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Why in America is it considered normal to tip someone for a job they should already be paid to do?

why do restaurants pay servers so little leaving it up to the patrons who are already paying for the service/food to also help them pay their staff. Where I am from originally from tipping is something you only do when you get exception service and feel like making a nice gesture. Almost like getting a bonus. You pay a set service charge on your bill or it is built into the meal prices. Which makes sense and means each server is appropriately compensated for their time. A tip is not expected by the server or the establishment. I find it odd that the place you are supporting by eating there then turns around and ask you to literally pay their employees salary for them. It seems rude to me and is hard for me to get used to even though I have been here for many many years now. I of course am tipping regularly, since it is the custom in America, I just don't understand it. I have always wanted to ask.

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Asked by Anonymous at 5:25 PM on Jul. 11, 2013 in Money & Work

Answers (20)
  • I think it's a crime that service staff in restaurants are not paid at least minimum wage and that tips are figured in as part of their salaries. A tip is supposed to be a bonus for exceptional service, but now it's just expected. Very annoying, and the ones who really make out like fat rats on the deal are the restaurant owners who can legally underpay their servers.

    Answer by Ballad at 5:29 PM on Jul. 11, 2013

  • I don't understand it either, and I really don't think the tip should be based off the price of your bill either. You are tipping the waitress to bring you your plate of food. It did not take him/her any extra effort to give you your $30 Filet Mignon than if s/he were to bring you a $15 chicken dinner so why should I have to tip more? And I do NOT like when they automatically charge you a tip for parties of 8 or more. A tip is supposed to be a gift, not mandatory.

    I was a waitress, I never expected my tip to be based on meal price but on the job I did.

    Answer by cassie_kellison at 5:30 PM on Jul. 11, 2013

  • Yeah, I don't like our system here. However, it is what it is. When we owned a restaurant we paid minimum wage to our servers which was not the norm. We had a very small staff and gave them a lot of hours.

    Answer by silverthreads at 5:30 PM on Jul. 11, 2013

  • Well, restaurant owners could pay their workers minimum wage and have to charge you higher prices to pay for the food to cover that expense. And then there would be no incentive for servers to run their feet off every night like they do. (Yes they should do it as a personal integrity kind of thing, but when it affects your pocket most people try harder)

    Answer by missanc at 5:41 PM on Jul. 11, 2013

  • See that's the thing. Many people do still tip even with a service charge when the service is exceptional so they do work hard to try and get that little added bonus. Poor servers are simply let go, so that is the real incentive for doing a proper job-keeping your paycheck. The difference is they are not living off of tips. Their pay is set and anything else is an exciting extra. It is just very different. People are happy to serve you and are treated quite well by the establishment owners.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 5:47 PM on Jul. 11, 2013

  • That's surprising that they still tip, considering that here many times people don't tip even for good service, though they should.

    Answer by missanc at 5:54 PM on Jul. 11, 2013

  • In CA servers are paid state minimum wage, and still expect tips because "don't patrons know it is their livelihood?" I suppose, then, I'm also supposed to tip the "servers" at McDonald's who took my order, placed it on a tray, and slid it across the counter to me?

    Answer by maecntpntz219 at 5:58 PM on Jul. 11, 2013

  • Huh, my husband is from Turkey and they tip just as we do here....

    So, that being said.... it is not just America.

    I always feel compelled to tip because I was raised to do so. It's a service.... I tip for food, hair cut, nails, etc.... I feel it's called being a decent human being.

    Answer by m-avi at 5:59 PM on Jul. 11, 2013

  • So, they should deal with stupid people all day, be on their feet all day and run food back and forth for min. wage, all because people can't stay at home and cook for themselves or remember to pack a lunch?

    Answer by kbishop8688 at 6:14 PM on Jul. 11, 2013

  • Do you tip the postal workers? Do you tip the managers/ workers at your apartment? How about the street crews? How about the person who helps you to find just what you are looking for at a department store? Or the shoe sales person who goes to the back to look for your size?

    Yes I do tip my wait staff. We do have a reputation in the restaurants that we frequent of being pleasant and tipping for good service.
    I will complain about poor service as well.
    I feel they should be paid to wait the tables. It is not my job to pay their salary. However if my dining experience was a wonderful one I am more than happy to express my appreciation.

    Answer by Dardenella at 6:15 PM on Jul. 11, 2013

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