Let’s talk about tipping. It’s one of the few debates in our society that crosses political lines. Something we all wrestle with, whether we’re eating at Noma 2.0 or using Postmates. A hot-button issue that has spanned generations.
And as we enter into this conversation, I want you to know that I hear you and I love you and that also, I am right and you are wrong. Definitively. Because look, I’m about to tell you to mostly err on the side of tipping more. And that may feel frustrating. Know that ultimately I want you to want to tip well because you want to be kind. I want you to think, “Sure, I’ll put down an extra three dollars, this lady seems like a decent human being who is just trying to pay rent on a condemned apartment over a garage filled with mice and the faint smell of burning paint from a minor fire in her bathroom.” But I accept and recognize that you may say, “Who cares! She chose to be a waitress” or, “She chose to study acting so now she has to be a waitress!”
But even if you hold the former philosophy over the latter, tipping can be confusing. So we’re going to help. To walk you through this so both your server and your date will be totally impressed by how generous and awesome you are. Or at the very least not turned off by how un-awesome you are. It’s a start.
Here are the dos and don’ts of tipping without being a total jerk:
DO tip at least 20 percent on meals.
Oh shit. This bill must be wrong. 150 dollars? But you didn’t drink six mojitos. That’s so much mint. Way too much mint. Seriously, who in their right mind drinks six mojitos? (You scroll through your phone. See yourself with each mojito, grinning, like a real idiot). Huh. So maybe you did. Well..that’s troubling.
Wow. Wowwwww, you are going to have to calm down from this with another mojito.
Why you need to just suck it up and pay 20% even if the bill is high or your waiter was terrible:
If you’ve ever been out with a server you might notice that they tip other servers well. Like insanely well. Waiters and waitresses that I know tip 20, 25, or 30 percent on any bill (and, look, I’m a good tipper but I don’t regularly tip 30 percent. I’m poor, fam). For people who have never been in the service industry that might seem baffling. Isn’t 15 percent sufficient?
Here’s my question back: If your service industry friend is tipping that much, do you think it’s because they’re very rich? Do you think they’re like, “I inherited millions of dollars but I just want to do the meaningful work of serving fish tacos and endless margaritas on Tuesdays!”?
Because while being a server can be a career that is enjoyable and fulfilling, employees in this industry are absolutely doing it because it is a job and they need money. No one has ever said, “I wait tables for the art of it more than anything.” I promise no one ever in the history of the universe has said that and you can absolutely @ me about it.
So, if your service industry friends are always tipping 20 percent at least, that’s because it’s the right thing to do. I promise, your server is not making as much money as you think. Is 15 percent fine? I guess. But truly, truly know that you are determining your server’s salary and it’s tricky to deny them a customary tip. After all, their employer is allowed to shrink their hourly wage on the basis of the expectation of a tip. That’s the system we’re in.
Run for office if you don’t like it. Change some laws. I believe you can fly. I believe you can touch the sky. But until then, we’re sorta all stuck.