I’m seriously thinking about never tipping. How do…January 29, 2015The Events that are: My Life The times they are a-changin’. This post seems to be older than 6 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated. I’m seriously thinking about never tipping anywhere. How do I communicate I’m not tipping on principle rather than bad service? 0 Related 70 thoughts on “I’m seriously thinking about never tipping. How do…” Riley Gorder January 29, 2015 at 4:50 pm Convince congress to change tax law…. Craig Fukutomi January 29, 2015 at 4:51 pm Leave a penny Andrew Ferguson January 29, 2015 at 4:52 pm Riley: Why does tax law need to change? Craig: I think that would leave the wrong impression Katelyn Reilly January 29, 2015 at 4:54 pm You will need to make your peace with people thinking you’re an asshole. Even if (especially if?) you tell them you’re not leaving a tip out of principle, you’ll come across as a dick. #socialnorms Andrew Ferguson January 29, 2015 at 4:55 pm Katelyn: I think I’m actually willing to bite that bullet, in part because I believe that on whole tipping is a bad social norm…and you know how much I hate social norms to begin with. Katelyn Reilly January 29, 2015 at 4:56 pm If you’re willing, I say go for it. Could be an interesting experiment! mpacc January 29, 2015 at 5:03 pm @AndrewFerguson Starts with buying an old USSR t-shirt Jordan DeBoer January 29, 2015 at 5:06 pm Jordan DeBoer liked this on Facebook. Ryan Weber January 29, 2015 at 5:12 pm But on the other hand many restaurants don’t pay their employees minimum wage, and so tipping can really help out OldMiner January 29, 2015 at 5:15 pm @AndrewFerguson Have you ever seen the opening of “Reservoir Dogs”? Andrew Ferguson January 29, 2015 at 5:19 pm Ryan: Not quite. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an employer is still required to ensure their employee receive minimum wage. http://www.dol.gov/elaws/faq/esa/flsa/002.htm In many states, such as Washington, the employer actually has to pay minimum wage regardless of tips received (i.e. there is no “tip credit”). http://www.lni.wa.gov/workplacerights/wages/minimum/ Duane Mullen January 29, 2015 at 5:21 pm Andrew, it depends on where you are. Peter will tell you that at Jackson Hole they employers barely paid their employees and expected their tips to make their wage for them. In that place your principle isn’t just offensive, it’s hurting someone’s wages. Besides, a tip is a financial incentive to garner better service, a gratuity is a financial gesture in appreciation of good service. Idk how or when it got started but I’m opposed to servers who expect a gratuity when the serve you because there is no incentive. Especially places that have a mandatory gratuity based on the size of your party. Too many times I’ve received bad service once a group reached that size because there was no longer and incentive based on performance. While I appreciate that larger groups are more taxing on the server, I have experienced unnecessarily horrible service once a group reaches 6 at a table. Generally speaking I wish the attitude of expectation around the gratuity would change and then I’d be happy about the social construct. Alia Paget January 29, 2015 at 5:35 pm Min wage is a mute point (it is not a livable level) and tips do more than help out, they make scraping by do-able. I know that isn’t the initial point of them but it’s the reality now. Andrew Ferguson January 29, 2015 at 5:36 pm Duane: there’s a minimum wage issue and then there’s a tipping issue. We don’t tip at McDonalds, and society seems to be okay with that. Federal minimum wage rules technically still apply to those who are tipped, employers just get a credit credit for tips their employees receive. Thus, if everyone at Jackson Hole stopped tipping, the employees would still be paid at least minimum wage ($7.25/hr). I’d actually arguing that tipping helps hide the minimum wage issue because there’s less transparency with tipping. Tipping is, on the whole, random. In “The Relationship between Tipping and Service Quality: A Comment on Bodvarsson and Gibson’s Article,” Michael Lynn found that customers who received great service only tip about 1% more than customers to don’t (http://scholarship.sha.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1156&context=articles) Duane Mullen January 29, 2015 at 5:41 pm Alia, I think you mean it’s a moot point. Minimum wage is where people start, not the wage everyone in an establishment stays at. There are some nuances but generally speaking, nobody stays at minimum wage. I’m sure restaurant owners have a matrix they use to pay their employees based on expected tips. It’s not a bad system considering that the employee’s total wage is based directly on performance except that it is also based directly on the customers understanding of that system. Andrew Ferguson January 29, 2015 at 5:41 pm Alia: To your point, having a tipping culture hides the minimum wage issue. More and more restaurants are moving to a no-tip system and just increase their prices by x% across the board. Alia Paget January 29, 2015 at 5:45 pm And that is great and needed and I’m all for that being the response on a macro level, but as that change is just beginning to happen, you choosing not to tip on principle is just hurting individuals who work in an industry that has had a long history of paying them poorly and that is built around the expectation of tips to help them be able to live in whichever city they are working. Andrew Ferguson January 29, 2015 at 5:50 pm Alia: Where’s the data? Alia Paget January 29, 2015 at 5:50 pm Duane Mullen, you are very right about moot instead of mute Laura Lacanette January 29, 2015 at 6:05 pm If you are thinking of not tipping, then you need to not go out to restaurants anymore. A place I worked at one summer paid $4.25 an hour. If you complain that you are not making the min wage, you are fired or your hours reduced. For me this wasn’t a big deal, but for people with kids or living paycheck to paycheck, you are screwing them over. In fact, because servers are taxed based on expected tips, if someone decides not to tip they are losing money and paying for you to eat. Not to mention that a huge portion of tips get handed out to the hosts and busers in the back, so you are screwing over more than just the server. Don’t do that to people. Petition, write to representatives, and support places where you don’t need to tip. If you don’t want to tip, don’t go out to eat. That’s a seriously messed up thing to do to people who are just trying to work for a living. Alia Paget January 29, 2015 at 6:15 pm Andrew Ferguson, data for which specifically? Jan Boyd January 29, 2015 at 6:22 pm Does your wife want to be along when you are explaining your principles to your server? Just curious. Jan Boyd January 29, 2015 at 6:28 pm Eat here. Student servers are state employees. No tipping allowed. https://www.hfs.washington.edu/cultivate/#gsc.tab=0 Hannah Victoria January 29, 2015 at 6:59 pm How? Well, you move to Europe. a1smile January 29, 2015 at 7:12 pm @AndrewFerguson What’s the reasoning behind no tips? I’ve always felt a pretty strong moral obligation for tipping (when clearly expected) Quinn McGinnis January 29, 2015 at 8:08 pm I might agree with you that tipping culture isn’t a good thing. However, I’m interested to hear how you go from that to thinking that the best way to deal with the situation is to never tip. Andrew Ferguson January 29, 2015 at 8:22 pm Alia: Data showing that not tipping will hurt individuals, or that tipping helps individuals substantially Andrew Ferguson January 29, 2015 at 8:24 pm Laura: Not going to places that accept tips has crossed my mind and may be a good compromise. Andrew Ferguson January 29, 2015 at 8:24 pm Hannah: I’m working on it! Andrew Ferguson January 29, 2015 at 8:25 pm Quinn: It forces the issue rather than being complacent with the status quo. Andrew Ferguson January 29, 2015 at 8:26 pm Jan: You would have to ask Rachel. Jan Boyd January 29, 2015 at 8:45 pm I’m sure Rachel can deal. She’s a smart lady. Nicole Previouslyknownaszambon Atkins January 29, 2015 at 8:46 pm Hmmm…have you been listening to Freakonomics? Just listened to a podcast about tipping. Truly made me think. It’s so much different around most of the rest of the world. Trevor Essmeier January 29, 2015 at 8:49 pm Andrew Ferguson, the fact that you refuse to tip is proof enough that you have never had to truly work a day in your life. And by “work” I mean doing exhausting manual labor for hours on end, serving self-righteous tools who treat like you are in a caste below them, just to merely make rent. Work, that for most, does nothing to validate one’s career path or education. Once you live even a week in that situation, you will see that at the end of the day, all you are left with is people and how you affect them. Any self-righteous philosophical statement you plan to make at the expense of another’s well being quickly becomes a mute point in comparison. Easy solution: if you are too cheap to tip, don’t eat out. This isn’t France. Quinn McGinnis January 29, 2015 at 8:52 pm I see that… it’s just, generally, when you “put your money where your mouth is,” people expect you to lose money, not gain it. I know you wouldn’t do this just to save a few bucks here and there, but it might end up being perceived that way. You could always tally up the money you would’ve tipped had you followed the usual social convention and give it to charity or something. Quinn McGinnis January 29, 2015 at 8:54 pm Or just go full d-bag and buy an expensive watch with the savings after a few years. Duane Mullen January 29, 2015 at 8:58 pm Trevor, it’s moot. Just ask Alia. It’s a point that is debatable; an issue open to argument. While I appreciate your sentiments on the topic at hand, that doesn’t mean Andrew’s wrong on the issue but likely on the stance at the point of execution. Brandon Smith January 29, 2015 at 9:00 pm It isn’t making a point or helping anyone if you just stop tipping. Try getting a referendum going, or write letters to restaurant owners etc if you want to promote meaningful change. If you do stop tipping (bad idea imo), you may not want to eat at the same place twice. Benjamin M. Weilert January 29, 2015 at 9:01 pm http://youtu.be/q_vivC7c_1k I’m just going to leave this right here and back away slowly . . . Trevor Essmeier January 29, 2015 at 9:03 pm Thank you for your condescending correction, Duane. Correcting my misspelling of “moot” really put me in my place. David Prestin January 29, 2015 at 9:36 pm David Prestin liked this on Facebook. Andrew Ferguson January 29, 2015 at 9:58 pm Benjamin: I saw that earlier today and that’s actually what got me thinking about this again. James McKenna January 29, 2015 at 10:34 pm Restaurants don’t pay proper wages, so the solution is to take it out on the employee, who’s employment alternatives most likely involve working at another restaurant that doesn’t pay proper wages. The system is entirely flawed, and the only ones who’ll see your principle are yourself and the snubbed waiter. Take that, big business. Trevor Essmeier January 29, 2015 at 10:38 pm James McKenna you misspelled “I am a Socialist terrorist!!!” James McKenna January 29, 2015 at 10:38 pm christianjacksonlovespizza.com Alia Paget January 29, 2015 at 10:51 pm Well the service/restaurant industry constitutes the highest number of workers in the US who live below the FPL so anything that helps bring that level up is going to help an individual Trevor Essmeier January 29, 2015 at 10:53 pm Andrew Ferguson January 29, 2015 at 11:21 pm James: If by “proper wages” you mean living wages, it’s more than just restaurants that don’t pay living wages, but society appears not to have an issue with that. Jimmy Wong January 29, 2015 at 11:44 pm I am considering tipping teachers. Jesse Gamble January 30, 2015 at 12:25 am My question is how does it actually force the issue? The server doesn’t set their own wages. The “restaurant” (owner, management) doesn’t really care if you don’t tip, they don’t take a cut of that anyway. You telling the person that spent the last hour taking your order, handling your food, cleaning up after you that they aren’t getting a tip because you think their boss should just pay them more does absolutely nothing to change the way the service industry is run. So again, I ask, how does it force the issue? Lets say that your waitress does see your point and decides to talk to management. What exactly is she going to do? Convince her boss to stop allowing tips in the restaurant and instead raise prices so that the servers can continue to maintain the same level of income? The more likely outcome is that they laugh at her or worst case send her packing because finding another server won’t even take a day. Nobody that can make the change you want to see is impacted by the action you’re proposing to take. If you want to change the way people are paid in the service industry find a way that doesn’t involve causing financial hardship for the people at the bottom. And by the way, I don’t disagree that the tipping system is bad for the employees, because it is. Especially outside of most of the west coast (all require actual minimum wage), where tipped positions pay a federal minimum of $2.13. An example of a restaurant trying a different system: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/06/10/3446937/packhouse-meats-tips/ – customers pay about the same (more if you’re a crappy tipper now) but servers make more/more consistent pay. Rachel Ferguson January 30, 2015 at 1:35 am I vote no tipping! I’m moving to Europe! (Hannah come too) Ian Littke January 30, 2015 at 1:37 am Ian Littke liked this on Facebook. James McKenna January 30, 2015 at 3:32 am Andrew , your experiment won’t change that. It’s petty and it hurts those stuck in that system. The server is not to blame. Broadening your cause to include other industries only muddles the message that you’re trying to convey even further. I’m not tipping because landscapers should pay their employees more sort of confuses the message. You want to be a crusader for change? Take the money you’re saving by not tipping people working desperate jobs and open a fair wage restaurant. At least then you’ll have something to point at and say you contributed to actual change, as opposed to sticking it to the bus boy. Jake January 30, 2015 at 7:10 am Hard to say. I know vox is pretty extreme on some of their stances, but its a good read none the less. http://www.vox.com/2014/7/17/5888347/one-more-case-against-tipping alot of good points to consider. Angie Menssen January 30, 2015 at 7:36 am When someone doesn’t tip me (at my luxury spa) I think they are a douchebag. I really don’t want you to be the douchebag couple. If you want to be douchebags then don’t tip. Peter Hofacker January 30, 2015 at 7:45 am The only way to combat the problem in a credible way would be to continue tipping and start or join an organization that would lobby for reform. When reform is achieved, then you can stop tipping. Otherwise you’re just making up fancy excuses for being stingy Tim Zwicker January 30, 2015 at 10:09 am If you vote only with your dollars, the only ones who will feel it are the individual servers. The restaurants won’t change their policy or employee wages. You need to select dining establishments where tipping is forbidden, and employees are paid accordingly. That, and get legislation to change the way the system works from the top down. Tim Zwicker January 30, 2015 at 10:23 am Municipalities and states might be the easiest to persuade to pass anti-tip legislation. If they abolish tipping (i.e., mandate that tips be included in the listed price of the food), it follows that the increased prices will be subject to sales tax, which means that their share of your dining dollar increases. Andrew Ferguson January 30, 2015 at 10:26 am Nicole: I do listen to Freakanomics, but haven’t heard that episode yet (I’m listening to it now). I do listen to Planet Money and they had an episode about tipping as well (http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/06/22/137255535/the-friday-podcast-why-do-we-tip). I don’t believe tipping will ever be legally banned (i.e. the state can’t ban tipping, individual employers could though) since that would infringe on the tippers first-amendment rights (yes, money is speech…apparently; but that’s a different argument for another time). What’s more likely to happen is higher minimum wages will force employers to implement a service charge (which is legally different than a gratuity) or raise the prices they charge customers. I’m in favor of just raising prices since it’s more transparent (I also think the US should move to VAT for similar reasons) so they can pay their employees. Andrew Ferguson January 30, 2015 at 10:32 am James: I think what I’m proposing is less of an experiment and more of a personal policy change. I suspect that many people believe tipping is poor substitute for employees paying appropriate wages and in an ideal world we wouldn’t have to tip. But we don’t live in that world, and so we tip. How much does someone need to make in order for tipping to not be socially mandated? Andrew Ferguson January 30, 2015 at 10:35 am Angie: Are such persons douchebags simply because they don’t conform to the social norm of tipping? Trevor Essmeier January 30, 2015 at 11:24 am The next time the Boeing Engineer’s Union goes on strike, I’ll scab. Not because I think I can do a better job, but out of principle. They’ll understand. Ty Ler January 30, 2015 at 11:47 am Depriving someone of their income makes the individual worker suffer… It’s pretty cold to throw the baby out with the bath water. If your principles are this strong, ask to speak with a manager or owner and make your opinions known that you will not return until your changes have been enacted. This is a private sector issue that should be dealt with between consumer and producer. Vote with your wallet but please don’t be another person who willfully guts hardworking people’s paychecks Morgan Harris January 30, 2015 at 12:51 pm As someone who works in the service industry and who, in addition, treats dining akin to bloodsport. I can tell you this absolutely 1000% the wrong approach. The restaurant hospitality industry is basically the only business on the planet in which you decide what someone’s labor is worth after they’ve rendered a service to you. I would be the first to say the system is totally fucked and I work inside the system. I make $5 an hour out of my company’s pocket, plus I receive a % of the total tips, which are pooled at my restaurant. As the system stands now, If you don’t tip, you are basically refusing to pay me for my labor. Or deciding that my labor, as a skilled professional, is worth only minimum wage to you. It does not harm my company if you do not tip. It only hurts me, my back waiters, my busboys, my captains, and anyone who’s in the tip pool. Your “statement” is only damaging the most financially vulnerable part of my industry. The worst thing that would happen if everyone doesn’t tip at my Michelin 1-star restaurant in the heart of Times Square on a given night, it means everyone who works front of house will be bumped to $7.25 an hour out of the company’s pocket. It will not harm the back of house, the investors, or anyone who is salaried or involved in the management of the restaurant. By not tipping, you are harming the people who you just looked in the face, smiled at and said thank you to. I would even go so far as to say that it’s sort of theft because you received something that you are basically refusing to pay fair market rate for (i.e. 15% to %20 of your check). I basically don’t make a decision based on quality of service. I personally start at 20% on any check I pay, including the big wine bills I often have: if can afford the the food, wine, and service, I should also be able to afford the labor attached to it. I will clarify that I’m talking about in sit down restaurants where you have table service. I’m making the distinction between the restaurant hospitality business and service industry in general. The reason you’re not tipping someone at McDonalds 20% is because they basically don’t do anything for you. They don’t bring anything to your table. They don’t pour you water (or soda or wine or whatever) at your table. They don’t advise on the menu or the wine list or the specialty cocktails (that they don’t have). They don’t have any food knowledge. They don’t clear your silverware. They don’t offer bread service. They don’t bus your table. They don’t do anything other than hand you a tray with food on it that basically came off an assembly line. They served you. They were not required to be hospitable to you. They did not (necessarily) offer you hospitality. They fundamentally do a different sort of labor for you. We will see the tip system change in America in our lifetime, however, Americans will seriously need to get their heads screwed on straight about what dining in America really costs. The biggest barrier to changing tip culture is the American diner, 100%. There are real solutions, which I encourage you to engage in. If you really care about tipping culture in America, don’t make your waiters and waitresses, sommeliers, and bus staff pay for it. If you really feel the need to advocate for a change, write your local restaurant owners and tell them that you would prefer they move to one of the following systems: 1. A flat % applied to every check as a “service charge”. This will likely be %18-%20 of the bill. 2. Include the price of service built into all menu items and beverage. Famous chef and restauranteur Thomas Keller does this at many of his restaurants, but people have a hard time getting their head around his prices. A number a restaurants in New York and San Francisco have followed suit. People balk at the cost of items because they’re used to paying a cheaper sticker price for something standard like a steak or a burger, and then tipping at the end. When the service is included in the line-item price, they tend to forget the service is included (“wow, this place is so expensive”). The bottom line is this: you will have to pay people for their labor, it’s just a question of how you’ll have to do it. My labor (as is everyone’s in the hospitality industry) is worth a certain market price. You will just seem like a dickhead if you expect things to happen without paying for them and “protesting” by withholding tips will do nothing to solicit the change you seek because it doesn’t impact the people who can make a change (i.e. restaurant owners and managers). For further reading on this issue by people smarter than myself: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/04/dining/leaving-a-tip-a-custom-in-need-of-changing.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1& Angie Menssen January 30, 2015 at 3:43 pm If you can afford a luxury experience (spa services, dining out, coffee) you can fork over a little extra. If you don’t want to tip then don’t get luxury services. I think its funny that you think you don’t “like” social norms. I think you are very socially normal. I can’t imagine you living in a yurt, off the grid, in second hand clothes, living in sin etc. I think you are pretty square when it comes to “social norms” If you want to hate on social norms, you can’t pick and choose. You are a hoop jumper baby. Jonny DeKlotz January 30, 2015 at 3:54 pm I think you should tip if you are thankful for your food and the opportunity to eat out. Otherwise don’t eat out. If you are ordering takeout, leave a small tip too. Remember the server still has to package up your meal for you. After reading all the comments, it is still unclear to me what the principle is that would make you consider not tipping. Lee Fitchett January 30, 2015 at 4:21 pm I tip because I like and appreciate the sever and the way he or she took my order, served it with kindness and asked if all was well and took action to solve any issue I had with the food or mistake that where made.I tip because I felt cared for and respected. Yes, I know, tips are important to the servers’ income and I appreciate that so I will help out too, but for me it’s quality of service! Lee Fitchett January 30, 2015 at 10:07 pm Lee Fitchett liked this on Facebook. Eddie Muanda January 30, 2015 at 10:07 pm Eddie Muanda liked this on Facebook. Adrian Laurence Harris February 1, 2015 at 1:32 pm If you want to make a political/social statement, make it in a political/social medium. Support candidates that advocate for higher minimum wage, share links on social media about the issue, talk with friends and family about it. Even if refusing to tip would do anything you have to be organized and put media attention on it to be worth a damn. Wait-staff are not the ones you need to convince. Comments are closed.