Why Your Reasons for Demanding a Tip are Wrong

Waiters are understandably upset about why I don’t tip and have given many illogical reasons in support of this ridiculous practice. Here’s a rebuttal of the most common ones.

Bullshit 1: We only Pay for the Food. Service is Extra

The menu price doesn’t include just the cost of preparing the food and paying the chef. It includes the restaurant setting, the tables, the cutlery, the effort and investment that the restaurant owner has put into the dining area. Now guess what? Since I’m paying for it, the restaurant has to give it to me. And how do they accomplish this?

Waiters. Ding ding!

See without waiters, the restaurant has no way of delivering the dining experience to me that I’m paying for. I’m paying for sitting down in a nice place. I’m paying for the air conditioning. I’m paying for the nice tablecloth and for my food to be delivered to me in a reasonable time. The menu price covers all this. Waiters are just the restaurant’s way of bringing me my food. Of fulfilling their part of the contractual obligation.

Bottom line. Servers are not independent contractors. They’re not an “extra” that you have to pay for. By hook or crook, the restaurant needs to deliver the product. Whether they use waiters or conveyor belts (a term that many seem to object to), is not my business. I don’t care. The waiters can just melt into the background and let me enjoy my food in peace. If the menu includes free refills or whatever, then waiters are required to deliver that as well. Why? Because…wait for it….I paid for it!

Bullshit 2: It’s the custom. It’s ‘merica!

Yeah right. You do realize that not all customs are created equal don’t you? Slavery was a “custom” back in the day and so was race and sexual discrimination. Anyone with an ounce of integrity does what they feel is right. There are many harmless customs in the world like bowing instead of shaking hands, or using chopsticks instead of forks etc that are morally neutral. It really makes no difference if you follow them or not.

But tipping? Hell no! It’s not morally neutral. If you get better service because you’re a good tipper, then you’re essentially paying a bribe to servers to get them to do their job properly next time. All customs have a limit. And tipping is such a convenient custom isn’t it? Hell, I wish I had a custom in place for people to just throw money at me.

And just in case someone feels I don’t appreciate the US, there are many great things about this country that I love and I’ve blogged about repeatedly. Freedom of expression, the way Americans show respect to their armed forces, the politeness of people as you walk by on the road, the work culture, the individuality.

I just don’t like tipping. It’s not as if a person has to blindly accept everything in a country without judgment. There are good things. And there are bad things. Just like everywhere else.

Bullshit 3: The cost of food will increase dramatically

Someone needs to do basic math. Increasing the price of food to pay minimum wage to waiters will not double the price of food. Some have even gone so far to claim that it’ll increase 4-5 times. Ridiculous. Totally, utterly ridiculous. Let’s dissect this rubbish.

As an example, I’ll take Chili’s. A waitress at Chili’s was so kind as to comment saying that the price of food at her restaurant will increase by 3 times – $30 for a $10 burger. Using the statistics she herself gave in her comment, there are 12 waiters (at full capacity) who need to be paid minimum wage. That’s $5 extra per hour per waiter making it a net total of $60 per hour that has to be added to the price of food on a full day.

$60/hr? For 12 waiters. That’s it! It’s peanuts. If you assume even that each waiter is serving just four tables. That’s $5 an hour extra they have to make from four tables. Even if we say that each table sits for a massive two hours, the extra paid per table is way less than $5. On the total bill. Worst, worst case scenario.

You know what? Customers won’t even notice. So stop the garbage about the prices of food going up several times to pay minimum wage. It’s utter nonsense. The only reason waiters don’t want this system in place is because they earn a hell of a lot more than than minimum wage using our tips. And they come across as the victims.

Waiters are Struggling Mothers/Students

Look, it’s not as if I don’t have sympathy for those who struggle in life. I just don’t think it’s my problem. And I specially don’t like it being impinged upon me. Generosity is one thing. Having money demanded from you is something totally else. Any tip I give is out of the generosity of my heart and I expect some gratitude for helping those in need. It’s not something I have to do since…refer to Myth 1.

Bottom line: Socially mandated tipping is a scam. I can’t believe how intelligent people have been hoodwinked into it. Probably because they like to come across as “nice” people and feel sorry for servers who hover around looking expectantly. Well, I find that irritating and I won’t buy into it.

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  1. that one server says:

    As someone who is getting their degree in hospitality, yes you CAN get a degree for being a waitress!, I can tell you for a FACT you are only paying for the food, managers take a portion of the tips that servers make in order to pay for the rest. The cost of food will actually increase because now you would be paying for the servers. As my foreign exchange student liked to point out to me, in South Korea people pay an large amount of money for food because tipping is considered rude.
    Also tipping is very common in commercial run restaurants, if an individual owns a restaurant they decided how much they want to pay their servers. Then Considering not to tip is acceptable.
    However saying this I will say that your feelings are all yours and you are allowed to feel this way. But please, be careful with these posts from now on. Karma is a bitch after all


  2. If waiters and waitresses were paid minimum wage…..No one would do it! Servers have to put up with a lot from customers. People can be really rude especially when they are hungry. So if you don’t want to tip you should eat at a fast food restaurant. As a restaurant owner the prices would definitely go way up. A living wage is not minimum wage. So you can bitch about tipping or you can bitch about higher food prices.


  3. I was a waiter when I was a teen. It was this easiest laziest job I ever had. You’re all a bunch of whiny bitches. This is not an adult job. It is job for teens looking for some extra pocket change.


    • In reply to $Bill

      Don’t really care what you think. Like I said If you don’t want to tip go to McDonalds, Burger King, Etc… There are plenty of places where you can have your dinner served to you in a bag.


    • In reply to $Bill

      Um Dude McDonalds isn’t considered a server position. So you’re job before you got your GED doesn’t count.


  4. Im from Norway, and had the pleasure of traveling to California before christmas. Loved your country, but your tipping culture baffles me.

    In Norway for example, you never tip unless the waiter/waitress has overperformed his/her job way above your expectations. And even then, nobody will think any less of you for not tipping. Those working as servers here are also paid a decent wage like everyone else working in a position not requiring a degree of some kind. And the price for eating in a restaurant in Norway is comparable to those prices I saw in CA, so the argument that the prices will go up is incorrect.


    • In reply to PederP

      The custom started around 1920 ish and was ,at first, a sign of afflunce. It was a means To Insure Prompt Service. Since then the service industry had coopted it to not pay servers a decent wage. In American Capitalism the cost is always passed to the customer. This ensures that a business will always be profitable.


      • In reply to Jim D

        As opposed to European capitalism, where the cost is taken by the business owner?!? Sorry, but both European and American businesses are in it to make money for their owners, hence everything is _always_ passed down to the paying customer.


      • In reply to PederP

        I guess in my naivete I assumed that european owners weren’t as greedy as their American counterparts. I appologize for the assumption.


      • In reply to PederP

        Since you are already aware of this and this is why people go into business is to make money then why would you expect them not to try and make money??? If you didn’t have to do a job to make money I am guessing you would. But you find the best paying job to make the most money. Thats all they are doing.

        If you really think about it the Tipping system really benefits everyone. Keeping in mind the owner is out to make the most money he can. Think about it. You get to decide what you Tip. Sure there is the custom of what you should and frankly you should follow it but you still have the option. The customer also benefits as good servers get paid more while the bad ones get less and eventually will leave or move to a lower class of restaurant.

        If we get rid of the Tipping system (keep in mind we are all out to make the most money we can) your price of food will go up (especially in the norther US) to make up the difference. Its just simple business at this point. Being a business owner I just know thats how it will work. When price of materials go up (gas included) my prices go up quicker. Sure there is inflation and I calculate for that but that happens with everything.

        Now I am not scolding you PederP because it sounds like you Tipped even if you didn’t understand why. So this is to my knowledge the best way to explain how it works. Take the minimum wage per state. For Colorado I think its about $8. Also just a messed up system. Anyway so $8 a hour. They then take “all” restaurants and find the average Tip. Then subtract that from the minimum wage and that becomes the new Tipped Employees wage. So 8-4 = $4/hour + Tips. Now what makes this interesting is the lower you are in serving the worse this works for you and the consumer. When you start eating out at nice restaurants and the food prices go up. Thus the Tips go up and you make more money but the consumer also generally gets better service and more knowledge from their server + better food. This is also because they are making all their money of wine and beer while regular restaurants are getting you more on food and additions (bacon, avocado, and sides). This is also why regular restaurants don’t last as long because restaurants make almost no money of food costs.

        Hope that helped clear things up on how the system works. Not saying its perfect. We mess up a lot of good things here in the US and over complicate them. But there you go. I am sure I did a horrible job explaining it so please feel free to look it up online where they will do a much better job then me.


      • In reply to Brian

        I believe most who is against tipping actually would prefer to pay extra, so the servers can have a decent pay they can live on. At least that is my motivation for being against tipping. Its not about being a cheap bastards, its about being transparent about what something will actually cost me.

        And I dont buy the argument of good versus bad waiters either. If an employer has terrible employees, they should be fired. If an employer has excellent employees, they should be compensated by they employer because they bring additional value to the company.

        If I tip in Europe, I do so because a waiter has greatly surpassed my expectations and basically “made my day”. When visiting the US the whole gratitude system felt more like extortion to be honest, and none of the waiters managed to even come close to surpassing my expectations. So for me as a visitor to your country, the whole experience came of as rather strange.


  5. I really don’t understand these comments. Sorry if i sound stupid but on all debates about tipping all waiting staff state that food prices will rise exponentially if people don’t leave tips. Surely we already pay (if we are decent) an extra 20% and therefore putting the food bill up by 20% with no tipping would not change anything – other than take away the idea that i decide what you earn. Therefore what you are saying is that i am funding other people who don’t pay a tip – where is the fairness in this? The maths doesn’t add up, people state that food bills would triple, living in Europe, Nah, we go out for dinner and generally i leave a 10% tip. But and major But, I decide myself and don’t feel obliged. Yes i also waited tables and had a table of 10 leave me a 50p tip but hell it was a job.


    • In reply to Mo

      I am a very old man. In my early days, you tipped only 15% for good service. Only in a place like NYC was that 20%. Now 20% seems to have become the standard. I pay it for the same reason I buy food for beggars who will go into a supermarket with me so I can be sure they are not spending my money on tobacco or booze. Unless you are very poor yourself, there is no reason not to be charitable.


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