Tipping – Getting out of hand?

By glblguy

I’m not one to rant here on Gather Little by Little and I’ll do my very best to avoid making this article a rant but I really need to voice my opinion on something that I am beginning to think is getting a bit out of hand: Tipping. Is it just me or does it seem like everyone store you visit and every service provider want a tip these days?

I treated myself to a Starbucks coffee last week and sitting right there in my face at the drive through window was a tip jar with a few dollar bills laying in it. I went to Panera Bread later that week for breakfast and at the espresso bar? Another tip jar!   I’ve also seen them at a few ice cream shops and other retail type food outlets. We recently moved, and before they started the movers not so subtly mentioned that I could tip them if I so desired. I’m expected to tip the Pizza delivery person, waiters and waitresses at restaurants, the car cleaning folks at the local car wash … Well, the list goes on and on.

Do these people not get paid? I know waiters and waitresses make less due to being in a “tipping position”. That I’m ok with. I’m not really sure I ever understood it, but I’ve been doing it long enough to become used to it. But the other people? They make standard wage.

Incentive to provide better service?

When I’ve raised this issue to friends in the past, the response I always get is that tipping is a way of rewarding a service provider for doing a good job. Well, I don’t intend to be callous, but isn’t keeping your job a reward for doing a good job?

I work in IT and provide support to my internal customers within the company I work for. I don’t get tips, yet am fully expected to provide them with the very best customer service I can. If I don’t, I lose my job.

Seems to me that good to excellent customer service should be the baseline by which these people that expect tips get paid by. If they don’t provide a high level of service, than they probably shouldn’t continue to work there.

Nickel and dimed to death

Given our current economy and frankly the fact that I’m a bit watchful of my money and spending, I literally feel like I am being nickel and dimed to death. I feel like companies are turning into panhandlers holding out there tin cups to me each time I visit them.

Let’s take Starbucks for example. I love their coffee and have since the very first one opened in our area. Their coffee is expensive though. Worth paying for yes, but expensive none the less. Why should I as a consumer be expected to pay $4.00+ dollars for a cup of coffee and then on top of that leave a tip for the barista who is getting paid to make the coffee? By tipping her should I expect a better coffee? No. I expect the quality I’m paying for in a $4.00 cup of coffee…top notch.

Here’s what bothers me the most, whenever I go to these places, I don’t tip and I always drive away feeling guilty or dirty for not leaving a tip. I only tip waiters and waitresses at restaurants and pizza delivery people. Frankly tipping the pizza delivery people irritates me as most pizza places now charge a delivery fee. Who does that go to?

Is guilt the whole tactic? Are they trying to make extra money by making me feel guilty?

Help me understand

To avoid this coming across like a complete rant, I in no way intend to imply I fully understand this whole tip thing. So I’m hoping maybe you guys can set me straight and educate me on this whole tipping craze. What am I missing? Why should I tip? What am I tipping for? Do people that get tips make less money?

For me, it really boils down to this: Why should I tip when I am already paying for a product or service? Why not just skip the tip and put the cost into the product?

Am I completely off base here? What am I missing? Do you get tips? What’s your perspective on this? Please add a comment!

Photo by: pierre lascott

49 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Tipping – Getting out of hand?”

  1. Four Pillars Says:

    Man, you are preaching to the converted here. I wrote a post called “the Tipping Point” a while back which was quite similar to your post – I agree – why can’t there be one price for a product/service and the a proper wage paid?

  2. Miranda Says:

    There are some places, as you said, that tipping is appropriate. One of my pet peeves, actually, is the shuttle that takes us an hour and a half to the airport. We’re supposed tip them for driving us down there. It’s what they get PAID to do. Drive the van. They get paid significantly more than minimum wage. How do you get superior service when you are riding in a van?

  3. Momma Says:

    I think you’re right on, Gibble. I even did a little research into it last year. Honestly, I don’t tip anyone for service except for wait staff and the delivery person. I don’t tip at the McDonald’s drive-thru, so I’m certainly not tipping the coffee shop (except when I went to Lillian’s Sit N Sip. But she served amazing coffee in real cups to us on a sofa where we kicked our feet up and watched TV).

    My philosophy is this: If I wouldn’t tip you without the tip jar in front of me, I’m not tipping you just because it’s there.

  4. Christina Says:

    I totally agree. I’m going to feature this post on my round-up tomorrow.

  5. Kristen Says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Tipping has gotten way out of hand. I always feel guilty when I don’t tip at places like Starbucks, too. Of course I always tip at sit down restaurants, as far as other places I don’t mind tipping when someone is doing something extra or above and beyond.

    Here’s where I have an issue giving a tip. We have a local pita place. It’s basically like Subway, except they make stuffed pitas instead of subs. You stand at a counter for your food, get your own drink, clear your own table, etc. They have a tip jar. I don’t tip there because they are providing no extra service. That’s what they get paid to do. It’s the same thing with Starbucks. And that’s the end of my rant! :)

  6. Dan Says:

    To make extra money, I deliver papers in the mornings before my regular job. These customers pay for their papers, but believe me I do NOT get paid enough without their tips, which I appreciate each and every time I get them. I don’t always tip just because there’s a tip jar, but as one who now works and before worked in industries (food business) which depended on tips, it means a lot more to the tipee than the tipper.

  7. Christy Says:

    Agree with all of you.

    Here’s how we avoid any guilt trips at Starbucks- we use the Starbucks duetto visa. We pay it off every month and get 1% of everything we put on it free to spend in the store every month. So basically for Dh and I, that’s at least a couple free coffees each a month.

    So when we make our weekly Starbucks jaunt, I hand them my registered card and they swipe it and and take my exact change off my duetto side.

    Can’t tip ‘cuz I don’t carry cash.

    I treat the staff with respect and pay a portion of their wages and benefits with my exorbitantly priced coffee. I don’t own them any more – -it’s 4 dollar coffee, not melted gold.

  8. Ariel Says:

    “First to give then receive” law attraction.

  9. jin6655321 Says:

    I’ve known several people who work at Starbucks and they all get paid a fair wage for their work. That’s not to say that they don’t deserve their tip, or appreciate it, but no one should feel bad for not tipping at Starbucks (or any other similar places). Personally, I would go as far to say that I don’t see any need to tip anyone except the wait staff- and only because the tip IS their wage.

    As to why there are so many tip jars… the answer is, because they can get away with it. Believe it or not, some people just have the urge to tip- I guess it’s been brainwashed into their head. I work conventional retail and there have been times when customers offered me a tip for doing my job well and taking care of their needs. I guarantee you that if I put out a tip jar on the register people will start to tip.

    Is it unethical? I don’t think so. If YOUR boss wanted to give a little extra bonus for doing your job well, are you going to turn them down and say, “No, that’s okay, I was just doing my job!” Of course not! Who would say that?!

    Is it tacky? Oh definitely.

    Oh, and don’t feel bad… no one at Starbucks will think less of you for not tipping. I mean, you might get the red carpet, above and beyond service if they recognize you as a decent tipper but no one’s going to give you bad service, or think any less of you, because you don’t tip.

  10. No Debt Plan Says:

    I had no idea until recently that you were supposed to tip the person who cuts your hair. I always just paid what it cost. My wife was shocked that I’d never heard of it.

    I’m fine with tips at restaurants where the person provides the service. I can’t stand the people who put out tip jars at places where you grab the food and go (Quiznos, Subway, etc.).

  11. Craig Says:

    I agree, its very frustrating to purchase a product or service and then feel like you are being guilt into leaving more money as a tip. Everything these days seems to require leaving tips. I understand for certain services that are known, but other than that I don’t go for it. My biggest pet peeve is when going out to a nicer bar/restaurant and their is a bathroom attendant looking for tips. I need to pay to go to the bathroom? It’s ridiculous and I understand they are doing their job, but it’s not fair. Europe is great, they don’t tip at all. Everything is already included in the price. When I was over there, I loved it. Wish they adopted more of that style here.


  12. Becky Says:

    I’ve been noticing that a lot too and it makes me mad. Good grief, we are already paying for the goods/services. Why do we need to tip? The only place I tip now is at restaurants (we live in the country so we don’t have pizza delivery). Speaking of pizza, I’ve found the best valus for a good pizza is Papa Murphy’s. You take it home and bake it and every week they have at least one pizza on special that is around $10. Plus, if you fill out a survey, you can redeem the survey for a free item next time you go there. And no, I’ve never seen a tip jar there.

  13. Jason Says:

    agreement all around

    i only tip waiters/waitresses….
    and only if they excell in there service

  14. Steve Says:

    OK, not to bash too much but: I’m always a little surprised that people get upset about tipping, and tip jars and so on. Here’s the way I look at it: it’s optional, you can do it or not do it as you choose, and nobody’s going to give you a hard time if you don’t throw your change in there (or thank you if you do). If you feel that these people provided you with good service (and believe me, sometimes Starbucks provides better service than other times), throw some change in there if you feel so moved. Don’t if you don’t. I like Subway and eat there a lot, and at my local one the same couple of women prepare my sandwich every time. They are friendly, remember my order and I tip ’em. When I go to a coffee shop and get a 2/3rds full cup of lukewarm coffee, I don’t tip.

    And most white-collar professonals do get a tip (or do when times are good) – it’s called a bonus.

    I’m just a little grumpy about this because people often seem to complain about tipping as if it’s something forced on them. Don’t tip if you don’t want to – start a trend!

  15. Ron Says:

    I work as you do in IT, I give very good service to my customers. I don’t get tips. If I fail in my customer service I would expect to not have a job. So I agree, tipping is reserved for wait staff that only make an adjusted wage because they get tips. Although, I too have really not understood that concept. I took my grand-daughter to the hair dresser, a task usually done by my wife. When we got home my wife asked what the cut cost. I told her and she said, did you leave a tip. I said ‘what for, I paid for the cut’, well that response sparked a whole conversation about tipping.

    So I ignore the tipping jar, and thank people for good service. But it is suppose to be part of everyone’s job. We should not be expected to pay extra for it….

  16. Nicki Says:

    Yeah … couldn’t agree more. I don’t get it either, and like you, I’ve been seeing tip jars more and more lately.

  17. Jeff Says:

    This has definitely been on the rise for the last couple of years. I totally agree with you. Pretty much, at a food place, if they don’t come to my side of the counter, I don’t tip. I make one exception to that: if I go somewhere regularly I might tip once every six months or so, IF the employees are exceptionally and consistently quick, courteous, and precise. It helps if they do something unusual like provide me with a coupon for their stuff that I didn’t have on me already. That’s service above-and-beyond for that type of job, so I don’t mind kicking in periodically.

    But that’s rare. I do NOT make it a habit.

    I do tip barbers, but I’m unclear what wage they get to begin with… my impression is that they fall into the same category as wait-staff. Hotel staff generally fall into that category as well.

    The existence of a tip jar immediately makes me question how fairly the employees are being paid, which makes me question the integrity of the establishment, which makes me question whether I want to patronize it. It’s certainly not a deal breaker, but the thought does run through my head.

    The other group that it bothers me to tip are drivers. People driving for a car service particularly. My assumption is that they get paid fairly already. Taxi drivers… I’m on the fence with them, but I lean toward a little resentment for tipping them… not a lot of exceptional service there.

  18. tish Says:

    The only person who can make you feel anything is you. You make yourself feel guilty.
    I don’t tip those jars set out on retail counters. That’s their prerogative. It’s not required for you to tip. Like going to a museum or art show; Donations accepted. The event is FREE. If it’s in your heart to support the event, then put in what you want or can afford.
    Also, this is a country of capitalism/consumerism/commercialism. You know the old saying, “It doesn’t hurt to ask.” There’s no reason why someone couldn’t ask for a handout or more money. It’s just that you don’t have to say YES to everyone who asks. Find your boundaries.
    Stuart, Florida

  19. Wayward Says:

    I agree, the tipping thing is optional in most places. But here’s what gets me about the coffee shops… The tip jar is at the cash register!

    Does anyone else find it a bit presumptuous and odd that you’re expected to tip before you even get the service or the product??

  20. snow_drops Says:

    I went to cut my hair the other day. After paying and while walking out the door, the owner called me back and told me, “you haven’t given us your tip yet.” Now, what do you make of that?

  21. Christy Says:

    Snow drops, I’d find another hairdresser. Anybody that rude and presumptuous needs to learn a hard lesson about customer service. Refuse to be manipulated and vote with your feet.

  22. Mrs. Micah Says:

    I tip at food service places (not starbucks) and obviously pizza delivery people. I also tip hairstylists, and feel perfectly comfortable doing so because I rarely get my hair cut. Otherwise, I sometimes give a tip when there’s a jar and I really like the service, but I don’t feel obligated.

    Speaking of your IT example…I was working on a cover letter when I remembered that I saved my college $20,000 while working there by eliminating some duplicate payments. I got a thank-you from my supervisor, but there’s a part of me that’s saying “wait, I was making work-study wages for this!” But that’s having a job.

  23. Bobbie Says:

    Boy, this has been my pet peeve for years. I live in Europe (I’m a N American) and in a restaurant or coffee bar, if the bill is say, 4,45 euros, you pick up the 50 cent piece and leave the 5 cents… if you want.

    This is what I have noticed in the USA:

    A tip is ALMOST like a threat…

    Waitresses are “crabby” until the very end of the meal and then get “sweet & chatty”.

    Waitresses “play to the man” and ignore the women.

    Waitresses don’t know to put the plate on the table in front of you, but rather hand you the plate.

    Restaurants tend to be dirty, crumbs on the seats and tables and then they expect tips… hummm

    I read that they spit in your water if you ask for lemon… thinking you’re too cheap to buy a soft drink.

    All in all, as I have gotten older, I just prefer to not hassle with these people and I make a better meal at home, in a clean kitchen.

    When I go out, I do so to be served. That’s what they get their salary for and a tip is “above and beyond” that service.

    This is entitlement that has turned into a cultural norm. WE THE PEOPLE can change that.

  24. Frugal Vet Tech Says:

    I’ve noticed that too. I tip waitstaff at a sit-down restaurant. I tip the person who cuts my hair. Those are about the only tips I leave. If I got my dog groomed and was happy with the service, I would consider tipping the groomer (I work at a place that has a grooming shop, so I groom my own dog). Oh, and if I regularly went to a massage place, I’d tip that person too (only been once and I did leave a tip). Otherwise, nope. I don’t leave tips at coffee shops or fast food places. If someone went above-and-beyond their expected service and was really helpful, I might consider it.

  25. Shawna Says:

    I totally agree too. If I am seated and am served, I tip. I do tip the pizza guy, but our place doesn’t charge a delivery fee. And when we lived in Michigan, I always tipped better when they had to drive in the snow, and I tipped more when the gas prices were sky high. I also tip the girl who cuts my hair because, well, she’s pretty awesome.

    That being said, my rule of thumb is this: If I have to drive next to your building so you can throw food or drinks at me, I don’t tip. And if I have to stand at a counter to wait for my food or drink, I’m not tipping then either.

  26. Shawna Says:

    PS – I wonder what my boss would say if I put a tip jar on my desk?

  27. Lizard Says:

    I tip waitstaff at sit-down restaurants–usually 20%–and when we go back to the same restaurant a few times, we get great service. I tip my hair stylist. At coffee shops and whatnot, I don’t really tip. But if I happen to pay cash, I’ll drop any change smaller than a quarter in there, or even the quarters if I’m traveling. Small change is just not worth the bother to me, so I’m glad they give me a convenient way to get rid of it.
    Yeah, I know those nickels and dimes can add up, but they can’t buy me more time, which is far more valuable to me.

  28. Anita Says:

    Well, I agree with many comments on this thread, but having worked as a waitress for several years I have to disagree with many of those comments in regards to wait staff.

    *I have not, nor did I ever see or know of anyone who spit in a glass, no matter what the contents.

    *I was paid 2.13 an hour because by law restaurants can pay waitstaff (depending on the state) this low wage because tips will compensate for the low wage- it is not a handout, you work for the tips. This wage was called ‘waiters pay’ in the state I worked in at the time. On days with ‘buffets’ we always knew we would get less tips because people thought we worked less since it was self service for some of the food.

    *Some waitresses are crabby, but they are crabby people in general in this world. Librarians are notoriously crabby as well as postal workers, but they get paid better than waitstaff, so they don’t have to be nice I suppose! I worked with some really great ones and some lousy ones (my husband was a lousy waiter!). But, we didn’t turn it on or off at all during the meal.

    *Cleanliness depends entirely on the restaurant. Our boss had us cleaning fans and wiping picture frames, he was very concerned with cleanliness.

    *Regarding ‘playing to the man’… often the man is the one holding the cash. And the wives can be stingy, however, the best way is to play to the family and care for them well, and the tip is usually generous. I know that now, as a mom of two we tip well (in the US) when go above and beyond for our family.

    *I also live in Europe and the price of the tip is BUILT in here. It is very expensive to eat out, because the tip is IN the bill. It’s not optional, its mandatory.

    * Most restaurants do mandatory tipping for a party over 8- included in the bill. This actually bothers me, even as a former waitress. I want to be tipped because I did an excellent job, not because they have to, even if my wage is low. Part of our cultural norm is tipping in restaurants, so if someone gets excellent service and chooses not to… That is their problem. But even for myself, I say- if I can’t afford to tip good service, I can’t afford to eat out.

    * Having said ALL OF THAT. We tip waiters (unless they do a lousy job), the guys who carry baggage at the airport (the fee’s are outlined!), and a couple extra bucks to my hairdresser. Thats it.
    Not the gardener, not the guy at the coffee shop with froths my latte. They are getting paid their minimum wage.

  29. Trish Groe Says:

    I tip servers (that is what most waiters and waitresses are called these days) hair stylists, movers, paper and garbage delivery folks (during the holidays only) baggage carriers at the airport. Please “google” the standard tipping practices for average percentages. I do not tip at coffee and sandwich shops for standard services.

  30. Steven Says:

    I went out to a restaurant with a group of people and got a nice 18% mandatory tip on the bill. Not terrible, but mandatory tipping is troublesome – especially if the service sucked.

    What was irksome was under that there was a tip surcharge and then a tip tax that wasn’t noted on any menu or visible policy.

  31. Mary@SimplyForties Says:

    My son was, until recently, a pizza delivery boy for Pizza Hut and I can tell you they don’t make minimum wage. They also get a flat fee for deliveries, which does not take mileage into account. If he had a bunch of long distance deliveries he might well lose money on the night. I always tipped pizza guys but now I tip even more! I’m a good tipper. The only ones that really bother me are the hotel/remote parking/shuttle drivers. I don’t tip at fast food places or put tips in tip jars at the register either and it doesn’t bother me not to.

    As a former IT person, I don’t think that is a good comparison. Yes I was expected to do a good job and no I didn’t get tipped but I made a heck of a lot more money than any of the service people listed in this article.

    Why is everyone writing about tipping? Is this the season of tipping and it’s getting on everyone’s nerves or is it that we are watching our pennies even more closely?

  32. Ron@TheWisdomJournal Says:

    Whoa, there’s a lot of energy around this topic.
    What bothers me is that these tip jars are everywhere! They even put one at the DRIVE THRU at Starbucks and then they “prime” it with a few dollars and change…
    I also despise the mandatory tip for parties of 6 or more. What’s strange is that it used to be 15% but I’ve noticed in the last few restaurants I’ve been to that it’s grown to 18%.
    I usually tip 20% (I used to be a waiter) to food service staff and I tip my barber 2 bucks but that’s just because I like him! I tip a pizza delivery guy 20% but we haven’t gotten a pizza delivered for 3 years.

  33. university_student_21 Says:

    I am a student who has worked in the service industry for 3 years (in my summers.) I find the tipping arguement really interesting and i think opinions really change once a person has worked for that industry.
    I do not tip at fast-food, and rarely at coffee shops unless its small change.

    I do tip at restaurants, hair cuts, and taxi services. I ONLY TIP at a restaurant when I feel that i have properly been served. As a waitress myself I know when I am recieving great service.


  34. MITBeta @ Don't Feed The Alligators Says:

    What bugs me is when take-out only places, like sandwich shops, have the line on the credit slip — just like in a restaurant — that says: TIP:_______

    I’ve never been expected to tip the counter person at a take out place before, but now there it is on the credit slip. So to be sure that nobody fills that line in after the fact, I line out the space for the tip and write the total below. The problem is that now it looks and feels like I’m going out of my way to not tip. It’s one thing to not throw change in a jar, but to actively line out the tip line feels like I’m going above and beyond avoidance, especially when the counter person is standing there watching me fill out the slip.

    Anita brings up a question with which I always struggle: what to tip at a buffet? It seems like the waitperson has less work to do, but is that true? Then again, in many restaurants today the waitperson doesn’t even bring the food — kitchen staff do. I guess that’s why the tip gets shared all around?

  35. Bonnie Says:

    I live in Australia and don’t tip unless I get great service. Why should I have to pay extra for someone to just do their job properly? Here I guess wait staff/other service staff get an award wage so we are never pressured into tipping. Whenever I tip I will round it up to the nearest 5$ for a cafe and up to nearest 10$ for a restaurant.

    I have noticed a recent trend though which annoys the hell out of me and that is say, if your meal costs 9$ and you pay for it with a $20 note, the waitress will bring back 11$ in coins instead of a $10 note and a $1 coin, obviously hoping you will tip more instead of bothering to scoop all the coins up. I usually leave no tip then ;(

  36. Bobbie Says:

    OOOh Bonnie, that would be annoying! Of course then, I don’t like to be manipulated.
    I do tip, but I would like to see the attitudes of the servers changed so that again, it is for excellent service rendered and not something they will entitled to.

  37. Bruce Says:

    An interesting discussion. I always tip wait staff well if they do good service. For them, I have a standard that if they are good, they get it, if they are poor, it will be less but not terribly small, and if they are exceptional, I tip more. Having known people in that industry I’m aware of their wage issues, the requirement to share the tip with other staff, and the assumption the IRS makes about the amount of tips they should earn. I also tip pizza delivery and taxi service.

    Actually I hate tipping as a standard. It was meant to be something extra for good service, but the greedy restaurant owners forced us into tipping. Now, of course, even restaurant owners who would prefer to pay real wages can’t because of competition. It is a very vicious circle and as you point out we are being solicted left and right.

  38. Deane Says:

    You know, the more I think about how much money I am giving away every month tipping, the more I am rethinking th eway I tip.

    1st let me say, we eat out regularly, and I don’t always tip the same. If I receive excellent service I will leave an excellent tip, if my glass never gets filled and my food is cool when it gets to the table, well after I talk to the manager I leave my 15% tip.

    But that is not the only place that we tip. My husband and 2 sons get their hair cut every other weekend. My husbands hair cut is $18, my sons are $12 each so $42 bucks right? No, my husbands leave an additional $5 for each hair dresser. So that $42 not cost me $57 for 3 minute hair cuts…..
    This alone cost me an additional $30 a month, for someone to do their job.

  39. Erin Says:

    I feel the same way about tipping — it has become ubiquitous in our society, in areas where it is surely not necessary. Other than actual restaurant servers and pizza delivery folk, I tip very rarely. I’ve worked in burger shops and other places where you might see a tip jar. I definitely got paid enough. No, these people don’t make a LOT of money, but it is an EASY JOB!! I did it for years, and it’s easy! If it were incredibly taxing and difficult, the pay would be better. So no, they don’t need tips. That’s just greed. Save your tip for the person who goes waaay out of their way to help you, who gives extraordinary service. People who are just doing their job get paid for just that. They don’t need tips.
    (I know I sound like a crotchety old git here — I’m just 27.)

  40. Roger Hamilton Says:

    Tip only what you want. Don’t ever be forced to tip.

  41. susi somebody Says:

    AMEN!!!!! I just went to get my hair cut – for $50 because she is a “master” – and got treated stiffly after the bill because I wouldn’t TIP on a $50 haircut!!!! $50 for a haircut is enough> I shouldn’t be expected to pay MORE than that!!
    $50!?!??!?! are you kidding me!??! and then tip on THAT!?! In my opinion, “you are doing your JOB”.
    I never got tipped for doing my JOB. I did manual labor(owned a construction company)for people while they bitterly complained to my face, and I NEVER expected a tip above and beyond the price I quoted!
    I do not tip my Doctor for her services rendered, I do not tip my car service person, I do not tip the Nordstrom sales clerk; I WORKED for my pay, I am a COLLEGE educated person(with HONORS), and I never whined around for a tip. FURTHERMORE, I never got $50 for 30 mins of work, let alone +tip!!!!!

  42. susi somebody Says:

    Oh, just so that you know, when I went in to get my hair cut, I had no idea that she had raised her prices from $35 to $50 within about 5 weeks.

  43. susi somebody Says:

    YAY for Bonnie…. I do the same. I will ask for a break down in change and then leave the absolute minimum with a note WHY I left the minimum…. give me bad change, you get bad tip.

  44. hpy2bme Says:

    What galls me is lousy service and a mandatory 18% tip already calculated on the bill. I recently went to a restaurant where there were about 12-15 diners at one long table and ONE (1) waitstaff for this many people – which is irresponsible and unrealistic to start off with. After waiting for 20 minutes for a cup of coffee, I had to get my own cream and spoon to stir it with. Even with the cream and sugar, it was awful. I ordered chili and when the meal came after nearly 30 minutes of further waiting, the orange grease on top and the stringy cheese spoke volumes. I wasn’t going to tip for such a horrid dining experience but had no choice since the bill was a group bill with the tip already added in. I understand for large groups that the waitstaff works very hard and i’m the first one to tip min. 20% for adequate service, while acknowledging that not everyone shares my philosophy. My problem was having to tip for a really lousy experience with no recourse.

  45. Linda Says:

    I think tipping has gotten totally out of hand. I am senior and have a limited income. Once in a great while I go out for a meal and I can not afford to tip. Yet I am expected to provide the price of a meal for my server. This is BS.
    I say let the employer pay the staff as I can;t afford it.
    I worked in service indusrty for years. No one tipped me when I gave excellent service at the drug store.

  46. Harv Says:

    Well said: “but isn’t keeping your job a reward for doing a good job?”. Part of the problem is cultural. We have been brainwashed into thinking that in order to get good service we need to give cash to the individual who is providing the service. If you spend any time in Japan, you will be amazed at the eagerness with which service staff provide you with excellent service. There is no tipping anywhere in Japan. It’s a foreign concept in a culture where excellent service is very much expected by consumers and if excellent service is not provided, the consumer will go elsewhere. Of course this excellent service comes at a cost – higher prices – which the Japanese consumer is willing to pay. This is a place where a team of 3 or 4 young men runs out to service your car at a gas station, like a pit crew at an Indy race. Here in the US when we see a sign at a gas station that says “Full Service”, we expect to get one slow moving attendant who pumps gas and that’s all. What happened to checking fluids and even tire pressure? This is not full service. Yet we accept this as the norm because we have been brainwashed. You want more service? You need to tip.

    The idea that we should tip all these different people that we come in contact with (and some we don’t) has been developed over time by Big Business as a way to cut costs. If you can pay someone less than a living wage and make the staff and the customers believe that tipping is the nom so that person can make a living wage, then your profits will go way up. Tipping your hairdresser was unheard of 30 or 40 years ago before the big hair cutting chains arrived. I’m sure there were many discussions in the board rooms of these big chains about how they could cut costs and boost profits if only they could convince the customers that tipping was necessary “because the hairdresser gets paid minimum wage”.

    So until we change our thinking and demand excellent service without the expectation of tipping, things will not change and will only get worse.