Tipping Protocol

Tipping Protocol

An honor, not an expectation

Feathers are about to be ruffled. I can think of few things that cause as much controversy as the protocol for tipping in a restaurant. If you were a waiter or waitress at some point in your life, this will probably offend you. So, go ahead and roll up your sleeves now.

Tipping has become a huge defect in our culture. Stop to think about the last time you were out to dinner. Chances are you left a tip. Why? Do we even stop to think about that anymore? Was it because of a social expectation, or because of excellent service? If it was for any reason other than excellent service, you shouldn’t have done it. Tipping after receiving bad service is like giving a school bully a candy bar for getting in a fight. All it does is encourage bad behavior.

I can feel the waiters and waitresses getting angry already. “Hey! We only make two bucks and change as an hourly rate! And we have to divide up our tips between other employees! We deserve a good tip!” My answer to that is this: Do you? Do you really deserve a good tip? Are you proactively trying to make sure that my dining experience is comfortable and pleasant? Because if you’re not, I won’t tip you. If you have a problem with that, get a different job. With any profession, there is a relationship between ability and salary. It doesn’t matter if you’re a waiter, an architect, or a dragon slayer. The people who do it better, get paid more. A good server deserves a good tip. It’s not protocol. It’s a tip, a reward. If you wait tables and consistently get bad tips, it’s likely that the problem lies with you. Instead of complaining about a stingy table, it might be more beneficial to evaluate your own performance.

So, the next time you find yourself out for dinner, stop to consider your server’s behavior. Don’t give in to the social expectations, the pressure from other people at your table, the dirty looks from the server, or even your own conscience. You know if the server deserves that tip. If they do, tip them. If they don’t, don’t tip them. I know, it’s hard not to. You feel dirty and pompous inside. But if you take that money and spend it on something you enjoy, soon your guilt will be drowned in self gratification. Trust me, it works every time.

Scott Jensen

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I'm Scott, and I love writing things like this. But I spend most of my time working as a designer.
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