The Humanity in Tipping

I wrote this as a reminder to share with your high school and college age students. Though they are old enough to enjoy going out to eat with friends, many of them have not been taught the importance of tipping. Please take the time to have this conversation with your students.

Tips are an ideal way to thank a person and show some gratitude for the excellent service you received. However, even though it’s up to the customer to decide upon the amount, in many countries such as Canada and the U.S., it is considered the norm to tip between 15 to 20% of the total bill, 15 for excellent service and the latter for something exceptional. Now, what if you thought the service received was not up to the mark – no doubt, you’re probably asking why you should then tip at all. Below are a few honest words from an ex – diner employee to help you answer that very question.

On the other side of the restaurant scene, the server who gave you such dazzling smile may be a desperate college student, trying to pay their way through college. Remember you don’t know their story as they may even be a single mom looking to make some extra income alongside her real job which doesn’t pay well, or maybe a dad or a brother working double, triple shifts to make enough money for the family. In short, they are human too. For these people who earn under minimum range, tips are their paychecks, and they depend on you to survive. By tipping you are not just acknowledging fine service, in reality, you are showing sympathy and helping those employees who need it.

The ethical reasons behind tipping may not be that visible if you haven’t waited tables yourself. However, it is important to remind yourself and teach your youngsters that the people that are are serving you have a life too. Also, their cheerful behavior isn’t just a show for their job: your servers truly want to make you happy so that you can enjoy your meal. Sure, sometimes service may take a little longer than usual, there may be a slight accident with the juice, and it spills on you, but trust me when I say that, no one is more distraught and terrified by these incidents than your server, who silently takes the blame for the whole mishap. Remember the servers are not to blame for a meal that you ordered and may not like. We suggest letting them know the why and they will talk to the chef to discuss alternatives. If you want to try something new that maybe your taste buds won’t like but is otherwise delicious, you should prepare to pay for that dish. There is a difference in a meal that looks unappetizing and does not taste as it should compare to a meal that may have a spice or flavoring that you normally do not like and yet ordered to try something different.

Next, you may be wondering whether a reduced tip reflects poorly on your personality. Obviously, the answer is yes, it very much does. The way you tip says a lot about your qualities as a person, whether you’re generous or stingy, your views on labor and your attitude about money. By tipping poorly, you are knowingly committing a wrong against hard working dedicated employees and showing yourself in a very negative light. It is not even hard! Many restaurants bills have the suggested tip amount on the bottom

Tipping is not just a choice; it is a mandatory part of the restaurant bill – drill this into your mind and teach your friends and family to do the same. Let’s face it: if you cannot afford to pay at least 15% of your restaurant bill for the sake of those in need, there’s a very nice McDonalds down the street that will be far friendlier towards your wallet and price limitations.

More advice – when you are going out to eat with friends and splitting the bill please make sure you remember to share the cost of the tip equally.

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