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. While i vehemently disagree I understand your pov. Basically your goings with a “Don’t hate the player, hate the game” mentality. I agree if tipping spontaneously ceased it would not bring the food industry crashing down; it would simply leave the US waiter system as one only upscale restaurants (where tipping is usually required and worked into the bill) would use. All lower tier joints would be forced to become buffets which you admitted you prefer.
    I will say you should avoid restaurants with waiters knowing you won’t tip if you can. People who don’t eat out are frugal or cheap for whatever reason which is fine.Those who “Dine and dash” are screwing everyone over which makes them scum, but they’re crooks acting like crooks.
    Paying the establishment but not your server? That’s just bad form. It may be a cultural norm you disagree with and thats fine. But by tricking waiters into serving you for free you are basically a parasite. I don’t think you’re correct about owners being legally required to pay minimum wage; I do know most don’t.
    It is a system set up by the greedy which preys on those too unfortunate to pursue other options. Thats not your doing, but your philosophy only awards the amoral. To be fair, more liberal minded do the same by shopping at WalMart – albeit to a much lesser degree.
    Long story short: stick to buffets, or kindly inform waiters upfront you dont’t beleive in tiiping, but do believe in gojng to management with complements or complaints…. and examine your food carefully.


  2. Good luck finding 5 waiters to wait tables for min wage with no tips, you show me a waitress that works every night and clears at minimum wage, and I’ll show you a waitress that is looking for a second job or a replacement job. Restaurants would have to pay $15-$20 an hour to keep a staff. That’s how you get a $30 hamburger.


    • In reply to Robert

      How will it be higher that the current price + tips? the waiters with tips or without will still get salary that the customers pay for, except that now the customer needs to calculate the tip and in the future it will be included in the price of the food.


      • In reply to Ronen

        The argument above states that if you pay minimum wage without tips, the price of food would not increase, I agree, but no waitress is going to do that job for minimum wage, would have to pay them way more, the price of the food would increase 2-3 times. Everyone would then have to pay the higher amount for the food and essentially be “tipping” equally, I wouldn’t mind that at all, but that would be the only way to eliminate tipping, not paying minimum wage as the author argues. It all evens out in the tipping world, that’s what I learned, you have those that are overly generous, those that tip what they can, and then those that think they are above those that are providing a service to them and feel they don’t have to tip. In a system where tips are not a part of that persons wage, they will be the ones getting the worst of it, so, by all means, change the system.


  3. People will hate me, but I agree 100%.
    It IS in fact the responsibility of the owner to PAY THE PEOPLE HE IS EMPLOYING.
    Not mine, not yours, not anyone elses.

    I dont tip my mailman, or the delivery guy, or the girl at the grocery checkout counter.
    Why not?
    Because thats not my job, its not on me, and as the post said, should not be impinged upon me with an added helping of guilt.


    • In reply to Humera

      I’m so tired of people not thinking this through. If you want the employer to pay the full wage of a serve the. Get ready to pay the difference. If you want your burger to cost $25-$30 vs $10-$12 then by all means let’s switch the system. Not only will you have to pay way more for your burger but you will essentially tip all waiter the same % across the board.

      Come on people. Think.


  4. I felt the same way about tipping as the author does for a long time. I realized that the reason why tipping exists is that even people with no skills (most waiters/waitresses/actors/actresses) have to be motivated to do this kind of service work for any period of time beyond a few months. In any low wage job, there is a lot of turnover as the workers aren’t incentivized to keep at it because there is little upside – typically these people are not going to make more money and training them to do anything else is going to come at a cost to the employer, who has already invested significant capital into setting up a restaurant. Most low-wage jobs happen to be service jobs where low-skilled workers are dealing with people, and this is a tough thing to do, day in and out, driving many people to leave this type of work with astonishing frequency. Serving people can be awful. While there are lifer waiters/waitresses, customers expect to see quite a bit of turnover in these roles when visiting their favorite restaurants. When I was in college, I worked in retail prior to graduation, and working with the general public is something that I’m happy to never have to do again. Why do you think we make people with low skills work with the general public? Because the general public is mostly petty, demanding, entitled and stupid and people with more skills definitely won’t agree to do a job like that. If I were an owner of a high end restaurant, either I would pay more to the servers as they are one of the faces of the restaurant, as a customer’s experience at the restaurant is also colored by the service received, not only by the quality of the food, or I would explain in the menu that there is a separate charge for gratuity that will be calculated as a percentage of the bill (also unfair, but that’s a simple solution). Right now, I see that restaurants are reluctant to impose a required gratuity rule as they feel that some of the decision of how much to tip should be left to the customer’s discretion based on the service the customer received. When restaurants do this, if a customer is upset about the service, the restaurant has effectively maintained an arm’s-length from having to be responsible for the waiter’s poor service, which is also shitty. A restaurant can keep a customer and fire a bad waiter. The waiter is also put into a tough spot by having to behave as an independent contractor without any of the autonomy of an independent contractor (and no commensurate ability to command wages like an independent contractor – you can’t be an independent contractor if your work isn’t in demand). I don’t like the restaurant chickening out like this when they back away from paying the server what they should because it places the burden of an additional transaction, separate from the meal, onto the customer. Personally, I think the restaurants should just build in the amount of money it would required to entice someone with low skills to work at a job like this for an extended period of time into the cost of the dish. Most restaurants won’t, which means that the waiter/waitress will shake you down for tips even though their skills don’t justify the additional compensation – they should feel thankful that they even have a job, let alone one that will allow them to benefit from the kindness of strangers even though their skills are rudimentary. One day, Silicon Valley will figure out how to make robots do this job and people without skills will receive the greatest tip of all, a guaranteed minimum income set by the government.


    • In reply to Raina

      I am a single mother and was raised in Christian faith and by a very good family. I enjoy the restaurant industry and have been working in it for almost 12 years. I am a kind and humble person. I have a college education and was raised by a family of teachers. I named my son after my grandfather who had his Ph.D. In the science of teaching. I am very insulted that you said multiple times that people working in the restaurant industry have low skills. You and the people you agree with are what is wrong with this world and it saddens me that I was even compelled to respond to your arrogant remarks because I a low skilled server bartender shouldnt let assholes like you get the best of me. Gods peace.


  5. Nacho Fren says:

    Tip: Get a real job


    • In reply to Nacho Fren

      You seriously want to consider that not a real job? You clearly have not served tables before. I challenge you to do that job for a month. I doubt you would last the entire time.

      On another note, who would serve all you stuck up pricks? Say goodbye to all 3-5 star restaurants. Do you want to read about all your food options? Do you know enough about wine and beer to order all that yourself.

      Think before you speak.


      • In reply to Brian

        Lol you dumb shit. Every comment I have read from you is wrong and all the reasons why tipping unskilled workers that can’t find a real job use to justify their lives. Go try working at McDonalds for a full month for a full shift and you will see even a line worker does more work than you and much more efficient.


      • In reply to Jason

        You say you have read all my comments yet you reply with a joke of a reply. If you have read all my comments then you would see all the link that support how the tipping system works and why we use it. You on the other hand didn’t even present a argument. I worked as a waiter for 12 years saving up money to open my own buisness. I know hard work sir. If you think McDonalds employees work hard then you don’t know what hard work is. Its not hard hard to serve pre-made food. If thats what you do then go do something with your life.

        If you want to have a actual debate instead of using your third grade reading level then tell me why I am wrong instead of just calling people names. Until then shut your mouth and go educate yourself on how the system works. I provided links in almost all my comments.

        Where are your facts?


      • In reply to Jason

        Oh and Jason do you know what you don’t tip the Mcdonalds employee? Wells besides that they can’t get your pre made food order correct?

        If you can tell me why then I might listen to you. But your argument that McDonalds employees work harder then a server is a joke. Didn’t catch that at first but man are you just dumb? They barley have to move. Wonder why they all weigh an extra few pounds? Hmmmm?

        Go educate yourself. Better yet don’t. Stay ignorant. I kinda like people like You, Roger, and Bhagwad. Why you ask? Your all cannon fodder. Just a bunch of sheep stuck in their world without the motivation to educate yourselves. You just think what you are told, then do as your told. I bet you all think raising the minimum wage to $15 a hour is a good idea as well. If you do let me know so I can show you why that is a stupid idea as well. That argument can be won hands down in one to two sentences.

        You can now go back to working for some other person that decides what you are worth. Or more likely sitting on the couch not amounting to anything.


      • In reply to Brian

        And the majority of these idiots aren’t waiters or waitresses which take years of training under strict rules in a high setting restaurant. Most of these idiots are servers, plate getters and pompous mediocre workers that expect an easy way in life so look where you ended up. You really think you’re better than a Walmart employee that has to make numbers to keep their job? And the fact you can’t do math “3x the price of food” tells anyone with a 6th grade equivalency in math that you are exactly where you belong and why you’re justifying a handout especially in states like California where everyone gets paid a minimum wage.


      • In reply to Roger

        Roger I think you need to do more research before you start a debate. Servers in California are no diffrent then anywhere else. Tipped Employees have a diffrent starting wage then they do in other states and it just happens to be higher there.

        And I can’t do math??? Saying “3x the price of food” is the correct way to say that unless you give a exact food price. Or was i supposed to just throw out a random number for you. But I guess I will break it down for you.

        Using the CO tipping system:
        Colorado has a Tipped Employee wage of about $4. When I go out to eat I pay about $12 for a burger. Then lets add a beer to the tab at $7. Your total bill is now $19 for one person. That person will probably be at that table for about a hour and they will tip on average about $4.

        Colorado minimum wage is about $8. So after that person leaves that table the serve would be paid $8. So far this seems fair. But that is all you people see. What happens with the other $11? If we just stick with minimum wage (and it would not work this way) lets pay out the rest of the staff. Kitchen staff: 2 Line cooks 2x$8 = $16, Floor manager $8, Host $8, Food Runner $8, and Bar Tender $8. Grand total = $48 + Food cost. That means a single server would have to serve 5 tables a hour to break even on just the staff costs alone (assuming we just pay everyone minimum wage). Then you add cost of rent and taxes and you are in for a real treat.

        Now say its 4pm and there are two servers on the floor and almost no customers are coming in because its the slow part of the day. Now you have no income. How do you cut back on lost costs? You create the Tipped Employee. By doing this you still pay a person for being there but they dont eat into your cash flow when its flow but reward you and the employee when its busy.

        Now getting back to the 3x price of food. Since I am loosing double my money on each employee and the extra taxes I have to pay due to their higher wages I have to raise my cost of product, in this case food. We went from $4 to $8 a hour. There is 1x, and now we hit the slow hours so now I am making less income yet still pay our double for part of my staff there is another 1x. Then because I pay my employees more the government charges more taxes on money payed to staff, and there is your last 1x. Total 3x of food. For the bill above = $57

        Now explaining this is hard to do and I doubt your brain maid all the links so I am going to also recommend you go take a buisness class and learn what the fuck you are talking about. I run a buisness and you and a lot of the people on here can’t see past you sad little worlds to see what it takes to run one. Especially a restaurant. Where they have the lowest profit margins out of most buisness created and thats with the tipping system.

        Oh and work on your english. You contradicted your self just by your vocabulary alone more then once.


  6. Let’s take Australia as an example. Besides the fact that in nicer restaurants a tip of anywhere between 5-15% is left optionally, restaurant staff are paid a “living” wage, normally between $20-30 an hour. In addition, the cost of food is generally about 2-3x as much as in the US; as an American living in Australia, that seems to be typical across the board. So, congratulations. You’re the entitled prick who has other, decent people subsidising your would-be $30 burger.


    • In reply to Mark999


      Thank goodness. I thought I was the only person on here with any common sense. Nice to hear from someone outside the states that can show these fools how it works outside the US and why they are all idiots. Your not the only one but defiantly one of the few. Well said sit, well said.


    • Jim DeVinney says:

      In reply to Mark999

      “Restaurant staff are paid a “living” wage, normally between $20-30 an hour.” Mark you’ve been living outside the US too long. They won’t pay Fast Food workers $15 an hour. There isn’t a snowballs chance in hell anyone will pay a server $20 to $30 an hour. Comparing any other country to the US is an apples to oranges comparison just based on how labor is paid in the US. Attitudes are vastly different,making a comparison a false equivalency.


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