I recently stumbled upon an entire blog post about people who dislike tipping servers.  And I get it.  Going out to eat isn’t cheap to begin with, and tipping your server can make the price of your meal climb considerably.

Add that to the fact that it is sometimes hard to know how much to tip.  For example, is the standard tip still 15 percent?  Or is it 20?  Also, how much should you tip at a buffet?  I usually err on the side of not being an asshole, but I can see how the whole act of tipping could be confusing to some people.

Regardless, the blog post I’m talking about wasn’t a debate on what constitutes a good tip.  It was about the entire act of tipping and the fact that many employers see tips as a reason to pay less than a living wage.  I’m not going to link to the article in question because a) the person who wrote it is an asshole, and b) I don’t want to give them any traffic, but I will share the basic premise of the post in order to provide some background for this one.

Their Argument

The author started by arguing that minimum wage has not kept up with inflation, and how it is unfair to the people who work these jobs.  I agree wholeheartedly with that argument.  Minimum wage was $5.15 when I was a senior in high school, and now- 15 years later- it is only $7.25.  In the meantime, the cost of everything has increased astronomically.  Truth be told, I don’t really see how minimum wage workers get by at all.

The author went on to say that people who work for tips might even have it worse than minimum wage workers.  That’s because, according to the author, servers may not be guaranteed any type of wage.  Since they depend on the kindness of others for their livelihood, they often get the shaft.

I agree with that too.  I worked as a server off and on for a decade, and I absolutely hated working for tips.  I think I was paid something like $2.15 per hour, which meant that no tips= no income.

But then the argument turns into one I cannot understand.  Basically, the blogger in question argues that we should all boycott tipping by- you guessed it- stiffing servers.

Because nothing says “I believe in a living wage” quite like stiffing the very people you are supposedly advocating for.

Why It’s Wrong to Stiff Your Server

As someone who worked in hellholes like Denny’s, Applebees, and Outback Steakhouse over the years, this infuriates me.  Here’s why:

Servers Don’t Always Keep Their tips

My last serving job was at Outback Steakhouse over a decade ago.  I actually liked working there, but I hated one aspect of the job in particular- tip sharing.  Because we needed to share our tips with bussers and hosts, we had to give 3 percent of our sales back to the house- whether we were tipped or not. So when someone failed to tip me, I actually paid to wait on them. 

Servers Don’t Want to Work for Free

Believe it or not, servers actually have better things to do than wait on your ass for free.  And when you sit in their section and fail to tip them, you’re keeping them from earning tips from people who might actually pay them.

Raise your hand if you like working for free!  <insert crickets here>

You’re Punishing the Wrong Person

I can’t believe this needs to be explained, but I’ll do it regardless.  When you patronize a restaurant then stiff your server, you’re not “sticking it to the man.”  You’re punishing a low-wage worker.

What To Do if You Are Morally Opposed to Tipping Servers

Still confused?  For those of you who just can’t grasp the concept, I created a list of things you can do if you are morally opposed to tipping servers (whatever the reason):

  • Eat at home

If nothing on that list works for you, consider eating at restaurants where employees don’t generally work for tips.  Some examples include fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Arby’s, and Subway.  You could also choose to eat your dinner at a casual dining restaurant that functions without servers, such as Panera Bread, Chipotle, QDoba, or Moe’s Southwest Grill.

Whatever you do, don’t visit a sit-down restaurant then refuse to tip based on some misguided passion for the plight of low-wage workers.

If you do, please know that you’re not helping- you’re being an asshole.

Are you morally opposed to tipping servers?