The Appropriate Amount to Tip
Posted: April 8, 2016
COLUMN FIRST APPEARED IN SEPTEMBER, 2010
I have been doing research trying to determine the appropriate amount to tip a waiter/waitress, bartender or other service worker. I found a wide range of what is considered "average", but I have learned that giving gratuities is a personal choice. I have had numerous discussions with friends about this subject and nobody seems to agree about what constitutes the reasonable way to gauge the amount to be awarded to workers who make less than the minimum wage.
I consider myself a fairly decent tipper. I usually give at least 20 percent of the total bill, which is about five percent more than the average. I may contribute more if the service is warranted, but I am frustrated by one of society's most controversial issues involving the retail and service industry.
For example, if the food is bad, but the service is at least adequate, I will still my normal 20 percent tip. It's not the server's fault that the food was not up to par, but I make sure to tell the server that the meal was not very good. In addition, I know that every restaurant owner would like to know about the quality of the food/service so that he/she has the opportunity to provide an incentive for the unhappy customer to come back again. In other words, communicating about the negative experience is really important to the owner of the business.
When I go out for breakfast, the total bill is never more than a few dollars. My normal gratuity would be about $1.40. Yet, if I am able to get in and out of the restaurant in less than 30 minutes, I think the server is warranted with a larger tip - like maybe a few bucks.
I met with a friend recently who worked at an area motel as a housekeeper. She told me that she was barely making the minimum wage, but she was promised that the difference would be made up from the gratuities she received from customers. It was then that I realized that I very rarely tipped a motel housekeeper and have since left a few dollars for each night that I stayed.
The most frustrating part about the gratuity procedure is that I rarely tell the server why I am leaving a below-average tip. I want to tell the person who delivered me the food and/or beverages that their service was below average. But I usually don't take the time to explain why I am leaving less money that normal.
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