A Tipping Guide To Counteract Tipflation And Feel Great Again

Tipping has become increasingly pervasive, leaving many wondering how much to tip without feeling like a miser. To alleviate this dilemma, I've crafted a tipping guide to help you navigate gratuities with confidence. This guide not only suggests appropriate tip amounts but also explains the rationale behind them.

In the past, tipping was a discretionary gesture to acknowledge exceptional service. However, today's tipping culture has morphed into an expectation, regardless of service quality. Moreover, tipping norms have escalated by at least 5% in recent years, compounding the pressure on consumers to tip generously.

I empathize with the challenges of service work. Having once labored at McDonald's for a meager $4 per hour, sweating over a hot stove while enduring the scrutiny of a demanding manager, I would have welcomed any token of appreciation.

Yet, as consumers, we shouldn't feel obligated to tip excessively or at every transaction. It's essential to strike a balance between acknowledging good service and avoiding undue guilt. After all, unhappy customers are detrimental to both consumers and businesses alike.

Tipping Guide Philosophy To Get Over Feeling Bad

A fundamental aspect of my tipping guide is to dispel the notion that refraining from tipping or tipping less doesn't reflect poorly on your character. The pervasive guilt associated with tipping practices is unwarranted, and I aim to provide two reasons to assuage such feelings.

1) You're already supporting the business

Even if you're frugal and opt not to tip, you're still contributing to the prosperity of the establishment you're patronizing. By engaging their services or purchasing their products, you're aiding the business in generating revenue. This should instill a sense of satisfaction in knowing you're helping sustain their operations.

Consider opting for an Uber ride instead of public transportation. Even without a tip, both the driver and the company receive compensation for the service provided. While tipping is appreciated, it's not the sole determinant of a business's profitability or success. Although, as an ex-Uber driver, I do hope you tip something.

Similarly, tipping your waiter, though appreciated, may not have the direct impact you expect. Many restaurants operate on a tip-sharing system, redistributing gratuities among various staff members. Additionally, some establishments include service charges in their bills, alleviating the pressure on patrons to tip.

In a Pew Research report, 72% of Americans oppose automatic service charges. Even with no tip, both the waiter and the restaurant owner would rather have you eating with them than eating elsewhere.

2) You're enhancing your financial security and your children's

The money allocated for tipping could instead be directed towards bolstering your financial stability. Particularly if your net worth falls below the average, prioritizing savings and investments over generous tipping can better safeguard your future. Of course, not spending money on such items in the first place would be even more helpful.

For individuals with dependents—such as children, partners, or elderly parents—fostering financial security becomes even more critical. By conserving funds through prudent tipping practices, you're better equipped to fulfill your obligations and provide for your loved ones. This financial autonomy lessens reliance on external support systems, benefitting both you and society at large.

Three Examples Where It's OK Not To Tip Or Not Tip As Much

Now that you're feeling better about not tipping or not tipping as much based on my tipping guide, here are three examples where it's OK not to tip at all or tip a minimal amount.

1) At a point of sale reader where no service is rendered. 

Let's say you go to the mall and buy a pre-made pastry displayed on the front counter. The clerk uses a tong to place the pastry in a brown bag, punches the cost in the electronic kiosk, and whips it around for your payment.

You see default tip options of 15%, 20%, 25%, or No Tip. Feel free to smash that No Tip button! Unless the clerk lifts your spirits every morning or adds some extra sprinkles, don't feel bad about not tipping.

Alas, it can be quite uncomfortable to refrain from tipping when the clerk is watching you or your fingers hovering over the tipping option on the kiosk. So, for all you vendors seeking more tips, remember to make eye contact with your customers and flash them a warm smile when they're about to pay!

Tipping guide to counteract tipflation and feel good again about spending money on goods and services
Hard not to tip in this circumstance

2) Picking up a to-go item from a restaurant

One of the trickier tipping scenarios arises when you find yourself waiting at a restaurant for your to-go order to be prepared. As you pass the time, engaging in polite conversation with the maitre-de, clerk, or bartender, you may wonder whether tipping is appropriate when the bill arrives.

In such instances, where no direct service is provided beyond basic interaction, it's perfectly acceptable to leave the tip box empty and simply pay the total amount indicated on the bill. There's no obligation to tip for minimal engagement, such as casual conversation or being acknowledged upon arrival.

However, if during your wait, the bartender goes above and beyond by inviting you to sit, offering water, or providing additional service like bread and butter, a small tip may be warranted as a gesture of appreciation. Nonetheless, if you choose not to tip in this scenario, there's no need to dwell on it, especially if your wait was prolonged due to slow service on the restaurant's part.

As a customer waiting in the lounge or at the bar for your to-go order, you're not occupying valuable table space that could otherwise generate revenue for the waiter and the restaurant. Instead, you're generating additional business.

Heads up: Some restaurants are now implementing a takeout fee. I only discovered this recently during a family ski trip to Lake Tahoe. When I ordered ribs to go, the restaurant tacked on a $4.50 takeout fee (10%).

When it's OK not to tip

3) Paying a tradesperson to fix something in your home

Finally, when a tradesperson such as a plumber, electrician, contractor, roofer, or handyman comes to your house to fix something, you don't have to tip, even though they are providing a service. Such tradespeople often charge a minimum visitation fee and an hourly rate, which can be quite high depending on where you live.

When they provide you with the bill, there is typically no line item for tipping, and it can also be awkward for both parties to exchange cash for a tip. They might also give you an estimate up front, which is all you'll need to pay.

Of course, if your plumber successfully fixes a long-standing leak that has bothered you for years, feel free to tip as much as you want! Same goes for anything you feel extremely grateful for getting fixed.

A Tipping Guide To Help You Feel Great About Spending Money

My general rule is to tip people who provide a service. The more I appreciate the service, the more I will tip. I have no problem leaving 0% tip to someone who provides poor service, is insulting, or makes me feel like a second-class citizen.

Tipping percentages to consider:

0% – For terrible service that also makes you feel terrible or when no service is rendered

10% – OK service, but below normal standards (long wait, forgot an order, etc.)

15% – Baseline (good service, nothing out of the ordinary)

20% – Great service where the service provider and/or establishment also made you feel good for coming

25% – Outstanding service where the person or establishment went above and beyond (customized a special cake for your birthday, fit you in at the last minute, comped a drink or a dish, etc.)

30%+ – When a favorite establishment has fallen on hard times or has been vandalized or burglarized

$5 – For valet car service at point of pickup. You can certainly tip more if it's at a fancy event or if the attendant scraped snow off your car. But long gone are the days of only leaving one or two dollars.

$10-$20 – For the housekeepers, depending on how long you stay. After a family ski vacation for four nights, a $20 tip is appropriate.

If you follow this tipping guide, you will feel much better about spending money and much less guilty if you feel you didn't tip enough. The tipping percentage that's easiest to calculate is 10% or 20%.

However, if you simply can't bring yourself to tip, then consider avoiding establishments or accepting services where tipping is customary. This way, you not only save money on tips, but also on the goods or services themselves.

The Two Best Free Alternatives To Tipping

If you find yourself unable to afford tipping or tipping as much as expected, you can still support the person or business in other ways.

One effective method is to refer the person or business to others. The more people you can direct to the business, the better. Word-of-mouth helps save the business from spending money on advertising and marketing.

Another way to support a business without spending money is to leave a positive review online. Positive reviews can significantly boost a business's visibility and reputation. Platforms like Yelp, Google Reviews, or TrustPilot are ideal for leaving such reviews.

I'm Always Thankful For Reviews

As a creator who wrote the WSJ bestselling personal finance book, Buy This Not That, I love receiving reviews on Amazon. Every review counts and helps make the book more visible to Amazon customers.

As the host of The Financial Samurai podcast, I receiving reviews on Apple and Spotify are also highly appreciated. Any time a reader or listener leaves a review, I get motivated to write and record more.

I'm also more motivated to respond to questions when help or advice is needed if someone says they've left a review of other my book or podcast.

In fact, the easiest way to have a creative respond to you is to tell them you appreciate their work and that you left a review. At the end of the day, every single creative wants most to be read, heard, or seen. Money is almost never the primary driving force.

Tip When You Can, It's OK When You Can't

Rewarding great service with a tip is a commendable practice. If you're able to tip, please do so generously.

However, if finances are tight, don't feel guilty about not adhering to the customary 15%+ tipping standard. You may only be able to afford 10% or 5% and that's perfectly acceptable. Simply supporting the establishment with your patronage is appreciated.

Additionally, if you choose to leave no tip, at least you can leave a positive review online. Often times, these reviews are worth much more to the business owner than a regular tip.

In the future, when your financial situation improves, you can always revisit the establishments where you tipped less and make up for it then.

Remember, at the end of the day, it's your money. You are free to spend it as you see fit.

Reader Questions And Suggestions

What's your take on tipping culture today? Have you observed “tipflation” in the places you frequent? How much are you comfortable tipping? And what do you consider a reasonable minimum tip amount?

If you're looking for a free app to management your budget and cash flow, check out Empower. I've been using Empower since 2012 to track my net worth, minimize my investing expenses, and forecast my retirement needs. There's not better tool out there.

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 60,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter and posts via e-mail. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. 

A Tipping Guide To Feel Good About Spending Money is a Financial Samurai original post.

38 thoughts on “A Tipping Guide To Counteract Tipflation And Feel Great Again”

  1. Katrina Neville

    Thanks for the handy article! I have worked in hospitality for 15 years and I don’t even like tipping (but I do) if I’m at a place where I cannot afford to tip, I cannot afford to eat out. Period. It doesn’t need to be crazy but tips are taxed and taken out of a person’s hourly wage. A server never gets 100% of the tip, at least 25% will go to the host, the bartender, the busser, the food runner, the barista, the dishwasher, and sometimes even the cook! A lot is going on behind the scenes that also gets a cut of the pie. Then, whatever’s left is taxed! The majority of servers are not offered medical insurance, retirement plans, and most other benefits. It is all a much deeper and systemic issue, but at the end of the day eating out is a service and convenience.

  2. When I can, I tip In cash, even if paying the bill by credit card. This is a known trick among people who have had tip based jobs. It allows the server to decide if they want to pocket some or all of it even if it’s a shared tip place. It also allows them to decide how much they report on taxes. Yes it may be a little subversive but I feel it gives a little power back to the service people who all to often get the short end of the stick.

  3. Josephine Golcher

    I am shocked by how much tipping can cost the customer.
    We have only eaten out once this year and tipped handsomely – my husband’s birthday.
    But for ordinary services, like Starbucks, it can be outrageous. It is not my position to pay a living wage to the server. That’s the responsibility of the employer and pitch prices accordingly.
    Meanwhile buy yourself an air fryer and cook your own meals. I have done this for over 60 years.

  4. Thomas Ultra

    I gave a generous tip of 20 bucks to the young guy building my furniture. When he came a second time he brought some choclate and fixed some items I had not paid for and could not accomplish to puzzle together myself.

    1. Sounds like a good exchange!

      Due to writing this article, I left a $12 tip for my $18 haircut yesterday. After all this inflation, I can’t believe my barber is still only charging $18.

  5. Buddhist Slacker

    You should also consider whether the service you are receiving is performed by a person who is considered a tipped employee and what state or city you live in. The federal hourly wage for tipped employees is $2.13. Different states and cities have different minimums. The restaurant is supposedly supposed to make up the difference up to minimum wage if there is a shortfall. Tipped employees are bartenders, servers, and delivery people. Of course some servers don’t care whether the restaurants survives or not because the restaurant basically doesn’t pay them. You pay them.

    In California however, the minimum wage is $16 per hour for tipped employees as well. So I would say these guidelines are reasonable for California, but I always tip because you can’t make it on minimum wage in California and no one has ever been rude to me. Everyone has always been very nice to me.

    It’s completely unnecessary to pay extra to a plumber or other trades person. They’re not classified as a tipped employee and you’re paying the company a ton of money already.

  6. I like extra tipping when i received good service. I hate it when im asked how much id like to tip (instead of being asked how good the service was).

  7. I think it’s time we start tipping our tradespeople accordingly. After all, they are providing a service that most would agree is more challenging and nuanced than handing over a coffee & muffin.

    I rarely drink alcohol, but the last time I went to pick something up for my friends the card reader prompted an 18, 20, & 25% tip option. I’m sure it won’t be long before local grocery stores start doing the same.

  8. At my local Publix grocery store, I saw an employee wearing a tag that said “Sorry, I cannot accept tips.” Maybe he got in trouble for taking a tip? Thought it was interesting.

  9. When my uncle from Japan tipped 15% at a pancake place in Waikiki, the waitress came back and asked why the tip was so low. Couldn’t believe it.

  10. Yep, it’s out of control. “You can go ahead and pull your card out, it’ll just ask you a few questions.”

    I prefer to pay cash at counter service restaurants for this exact reason. Or at least carry $1 bills in my wallet for this exact reason. $30 for a couple of burritos and I’m prompted to tip $6? I drop a $1 bill in and move along.

  11. Why do Americans put themselves through this? It wasn’t as bad when I lived in the US but I often didn’t know whether to pay a tip or how much. Luckily in Australia there is no need to pay a tip for anything.

  12. it’s gotten way out of control in US. i’m seeing more and more restaurants in DC area add service fees of 10-20%. Or they say no tipping and work a bit more cost into menu items. i like both. tired of struggling over what to tip at every meal. if service is quite exceptional i can tip more but usually it isn’t so i like not needing to think about it.

  13. Glad I live in Japan, where tipping is almost unheard of, and the service is great anyway, because people take pride in doing a good job just for the rewards that brings in terms of self-respect.

  14. I look at tipping as an opportunity to flex the charitable giving muscle. I’m also a big believer in putting out good karma and that it comes back to you tenfold. I tip 20% to 40% at sit down restaurants. For POS at the counter transactions, I’ll do a nominal $1 tip (better than nothing). I used to do 20% there too, but recently stopped because that’s TOO charitable.

    1. Can you clarify how tipping 20% at a POS machine is too charitable versus tipping 40% at a sit down restaurant? What about just tipping 10% at a POS machine or 5% instead of $1?

      What type of restaurants are you going to? thanks

      1. Joseph Ruiz

        If I’m at a restaurant with a server that’s actually providing me a service (and doing so at a high level) over a long meal (1-2 hours), I love to over-tip. If they are just average, I’ll do 20%. I’ll go to 40% or more for someone exceptional, especially if they are clearly working towards bigger goals in life, or if they have a family to take care of. Today I had lunch at a place in Houston called Local Foods. It’s essentially fancy fast food. You come face to face with someone for 1 minute to place your order. They then flip a screen around with the psychologically primed options of 25%, 20%, 15%, 10% or “Custom.” These psychological anchors are designed to make you feel like a POS for selecting custom. I ordered a Salmon dish that was $25. I feel that a $5 tip for this “service” is overly generous. I used to do that, but now feel it’s just not earned or warranted. If that person goes out of their way to be awesome and connect, maybe, but not just for being there to take an order. If a standard tip is left in this situation, I think it’s more of a charitable donation than an actual tip for a service.

  15. I’m always baffled about leaving a tip for spa services like manicures, pedicures, facials, massages, lashes, brows etc. The prices for these services are already expensive so what’s the norm for tipping these services.

  16. I think if the employers take care of service workers with decent wages, this epidemic can be minimized. I travelled to Europe recently and just loved it, they don’t have this tipping culture..in fact there’s no option provided to tip, there were situations where the limo driver helped us unload our luggage and we had to ask him if we could tip him, he smiled and said if you want to…

  17. Tip culture in the U.S. is nauseating, along with the newish addition of sniveling service fees at restaurants intended to make the point that the owner won’t pay the staff, so you should. My rules for tipping are similar to my rules for donations – I’ll do it if it makes me feel good or otherwise benefits me.

    For example, if I want the people I’m with to think I’m kind and generous and they think waiters should get handouts, I’ll smile and tip a full 20% for terrible service. If a waiter puts effort into doing waiter stuff, like keeping my water glass full, accommodating requests, and not making me wait from the time I enter to paying the bill, I’ll leave 20% because it’s expected, it makes me feel good for the waiter to get that tip, and that level of service is so unusual I’m probably in a state of shock. If I know I’ll be returning to a place multiple times in a short timeframe, I’ll tip enough to keep their spittle out of my food, even if the service is bad.

    In the past 10 years, Seattle restaurants have become notorious for high prices, mediocre food, bad service and forced gratuities with service fees. I can afford to eat out in Seattle, but avoid it, especially the trendier places. Instead, we mostly eat at home and when we go out, look for smaller restaurants with simple, quality food – usually run by foreigners – that don’t rattle a tip jar in your face and weep for their poetically hungry children while you are trying to eat.

    I regularly go to a teriyaki place run by Koreans with very broken English who consistently make quality food efficiently. I always get the food to go and it’s always good. Normally, I wouldn’t leave a tip for any takeout food, but I always leave them a tip because I appreciate their product and I want them to know that. I also don’t want them to go out of business, so I like the fantasy that my tips will help a bit to keep them going.

    Japan has it right – no tips, good service, great food. No handouts expected – one of many reasons that returning to the U.S. from Japan feels like entering a developing country. It didn’t feel that way as much 10 years ago.

    1. Wow. You do expect a lot out of your tips.

      Japan can afford a no-tips culture because, unlike the USA, it’s a real first world country.

  18. From a comment

    “Unfortunately, some people are just cheap bastards who never tip, no matter how good the service or product. They invariably have also never worked in a minimum-wage service job before either.”

    My husband is careful with his money, doesn’t believe tipping is an obligation and is furious with business owners (and laws) who reduce their employees to bottom of the barrel labour who don’t receive a living wage.

    He grew up poor (poor as in not always enough to eat or a place to sleep poor). He managed to get himself out partly because he was a “cheap bastard”.

    He feels tipping enables and encourages a server to stay in a dead end job. As a business owner he’s disgusted by the business owners who employ servers at this low wage level because they can’t or won’t pay their employees a living wage. And the law lets them get away with it.

    When someone says if you don’t or can’t tip perhaps you should eat at home he thinks, really?, when I go grocery shopping no one says if I don’t buy the most expensive groceries I shouldn’t buy food…? It’s my money.

    That’s why good servers usually earns good tips. We servers (aha! Yes I was a server.) basically petition our customer for a tip — it’s not a given (well, that’s my opinion).
    His tipping practices used to severely embarrass me. I’d leave extra money on the table on our way out. Now I accept that people are complex, everyone has their own opinions about how to behave. It is after all, his money. Also he doesn’t realize some servers do use the job as a stepping stone.

    Even though he’s married to me who bought a 35’ sailboat and put myself thru a professional licensing program on my tips from my two restaurant jobs.

    Here’s a story. I became a waitress first to pay for the boat. I knew if I waited tables at any average place I wouldn’t make much money and for me it would be awful.
    I scraped together the money for a ticket, flew to a resort area and got a job at the second most expensive restaurant around (the most expensive restaurant had two member waiting and only employed men). I was a terrible waitress, well, an ok waitress and I made a lot of money in a short period of time, 6 months.

    Most of my co workers were professional waiters (who knew!!??). Not only did they make more money, of course, they invited me to go on the circuit with them (huh?). Up to Martha’s Vineyard in the Summer and down to the Virgin Islands in the Winter. Jeez.

    One really nice guy was going to NYC instead of the Vineyard. He told me he bought his section each year paying 100k to the restaurant owner. Excuse me!!!?? I asked him how he did that. He said, “I take very good care of my customers (make ‘em look good with their clients is one aspect) and they take very good care of me”.
    Remember this only only works if the meal costs more, a lot more, than $30.

    Myself? I don’t tip all that much money. It scandalizes my husband how much I leave and probably somewhat scandalizes the server as to how little I leave. I tip what feels appropriate to me, not my husband, not the server, not the culture, not my girlfriends,
    but me.

    I was “stiffed” when I waited tables. I didn’t like it. But it happens. Then I moved on to the next table.

  19. The unwritten rules of tipping are a great topic that I’m sure will get as many passionate responses from your readers as US tax policy :)

    Tipping is an epidemic since COVID. I used to have a rule of thumb that it was optional to tip for service if you have to wait in a line. You would only throw the barista a buck or two if they were actually friendly, you are a regular, or you had a difficult order. Now I am pre-tipping via apps hoping for not bad service. Pre-tipping before service is provided is asinine but the new reality. It would be better to tip in cash after receiving service but you run the risk they will hold a grudge when the order comes thru on the computer.

    The key item to know if you are ethical person is which service workers are being classified as a tipped employee and making a lower wage (currently $2.13/hr vs $7.25 federal min wage). You really shouldn’t eat at one of these places if you cannot afford to tip especially if you are tying up a table that someone else could be using. Have fun asking them…

    Tipping after waiting in line at a sporting event concession stand is my new pet peeve. That’s probably the only place I don’t hesitate to select no tip. I am not tipping for grabbing my own bag of peanuts and a $14 can of beer to be opened for me. Have to draw the line somewhere.

    As it stands it seems like the only place an iPad isn’t defaulting to a suggested tip for food service is in a fast food drive thru. It’s still too awkward for them to ask you over the loudspeaker for a tip or to hand you an IPad. Predict though in the near future you will only be able to order via an app.

    Another dystopian near future is one where we will be debating if we need to tip the delivery robot or self-driving car. Some people say yes! The car had bottled water and some mints and a great sense of humor! There will come a time where I order a Chipotle burrito via their app and a robot makes it. My order will just slide out of a hole in wall when it is ready. We will be pre-tipping for a service that doesn’t involve another human being.

    I am all for throwing the plumber or handy man some extra cash if they do a good job and don’t try to rip me off. I feel like guys do heavy lifting to move and install major appliances deserve an extra $20 for lunch too. I think I’m in the minority of people that give the postal carrier a holiday card (technically against the law but they appreciate it). Same with our regular UPS driver. If I had a single family home the trash collector would be high on my list too. Of all the injustices I would like to know why the food delivery people get tips and the Amazon delivery people do not for nearly identical services, especially when they are using their own cars. I’m sure Amazon will figure out a way to pay them less and make that happen eventually.

    1. Ah yes, good reminder on tipping the movers and heavy lifting installers. I did a summer moving job for three months and that was pretty tiresome.

      I also recently installed a dishwasher and a rental unit, but I wasn’t there. I think they charged a 150 or $180 installation fee for less than one hour. So it seems more and more that service fees are included.

  20. Unfortunately, some people are just cheap bastards who never tip, no matter how good the service or product. They invariably have also never worked in a minimum-wage service job before either.

    Today, a lot of people want to consume everything for free, yet aren’t willing to work for free themselves. It’s a shame the way entitlement mentality and greed have crept into the minds of so many Americans.

    These are the same people who argue for tax increases, yet aren’t willing to pay more taxes themselves. No wonder why they never build more wealth than the average person.

  21. I can’t remember when exactly tipping expectations shifted, but I’ve definitely noticed changes in the last 2-3 years, probably longer. I’ve seen that kiosk prompt for 20% tips on takeout orders everywhere and even though it’s programmed into the software, it feels off. You really do have to be confident enough to manually click on the no-tip or custom tip amount to adjust it to where you feel is appropriate for each situation. I’ve also seen a lot of establishments switch to the group tipping pool that gets divvied out. I’ve never worked at a restaurant or bar so I can only comment from an outside perspective, but it seems to me that would be demotivating for the workers. If I knew my colleague was a poor server but was still getting equal tips as me, it would certainly make me less motivated to go above and beyond to earn bigger tips.

  22. The tipping norm & etiquette is so darn confusing so guides like these are helpful.

    I almost always tip between 15 – 25% in a sit-down restaurant, but what about the workers that offer to take your bags during check-ins? Will a couple bucks suffice or is it $5? What about the workers that help you hail a cab when you check out? Couple of bucks for the assistance or none? What about cleaning service? Some percentage of the bill or $20? $40?

    At a cafe, when I order drip coffee, tip is $0. Even for specialty drinks, $0. Whenever the electronic POS flips and flashes 25%, 20%, 18% in big blue boxes with lesser options displayed inconspicuously, I get tempted to hit the “no tip” because it feels like a the system is set up to play a psychological trick to receive more.

    But I do disagree with leaving no tip. If finances are tight, people should just cook at home to save money.

  23. I live in Mexico where the local norm is 10% yet you see tip inflation anywhere that is frequented by Americans. Wait staff expect higher percentages.

    Americans traveling overseas often have difficulty accepting the local tip culture or lack thereof yet in America expect everyone to comply. Years ago I visited some Ecuadoran friends for breakfast who were staying at a small hotel in Miami. I noticed the bill included a gratuity. I asked the waitress and she explained that they never tipped so she simply started adding one. I explained that their behavior was not rude – in Ecuador tipping was simply not part of the culture.

    Personally the only reason I tip in America is to partake in the social norm. Honestly, though I feel like tipping is the equivalent of bribing someone to do their job. For years I worked for the State Dept in the consular section and would have been fired or worse had I accepted tips.

    I definitely prefer traveling in countries where tipping is simply not culturally acceptable. I find the service tends to be better as well.

  24. Waffle House has a sign by the register… there is an automatic 20% tip on to go orders. 10% for the fee and 10% for the server preparing the order. Plus there is now two prices: one for cash and one for credit. My guess is you pay ahead on the to go order so you have the credit price.

  25. Sam – You mentioned leaving the tip box empty. I always draw a line through it if I am not leaving a tip. Do you feel that is necessary or overkill? Has anyone ever added a tip later to your bill?

  26. You have obviously never read the comments from a tipping article. Waiters have no loyalty to the business, or even seem to care if it succeeds. All they care about is their tip. I enjoy these articles which eventually end up with something like “if you can’t tip 40% then you can’t afford to eat there – stay home!” Tipping for some reason is a real lighting rod with people.

    I think you are spot on from a business perspective. But I have learned that most people do not actually understand basic economics, so tipping becomes emotional.

    1. Financial Samurai

      I must admit I don’t spend time in the comments section of tipping articles, although, I hope this comments section of this article will prove insightful.

      Good point on the staff not caring as much about the business as the business owner. So if you love the staff, tip them well!

      1. Waiters and waitresses live on tips typically, did you know in many states companies can pat them less than minimum wage IF they can guarantee minimum wage with tips? Not tipping them is a good way to ensure poor service and long wait times at restaurants

        1. Countries and even specific restaurants that don’t employ tipping and incorporate paying their workers into the prices of their services tend to not see this problem. I’ve never had bad service or longer than expected wait times in areas in which tipping is not the norm. That purported effect has not been borne out in practice.

        2. Personally i like to tip (the norm and add an extra if the service was really good), but i absolutely HATE to be asked for a tip.

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