I Hate Tipping and Here’s Why!

I Hate Tipping Here's WhyThere’s a dirty feeling I get every time a check comes and I see that stupid tip line. I’ve never like tipping, not because it’s rewarding those who do their job well, but because it’s how employers use customer’s tips to pay their staff.  There are many people who think tipping is good, but also those who think it’s bad. I’m one who thinks it’s bad and I hate it. While hate is a strong word, I don’t mind using it here. I’m not stingy or cheap.  I just don’t want to be responsible for paying for someone’s job beyond what I’m paying for said service.  Let me explain why tipping rubs me the wrong way.

What is Tipping?

OK, let’s just dig into this practice a little bit. It’s also called gratuity, but some think tipping originated in the 17th century in England. It might be hard to pinpoint when that happened, but those in the bar would slip a little something to the waitress to get their drinks quicker. Technically, it was a bribe to jump you ahead of others. Over time, at least in the US, tipping has become customary and expected. You are expected to tip 18% when at a restaurant. You are even expected to tip maids at hotels now. Don’t believe me, then check out some of the cards at some hotels. They are asking for your tips to give to the staff.

Remember, tipping originated as a way to bribe your waitress in order to get your beverages earlier.  It’s still kind of that way. If you want someone to go do something for you, then give them a little extra cash.  I know some have tried this, but the “$20 sandwich trick” is simply a way to get something you didn’t really pay for. This is used in hotels, especially in Vegas. You put a folded $20 bill between your credit card and driver’s license when checking in. At the same time, you ask to see if there is an upgrade available. Now, I have used this trick at other hotels no in Vegas, but it still works majority of the time. Why?  You are giving the person behind the counter money to give you an upgrade. Now, it’s not free, but you also didn’t pay for it by normal circumstances. Plain and simple, it’s bribery.  Hey, it works, so why not do it?

Bribing tipping has been around for a long time in the US. Many other countries don’t do it or find it offensive.  You better be careful trying to tip someone depending on where you are.  You don’t want to offend anyone in a country you might not be familiar with. That could end poorly for you!

Why Tipping Irks Me!

OK, the main reason why tipping irritates the hell out of me is because I’m expected to do it in so many places now.  Tip at the restaurant, the sub shop, the coffee shop, valet, car wash, and so many other places. It’s freaking irritating. Let me tell you why. This explanation really has to do with restaurants, the evil kingpin of tipping.  When you sit down at a restaurant, your waiter/waitress is expected to give you good service. If they do, you tip them 18% or more.  If they don’t, you don’t give them a good tip. The problem is you’re still expected to tip. What kind of half-assed lesson is that?  Thanks for giving me crappy service, but I’m still supposed to tip you because your wages depend on it.

Yes, most restaurants put tipping in their wage scale. This is how they get away with paying their servers nearly $2 to $3 per hour. They incorporate tips. If you a waiter doesn’t get tips, they don’t make a living wage. They might not even make minimum wage. This little loophole is exploited each and every day by restaurants and I find it irritating.  I don’t want to be responsible for making sure your employee is able to buy groceries and pay their rent. I want to eat my damn food, have good service, and not do math at the end of the meal.  I patronize your establishment because I want good food and a good time, not because I need to make sure your employee is getting paid properly.

I have talked with some who say tipping is a way to weed out the bad workers. While that might be right, it appears many other businesses are doing just fine weeding out the bad workers without resorting to tips. If I don’t do my job, it will catch up to me sooner or later. If a server not working for tips doesn’t do their job, management will hear about it. Some people, like myself, aren’t afraid of calling management over to discuss poor service.  It can be articulated much easier with a 5 minute conversation than a small tip. That’s just my opinion.

Lack of Tipping Would Increase Meal Prices

You’re damn right it would and I would be happy to pay it. I’m already paying it with tips.  I’m already expected to pay money for a meal, but also expected to contribute to your employee’s living wage?  I’m not cool with that. The reason is I don’t get tips at work. I work my butt off each day, but there aren’t any tips coming my way. Why not?  It looks like bribery when you do it in a corporate setting. This seems like a double standard to me.

I would be happy to pay more for a meal if I didn’t have to tip at the end. It would all end up canceling each other out at the end, but I wouldn’t have to tip someone.  Trust me, I have left $0 tips before and I had a fight in my head about it. One the one hand, the server gave terrible service. I’m talking terrible. I can only put up with so much. If you can’t do your job, look for a different one.  On the other hand, leaving zero tip also makes it harder for this server to make a living wage. Not cool with me.  Restaurant owners need to pay wages above minimum and strike tipping from the record.  I’m done with it and would be able to enjoy my meal without having to add extra.

Do Away with Automatic Gratuity as well

I’m sure you have all been with a large group of friends and you see the restaurant charges a mandatory 18% gratuity on groups of 6 or more. Well damn, not the tip is already going to be pushed out, but how well is the service?  The service could be terrible, but that stupid little tip is already going to be on the bill. Now, you have had a meal with terrible service, but you are still giving a 18% tip which typically means good service. Counterproductive much? I think so. I understand that taking care of a large group is harder on the staff. You have to remember more orders, their drinks, and provide them with what they need. Guess what?  That’s part of your damn job.  I think you should be paid a good wage and not worry about tips. Don’t automatically tack it on just because the group is large. That’s just asinine.

The main reason I”m talking about this was because I went to a pizza place to pick up a carry out order the other day. It was paid for online and I was picking it up. When I got there, they handed me the receipt to sign. There was a tip line. I just signed it and went on my way. When doing so, the cashier put out her hand in the universal sign of “tip please!”  Umm…No, you didn’t do anything for said tip. I put through the order, drove there, and picked up the pizza. Why do you expect me to tip you?  Yes, the people in the back made my pizza, but that’s your business. You make pizza. It’s not like I went to a place to order something extraordinary and not even on the menu. I ordered what was on your menu and did most of the work. Give me a break.  We’ve become too comfortable with the entire tipping process.  Not me, not now, not yesterday, not ever. I hate it!

Anyway, this encounter really got me reminded how much I hate tipping. The practice feels sleazy to me and an easy way for some employers to pay their employees less. I’m not OK with that. Yes, you can chant and yell about they could just get another job, but remember, you’re already paying for the meal and their wages with tips. Just do away with them and pay people more. It’s really a simple thing. Customers won’t be paying more, but businesses will. It’s easy when you can deal with cash transactions and call them tips. I know this might controversial to some, but I just really hate tipping.  I’m not mean or grumpy, but I think we need to do away with this accepted practice of bribery.  Remember, if I want to tip, it’s because you blew my freaking socks off with your service. Don’t make me tip in order to make sure you can eat tonight.  It’s not cool!

 

PS. I worked in an establishment that ran on tips and hated every minute of it.  People there for a long time would figure out how to rig the system as it was for shared tips, based on the amount of hours you worked, not the effort you put in.  It left a bad taste in my mouth!

 

What’s your take on tipping?  Love it or hate it?

About the Author Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $75,000 in debt ($50,000 in just credit cards). I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a WordPress support company, along with another blog, Eyes on the Dollar, which is another great personal finance blog.

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49 comments
Jayson says February 9

Grayson, I do agree. When I have my haircut or foot spa, it’s like they expect me to give tip. But this happens afterwards. If I leave the area to go to the cashier, some would just follow me and they were like pretending to be doing something but they’re really waiting for my tip. That’s sad. I hate tipping also, but sometimes I feel the need of it.

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    Grayson Bell says February 9

    I do not like when people go out of their way to push you for a tip. I see it as unprofessional.

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Stefanie, The Broke and Beautiful Life says February 9

Having worked in service, I tip a lot, but like you, I wish it were just built into the price. The worst is when I’m splurging and doing something out of the ordinary for myself, like a nice vacation, I never know when it’s appropriate to tip and how much!

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    Grayson Bell says February 9

    I still tip and do it generously, but I also will tip you very little if you do a terrible job. That being said, I don’t like having to figure out when to tip and don’t want to be responsible for funding an employee’s pay strictly based off my tip.

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Wise Dollar says February 9

I wish it were really built into the price as well but doubt we’ll see that anytime soon. What drives me even more nuts is seeing the “tip cups” at every place you go to. At least with the waiter/waitress I know they’re largely dependent on my tip, but in most other cases they’re not.

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    Grayson Bell says February 9

    No, we won’t see that anytime soon. There would be a huge fight against it from many business owners who build off tips. I hate seeing tips cups everywhere as well. I didn’t get a tip cup when I was working behind a cash register for $5.25 as a teen. That was minimum wage and I accepted it.

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Christine says February 9

I have a friend who bartends 3x a week (8-hour shifts) at a bar in Toronto and makes more money than I do working full-time in a mid-level marketing position lol. I wish we could adopt Europe’s tipping culture where the servers are well-paid and a tip is seen as a bonus not a right. Most people just leave the change from their bill and a 10% tip is seen as generous.

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    Grayson Bell says February 9

    Yes, I have no problem with tipping someone who does a great job in their position. A tip should be a bonus on top of your regular pay, not something they build into it so you have to earn them.

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Connie says February 9

A tip isn’t just a tip anymore. It’s come to the point when it’s expected, even for sub-par service. When I get good service, I tip well. But not if you didn’t do anything. Your encounter picking up a pizza would really irk me as well- I’m not tipping YOU so that I could pick a pizza. Ridiculous!

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    Grayson Bell says February 9

    You got that right Connie. It has become a necessity for many people to survive. Tips are supposed to reward good people, not keep others afloat when they’re being paid less than minimum wage.

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Kayla says February 9

I hate tipping too and I’ll admit I’m not a very good tipper either. Luckily, I don’t go to places where I need to tip very often.

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    Grayson Bell says February 9

    It’s not that I’m not a good tipper. I do tip people well, but I just don’t like the necessity of it. I don’t want to have to be responsible for providing a living wage for your workers.

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      Laura says May 22

      But tipping is NOT necessary. By being a “good tipper,” you are helping to perpetuate the problem. Just stop tipping if you hate it. I hate it, I quit tipping, and I feel great about it. The money I save by not tipping is going toward my yearly vacation.

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        Grayson Bell says May 22

        While you make a good point, many of these people only survive with tips because of how the laws are written. Yes, I can stop tipping all together, but is it the server’s fault the restaurant owner doesn’t pay them a living wage and adds in tips to “stay above the law?” Yes, I may hate tipping, but I’m not going to let someone’s livelihood suffer because of stupid laws.

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Kim says February 9

I don’t enjoy tipping but consider it part of a restaurant experience. I do not tip for pizza or take out. Those workers who took care of my order are not on server’s wages. I hate that tips are expected instead of seen as something to be worked for. I will tip lots for great service, but grudgingly do my 20% even if my server is not very good.

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    Grayson Bell says February 11

    I don’t like that part of the experience. I go out to enjoy the food and the company, not wanting to worry about making sure my server makes enough that night to earn minimum wage. That ruins the experience for me!

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Ben Luthi says February 9

I also don’t agree that it weeds out the bad ones, because even with a bad waiter or waitress, most customers still feel obligated to give some sort of tip. From my experience, if it weeded out the bad ones, the bar isn’t set very high.

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    Grayson Bell says February 11

    You are correct Ben. Most people, like you and I, understand that these people have to get tips in order to even make minimum wage. This is what I hate about the process!

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MoneyAhoy says February 10

I am OK with tipping in general for good service. But, I’m not OK with places that print out a tip line for not having done anything service oriented. An example is cold stone, do I really need to tip for mixing my ice cream together with some toppings? That’s the basic service I’m already paying a premium for!

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    Grayson Bell says February 10

    I don’t mind tipping for really good service. That’s what the intent of tipping is. You give someone a bonus for a good job. The main issue is that tipping has become a requirement in many places in order to pay employees a living wage. I’m not OK with that.

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    JimBeam823 says June 6

    I hate the expectation of tipping for counter service. If I have to pick up the food at my table, take to to the counter, and bus it myself, I shouldn’t have to tip. That’s McDonald’s level service and nobody is expected to tip at McDonald’s.

    I also hate the expectation of a tip of one bottle of beer at a bar. You reached into the cooler. You got me a beer. You opened it. It took you less than five seconds. That’s not even close to a dollar’s worth of work.

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      Grayson Bell says June 6

      You are so right! If I’m doing the work, why should there by any expectation for tipping? And yes, why drop a dollar extra on an overpriced beer when it takes no time to open it and hand it to someone?

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Marie Hickman says February 10

I agree with your general idea; but the reality is that, as you pointed out, servers make $2-$3 per hour and can’t live with out them. I justify tipping as paying for two separate services: 1) the cost of food and “keeping the lights on” at the restaurant, and 2) the people who serve me. that said, I do not tip for bad service. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

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    Grayson Bell says February 10

    Thanks Marie! I understand the reality and that’s why I hate it. I don’t want to be responsible for paying employees a living wage solely based on my tips. That’s just not right. I tip and tip well when someone provides me with good service, but I just don’t think we use it the way it was intended.

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Jon says February 15

The thing that annoys me is how everyone now has a tip jar! It’s gotten to the point where at first, I felt guilty for not leaving a tip, instead of it being a gesture of me appreciating the outstanding service.

Now though, I ignore the tip jars. I leave a tip for the standard things – food delivery, waiter, etc. Other than that though, I rarely tip.

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Veronica says April 23

I’ve worked in a tipping industry all my life. Yes, I agree the reality of it is that waiters and waitresses are getting paid minimum wage and depend on tips to survive. But heres the thing, we all know the reality of it so why complain? People need to understand that the service industry is not just a first time job that people will eventually get out of. Some people don’t have the luxury to go to school and have run into obstacles in life that deter them from getting out of the industry. If it was changed to where the servers are getting paid more rather than getting tips how much more do you honestly think a restaurant will pay their servers? I average about 35 dollars an hour including my tips. This is as close as a good job I will be getting for a while. It really does depend on the server to how much money they decide on making at the job so for the servers that are working extra hard for a good tip shouldn’t be under tipped because people read blogs like this and now have a sour taste about it. Point is, if you don’t like how the tipping industry works, don’t be the guy that goes there and not tip. I know that you do anyway, but like I said people out there reading this blog will.

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    Grayson Bell says April 23

    First off, thank you for taking the time to comment. The tipping industry already has a sour taste in many mouths. Why? It’s over-saturated by so many other industries. Everyone is asking for a tip. I understand that the service industry isn’t a first time job for many people, but that doesn’t mean you need to be dependent on my tips to make a living. You are obviously doing well and that is a reflection of your service.

    My main gripe about tipping is that I don’t want to feel responsible for someone’s livelihood just based on my tips. A tip is a reflection of service. I should only have to tip you if you provide service that is above and beyond average. That’s what the entire tipping industry was based on. Average people shouldn’t get tips. I can get average service anywhere.

    As I noted and you did as well, I still tip, but that’s because I feel an obligation to based on the way the restaurant industry pays their employees. I don’t know how much more they would pay, but it’s the entire principle. If people aren’t guilted into tipping, then only those who actually perform above and beyond will be rewarded with a tip. A tip should be the exception, not the rule!

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    Laura says May 22

    “I average about 35 dollars an hour including my tips. This is as close as a good job I will be getting for a while.”

    Holy cow, you already have a good job! You’re making over triple what I make as a public servant. And you expect me to add to your fat haul? Forget it! Anyone who makes $35 an hour should not be complaining, IMO.

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Rosa Medina says June 2

Oh my! This peice describes my thoughts on tipping. On point.

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Rainor says July 26

And what about tips for taxi drivers, maids and tourist guides? Today in US looks like everyone becomes a beggar.

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    Grayson Bell says July 26

    Are they getting paid to do those jobs? The simple answer is yes, they are getting paid for that work. If you want a tip, you need to go above and beyond what your regular job requires of you. That’s how you get tips and that’s how you earn them. I’m not going to tip you for doing your job. I don’t get tips when I do my job, because it’s what I’m paid to do!

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Harry says August 27

I will never understand why a tip is based on total bill. Some things cost more, steak over a burger say, but the bill, and by extension tip, will be more if I buy the steak. But what more did the server do for that? Nothing. Businesses might do better on higher end products if it didn’t come with the extra surcharge called a tip.

I bet a vast majority of servers would not be happy if they were given mandatory 15 and hour with benefits. Most servers make more and don’t want to work full time hours to get benefits. Its not just the restaurant that is the problem, it is the workers in the industry.

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Ndasuunye says February 16

Actually, contrary to your article, I do believe in tipping your LOCAL restaurants. Like your mom and pop chinese food places, Pizza shops, burger joints, chicken places(not KFC or popeyes though), etc and I’ll tell you why. As a local shop, their competing with big names (except chinese food places, they are kings all by themselves) and you lurk in these local joints on the regular. Apparently, you find their prep and their service very well thus a little gratitude beyond the normal pay should be administered. Usually these local spots have the same employees you see for most of the day and you conversate and they remember your regular faces. And this can turn into good deed points where they will give you a little extra for your gratuity down the line.

For example, there is this one chinese spot that is run by these nice chinese folk who actually AREN’T racist against black folk, gave me a real friendly demeanor and initiated conversation with me…every time I walked in the door and ordered. My first time I only had $5 even though the order was $6.50 (after taxes. Taxes in a local spot…god damn capitalism). THEN that same order, they gave me EXTRA food for each food item I chose for my meal (it was like a box special order I got). The next two times after that I paid normal price BUT they still were friendly remembered me and gave me extra. And I still didn’t tip. By my third visit, I happily put 3 dollars in the tip jar for a $6 (before taxes) meal. They were very gracious towards my tipping and I tip ever since. And though I don’t expect it, every now and then they pile on a little extra when I order.

I knew another guy who ALWAYS bought pizza at this same local spot near our old job. And he ALWAYS tipped. He said one day he was only able to get 1 slice since he was low on cash, and they gave him 2 extra no charge for his trouble. All because he was a good guy, tipped all the time and was pleasant.

The fine dining and chain restaurants, I wouldn’t say tip but sometimes the local shops are very much worth your tip dollars.

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    Grayson Bell says February 21

    Tipping doesn’t go back to the restaurant in most cases. If tip the waitress, that stays local to them. That is their money and how they earn a living. I don’t think tipping should be necessary for people to live. All restaurants are employed by local people, so that would mean you would tip everywhere based on your thoughts.

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Missy says April 11

I hate tipping. That’s why I go to a great salon. Their motto is that they are professionals and do not accept tips.

Now I just need to find a dog groomer with the same motto. I am spending $65 on my dog. Why should I tip them for doing their job????

I am a SAHM. Should I get tips for having great kids with straight As and are responsible? No. It’s my job.

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Alison says December 25

I work in the service industry and understand where you are coming from, but you didn’t cover some things: you go into restaurant and are probably seated by a host or hostess then the server takes and brings your drink and food order, also checking on you about refills or anything you may need in between, along with all the other guests they have. Servers generally make $2.13/hour and it has been that way for almost 30 years. Depending on the establishment the server is expected to give a percentage of their tips to the host/hostess and bartender. It doesn’t matter if they made a tip or not, they base that off your sales total. If you don’t want to tip go to a fast food restaurant.

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    Grayson Bell says December 25

    Then you need to blame the industry, not the patron. They need to pay you more and not expect a tip from a customer just do to your job. Your job is to check on the customer, and serve them. That’s the job description. If you go above and beyond such job, then a tip is warranted. No other industry acts like the restaurant industry and they base your salary on getting tips. That’s not a fair model for the employees, but it certainly is for the business.

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Philo says January 23

Clearly this was written by a moron, or most likely someone for whom English is their second language. This reads like an article that was paid for….and a very low sum.

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    Grayson Bell says January 24

    Well, thanks for calling me a moron. I wrote this article and I didn’t pay myself. You angry because you work for tips? Is that the problem here? Usually comments like yours come around when you don’t agree with the premise of the article, not because it was written by someone who can’t speak English.

    By the way, born and raised in the US (actually in California where you are from. I guess we got the same education). English is very much my first language. Thanks for playing…

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Karl Parker says January 25

Great article as a Brit living in Canada I hate the process of tipping. It’s not because I am stingy but because of everything said in this article. I have had the worst service I have ever had in Canada and you still have to give a tip, it irates me even more that places in Europe are adopting North American tipping practices. The it will increase the price of the food argument is obviously BS, no one wins in the situation but the employer. I never understand the fact that I am tipping a barman a dollar a drink to the barman in a busy bar on a Friday night when he’s serving a minimum 30+ drinks an hour.

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steve says February 10

I hate the act of paying for your employee also. My family has stopped going out and sitting down to eat. If we want something from a certain place, we will order it to go. I am happy to say that I haven’t tipped a soul in over 3 years.

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    Grayson Bell says February 10

    Yes, I don’t think employees should have to hope for a tip in order to make a living wage. That’s just unacceptable to me.

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John says May 3

I’m right with you on the “hate” for tipping. I will also tell you that I pretty much only tip to a few types of positions: 1) Wait staff at restaurants and 2) Bartenders. However, I will also admit a couple of other things: 1) If the service or drinks are crappy … so is the tip! 2) I don’t believe in an automatic 18%. As a matter of fact, I still pretty much normally tip at 15% for what I would consider receiving ‘VERY GOOD’ service. If it’s exceptional … I’ll go to 20%, but yes, if they absolutely suck … they get 0%.

I truly think things should go back to the way they used to … give them minimum wage (at least) and IF they get tips, they should not be taxed on them.

Speaking of taxes…that’s the real crux of the matter. People get hit with a tax burden of a certain amount regardless of whether or not they actually made that amount…let’s fix that and the other will be easier.

Finally, for your next article … let’s see one on the hatred for giving to charities. Don’t get me wrong, I love helping people. But I HATE these charities that are non-profits that have executive personnel making 6 figure incomes! Go check it out for yourself … United Way, Wounded Warrior Project, Goodwill, etc.

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Jay says May 13

I agree.
I stopped mandatory tipping a long time ago, if I get questioned I tell them “I don’t like tipping, I’m sorry”.
Most people get the message and won’t bother you if you say that.
I just want to say to anyone who doesn’t like tipping, don’t be afraid to let them know you don’t want to.
It’s part of the job to understand that there are people who don’t tip. (I worked as a busser)
However I do enjoy bribing.
Don’t tip your waiters, bribe them.

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