should I have to make up the difference…I’m already paying big bucks just to eat out. How did the public ever get suckered into this one?


A Chef April 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm

This lack of professionalism is the very type of entitlement mentality which ruins the reputation of professional waitstaff. You should be fired! For even suggesting that you will ruin the experience of a patron, and therefore tarnish the reputation of the establishment, reveals your own selfish arrogance and the necessity to replace you. It also exemplifies one of the main problems with the tip system… many waitstaff work for their tips, not for the employer or the reputation of the restaurant. If you hate the place you work at, find a better place.

Where I work, the waitstaff get the state minimum wage plus their tips. They make a very good wage with both combined. The waitstaff here can make better money than the manager and the chef. That’s also an injustice. Good waitstaff add quality to the reputation of an establishment and enhance the quality of the guest’s experience. But they shouldn’t make more than the chef! And they should be sharing their profits with the line cooks in regions like ours where they make such good money. After all, people go to a restaurant FOR THE FOOD. Service is important, but, you can have a restaurant w/o waitstaff. You cannot have a restaurant w/o cooks. In my opinion, the cooks should earn at least as much as the waitstaff after tips are considered. I know, cooks can wait tables if they want the tips. But how has the system gotten this messed up?

A better system definitely needs to be developed. The current tip system one is broken.


Mary Smith June 7, 2010 at 7:23 am

Tipping is a system of guilt used to extract more money from the customer who supplements the employees salary through tipping because the employer is paying minimum wage or below. Customers are required to make up for the lousy salary paid to employees and made to feel guilty for not doing so. It is a perfect example of how the employer passes the cost on to us and gets away with it because we have all bought into the guilt. To the person who posted above, not every social norm should be accepted by masses. It was the social norm to enslave African Americans and those did not support it were ostracized. One should not support something just because it is a social norm.


Storm June 12, 2010 at 10:11 am

Perfect article. In People say all kinds of stuff that have never served people. Here in the US someone working for tips is usually only working for tips. IN Arizona and Colorado for sure they only make $3 an hour. If they give great service but some guy thinks hey I don’t need to tip then they just worked their tail off for nothing. I manage servers all day long, i was one for many years, It usuallly comes down to eiquitte. Those that have been raised properly and understand how to care for others tip well and those that only care for themselves and are looking for the cheapest thing they can won’t We can tell the minute you walk in and sit down. Rarely are we ever wrong. Servers start out with every intention to give great service but the first 5 minutes will tell if we continue to give you great service. STop with the verbal tips, We can’t pay our bills with wow you are one of the best servers we have ever had and then you give us 10% or less.


dersten jernsen August 24, 2010 at 10:16 pm

mary smith… if you go to a restaurant, who are you expecting to bring your food? clean your table? fetch everything according to your whim and fancy while your sitting having a wonderful time with your friends? you think the owner “should” pay them a higher wage, which is why you decide it alright to not tip? why is their a tipping minimum wage? because the government acknowleges that a server pay is based off of the customers tip. period.

you have to tip 18% people. its what you pay a server. thats how it is. you guys shouldnt even be having a discussion on wether its right or not. it is fact. dont be a doosher and rationalize yourself into not leaving a tip.

people come up with all kinds of reasons they shouldnt have to tip well. everyone does it. but they make no difference. because if you go to a restaurant, and you are served you food and server your drinks and someone has brought you your salad which was most likey made by the server, or your deserts which was most likely prepared by the sever…. then, my friend, you just got a service and you betting f’ing pay for it. the price is 18 percent!

serving is hard work… and the server never gets any respect, when alot of times, the server is alot better educated, just maybe in a possition in life where they have no other option. or alot of times, the waitress has a kid she is trying to provide for. i would say 40% of waitresses at least have children. do u really want to sit there and decide what to give this waitress? decide how much grocery allowance her and her child have to work with for that week? do you really want to get that involved? no, you dont. so just tip her what she earns… what is standard practice… what is considered a social contract… if you tip less than 18% you a pretty f’ng dooshy. you know it. i know it. and so does everybody else.


Warsie January 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

What about cooks, or busboys, or whatnot. Why don’t they get tipped – instead of waiters who simply sit on their ass…and wait


Anonymous March 22, 2011 at 5:37 am

They do, they get a tip out. At the end of the night the waiters/delivery drivers/bartenders and their lady equivs will put a certain percentage of their tips into a collective tip out that’s split between the cooks, bus boys, and so on.

I’ve been on both sides of this and it’s fair. As a cook I don’t have to deal with assholes and get some tip money for my hard work, as a driver I deal with assholes all night and get paid in respect to that.


Dusty November 1, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Yes their is some intelligent people posting to this site. Yes, a person shouldn’t “Have to ” tip if they don’t want too. Yes, some people are on a budget and some people are just cheap. But the fact remains, “Should you have to tip”? Age old question. Here in Montana, our wages aren’t based off of tips. So it is true a person makes the minumum wage. As far as the wait staff that may or may not mess with your food because you don’t tip, well, that shows you that they arn’t that intelligent and I would love to meet Mr. Balls sometime. But, of course he won’t show his face or name as he is scum.


Anonymous December 4, 2010 at 1:44 pm

If you can’t afford to leave a decent tip, then you can’t afford to eat out at a restaurant. Your tip doesn’t just go to your server, but to the busers, the cooks, the dishwashers, the host, the bartender…


Mel H December 6, 2010 at 1:02 am

I’m 50 yrs old, and remember when 10% was the appropriate tip. Not sure when/why it jumped to 15%, but now I’m hearing/reading 20% is minimal? What? A few decades from now will people think nothing of 30% being the norm? When will it end?

If I’m getting a group together to go out to eat, I check first to see if the restaurant automatically adds in a gratuity, and if they do, I ask to speak to the person in charge, and I tell that person they lost our business because I don’t agree tips should be automatically added in, that is not tolerated by me. But it must be by others because it’s becoming the norm. Don’t tolerate it and it won’t continue!


Mary H December 6, 2010 at 1:02 am

Restaurant staff (non managerial anyway) do not have to go to college for this job, so they shouldn’t expect to earn a lot. Yet many do. They get an automatic increase every time menu prices go up. Cost of milk and eggs go up? Menu prices go up, tips go up. But a cashier in a grocery store where milk and eggs get pricier, they don’t automatically see an increase in their paycheck.

And most waitstaff get a free (or greatly reduced) meal on their shift. Five shifts a week, that’s about 1/4 of their weekly food, 25% of what they’d have spent on groceries, that’s a pretty significant benefit that you never see them mentioning when they insist they get decent tips.

All it would take would be for customers to start speaking up to management; get a lousy waiter/waitress – let management know. If everybody did, management would hear over and over about the lousy ones. And include praises for the good ones too. Definitely there are better tips to be made during different meals and days.

I don’t want to see 30% tips be the norm years from now. Let’s put the brakes on this NOW.


Run Forest Run December 6, 2010 at 1:07 am

Someone posted we should tip because a lot of waitresses have kids to provide for?

Excuse me?

Just because you couldn’t keep your legs together is no reason I need to give my money to you darlin’


chuck January 30, 2011 at 11:17 pm

As a pizza delivery driver I might point out that I PAY FOR MY OWN GAS AND FOR ANY MECHANICAL BREAKDOWNS>> I get minimum wage and tips..If I get to your house on time in good weather and deliver your food with a smile you should give a decent tip..If you cant afford a tip go to the store and pick it up so you dont have to worry about it….If its bad weather and you dont tip???? WTF!!!! all i gotaa say on the subject


saramabob March 6, 2011 at 10:25 pm


The servers in the US AREN’T being paid unless you tip them. Well, they’re paid about $2/hr, 25% of minimum wage. For this reason, the food bills here are lower. Servers here rely on tips for their wages. If you don’t tip, they basically served you for nothing, and they don’t do their jobs for the fun of it.


Hugheen March 22, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Interesting that the above piece on tipping doesn’t even mention housekeepers. Not unusual this group of service workers who do more for us than any other rarely receive tips and usually work for
near minimum wage. Take a look at the job description and think about it next time you are in a motel or hotel room:

37-2012.00 – Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners

Perform any combination of light cleaning duties to maintain private households or commercial establishments, such as hotels, restaurants, and hospitals, in a clean and orderly manner. Duties include making beds, replenishing linens, cleaning rooms and halls, and vacuuming.


. Clean rooms, hallways, lobbies, lounges, restrooms, corridors, elevators, stairways, locker rooms and other work areas so that health standards are met.
. Clean rugs, carpets, upholstered furniture, and/or draperies, using vacuum cleaners and/or shampooers.
. Empty wastebaskets, empty and clean ashtrays, and transport other trash and waste to disposal areas.
. Sweep, scrub, wax, and/or polish floors, using brooms, mops, and/or powered scrubbing and waxing machines.
. Dust and polish furniture and equipment.
. Keep storage areas and carts well-stocked, clean, and tidy.
. Polish silver accessories and metalwork such as fixtures and fittings.
. Remove debris from driveways, garages, and swimming pool areas.
. Replace light bulbs.
. Replenish supplies such as drinking glasses, linens, writing supplies, and bathroom items.
. Sort clothing and other articles, load washing machines, and iron and fold dried items.
. Sort, count, and mark clean linens, and store them in linen closets.
. Wash windows, walls, ceilings, and woodwork, waxing and polishing as necessary.
. Assign duties to other staff and give instructions regarding work methods and routines.
. Request repair services and wait for repair workers to arrive.
. Deliver television sets, ironing boards, baby cribs, and rollaway beds to guests’ rooms.
. Disinfect equipment and supplies, using germicides or steam-operated sterilizers.
. Hang draperies, and dust window blinds.
. Move and arrange furniture, and turn mattresses.
. Observe precautions required to protect hotel and guest property, and report damage, theft, and found articles to supervisors. .
. Plan menus, and cook and serve meals and refreshments following employer’s instructions or own methods.
. Prepare rooms for meetings, and arrange decorations, media equipment, and furniture for social or business functions.
. Take care of pets by grooming, exercising, and/or feeding them.
. Wash dishes and clean kitchens, cooking utensils, and silverware.
. Answer telephones and doorbells.
. Care for children and/or elderly persons by overseeing their activities, providing companionship, and assisting them with dressing, bathing, eating, and other needs.
. Carry linens, towels, toilet items, and cleaning supplies, using wheeled carts.
. Purchase or order groceries and household supplies to keep kitchens stocked, and record expenditures.
. Run errands such as taking laundry to the cleaners and buying groceries.

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Anji December 12, 2011 at 8:49 am

I’ve always wondered where the concept of tipping began… Sometimes I even question the point in tipping?


katie February 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I work my ass off to make my tips that i deserve. i make 2.13 an hour.


Anonymous March 7, 2012 at 10:22 am

Read all comments. I am from India and I am really happy to say that the TIPPING is not so common in our Regeon. Deffenetly, there is no fixed rate for TIPPING such as 15-20 %. if u r so satsfactorily with the waiters performance, You give them what u like, below 10 % , i Think.


Bill March 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I always tip as I am supposed to, but I do not understand the concept. Someone hands me a beer at a bar and I’m supposed to tip. A fireman pulls me out of a burning building and no tip is required. Should I not tip the fireman, thus insuring he / she will do their job well the next time? Why should I have to help various business owners pay their employees? To insure good service? If the service is bad, the word will quickly spread and there will be no business. Or, the owner will have to spend more money, on wages, to acquire and keep good employees. If the owner has to raise prices, to pay his employees, so be it. Why not kick in a little extra to help the owner pay for his increased food or shipping costs. An employee in a department store helps you find what you are looking for, directs you to the dressing room and then replaces the item when you decide against buying it. They have helped you a lot. They are not paid much. Why should I not help their boss pay their salary by tipping them? Why should I tip a cab driver? The person has chosen to drive a cab. He operates a vehicle from one place to another. Do you tip the ambulance driver who rushes you to the hospital and saves your life? What about the paramedic treating you in the ambulance? Why shouldn’t we help the business owner of the privately owned ambulance company pay his employees salary? It makes no sense.


garaygirl May 1, 2012 at 9:26 am

I agree with you Bill!! I would much rather tip someone willing to put there life on the line for me, than someone who serves you food ect…


Sam March 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I don’t believe in the legend of where “tip” got its name: That’s a backronym. I don’t believe touching or squatting works, because I’ve seen the contrary suggested in training videos, and I value personal space. And no one can explain where tipping originated in Europe.


Kathleen March 29, 2012 at 7:52 am

I am a waitress in a bar. I make $15.00 for an eight hour shift. That is my pay. Without the practice of tipping I would not be working in a bar and all of you who want to sit at a table and have me clean off your empty beer bottles and glassware, empty your ashtrays and clean up your spills so you can sit and enjoy an evening with friends would have to do this yourselves. I tell my customers one of the best parts of going out is not having to clean up the mess and that is one thing they are tipping me for….cleaning up after them and making sure they have a good time. BTW I also have a regular job I work 40 hours a week (at a job I hate) and make a good wage but I wait tables on the weekends because I really enjoy taking care of my customers and making sure they have a good time. I have regular customers I have waited on at the bar for 15 years and they take care of me as much as I take care of them.


Anonymous June 23, 2012 at 8:51 am

If you take issue with our tipping custom, try to think of it as a transparent commission system or profit sharing. If you weren’t tipping, you would still pay the same in the end, (or more,) because businesses would add it to the cost of the service. The tipping system is a simple way to weed people out of fields they are not well suited for. No one is going to keep working at a job in which they can’t make any money. With the tipping system, businesses don’t have to come up with their own incentive programs to retain the best and weed out the rest.

As for those who are saying that people who work in the service industry don’t deserve tips because they should pursue higher education, please get real. Are you complaining about musicians, actors, business owners, and others who can potentially make very high incomes without higher education? Pursuing higher education is not possible for everyone, just as working as a server in a four star restaurant is not possible for everyone. You have to be blessed with the right set of talents, skills, intelligence, and circumstances to succeed in any area of life, with or without education. If you are good at something and work hard, you should get paid accordingly.

For those saying that in the restaurant biz, chefs and others get tipped out by servers at the end of shift, you should know that not all restaurants operate that way. It totally just depends on how the business owners want to run things.


Mgbar September 22, 2012 at 10:57 am

Going out to eat is a luxury. Why is anyone comparing waiters to firefighters or doctors? You don’t go to the hospital to have an enjoyable surgery. Perhaps there should just be a gratuity added to everyone’s check. That’s pretty much the same as dining out in europe.


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