Tipping, make it mandatory, or ban it?
“Jesus Christ I mean, these ladies aren't starving to death. They make minimum wage. You know, I used to work minimum wage and when I did I wasn't lucky enough to have a job that society deemed tip worthy.” This is part of Mr. Pink’s argument for not tipping waitresses in the opening scene of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. He argues that he doesn’t tip because society says we should tip waitresses but we shouldn’t tip fast food restaurant employees when they both do the same thing, he also argues that we should only tip for impeccable service and it shouldn’t be an automatic thing like it has become. A lot of people may agree with Mr. Pink and those people are calling for tipping to be abolished for his reasons and/or a number of other things going on in the restaurant industry however a lot would view not tipping as “stingy”, “cheap”, “miserable, etc and tip as a way of respecting and thanking the person serving their food and drinks and for some servers tips make up the majority of their income. For these reasons, people want tipping to become mandatory. The founder of Shake Shack fast food chain, Danny Meyer stated that tipping will no longer be accepted in his restaurants and said that he will increase his staff’s wages and increase the prices on his menus. Kevin Reddy has also banned tipping at his fast food chain restaurants, Noodles and Co. Is this a step in the right direction?
Tipping drags waiters into poverty. This issue is more common in America as in most states restaurants are allowed to pay less than minimum wage ($2.13) because customers are expected to give 20% to 30% tip. This expectancy drives severs into poverty because fewer and fewer people are leaving even a 15% tip or they aren’t leaving a tip at all, a survey conducted by Vouchercloud, a coupon site revealed that when asked how much they tip or what percentage of the bill they pay, a mere 23% out of 2,600 adults from across America said that when they go out to eat they leave a tip that is 20% of the bill. Half of the people surveyed said that due to being in a poor financial situation they tip a lot less now than they would have 5 years ago. Another study carried out by CreditCards.com stated that one in five customers don’t leave any tip at a restaurant. Tipping is a great thing for the restaurant industry because in all but 7 states restaurants are allowed to pay servers less than the minimum wage because of tips this means when servers do not get tips they are still being paid under the minimum wage which leads to them and their families having to survive off of welfare. Servers are 3 times more likely to live in poverty than people with other occupations and their families are at a significantly higher chance of having to rely on benefits from the government to survive.
Sylvia Allegretto, who is a research economist at the University of California, Berkeley, and also previously worked as a waitress said, “Tipped workers are heavily reliant on public subsidies to help make ends meet,' 'Who helps them bridge the gap? Taxpayers.'
Waiting tables is a difficult job and you don’t have to be one to imagine how hard it is. Long hours and a lot of pressure make a stressful job and on top of that, have to deal with horrible customers and there is a lot of them. Serves receive a lot of abuse during their shifts and it is not uncommon for waiters to experience sexual harassment and experience racism which they will put up with so they can get more tips. Most people are aware of how hard the job is and leave a good tip for a decent service because they think it is the right thing to do. A study has found that waitressing and other jobs are the most damaging to mental and physical health. The study was carried out by scientists at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China and they found that waiters and waitresses are 22 more tones likely to have a stroke, and for women, this figure rises to 33%. The study revealed that a job will be less stressful if you are in control and respected more. So waitressing is not a candidate for a stress-free job.
With a lot of waitresses surviving on minimum wage or less tips are vital for just living, taking care of children, and getting through university/college so a lot of women are having to put up with sexual harassment in their workplace because they need money.in America, women make up two-thirds of waiting staff, and a survey carried out revealed that out of 700 serves across 38 states most (90%) had experienced sexual harassment from coworkers, customers, and even management. Tipped workers, those recovering below minimum wage are far more likely to be subject to harassment because they rely on those tips. less harassment is reported in places where the minimum wage is higher e.g. California. So maybe if tipping were banned waiting staff wouldn’t put up with harassment from customers.
For some waiters their job is far more than serving food, they can start hours before the restaurant even opens, cleaning bathrooms, wiping tables, washing dishes, making drinks, setting everything up, and can end hours after the restaurant closes repeating these tasks. A lot of servers don’t receive the benefits many other jobs offer e.g. paid sick leave. So a waitress doing all these tasks without tip and eating minimum wage would only be making about $10 a day which is not enough to live on so even a $15 would make all the difference in a server's income and life. To some people, this is enough to make tipping be mandatory in every restaurant. Some say a tip of 25% should be made to every server.
A lot of the time when you tip it doesn’t even go to the server, the manager can take these tips, or else a more common practice is that all tips from every server are collected and divided evenly between the servers. So if you leave a really good tip for a server you felt gave excellent service, it might not even go to them, this does motivate some people to not bother leaving a tip. However, if all tips are divided evenly it might eliminate inequality in the workplace. Sadly in this society, there have been many cases of people not leaving a tip for someone simply because of their race, just one example of this is in October of last year, a waitress called Jasmine Brewers left a note on the receipt which read “we don’t tip black people”, this horrified her and her mother who she showed it to. This disgusting attitude and behavior isn’t uncommon at all and there are countless other cases of this happening all the time. Website, Eater's analysis of the Current Population Survey shows that white servers were paid a considerable amount more than their Latin, Asian, and black counterparts.
After researching and writing this essay I have had to rethink tipping waiters and waitresses. I have always left a tip when I visit a restaurant even if I didn’t enjoy the food except when I feel the service hasn’t been up to standard. A lot of people tend not to and I always think bad of them for it. There are more reasons not to tip and I might actually be doing servers a favor by not tipping, but will I continue leaving a tip? I still don’t think I could leave a restaurant without leaving one.