The Tipping Point: No, I Am Not Tipping You For Doing Your Job

50 comments
August 2, 2014 ‐ By Toya Sharee
point of tipping

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I’m really bad with tipping, but it’s usually in a good way. I avoid doing simple math as often as possible. If my bill comes up to $13.72, I’m just going to fork up an even $5.00 so you can get $18.72. I’m not pulling out my phone to pull up an app to make sure I don’t short change my waiter or waitress. But honestly, in the process I’ve probably ended gypping myself more often than not.

Luckily I’ve never had to endure complaints over empty ketchup bottles and debate the percentage of “pink” in medium rare as anyone’s waitress. My service jobs have been kept to a minimum besides the decade I worked at a Dairy Queen slinging cream and stacking waffle cones. I didn’t have to live on tips thankfully, but if I wanted to I could. And the one thing I’ve always felt, whether I was in front of or behind the counter, is that tipping is not a given.

I believe tipping should only be left for service that goes above and beyond.  I’m not paying anything along with a proverbial “cherry on top” because you sat behind a register, pressed some buttons and threw a sandwich in a bag. Now it’s completely different if you did all that with a smile, quickly and left me with some kind of incentive to return. And by incentive I don’t even mean anything free, I mean just providing an experience that made me feel welcomed, appreciated, and dare I say it, special.

For example, pizza delivery.  I understand not everyone makes above minimum wage and the way many businesses survive is to pay the lowest man on the totem pole as little as possible to get the job done. If I didn’t see that I’m being charged for delivery as clear as day on my receipt, I might be a little bit more generous with my tip. But if you show up a whole hour after I ordered, with cold pepperoni, excuses and attitude, you will get whatever ones I have in my pocket. If this “delivery” charge isn’t covering your pay, what exactly is it going towards?

Many other countries culturally avoid the whole social pressure that can come with tipping by regularly including gratuities or frowning upon tipping in general. In Japan, tipping is seen as an insult and other countries don’t practice tipping beyond table service in restaurants. The United States has extended tipping beyond restaurants to service jobs in general.  But I wonder is it really necessary to tip everyone from the cable guy to the bagger at the supermarket? Restaurant service, I can understand. Your life could literally be in someone’s hands if they choose to come to work with the flu and give your salad some extra dressing and blow their nose at the same time. But there are some places where I assume those serving me are included in the price I’m paying from gate. I’m not giving my mechanic anything extra unless he leaves my tank on “F” when I pick it up.

In the Wall Street Journal article, “The Point Of Tipping”, Eric Felten writes, “It’s not that we tip waiters because they are paid so little; they are paid so little because they can expect to make up the difference in tips.”  He makes reference to Starbucks stating that customers basically subsidize the company’s payroll cost.  Is it me, or is there no point in being employed if your income basically depends on the kindness and economic advantages of others? Why is it that a multi-million dollar company has my working class behind basically paying their employees?

I admire anyone who puts in a hard day’s work for their money, but one thing I will say is that you can’t expect to work at Walmart and live like the Rockefellers. And when I was working I didn’t expect or feel entitled to make tips because I only got paid minimum wage. Tips were based on the generosity of others and how much I went above and beyond my responsibilities. And I refuse to feel pressured by society to be polite in spite of sucky service.

So my apologies in advance to all of the service workers, but if you find some triple zeros written in on the gratuity line once I leave your table. Don’t take it as an insult. It only means you did your job, and literally nothing more.

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.

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  • Pablo Sanchez

    THE AUTHOR SHOULDN’T GO OUT IF SHE HAS TO MAKE ALL THESE DUMB EXCUSES FOR BEING A BUM!!! EVERY PERSON I KNOW THAT WORKS IN THE SERVICE INDUSTRY HATES TO SEE BLACK PEOPLE COMING. BLACK WOMEN IN PARTICULAR AND CHURCH GOING BLACK WOMEN ESPECIALLY. IF YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE EXCUSES AND FIND REASONS NOT TO TIP YOU SHOULD LET THE SERVER KNOW SO SO THEY CAN HAVE THE OPTION OF NOT WAITING ON YOUR BROKE CHEAP A$$.

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  • pow

    I do tip based on my means and the service. There were times were I gave 50% or more, and times where I gave 0.5% or nothing. Bottom line for me, it’s not my responsibilty. It’s the responsibilty of the company to pay their employees properly. If they can’t then the government should make it a requirement. I tip based on what I can afford. And if I cannot afford to tip, I have no issues not tipping. And don’t tell me to stay home, because there is no law that says that tipping is required to use the service. As a matter of fact, it’s called gratuity for a reason.

    • Pablo Sanchez

      YOU HAVE MADE EVERY STEREOTYPE “REALITY” PATHETIC

  • ToyaSharee

    This article was my opinion and nothing more. But I am truly confused as to why readers chose to blame myself or “non-tippers” (because to be clear I never said I never tip, I said I don’t understand the purpose) instead of question the way the food services industry is set up as a whole. Just because a corporation says you should rely on customers to subsidize your pay for them because they won’t pay you a living wage to serve THEIR food that somehow becomes the consumer’s responsibility? Instead of trying to educate and judge some of you should be petitioning for worker’s rights. Just because this is how something has always been done doesn’t mean it’s right. There’s a reason other countries don’t have these problems.

    • txgrits

      I’ve always said “why should I tip you for doing your job? I don’t get a dollar for each contract I negotiate” I think people with low to no responsibilities should have “tip jobs” If a tip job is all you can get, that should motivate you to do what you need to do to get a better paying job or a career.

      • Pablo Sanchez

        YOU PEOPLE ARE AMAZING!!!

      • ari_jai_elle

        Most people with a “tip job” that I know are college students trying to pay their way. How about you get off your high horse and treat your fellow human beings with respect and dignity no matter what type of job they have?

    • Pablo Sanchez

      AND PEOPLE ARE GIVING THEIR OPINION OF YOU MAKING DUMB EXCUSES FOR BEING A CHEAPSKATE!!! IF YOU DON’T WANT TO TIP IN A RESTAURANT WHERE IT’S CUSTOMARY TO TIP STAY HOME!!! DON’T MAKE SOME GEOGRAPHICAL NONSENSICAL ARGUMENT ABOUT TIPPING WHEN YOU ARE JUST BEING CHEAP!!!! PERIOD!!! YOU ARE USING YOUR COLUMN TO PETITION FOR CHEAP A$$E$. STOP IT.

    • G Saia

      This is a contradiction in and of itself. You had a point of view which can be perceived as a judgement. While many had an opposing point of view and chose to enlighten your readers on the way the service industry is structured. In my view eating out or going to a bar is a perk for which there are understood extra expenses to be expected …valet, coat check, gratuity, etc.Your position is clear….it shouldn’t be the consumer’s responsibility to make up the difference. However the system is set up that way. Perhaps you too should be petitioning for worker’s rights instead of blogging if you feel so strongly about the way the service industry standards have been accepted.

    • ari_jai_elle

      I noticed you deleted comments by people who disagree with your stance. Don’t put it out there for the world to see if you’re going to get upset about people disagreeing with you.

      • ToyaSharee

        I hate to break it to you but I actually don’t delete comments. I encourage healthy debate and discussion. Several editors and writers have access to the site and commentary. #BecauseTheMoreYouKnow

        • ari_jai_elle

          Very immature response.

  • G Saia

    This article is written without any research. Most service employees of restaurants or bars get about 2-3 bucks an hour. Alot of restaurants include gratuity for that very reason. Unless the restaurant includes gratuity part of dining out is tipping. …Don’t like it then make your own meals or drinks. Calculating a 20% tip doesn’t require a calculator just figure 10% round it up and double it. 10% of 18.25=1.82 so $2 x2=4 bucks…. 10% of 58.90=5.89…etc.

    • Pablo Sanchez

      THAT’S TOO HARD FOR LOSERS THAT ARE TOO BUSY CONJURING UP A REASON NOT TO TIP. “THEY BROUGHT THAT TABLE THEIR WATER FIRST AND THEY CAME IN AFTER US.”

  • Ash

    I do tip when I eat out, but my question is how is it that other countries can successfully pay their servers a decent without the need for tips, while we shame the customers instead of the employers for not paying customers more?

    • CTROCK

      good point

  • T.A.S.

    Karma can be a female dog. Those that don’t tip are probably the same one’s paying too much for everything else trying to keep up with the Jonses.

  • ya

    not my problem they took a job on commission

    • T.A.S.

      Like there are a ton of jobs out there to be had… that comment is just plain stupid.

    • G Saia

      It’s not commission unless they get a guaranteed percentage of the sale. Retail or sales are commission jobs. Service jobs are typically taken as a means to make ends meet and these workers are paid less than half the hourly minimum wage…dining and drinking out it’s an understood customary practice to consider a tip….dealing with people’s picky attitudes or ridiculous requests deserves a tip

    • Pablo Sanchez

      ANOTHER BUM!!!

  • CTROCK

    I always tip too. But how much you get depends on your service for that meal. If the service is awesome you’re at least getting a 20% tip. But if you’re acting like I’m bothering you or you have an attitude or I don’t see you until I have to track you down to pay the check you won’t get much out of me. Also, I don’t know how others feel about the gratituty added to the check. I know most places do it for big groups which I can understand. But I’ve been to places were it might be just 2 or 3 of us and they add it on. I can’t help but to think maybe they do that because we are minority and they think we will not tip – but you added 10% on for tip and you could have gotten 20% or more. But I guess that’s better for me in the end, oh well.

    • Pablo Sanchez

      ALWAYS HAVE AN EXCUSE FOR BEING CHEAP!!! STAY HOME!!

      • CTROCK

        how is 20% tip being cheap? And if someone treats you like a piece of sh** you would still tip them 20%?. Get effing real!

        • Pablo Sanchez

          NOBODY IS TREATING YOU LIKE ANYTHING. I KNOW HOW SOME “PEOPLE” GO IN RESTAURANTS EXPECTING WAIT STAFF TO JUMP THROUGH HOOPS. I GO TO A LOT OF RESTAURANTS AND NEVER HAD ANYONE TREAT ME BAD, BUT IF YOU’RE THE “TYPE’ THAT IS LOOKING FOR EVERY PERCEIVED AND IMAGINED SLIGHT TO COMPLAIN YOU’LL FIND A REASON.

  • letavela

    I always tip. I guess its because I supported myself through college with waitressing jobs. but I do agree that tips are indicative of a job well done. However, I don’t expect perfection. I tip my stylist, my manicurist generally to establish positive relationships as well. My tips got me a unplanned hair appointment Yday when my stylist was booked to the max …and I didn’t have to wait. #itpaystotip lol

    • txgrits

      I do the same with my hair stylist!!! I never have to make an appointment!! Also I feel beauty services.. most of them do go above and beyond to make you look and feel your best. I always tip them nicely for my pampering services.

  • See The Light

    I tip and I avoid going out with non tippers. Years agoI went out with 2 relatives. The bill was around $55 – $60. They left no tip and I left $5. The waitress complained about the $5 and the non tippers had the nerve to want to take $3 of my $5 and give me the other $2 and give the girl nothing. That was the last time I went to a restaurant with them.

    • Guest

      I have a friend like that and I refuse to go to dine with her as well because I am a good tipper. In all fairness tipping is usually optional, so I’m not sure I agree with wait staff complaining to customers. I knew a waitress that would confront customers and even chase after them to complain about her tip. I just think that’s going to far. The best way to ensure a good tip is to offer good service. I realize that some people are not going to tip you regardless of the service. That’s just something wait staff will have to learn to live with as we all learn to live with something about our jobs we don’t like.

      • See The Light

        What annoyed me was the people dining with me wanting to split my tip money among all 3 of us while I was the only one who put money in for the tip. I had coworkers who would order lunch in and not tip the guy on contribute enough to cover what they ordered. We stopped letting him order with us after a few times.

    • CTROCK

      its the worst! there have been many a times I went out with a group and I was the only one leaving a tip. The service was good and the food – why are you not tipping? I know its not the law but at least leave something.

    • Nicky

      You know what, I don’t worry about what others tip and don’t tip. I just make sure I put down my portion. It is less stressful that way.

    • Pablo Sanchez

      LET ME GUESS WHAT RACE?

  • ari_jai_elle

    The author of this article is a jerk! If you can’t afford to tip then you can’t afford to eat out, it’s that simple. Take your selfish behind to the grocery store, that’s better for you anyway. I just really can’t stand people who have the same mentality of the author of this post. Jesus, fix it!

    • Guest

      The traditional tip was meant to reward exceptional service and not to be expected. I’d rather pay more for a meal at a restaurant that discourages tipping (see Europe) than listen to some whine-bag complain about folks who don’t subscribe to the idea that tipping is required.

      • Nicky

        Totally agree! A tip is a reward and should not be expected.

        • Pablo Sanchez

          YOU ARE A BUM, AND NO ONE SHOULD EXPECT ANYTHING BUT BUM BEHAVIOR!!!

          • Nicky

            Now do you really have to disrespect me by calling me out of my name. Just say you disagree with my comment and explain why and move on.

            • Pablo Sanchez

              YOU’RE RIGHT. I’LL TELL YOU WHY. IT’S NOT A REWARD!!! DID THEY FIND YOUR CAT? OR CATCH A CRIMINAL? NO THEY JUST HAD THE MISFORTUNE OF WAITING ON A PERSON WITH NO CLASS THAT WANTS TO MAKE UP BS FOR BEING CHEAP.,

      • Pablo Sanchez

        JUST THE KIND OF PERSON THAT NEEDS TO STAY HOME!!!!

  • NewYorkBunny

    “Luckily I’ve never had to endure complaints over empty ketchup bottles and debate the percentage of “pink” in medium rare as anyone’s waitress. My service jobs have been kept to a minimum besides the decade I worked at a Dairy Queen slinging cream and stacking waffle cones.”

    Then you can’t talk. How disgustingly selfish. And the statement that minimum wage is as low as it because you can expect for it to be maid up in tips is bull. Because of people like you who think, “well, they’re doing their job, nothing special.” THEY ARE SERVICING YOU! Why are holding employees accountable for company policies? Did you do any research? No, the delivery charge does not gt to the employee. You say you could live off tips because you’ve never actually done it. If you were getting that boocoupe rich off tips when working those jobs plus your base pay, you would still be doing it. Everybody’ll be doing it. Double pay round this b@%*h! No. You felt like you got good tips because you had the security of an healthy paycheck. People working off tips do not. If everybody felt like they shouldn’t need to “pay” for somebody doing their job. We’d all be working for free.

  • hollyw

    The U.S. is robbing it’s service employees, point blank. It shouldn’t even be a question of how much to tip, but is it ethical to not pay your workers minimum wage, regardless of a tip.

    Having said that, I tip even mediocre service b/c of their $2/hr…as long as they’re not rude. B/c I’m in NYC, I tip 20%. But I also try to keep up w/ the workers’ rights movement to see if there’s anywhere I can help… unfortunately, not a lot going on w/that currently…last thing I remember doing was signing some random petition that didn’t go nowhere.

    • Dornerthedarkknight

      They aren’t robbing anyone, robbing implies force. No one is forced to work at those jobs.

      • hollyw

        You’re right.
        Should’ve said “The U.S. is stealing from its service employees”.
        Just because no one is “forced”, doesn’t absolve companies or society from accountability, as no one is willingly poor, either. We need service men and women, and they deserve to have consistent, livable pay.

  • IJS

    “Is it me, or is there no point in being employed if your income basically depends on the kindness and economic advantages of others?” What an utterly foolish, short-sighted statement. Because people can freely choose where, when and if they want to do spend their money, virtually anyone who is in any sort of business depends on the “kindness and economic advantages” of others at some point. That’s why good customer service is paramount. And, one very good reason it is important to tip is that whatever you put out comes back to you multiplied – good or bad. You never know when you might be in a situation where you have to depend on tips to survive. Regardless of your education or qualifications. It’s sad how some people refuse to understand this concept.

  • Rachel

    Actually the pizza “delivery charge” on your recepit does NOT go towards the delivery person. Pizza hut, dominos and other pizza companies are in competition to keep prices low so they sneak in the “delivery charge” to make you think that you just paid $7.99 for your pizza. That $2.50 actually goes back to the company to cover ingredients, utilities and rent (none of which goes to the delivery driver). Waiters are paid below minimum wage which is why I do tip. I’d order take-out if I couldn’t afford to tip due to the pure embarrassment of writing triple zeros on a receipt.

  • Marley80

    The fact restaurant servers make about $2 and hour is a motivation for me to tip. Additionally, they have to split their tips with busboys and hosts/hostesses in many cases. I usually tip 20%. I also tip hair care professionals. I’ve been getting my hair braided at the same place for a few years and I notice that when I walk in, I never wait longer than 10 minutes even if it is a busy day and there are people waiting before me. I know I have a dynamite personality, but I know I receive such kindness because I tip well LOL Seriously, I do not tip everyone that provides a service for me, but in certain instances when I know that is where majority of their income is derived, or if the individual goes above and beyond for me, I will.

    • dee

      I have come to learn that people are selfish. There are many places you can go that do not have tipped workers but people choose to go to place that do and complain about tipping. Companies make the servers in restaurants split tips with other workers so they do not have to pay anyone out front minimum wage. Most make like $2 an hour. I always tip but it depends on your service on what you get. That delivery charge does not go to the driver. People no longer amaze me