Why You Shouldn’t Tip (At All)


Recently, a four year old blog post has been getting a lot of attention on social media. Sometime in 2009, a man named Bhagwad Jal Park posted an excoriation on tipping entitled, Five Reasons I Won’t Tip If You’re A Waiter. The responses to the original post were mostly negative, and the article is being shared on Facebook as an example of how shitty people can be.

What disturbs me isn’t that some people don’t tip, it’s the fact that to even criticize tipping is immediately met with such vitriol and hatred that one has to question why we’re so systematically inclined to agree with service industry employees. Doesn’t it alarm anyone that we don’t even question the act of tipping? Doesn’t it bother anyone that no one has taken a step back and looked at the other side of the conversation? Isn’t anyone concerned with the feelings of the customers? After all, it’s the customers that bring money into the restaurants. It’s the customers that pay for the meals, and ultimately, it’s the customers that pay the waiters rent.

I’m going to let you guys in on a secret. I am a customer. I eat out a lot, and sometimes, most of the time really, I don’t tip! It’s not because I can’t afford it, it’s because the waiters can. When I go out on Friday nights to get fucked up and YOLO at Chili’s with my gal pals, the simple act of not tipping is the only form of rebellion I’m allowed as a working mom. It’s the only “fuck you” to the man that I have left.

You see, waiters are already paid. They earn $2.37 an hour, a living wage, and most of the time, they are tipped on top of that. People love to make a point out of being good tippers. The entire industry is built on the pretense of altruism. Not only is someone bringing you food, but you get to act like a hero at the end when you round up to the nearest whole dollar.

But, that money is better spent on charities that need it. Waiters already make a killing–let’s just take a quick look at some raw numbers.

On average, a good waiter who works at a moderately priced diner waits on about 30 tables an hour. At a lower tier establishment, an average meal for two is about 45 dollars. That equates to a gross income of $1350 for the restaurant every hour. A good tip is 20%, and a bad tip is 10%, so working with an average tip of 15%, and excluding outliers, that same waiter is earning $202 an hour. Carry that out to an entire shift, and your same average waiter is walking home with over $1600 a day.

That’s over $600,000 a year.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Nicole, yeah, that seems like a lot of money, but you have to factor in the taxes that come out of that.” Oh do I? Not really–and not just because it hurts my argument. You people are forgetting that tips are untaxable, by law.

And those are just the tips. Last year, Chili’s paid out over 17 billion dollars in bonuses to its top waiters. 17 billion! For doing nothing more than bringing people food. These are the numbers, folks. Math doesn’t lie, and it’s mathematically true that the more money someone makes, the shittier of a person they become. Just look at this chart:

The waiters are a bunch of greedy assholes who love their tips. They would never give them up, and that’s why it’s so important to them that everybody is trained to think that you have to tip. The powerful waiting lobby in Washington was one of the biggest contributors to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and in return, he has protected the tip based system. It’s just another way that the 1% is sheltered by politicians.

The American people have been under the thumb of the waiting lobby for well over a century now. It was the waiters who instituted segregation in dining establishments in the first half of the century. It took mass social unrest, and the Civil Rights Movement, also known as Blackupy White Street, to get them to change their policies. How is it that only half a century later, we’re right back to defending these tyrants at the drop of a hat? How is it that the waiters have pulled the wool over our eyes once again, and convinced the world that it is they who are the victims? They! The jet-set fatcats of Bennigan’s and Denny’s!

So make sure that the next time you go out, don’t tip. Because it’s definitely the waiters who are the greedy, entitled pieces of shit fucking up the world for the rest of us.