It's a social norm that has become a way of life for most people — and, for some people, what they rely on to live. But for me, I seriously can't stand it: I hate tipping at restaurants.
I'm usually a generous person, giving to charity where I can and volunteering my time. And I live in the U.K., where it isn't so bad. You tip good service at 10 percent at restaurants, and that's about it. But whenever I visit the U.S., I have a heart attack. Restaurants, bars, hotel maids, taxi drivers — even the horrible little tip jars for buying a cup of coffee from Starbucks! It's everywhere.
There are a number of reasons why I hate tipping. If you listen to what I have to say, then you, too, may think twice about pulling out your wallet:
Restaurant Tipping Norms
If you’re an avid traveler like me, having different rates for restaurant tipping in different countries around the world is a massive farce. Having to learn what to tip in each place so as not to offend someone every single place you go is such a waste of energy.
But giving people extra money for doing their job has never sat right with me.
Restaurant tipping requirements can vary dramatically across the world. If you’re in East Asian countries such as Japan, China, and South Korea and you leave extra money on the table at a restaurant, they will chase you down the street to return your money to you. They consider tipping rude, as it implies that the employer doesn't value the employee.
I Hate Tipping on the Total Check Amount
In U.S. restaurants, a 15-percent tip is expected for good service, with 20 percent if your server was outstanding. If I went in there and ordered $50-worth of food, the server would expect at least $7.50.
So if I suddenly order an extra plate of food that costs $15, why should I then add another $2.75 on top for literally holding one extra plate in your hand and bringing it to my table? Where’s the value in that? If anything, tipping at restaurants should be valued at a per-person basis — not on the full check. If I was super hungry and ordered double the amount of food, that shouldn’t mean I have to pay double the tip.
Paying Below Minimum Wage
Here in the U.K., some of my waiter friends earn above minimum wage with tips on top. But at least they are guaranteed to earn a decent salary. But in some places — especially the U.S. — waitstaff are paid below minimum wage (as little as $2.13 an hour) and rely on tips to subsidize their pay.
There is no other profession that does this. To only give you a guaranteed $2.13 an hour is frankly immoral! How can anyone apply for a mortgage if lenders see that you earn such a low guaranteed wage? Why do companies not increase their workers' salaries in the first place? It almost puts more pressure on the customer to pay the waiters in tips so that they can actually live a normal life.
Are People Over-Pleasing You to Get Tips?
I've had several experiences now in which workers insist on doing jobs for me in order to get tipped, even if I don’t want them to. The most common time this happens is when I'm checking into hotels. I’m more than happy to bring my own bags to my room, but someone is always around to pounce and pick up my luggage to take it to my room.
I know it’s their job. Still, I’ve been in several situations in which I’ve said that I’m totally fine with carrying my luggage, but they insist. So am I now obligated to tip them for helping me, even though I didn't want any help? Of course, people may just be overly polite, but it leaves me out-of-pocket and uncomfortable.
Why I Hate Tipping: Final Thoughts
No matter where I go now, I see these nicely decorated tip jars popping up all over the place. The most predominant places I’ve seen them? Starbucks and Chipotle. Do you really want me to tip for one person adding cheese to my burrito or milk to my coffee?
Plus, with the number of people working on your one food or drink, how are you supposed to know which employee your tip will go to? What if the guy that warmed up my tortilla did an extra good job, and I just wanted to tip him? He probably won't see much or any of it.
In my eyes, it would be so much easier if tipping wasn’t a thing — a bit like our East Asian neighbors. Not only does it cause stress and unnecessary anger, but too many things about it are questionable.
I’m not saying that you should never tip anyone ever again, but life would be so much easier without it. If I were the Emperor of U.S., I’d get rid of it overnight. Do I have anyone else’s vote?