A Married Couple Discuss Tipping And Also The Probability That It Will Lead to Their Divorce

Taylor Jenkins Reid [“THE WIFE”] and Alex Reid [“THE HUSBAND”] are married. To each other.

Taylor Jenkins Reid: I feel like, if we ever get divorced, this won’t be the reason but it will be the thing where you say to yourself, “At least I don’t have to deal with her TIPPING anymore.”

Alex Reid: That is correct. That is 100 percent correct. I will never understand why you tip so much.

TJR: You know this is going on the internet, right? Are you okay with the fact that people might call you a cheapskate?

AR: I feel quite strongly that more people are going to think that you are the one that is wrong here.

TJR: Because I think you should almost always tip 20%?

AR: Yes. If somebody does a bad job or a good job, they both shouldn’t get 20%. It’s not a tax. It’s earned. Sometimes you will do this thing where we will get bad service and you will go, “Ohhh, I bet they are having a bad day,” and then you insist we tip, like, 18 percent. But maybe they are just a jerk and I’m giving away money to a jerk.

TJR: But servers all over the country live on the generosity of tips. It’s how they make money.

AR: But I also live on that same money. Just to be clear: If someone does a great job, I’m not saying you only give them 15%. But if someone does a bad job…

TJR: Wait, but I’ve always said that if someone does a bad job, it’s okay to give them 10 percent.

AR: That’s NOT TRUE. I don’t even think I’ve ever heard you use the phrase “10 percent.” I just think if someone is doing a bad job, you need to delineate that from the people who are doing a good job or a great job. If someone is outstanding, then, sure, 20 percent, if someone is good, 15 is standard. 10 percent if they are bad.

TJR: I just feel like I would rather give people too much money than not enough.

AR: Yeah, if people are nice. But I don’t want to give positive reinforcement for negative behavior. If I tip well to someone who did a terrible job, I’m encouraging them to continue to be bad at their job.

TJR: Okay, obviously this is an agree to disagree thing, but also, the thing I honestly don’t know if you’re right or not about is the tipping pre- or post-tax.

AR: You tip on the subtotal, not the final total. That’s just how it’s done. I’m not making that up. That’s, if you go into the history of tipping, that is how it started.

TJR: The history of tipping? Is that documented somewhere? The History of Tipping.

AR: I would be happy to cite sources. Honestly, I think the big issue in tipping for us is delivery. That’s where things get heated now. Because if I’m paying a delivery fee, I feel like tipping 10 percent on top of that is more than adequate. Because they are literally making one trip. It’s not like they are coming to our table fifteen times to fill up stuff.

TJR: Yeah, but they are driving out to your house and probably only bringing you, like, a pizza. So you’re giving them $1.50, which just doesn’t seem like enough. Any tip under three bucks seems paltry to me.

AR: I just think, again, if you go back to the history of tipping—

TJR: There is no history of tipping!

AR: That’s what people do. I think that’s the conventional thing. I don’t think I’m out of line.

TJR: But why not just tip more? Why not just err on the side of generosity?

AR: I mean, I feel like I tip much more now since I’ve married you. Wouldn’t you say? I feel like I’m a pretty good tipper, even if, logically, I don’t agree that it’s necessary.

TJR: Yeah, you do tip more now. And I try to tip a little more discerningly.

AR: Yeah, so I guess we can stay married. We don’t have to get divorced over this.

TJR: Phew.


Taylor Jenkins Reid and Alex Reid live in Los Angeles and usually tip about 18 percent.



Taylor Jenkins Reid [“THE WIFE”] is a regular Billfold contributor and she wrote a book! And you can buy it! It is called Forever, Interrupted and it is very reasonably priced. And how can you resist that cover. Endorse, Endorse, Endorse. Support a Billfold writer and buy it here.


99 Comments / Post A Comment

dotcommie (#662)

I think tipping pre-tax is correct according to Emily Post, but has fallen out of fashion and makes you look like a cheapskate in modern times.

I usually pay 20% for good or neutral service, 10-15% (depending how I round) for straight up bad service. Tipping 10% for delivery is super weird, I tip the same as eating in. I think, overall, I’m team Wifey in this fight.

dotcommie (#662)

@dotcommie edit: when it’s just me and mr. commie, we add 20% to the post-tax total and split it down the middle. when i’m with a group, i add up the pre-tax cost of my food/drink and add 30% (sales tax in Chicago is 10%). so i guess in group settings i end up tipping pre-tax, but i often end up throwing extra $$ to make up for some fool, so it all comes out in the wash??

Megs (#644)

I agree with Taylor about the delivery tip. Anything under $3 would make me super uncomfortable.

TARDIStime (#1,633)

@Megs also, they’re not just driving to you, but they also have to drive back to the restaurant, so they do the distance twice!

katethegreat (#2,545)

Team Taylor. Delivery is a problem, though, and I will often tip 10% if there’s a delivery fee, unless the person is super nice to me (and my overly-friendly dog) in which case I’d tip more. But I generally round up to the next dollar, so the $1.50 would be $2. My understanding is that delivery drivers also make more as a base hourly salary than servers, so I don’t feel TOO awful about it.

bgprincipessa (#699)

@katethegreat do they also get compensated for gas? (genuine question)

probs (#296)

@bgprincipessa no. I was a delivery driver for a summer, and if someone tips you a buck fifty, you have basically lost money on gas, wear and tear on car, and the fact that car insurance companies charge you more if they know you deliver. Delivery drivers do make more in wages than servers, though.

@katethegreat Alright, question of the day – who gets the delivery fee?

probs (#296)

@polka dots vs stripes now that I do wonder about. The pizza place where I worked had free delivery.

@polka dots vs stripes I don’t know how it is everywhere, but when I worked at [major pizza chain], the delivery fee went to the company to allegedly cover the expense of insuring their delivery drivers. Drivers didn’t get any of it.

Worker Parasite (#2,292)

@probs This varies. In Canada I worked for a large chain for most of college. Drivers got minimum wage, plus 50 cents per delivery, plus a small amount of their insurance paid (like $20 a month if they worked more than 80 hours a month), plus tips. I had a small, not terribly old Toyota so it was a winning proposition for me.

Prior to that I worked for a chain that didn’t pay any wage, but let the driver keep the $2 delivery fee and tips. After I quit I filed a successful complaint with the labour board for unpaid wages – that job was BS.

probs (#296)

@SarcasticFringehead interesting! I just wasn’t covered by company insurance.

selenana (#673)

@Worker Parasite My friends who delivered pizza in h.s. got gas mileage. This was in Oregon though and they’re practically commies.

bibliostitute (#285)

@katethegreat So when I was a delivery driver, I got $1 for every delivery made. Which was supposed to cover gas, wear and tear, and insurance. Which is to say, unreal. So while I made minimum wage, unlike the servers, I definitely also depended on getting real tips. Especially since when I worked day shifts we tipped out across all the drivers!

And be reasonable–if some guy (or gal!) delivers you more than one bag of stuff (>4 pizzas, or pizzas plus salads/sodas/etc) he’s actually doing some serious work to make sure all that shit gets to you in one piece.

messica (#2,810)

@katethegreat Most places I’ve worked that had delivery/friends jobs that had or did delivery? The delivery fee goes to the restaurant and then is used to pay a very underestimated per mile gas reimbursement. Including the delivery fee in the price of the tip is in essence not tipping at all.

And yes, for adequate service, 20%. 15% was the norm over a decade ago. That wages not rising with inflation BS? Congratulations, if you can’t afford a 20% tip, don’t eat out, because that’s what you need to leave.

Smallison (#155)

I’m with Taylor on this one. 20% (post-tax) is my standard, and it goes down for bad service, but never as low at 10%. As for delivery, it’s always at least $2, but sometimes up to $5.

bgprincipessa (#699)

Both of them having gender-neutral names is really messing with my head.

cryptolect (#1,135)

@bgprincipessa Me too! But not as much as when I met a (straight) couple named Chris and Chris.

gyip (#4,192)

Yeah, I always tip post-tax (or at least intend to according to my sometimes terrible math skills), because it’s so little. Literally, if you’re tipping between a total and subtotal, you’re arguing about a percentage of a percentage.

We generally tip 10-15% on delivery and keep it at least a few bucks, because while there isn’t “service” per se, it’s still cooked, packaged, and driven to us in a timely manner. It can be hard.

Also, you’re not reinforcing anything through tips. If you tip too little, a server will assume you’re cheap (or at best, ignorant). I am speaking as a customer and this is a realization I made on my own. The server doesn’t know you or your tipping practises, and he or she will just assume you’re cheap or YOU’RE having a bad day.

If you want to comment on the service and actually have an impact on this server, speak to a manager.

AitchBee (#3,001)

@gyip I find the “if you don’t tip based on service quality, HOW WILL YOUR SERVER’S JOB PERFORMANCE BE REGULATED? CHAOS REIGNS” argument bizarre. Of course, maybe the total collapse of service quality in all other professionals/fields is imminent, and then the joke will be on me.

Lily Rowan (#70)

@gyip That’s a great point — unless you’re a regular, the server has no idea why you tipped what you did, or what your standard practice is.

Speaking of tipping: I just heard a story from a coworker about local business owners who were terrible tippers. Presumably they could have afforded the full 20% on their Olive Garden lunch.

@Lily Rowan Ugh has anyone had the customer feedback “You were amazing today, great service, really excellent” and then gotten like 10%? It’s like they think compliments earn them a tipping discount. It doesn’t.

gyip (#4,192)

@Lily Rowan Exactly! The problem is that we all assume there’s a real system or code to tipping … and it’s obvious from all these discussions that there is not. We can’t assume that by tipping 2% less, a server will interpret it the way we intend. They serve so many people in one day, they can’t really make any real conclusions.

I definitely do pre-tax, and since I’m a pretty easy customer (no substitutions, no special requests) I don’t feel like I’m much of a hardship for anyone who is part of my dining experience (waitstaff, cooks, etc). I’m usually around 15%. I do tip extra for lots of water refills or friendly service, though.

I just realized that I only tipped 10% on a dinner earlier this week, and till now I thought I’d tipped 20% but I am really bad at math and was running late to meet someone. So now I feel bad.

For delivery, I also feel like $3 is the minimum. I once ordered food for takeout and the total was like $16 and change, and when I paid the guy asked if I wanted change. I was taken aback and said no, but really there was no service at all–I paid for my pizza and took it home and I still don’t understand how I ended up tipping 20% on that meal.

Anyway, I basically just try to make an effort to tip in cash and hope that makes up for any perceived slight in the amount.

bgprincipessa (#699)

@backstagebethy Ughhh the “do you want your change” really irks me. It is presumptuous especially in a situation such as you described. It makes me not want to tip them, even if I intended to in the first place. But of course I’m a scaredy cat and would do the same as you describe.

OhMarie (#299)

@backstagebethy Oh, I’ve actually done the opposite! The one time I got REALLY terrible service, enough to make me want to tip 10%, I fucked up and accidentally gave 20%. Boooo.

Worker Parasite (#2,292)

@bgprincipessa That’s so lame. When I was delivering pizzas I would automatically start pulling change out, 95% of the time I was told “that’s ok, keep it”. If it was something crummy like their bill was $19.26 and they handed me a $20 and I could tell I wasn’t getting a tip I’d make sure to give them their exact change, slowly sifting through a handful of change for that last penny. Thankfully that was rare.

The only time I would ask about change is if it was something weird, like the bill was $19.26 and they handed me a $20 bill and a $10 bill. Obviously they want to tip me, but they probably don’t want to tip me $10.74. I’d awkwardly ask how much change they wanted – moral of the story – try to keep small denominations handy for tipping the delivery guy!

@Worker Parasite When the total is even like that, I’ve had servers/delivery people ask me “How would you like your change–a ten, two fives,” or whatever and start listing options. Usually I get flustered and I’ll just stammer out “Oh, just a five is all I need, thanks.”

Worker Parasite (#2,292)

@The Lady of Shalott I rarely order delivery, but when I do I try to be super proactive to avoid that awkwardness by either having smaller denominations and saying “I don’t need the change” or handing over $30 (in my previous example) and saying “I just need $6 back please”.

squishycat (#3,000)

@The Lady of Shalott Lots of places let you tip at the time of your order if you’re paying by card, so you don’t have to worry about it when the food arrives. Of course, this means that if your food arrives cold, mixed up, and an hour late, you’ve already tipped… but at least you can call and complain. It does mean that you don’t really have to talk to the delivery person if the reason you are ordering delivery is because you have had an exhaustingly shit day and you do not have the mental strength to face even that minimal interaction.

readyornot (#816)

has anybody else made the mistake where the service charge is already added in, but you don’t look at the itemized receipt, and then you tip on top of that? OOPS. good day for that server, though!

@readyornot It happens. A good, honest server will usually highlight or indicate the service charge for you, but at the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to check the bill! Usually service charges are at either 18 or 15% anyway, so a little bump usually evens things out!

Mrs. Beeton (#320)

My feeling is, if you can afford to eat at a restaurant, you can afford to tip 20% in all circumstances. I even tip 20% for delivery, because why not? Am I really, truly, going to be struggling at the end of the month because I tipped a guy $8? For me, personally, the answer is no. And if I was, I would have to start cooking at home much, much more often. There’s no reason to turn yourself into a mathlete and factor in distance traveled x water refills x bigness of smile to find some Platonic Tip Ideal, because it already exists, and it is 20%.

mochi (#585)

@Mrs. Beeton For real. If I’m hurting so much that a 20% tip is really going to make a difference in my life, I don’t eat out.

RadScientist (#3,081)

@Mrs. Beeton You are great, and exactly right. The “Platonic Tip Ideal” is 20%, and people don’t have to aspire to that if they don’t want to, but it is right. Also, I love @Cerasi’s point about the finer math of tipping and it being worth $52/year to feel like a good tipper. And while I know some rich people who tip very well, it definitely seems the people who are the most conscientious and generous are the ones who have worked shitty jobs and/or don’t make very much money currently and so can empathize.

I can’t believe Alex thought the internet would support his side. Hooray for all the generous billfold tippers!

I’ve successfully trained my wife to be a very good tipper. Maybe TOO good.

(she used to get pretty bad European Tip Anxiety)

(now I’m like “You don’t need to give the lady $5 just for ordering two bagels at the counter dear”)

echolikebells (#3,272)

I tip on the total, whether that includes delivery charge or tax or whatever, and I tip no less than 20% for average to slightly above average, under but the closest whole number to 25% for exceptional, and no less than 15% for anything else. I also try to always tip at least $5.

I tip my hairdresser an even third at a normal appointment and $50 at my appointment closest to Christmas, but I’ve been going to her for years and years and adore her, so.

Also I make less than $30k a year so these are probably unwise habits but they make me feel good.

@echolikebells As long as you can make your ends meet, tipping generously is never unwise… it just builds up good karma for the future!

tussock (#1,296)

Yeah, 20%, always. It’s not like I have my pay randomly docked for having an off day. If something’s really bad, like another commenter said, that’s a matter for talking to the manager. If a waiter is especially wonderful I’ll go above 20% though.

Also as a historian I really can’t endorse referring to “the history of tipping” as a way to win this argument. Things change, they’re different in different cultural contexts, etc.

joyballz (#2,000)

@tussock I get so annoyed when people in my group want to tip less because of bad service or an order being wrong when they said NOTHING at the time. Give the person the opportunity to fix it at least. Bring the manager in if necessary, but docking it 5-10% just seems passive aggressive to me.

Jellybish (#560)

I tip 20% on the post-tax total. I will even go a little higher if my kid is with me (little kids are slow eaters, and messy, and often I end up asking for substitutions or split plates if we’re not ordering off a kids’ menu). Honestly, if it’s the difference of a couple bucks or so? Not worth the mental energy to me to worry about it.

steponitvelma (#914)

I feel kind of bad that Alex thought he would win this argument., because Taylor is clearly the winner. I always do 20% because it’s easier to calculate and since I’m in Oregon I don’t have to worry about the pre/post tax thing. I will say, as a former barista, if you tip poorly I’m a lot more likely to assume you’re cheap than that I’m bad at my job. Just like I have a pretty good idea of how my performance is at my law job, I also had a fairly good idea of how my performance was at my barista job, I didn’t need fiscal performance reviews from cheapskates. The whole “tipping rewards bad behavior” thing is not true and also patronizing. Waiters aren’t dogs.

It’s pretty clear to me that Alex hasn’t worked for tips, ever. The standard in my family, which is staunchly low-mid to middle class, has always been 20% plus. I’ve never been able to understand how people think tipping is optional. IT’S NOT! Waitresses and waiters are basically paid an hourly wage just barely high enough to cover their paycheck deductions. Most don’t even get checks! When it comes to ‘poor service,’ as a former server/bartender, I can attest to the fact that it’s usually under staffing, poor kitchen management, or finicky customers that result in poor/slow/forgetful service, not necessarily a bad server. Of course exceptions exceptions exist for bad or apathetic attitudes–If I get a bad attitude, I’ll drop to 15%; egregious behavior gets 10%. But never 0. Even if the service is bad, you still have to pay for services you receive.
But if I get sub-par service from a truly apologetic/obviously overworked server, 20% every time.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@figuringitoutasigo Yeah recently a server was so rude to me and my friend that I spoke to a manager about it (the server was homophobic to us, too; ironically we’re just two single straight ladies having dinner together), and I gave that server exactly 15%. It made me realize just how rarely I do that.

jessieflux (#4,400)

@figuringitoutasigo Love that $0 check every week.

Spinoff question/conversation: Do you tip at the jars at the cash register? Why/why not/how much?

My answer: No, because the people there are making at least min wage (correct me if I’m wrong), if not even being paid under the table (see: every local bagel store in my hometown). I’ve heard different stories about what managers actually do with those tips – some use it to even out the register and the cashiers get the rest, some split everything with the cashiers, etc etc. Though standing on your feet all day is grueling in almost any condition, I think there’s a huge difference between running around as a waiter/ress and buttering a bagel and pouring coffee.

@polka dots vs stripes I’ll usually tip if I’m ordering food that has to be delivered to my table? But I never really know what to do about those either!

Jellybish (#560)

@polka dots vs stripes 50 or 75 cents if it’s a coffee drink that involves more than a couple steps, maybe a quarter if it’s something really basic like iced tea. At least a buck if it’s food, and up to $5 at places where I’m a regular (this would usually be ordering like $25-$30 of food for my whole family).

@polka dots vs stripes If they’re friendly and they’re working fast enough to keep the line moving, I’ll tip my change or $1 or so. It is true as far as I know that they’re making at least minimum wage, but I feel like still being friendly at a shit fast food job deserves a little extra.

OhMarie (#299)

@polka dots vs stripes I tip at places where I go a lot–I have a coffee shop that I go to maybe once a week, and it’s always the same person so I throw in change or a buck now and again. If it’s a one-time thing I usually don’t.

I have actually had a job like this. I worked at a Snoball stand, where I was paid minimum wage and had a tip jar on top of it, and I MADE BANK in quarters and stuff. Caveat that it was just me, so not a split-the-tip coffee shop situation.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@polka dots vs stripes Hahahaha, I love the rationale that they don’t need tips cuz “they’re making minimum wage” since even at my comically underpaid office job I make twice the minimum wage.

Maybe this is like giving money to the homeless: The person receiving the dollar in front of me says thank you and seems to mean it, and I don’t give a shit what that person does with the money after that.

@aetataureate Well I meant as opposed to waitstaff at a sit-down restaurant, who rely on tips to make minimum wage. Either way it’s not much money, but the staff at the coffee/bagel/whatever place is at least guaranteed more per hour.

@polka dots vs stripes I work in a tea shop and make drinks and stuff all day long. We have a tip mug by the register and almost never get tipped, ever. It gets maybe 35 cents a day, tops. The only time it ever frustrates me is when someone gets a complicated drink (like a matcha latte that involves three or four distinct different steps) that costs $5.64 after tax, and they don’t even toss a nickel our way. OR when they come in and get three or four different drinks and can’t toss a quarter our way.

Our manager takes the tips and doles them out evenly every month. But unfortunately she does it so that the people like me who work 35+ hours a week get the same tips as the high-school girl who works two shifts a month. (Disclosure: If I’m alone and someone tosses me a loonie or a toonie, I put it in my pocket rather than in the tip jar because of this policy.)

@polka dots vs stripes I tip if I’m being a pain, and always dump the change in if I paid in cash. I once worked at an icecream parlor in a small town where rich dads would bring in the entire little league team at once (so at least a dozen screaming children all wanting sundaes) and the would NEVER TIP. I knew a lot of these guys and knew exactly what car they drove and what they did for a living. I also knew they were assholes after that.

boringbunny (#3,260)

@polka dots vs stripes The tip jar has changed the tipping landscape. It seems a few years ago when they were introduced, customers were confused and insulted. Now, apparently, it’s insulting if you don’t tip. I worked as a cashier 10 years ago and we didn’t have tip jars and I would never have expected to get a tip no matter what anyone ordered though once I got a $50 gift card for finding this guy’s credit card.

selenana (#673)

@boringbunny I worked at a bakery/coffee house 15 years ago (with no table service) and we had a tip jar. It wasn’t that confusing then. Some people threw in change, occasionally a buck, I didn’t get mad if people didn’t, and we always super appreciated the extra couple bucks at the end of the day. An extra $5 or $20 at the end of a shift meant SO MUCH to me back then.

Ohhh NEW question — and I’ve seen this vary so widely — what do you do about tipping when you order carry out from a restaurant you would normally tip in? I always feel obligated to tip (usually the bartender) SOMETHING, but I feel like the standard 20% is too high bc…well I’m taking it to go. Thoughts?

Worker Parasite (#2,292)

@figuringitoutasigo This is one I do a fair bit when on the road for work. I usually tip ~10% (rounded to the nearest dollar), because it is a lot less work than if I sit down. But I’m pretty sure my tipping habits are different from the majority here.

ragazza (#4,025)

I do pre-tax. The taxes in my state are pretty high. It wouldn’t bankrupt me to do post-tax but I’m used to it, I guess.

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH WIFE HERE??? Has she never worked a service job? I’m sorry, wife, but you are terrible. 20% post tax for mediocre to good service. More for great. And just tip your delivery driver, damn. You know, nothing bad is going to happen if you inject more money into the lives of people who don’t have much.

mlh (#905)

@Jake Reinhardt You are very confused, friend.

Christy (#3,892)

@Jake Reinhardt yeah, Alex is the husband, Taylor is the wife.

j a y (#3,935)

I feel like the audience here skews the curve :-)
I reserve the right to tip nothing but I’ve never encountered service that bad. Sigh the server who almost dropped a beer glass on my friend’s newborn? Accidents happen and he only got splashed.

But as a kid I remember encountering racism when out with my parents and that was a no tip event. Basically malice of any kind.

There are also minimums at cheap restaurants. If you are delivering me a seven dollar meal percentages are too low.

The thing I find silly is low service charges. I don’t mind service charges if they are reasonable but one of my frequently visited restaurants charges ten percent. when I add an extra ten (service is pretty good there) I feel like they think they pulled a fast one or something.

sarahsayssoo (#4,237)

20% minimum post tax (just because I never think to do the other) plus a buck per alcoholic drink because I’m sure they are tipping out their bartender at a ridiculous rate like I always had to do.

Oh and a minimum of $5 which comes up regularly for me because I go out by myself to local places and 20% on those bills is often like $1.80 which is too low so they get a 50%+ tip instead

Usually more like 15% on delivery, $2-$3 on carryout,

If I have bad service I speak to a manager (this has happened once). I know servers are often forced to claim a minimum level of tips based on how much food they sell and then that tip rate is reported for taxes and I don’t want to cost anyone money.

People above are discussing malicious behavior which might actually drop me to 0 or close to it but I’ve never experienced that in a restaurant

needsmoresalt (#3,501)

This post made me realize that there are a lot of things that kind of irritate me, but not tipping might actually be one of the few things I would consider a true dealbreaker. It’s ridiculous to think that tipping is some sort of bonus for servers, or that you’re “giving” them money. You’re paying them to serve you. They are paid in tips; they make around $2.50/hour on top of that. If you don’t feel like tipping, then don’t go to places where people work for tips. No one is forcing you. I could never date someone who refused to tip, because I feel like if you go out with someone who won’t tip, they’re not just screwing the server over, they’re also kind of screwing the person or people they’re with, since you’re obviously going to get better service as a repeat customer if you tip. I agree with everyone else who said that if the service is so bad that you don’t feel like tipping, then you should probably complain. Also, there are plenty of places where tips are split, so you’re also underpaying the busers and dishwashers. Tip 20%, and if someone does a particularly excellent job, tip a little extra. I never, ever think, “oh if only I hadn’t given that waiter $5!” even though there are plenty of times I regret going out to eat in general. And, yeah, you should also tip your hairdresser. It’s not even karma, it’s an investment in the service you want to receive in the future.

sarahsayssoo (#4,237)

@needsmoresalt the 2.50 thing is not true everywhere though. and according to the Dept. of Labor tipping out to dishwashers is illegal and should be reported if you are seeing it (bussers, expos and bartenders is allowed though)

jessieflux (#4,400)

First time commenter because, as a server, I have STRONG FEELINGS about this. Luckily I work in a lovely restaurant where my tip percentage usually comes out to 21 or 22% every night but I have also worked in places where that was not the case. Unfortunately I think it was mostly based on the socioeconomics of the area – current restaurant has lots of regulars and is in a generally upper-middle class area, the place I was getting bad tips was a tourist town.

In Massachusetts, servers get paid $3.86 an hour. Tips are not a bonus for good service, as in Europe- they are my wages. When I go out I tip 20%, always. If I went out to eat and felt my service wasn’t up to par, I would rather speak discreetly to a manager than tip lower – because, as mentioned, unless the server knows they COMPLETELY fucked up your table, they’re just going to assume you’re cheap. There’s a million reasons why your service might have been poor and some of them might be totally out of your control – maybe the restaurant was understaffed that night and the server ended up with more tables than they could handle. Maybe the server started a week ago and is still getting the hang of things. Maybe a busser walked out in the middle of a shift.

In addition, servers have to give a percentage of their tips to the bartender, the hostess, the busboys, sometimes the food servers – so they aren’t actually pocketing your entire tip.

I also usually tip 15% or so on delivery and throw them a couple extra bucks if it’s pouring out and I know they biked there.

Christy (#3,892)

When gf and I first started dating, I was really embarrassed by how little she tipped. I didn’t know what was up with it. Turns out she’s just really bad at math. So now I do the tipping and she tells me the percent. We’re almost always at least 20%, minimum of $5.

e (#734)

Tipping is bullshit, because we should just pay people what they need to live on, and have that be part of the price of our food. BUT, the wife is absolutely right. 20%, unless they lean over in your food and spit while maintaining eye contact.

Thinking of it as an incentive for service is foolish. There are all kinds of service jobs that don’t get tips. If you want to stick with the restaurant example, the guy in the back making your food- you don’t tip him and I feel like he has equal to more power to make and break your experience than your waiter.

When I see stingy tipping it really turns me against the person. It also makes me think they never had a service job. Because that kind of is hard as fuck. Its long hours, cranky people, hard labor, low pay. Stingy tippers always make me think, “first job was receptionist at their parent’s law firm.”

pinches (#3,520)

My standard is 20% post tax for meals. If I had bad service, I still do 20% but maybe write a note on the receipt? Also, $1 per drink at bars is the absolute standard ($2-3 per drink if I was using comp drink tickets).

The other day, I was at a bar where each drink you buy, you can get a free pizza fresh from their in-house oven (or $1 pizza after happy hour). Got my drink then changed my mind about pizza so paid extra dollar but then forgot to tip him because a lot of pizza orders were going on at once. I went back to give him a tip for the drink, but he wasn’t there. I hope he didn’t think I was a non-tipper! But I didn’t want to do that Seinfeld thing where you perfectly time your tipping so that the server can see it. I am awkward!

I also tip baristas for coffees ($1 per drink, like at bars) because a coffee is a day-drink.

FancyMachine (#4,401)

Would you feel differently about tipping if the minimum wage was different? Because in Vancouver, the standard minimum wage is $10.25 ($9 for a liquor server)and though the tip policy varies by restaurant (keep your own/keep your own and give some to the kitchen staff/communal pot that gets split up)it seems like servers here aren’t working for the possible privilege of tips in the same way as in the US.

Fellow Canucks! Am I right about the wage thing? I’ve never been a server, but I’ve known a few, I could have the facts wrong. I am wrong to tip 15% because I know wages aren’t outrageously low?

Personally, I didn’t know about the whole US lower service wage thing until recently-ish. It seems so unfair, why put the onus on the customer like that?

Worker Parasite (#2,292)

@FancyMachine I’m with you on that. I generally tip ~15% in BC, but try to up it when I’m in the US.

lizard (#2,615)

@FancyMachine honestly id probably tip like a couple bucks if the server got a decent living already.

Worker Parasite (#2,292)

@lizard $9 an hour in Vancouver isn’t really a decent living though. It beats $2.25 or whatever in parts of the US, but cost of living in Vancouver is higher than all but a very few American cities.

FancyMachine (#4,401)

@Worker Parasite Same here! When I’m in the US, I have to make a concerted effort to tell the other Canadians I’m with WHY tipping is a big deal over there! Glad to see it’s not just me though – sweet sweet validation.

@FancyMachine Yup, I tip 10-15% depending on the service at a restaurant and coffee shops get whatever change I get back (which, now that I think about it, is probably 10-15% of my drink too). I have never tipped 20% here, but I do tend to tip better when I go down to the States

lizard (#2,615)

@Worker Parasite its a very slippery slope then. if they make higher than minimum wage i dont think im inclined to subsidize their income to comfortable.

selenana (#673)

@lizard Yeah in a couple of US states there is a true minimum wage for servers so your theory would hold true there too (Oregon and Washington I think, not sure about others). But it is a slippery slope.

@FancyMachine I also generally tip 15% (I’m in AB, but I believe minimum wage is at least something close to that).

theotherginger (#1,304)

@FancyMachine I always tip 20% in the US, now that people have told me these things. I tip 15 in Canada, minimally. A friend who works as a server in downtown TO says his average is about 18, so I figure, 15 to 20, depending on the day. I figure, I should be able to pay for going out. Which includes a nice tip.

cjm (#3,397)

I live in Oregon, were the minimum wage is almost $9 with no tip credit and no tax. I still tip, but I kind of feel like 15% is “Standard” and 20% is “good/extra mile” service. It’s interesting to me that everyone seems to be saying 20% is “standard.”
When I go out with a group for happy hour and our bill is $100 I make sure our tip is 20% because we order fewer drinks than most people and a lot of plates. So, if we are there 2 hours and the only table they had (unlikely), the server made $38, or $19 an hour. That seems to be plenty generous to me, especially if they also had another table with the same behavior and therefore made $29 an hour. I mean, that’s a living wage and more than a lot of people make. Am I a miser?

clo (#4,196)

@cjm They don’t make $29 though. They tip out bussers, kitchen staff, bartenders and so on 5-40% of the tips they earn in a night. And they also have to stay for a couple hours after closing to do sidework, and come in early to do other stuff and they’re not earning money during those times.

lizard (#2,615)

@clo most jobs require some sort of extra effort. i get what you are saying but its not much of point

dham (#2,271)

I could never love someone who tipped 15% on purpose.

dham (#2,271)

I think I am honestly suggesting divorce, I mean

boringbunny (#3,260)

I will preface this by saying that for average/good service, I tip at least 20% post-tax, including for delivery.

But is it weird to anyone else that we have a system of employers paying their employees basically nothing for working in a really demanding job, and yet somehow, people blame the customer for not making up for all this with a few extra dollars? It’s kinda like people blaming clothing shoppers for sweatshops. Maybe you’re more complicit than a naked guy but aren’t we focusing on the wrong atrocity here?

sunflowernut (#1,638)

I don’t understand why some people are so intense about being cheap with tips. It’s like, if you are seriously trying to save money, don’t go out and eat.

I try to do 20% minimum tip, and probably around $3 minimum if I ate alone/split the check and the percentage would work out to be super low. $1 per easy drink at the bar, $2-$3 for a super fancy time consuming drink. People who tip much less than this are embarrassing to go out to eat with, and wind up driving up the cost of my meal because I then feel obligated to leave a bigger tip.

cjm (#3,397)

@sunflowernut Yes. Also, it is weird to me that in places in the US that don’t have a lower “tip credit wage” we still tip the same amounts: Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon ($8.95/hr), Washington ($9.19/hr). Does a server really work $10+ an hour harder than other minimum wage workers? Do servers at fancy restaurants w/alcohol work harder than those at restaurants without alcohol?

selenana (#673)

@cjm Thanks! That’s what I was trying to get at upthread. I still tip in those states, and I almost always tip at least 20%, but there is a reasonable difference between $3/hr plus tips and $9/hr plus tips.

clo (#4,196)

@cjm I mean I still tip 20%. Everyone should make that high of a minimum wage.

I was seriously thinking PLEASE GET DIVORCED while reading this.

Strong feelings, I guess?

Stingy tipping is such a dealbreaker. Be frugal elsewhere. Be generous with people. Our lives are not tiny economic islands.

ALSO ALSO I don’t live in a big city, so ymmv, but always at least 20% rounded up for delivery also.

@auntie establishment (Don’t really get divorced, though; love is beautiful, etc., etc.)

mochi (#585)

Servers make like $2.25 per hour before tips. The minimum wage for servers hasn’t increased in 20 years. There are people trying to feed their families on those wages.
If you can’t afford to leave 20%, you can’t afford to eat out. I say this as someone on a very tight budget. I live within my means.

Cerasi (#4,234)

I have done the math on this, and if I were to eat out an average of once per week at an average of $20/meal every week, all year, the difference between being an 18%-tipper and a 23%-tipper is $52/year. (I chose those numbers because that’s probably my realistic range–20% and then round up or down.) While I technically think an 18% tip is acceptable, I realized that thinking of myself as a good tipper is worth $52/year to me. (I’ve never been in a service job; I just get very uncomfortable thinking about people being annoyed because of me.)

clo (#4,196)

Team Wife! I’ve worked for tips, my bff has been a server for like 10 years and told me horrible stories, tons of other friends work/ed for tips. I always tip 20% in a restaurant. If you can’t afford that, you can’t afford to go out and eat. I eat out a lot in SF which has a minimum wage of almost $10, but I still tip 20% cause yeah…that’s the cost of eating out. 15% is considered cheap and an outdated standard to all of my friends.
Also, servers will just assume that you suck as a person when you are a poor tipper, not that they are doing a bad job. For delivery, I totally agree with the $3 thing. At bars, I try to tip a dollar a drink which is high but that’s how you get service.

boringbunny (#3,260)

Maybe a waiter would assume I was cheap if I didn’t tip well, but I don’t get better service for being a better tipper and I don’t care what a waiter thinks of me, especially if I think he’s a bad waiter. So the waiter doesn’t have any incentives to do better and neither do I. I think my service has actually gone down since I moved to 20% from 15%. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because my SO and I are ethnicities that are stereotyped as being poor tippers. But then again maybe they know that he will still tip 15% even if they throw their food at us.

The only incentives people have to tip well are their own self-righteousness and for their friends/dates to view them well. For me, it’s self-righteousness.

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