Tipping Culture is Out of Control

Now that the conversation about tipping culture is entering into mainstream consciousness, I felt like it would be a good idea for me to set some ground rules for myself on how and when I tip. These rules will help me to manage my costs, but also ensure that the folks that should get a tip, get a tip.

First, I will no longer tip outside the hospitality industry. If you’re rotating my tires, and I’m paying for it, you won’t be getting tipped. Hospitality wages, especially wait staff wages, are generally the lowest of the low and the folks working those jobs are the most deserving of a tip. There are a couple of exceptions to this for me though. For personal services like haircuts or massages, I’m willing to tip for good service, and I’ll generally be more willing to tip if it’s not expected of me.

Second, I will no longer tip pre-service. If I order something at a fast-casual place, and I’m prompted to enter a tip, it will be zero. Tipping pre-service is just a voluntary fee that I’m not going to pay anymore. If you’d like to earn a tip, feel free to put a tip jar on the counter. If the service and/or meal are especially good, I have no problem dropping some cash into the jar.

Third, my standard tip will be 15% of the total (including taxes) of the bill. If the service is really good, I’ll allow myself to go to 18%. If the service is not good, it will still be 15% because I’m willing to assume no ill intentions and can give the staff the benefit of the doubt that they may be having a bad day. For me, it’s just one not-great meal that I’ll quickly forget about and it’s not worth getting into a fuss over. And at the end of the day, the folks working to serve me still deserve to be paid.

I don’t think tipping culture will change until we stop tipping for every little thing. Many of the corporations that are setting up their PoS systems to ask for tips are already making record profits and underpaying their workers. Yes, tip for good service, but don’t feel like you need to tip for EVERY service.