The Trouble with Tipping

Why we Tip and why it's a problem

     Tipping has always been a part of the American dining industry, although many see it as a purely voluptuary courtesy to the waiter/waitress who served them.  The truth about tipping today is that it's more or less required to tip your waiter or waitress, or else you're threatening their livelihood and income. At one point, tips were considered gifts for good service.  Now, tips make up a large percentage of some workers wages, even the whole thing.  In cases of waiters and waitresses, their hourly wages is sometimes completely taken by taxes.  This leaves them to rely completely on the tips they make.

     As stated by the char above, several professions like waiter/waitress, bartenders, valets, and bellmen rely either entirely or mostly on their tips.  The problem with this is that many people still don't know that tips contribute to much of their salary.  So if Someone decides to take away a waiters tip because the service was unsatisfactory, they're hurting them a lot more than they think.  So why does the system still work this way? Why do people have to work where they're not guaranteed their wage will be above minimum, even if they do know (which most don't) that their boss is supposed to pay the difference? Well the quick answer is money. It's much better for the business if they can get away with only paying out $2.35 and hour to their workers and rely on people's generosity to make up the difference.  The biggest flaw is that not everybody's quite so generous.  Some people are actually jerks.  Below is another chart that shows which demographics are better or worse at tipping

     Of course, these are just generalizations but certain groups are known for not tipping well.  However, the minimum wage workers are being screwed by this system that is essentially making their wages optional.  The issue is one that's plaguing the minds of many workers working for tips.  If you head out tonight, be sure to tip your waiter or waitress generously.


Urban, Tim. "Everything You Don't Know About Tipping." Blog. Wait But Why. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

Urban, Tim. Tipping Statistics. Wait But Why. Web. 11 Dec. 2014. <>.

Urban, Tim. Tipping Spectrum. Wait But Why. Web. 10 Dec. 2014. <>.