Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the savings offers appearing on this site are from advertisers from which this website receives compensation for being listed here. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). These offers do not represent all deposit accounts available.

The Tipping Guilt Trip

Published 8/30/07 (Modified 3/9/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

Recently I went to eat at a local casual diner. There were very few customers but yet the service was still terrible. Our waitress made us wait and delayed in taking our order or even offering us water. The water never came until I raised my hand for another waitress to bring it to us. Our waitress never offered us much service. It was only a quick evening snack so the bill came out to only about $11.00. I had initially decided not to tip at all because the service was so lousy but decided to at least chip in an extra $1.00. When the waitress saw her tip, she became enraged! She began whining and complaining very loudly and angrily to no one in particular but clearly and purposefully within earshot of us, while her mild mannered manager tried to calm her down to avoid a scene. Eventually her obnoxiousness made me stand up and confront her verbally. The manager ultimately offered us an extra dessert to make peace and apologized for her behavior.

Voluntary Compulsory Tipping

Afterwards, the incident got me thinking about how tipping has gone from being a gesture of good will to a mandatory social custom. The tip is supposed to be a sign of appreciation for a job well done and purely voluntary. Although the amount is never legally required, failure to tip in certain situations can now result in embarrassment, or even feelings of guilt. That is the part I don't understand and find very frustrating. If tipping is meant to be a show of gratitude for a job well done, then how could people still demand a generous tip even when the service was shoddy or negligent. When the server ignored your table the whole evening and never remembered to fill up your water glass, why does he or she still get indignant and become outraged when his or her lack of consideration is returned in kind.

Only in the U.S. Do People Tip

The United States is one of the few countries in the world that practices widespread tipping. Most parts of the world don't have such a social custom. In fact, in most parts of Asia, it's even considered rude and impolite to tip, implying that the servers need to be paid extra to do a good job. In other parts of the world, tipping is associated with bribery and is thus frowned upon. So why are we the only ones that practice that? I am actually a very good tipper when good service is offered, but I find tipping's socially mandatory nature very distasteful. All it does is cause pricing confusion and create awkward situations. At the very least, we have to go back to when tipping was purely optional with no expectation that it would be offered.

Disclaimer: Discover is a paid advertiser of this site.
Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the Discover online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards.

Feed for this Entry

4 Responses to “The Tipping Guilt Trip” 

  1. Sabrina's Money Matters says:

    I wonder if she wasn't angry that she would have to tip out her $1 earned. Either way she was wrong for giving bad service and wrong for complaining about getting paid what she was worth. Having been a waitress (however short a period of time that lasted, lol) I realize the work that goes into providing good service, it should be tipped. But when your server doesn't serve, they don't get tipped. Period. They sign onto the job knowing what they'll be making and with an understanding that it's up to them to earn their money, that's as close to being an entrepreneur as you can get without actually being one, and to flub it up, come on, go work at a department store.

    A few weeks ago my husband, son and I went to eat at a local Chili's, my son spoke up after eating when the waitress asked if we wanted dessert and said, "Yes I want some", but I intervened and let her know (duh!) that he doesn't get to decide and reminded him that we had ice cream at home.

    She came back with our To Go boxes and said, "And we're sure we don't want any dessert? Oooooh, that's right, y'all have ice cream at home." Dropped the boxes and walked away. I turned to my husband in disbelief at her wise acre comment and said, "She just lost her tip", of course he agreed. On a $50 check, that's a healthy tip she shucked for being an unappreciative little wench, and I'm a tipper when I get good service, it's a hard job and I reward accordingly, but not smart alecks.

    These people can't bank on people coming in to utilize the service they offer and when there is no service offered, what do they expect?

  2. Raymond says:

    One time at Applebess, I had the most absent minded waitress. She kept getting the orders wrong and forgetting to bring us things. Obviously she was new, but she was very nice, tried her best, and kept apologizing. I ultimately gave her a full 15% tip.

    I think there's a clear difference between being pleasantly absent minded and obnoxiously rude. I can't tolerate rudeness but as long as you're trying, I'm okay with that.

  3. Alfred says:

    I think it's crazy salesmen get a commission. And why don't I get to determine what the salesman gets for that commission?

    Why should the real estate agent get a set amount of the transaction? I didn't like his attitude about my kitchen color desires, he shouldn't get anything.

    How about those incredulous yearly bonuses received by the stock brokers who already got their sales commission? Those stocks he sold me didn't go up high enough for my desire, he shouldn't get anything.

    Tipping is all part of the transaction, pay up, and if you don't like the product or service complain to management of just cook at home and clean up you own mess.

  4. Shaun Sayers says:

    I can buy in to your sentiments and then some. What's more it's not just US people who tip, but (sorry to say this, but I believe it's true) it has become one of your more successful but least helpful exports. I believe the issue is worse in countries where the minimum wage is more generous then in the US. OK the hourly rates may not be the best, but they aren't slave wages either, and such minimums were introduced among other reasons to stop the reliance of some professions on charity, hidden taxes, whatever you want to call it. Unfortunately now everyone wants 15% of the tab just for turning up


Leave a Reply

If you liked this site, please Add To Bookmark and/or Subscribe To A FeedReader

Search this site