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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Comments

  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

    Reply

  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.

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  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.

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    • 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.

      Reply

    • 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.

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    • In reply to $Bill

      I’m sorry your time spent working as a waiter at what I can only guess was probably some pithy run-down hole-in-the-wall restaurant, you obviously must’ve been a very lazy teenager.

      There is a simple solution to not tipping and it is Ordering Your Food To Go.
      Regardless of what the author thinks, the fact of the matter is, Yes in America you do Tip for service and Pay for the food.
      Whether the author choose to fully embrace our culture or not is of course entirely up to him and him alone.

      However I would ask the author that, because I actually am a server at a very nice restaurant where a dinner for 4 people can easily get up into the 300-$400 range and, in the spirit of just being f*cking honest with the waiter, Please Tell Us You’re Not Tipping.
      That way you get your food and the bare minimum service they feel like giving BECAUSE THAT’S LITERALLY ALL YOU’VE BOUGHT

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  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.

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    • 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.

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      • 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.

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      • 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.

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      • 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.

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      • 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.

        Reply

  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.

    Reply

    • 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.

      Reply

      • In reply to Mike

        http://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/faq/esa/flsa/002.htm

        As you can see from this link waiters make minimum-wage with or without tips. This job is a joke there is no reason to tip.

        I would let the beggars and bums starve to death. Fuck charity, support yourself or die.

        Fuck the waiter no tip for you ever.

        Reply

      • In reply to $Bill

        Fuck You $Bill you’re apparently to stupid to even be a server. Your remarks dont come off as funny, but rather cheap & clueless about how the hospitality industry really works. Great servers at Fine Dining Restaurants can make plenty of money (much more then your redneck ass) even servers at chain restaurants can get their bills paid as long as people honor the art of tipping. Dont blame the server, right a letter to your congressman and help get the law changed. When servers make better hourly wages your cheap ass doesnt have to tip…but getting mad at a person who wants to get paid for their job??? Thats not just kids??? Do you work for free??? Didnt think so dumbshit.

        Reply

      • In reply to Mark

        With or without tips you to make minimum-wage you’re overpaid. Your job is a joke.

        Reply

  6. All I can say is that I can tell what nationality these people are that have a problem with tipping. In your country you don’t tip but here in America- we tip!. Like everyone else stated, we don’t get minimum wage because serving is considered a tipping job. If I wasn’t then we would get a lot more than the McDonald employees because we put up with you! All these foreigners that are stating that in their country they don’t tip well let me ask you something. Why did you or your family come to America? For the American dream! You want all the other benefits of living here. You like everything else this country provides for you but you don’t agree with tipping?! Well don’t go the @@ck out!! @@ss hole!

    Reply

  7. Ok time to stop reading your blogs. I chanced on it when I was googling abouy grandparents. No idea how

    And this is definitely not “indian” discpline.

    Reply

  8. Dave Pilgrim says:

    I grew up in the states and eventually immigrated to another country. Like coming out of the forest in order to see the trees, I look at the tipping system in the states as a beggars paradise. No longer is it just the waiters and waitresses who demand the tips because the food industry has organized their workers to only get 50% less of minimum wage. Now almost everywhere you go you find people selling anything anywhere placing large tip jars for people to put their money in. People will no longer give free information or advice unless they are paid something for it.
    People who provide no service to you whatsoever are wanting you to give them gifts of money. Come on AMerica. Wake up. Not only do you look silly to the rest of the world but really no one is even the slightest interested that these people get paid so low. Is it because it helps to make everyone else look as they are a level or two above them? That you feel sorry for them so throw a little cash at them and say it is for better service or whatever satisfies your mind. In reality you do not care how much they make. You only chose to accept the silliest of attitudes Americans make is that it is national tradition. What A load of crap. It is a cop out. You should really be fighting to help those people get a decent wage not having them depend on you deciding how much they should earn.
    AMercians really are afraid to discuss this issue but instead stand firm and shout that they like to tip these poor people and that it makes them feel better that they have done so. Yes it seems to ease their guilt for not doing anything about the situation or else it just helps to make them feel much higher on the food change than them.
    Tipping has become a joke, Taxi drivers expect gifts of money simply for doing their job. Where is the pride in Americans for what they do and for doing a good job. No they must extract more money from their customers for being nice people.
    Americans do not want to know what the situation is They do not really care. As long as they are ok that is all that counts. Otherwise instead of having such a screwed up mandatory tipping system they would be riding in the taxi and paying the fee end of story.
    everyone seems to feel so sorry for these lowly people. What about other people in the non tipping fields who work their butts off for minimum wages. No seems to throw any money at them.

    I agree that waiting work can be difficult at times with unpleasant customers but these same unpleasant customers also visit other businesses and the staff have to deal with them there as well.
    If the states was so progressive and really concerned about its people they would not allow this situation to exist. It is not how a caring society treats their people.
    Overseas countries see the big time American tourists all the time who like to throw money about at people in a manner that they have money to burn. Yes this is how we Americans all do it. We have plenty of money,
    In some ways tipping people degrades their dignity of who they are and how well they perform their job. Have one price and stick to it. One price covers everything. When you talk to some Americans they say they hate tipping but in reality they keep it going by continuing to pay the tips. And Americans when asked about it seem to defend the system to their lives. It seems to be more important than anything else because it is an American tradition, So was slavery. So was defending countries in trouble not invading them like recent history shows. Traditions are not always good even if they are American.

    Other countries find this fixation with tipping crazy. Their people laugh at it In their countries they have a humanity that strives to make sure everyone earns a living wage. Not be dependent on others to do it for them.
    America used to be the leader in the world. Now it is falling behind because they stick to hard to systems that really do not benefit their people. But someone is making money there. ANd it is not the lower skilled workers. SO hang onto the tipping and still treat unskilled workers like second class citizens. Remember it is an American tradition,. Time to wake up and treat ALL your people in a good way not just some of them. But then the American Dream would not exist then would it. The dream needs people on the lower levels so others can achieve the dream and be above the others in everything. The low people will just continue to be the wee servants for the Dream Achievers. SO the dream does not work for everyone nor is it suppose too. Otherwise how can some people get above the others and feel more special?

    Reply

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