To acquire wisdom, one must observe

It’s 2022, tipping is compulsory

If you don’t tip 20% every time you go out to a restaurant, you can’t be my friend. After working in restaurants for a year and a half now, it’s surprising how many people don’t know that servers don’t make a normal wage—there’s a normal minimum and a tipped minimum wage. In Massachusetts, tipped minimum wage is $6.15 per hour while the regular minimum wage is over twice that at $14.25 per hour. There’s a wage expectation of tipping for those who are “tipped employees,” so that their employers don’t have to pay them a livable wage for their labor. If you don’t tip 20% you’re depriving servers and the other tipped employees they tip out—bussers, food runners, bartenders, barbacks, etc.—of a livable wage. 

Some people respond to this fact by telling service workers to simply get a different, better paying and more stable job. This argument is the stupidest thing to say to wage employees who work for your benefit every time they clock in. To those who argue servers should just quit and get a different job, who will serve you then? Who will you cut off when they’re asking you how your day has been with a quick “Diet Coke?” Who will speed walk around a tiny restaurant dodging your unruly children and dealing with overbearing management and fake laugh at your jokes just convincingly enough that you think you’re funny? Telling people that their job is the reason they don’t deserve to earn a livable wage is essentially telling people that some people are worth less than others in our capitalist society, when without hourly employees everything would shut down.

I also hate when people who poorly tip say that it isn’t their responsibility to pay their servers said livable wage. If anything, it’s worse than the ignorant ones because these people know there is a fundamental problem in the payment of servers. Sure, it isn’t necessarily your responsibility, but if no one is picking up the—tiny and expected—slack, many people will become even more impoverished than they already are. If you have the money to go out to eat at a nice sit-down restaurant and rack up a $200-plus bill, you have no excuse to not tip 20%. 

Every time I go out I overcompensate for all the people I know tip awfully by being bad at math! Being bad at math makes it easy because you can just sorta think about what 20, 25 or 30% is and round up if you don’t want to deal with decimals. The people who go out of their way to tip a perfect 10% are actually sociopaths and I am not afraid to say it. 

The number of tables I have who tell me I’m such a great server and I’m so sweet and kind and bubbly and efficient but tip me anything less than what’s expected is a surprisingly high amount. Compliment tipping is a phenomenon that I have learned to hate more than mean tables. Be mean to me but tip me well before you’re nice and tip like shit. 

Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of xenophobia in the restaurant industry because of people who are from places where tipping really is optional and only for the most stellar service. This xenophobia I’ve witnessed a lot of, with my coworkers saying “oh they’re *insert literally any race, ethnicity or nationality here* they won’t tip.” Weirdly though, Americans are the worst because they know tipping is necessary but often still don’t tip the expected amount. 

I have never had a bad server, and even if I did I’d understand that working is hard and working with the public is exceptionally exhausting. Unless a server verbally harassed me and intentionally got me food that had my food allergen in it, I will still tip 20%. Work in the industry and you’ll see, you’ll be humbled quickly. So please, if you don’t tip correctly and fairly, don’t go out and don’t talk to me.

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