After talking to a friend of mine who lives in Australia and just visited the United States, it occurred to me that tipping is something that many people just don’t seem to get right. People in other countries are always confused by the fact that we have tipping at all, but I’ve often found myself adding money to tips in certain circumstances to make everything look, well, more proper.

tip restaurant waitstaff
stokpic via Pixabay

Why do we tip in this country? Because even though minimum wage for most workers is now $7.25, for “tipped” workers minimum wage is $3.60. And then tips are taxed, which I think is highly unfair, at a rate of 8%. If the employee doesn’t report how much the tips are the restaurant has to take that 8% out of their receipts and pay the government monthly.

If a restaurant worker is lucky enough to be working on a busy night they make pretty good money per hour. If not, tip income can look pretty bad. By the way, it’s not only restaurant workers that have to deal with this. Any position that could potentially get a tip based on what they do has to pay taxes on it. This means cab drivers, doormen, bartenders, the guys that park your car, even the ladies who do hair are supposed to pay, whether they end up getting tipped or not.

It’s important for us to do our part when we get even relatively adequate service. The standard rate should be 15%, and upwards of 20% or more if the service was good or if there were a lot of people in your party. At many restaurants, if there are 8 or more guests the restaurant will automatically add 18% onto the bill for the tip, so you don’t have to pay more if you’re not inclined to do so.

However, percentages are just numbers to most people. Here are some quick rules of thumb if you want to be fair. If your bill is less than $10, tip at least $2. If your bill is between $10 and $15, tip at least $3, $15 to $20 tip at least $4. Notice I’m giving “at least” figures.

When the bills start getting higher, you can use a different type of discretion in tipping someone. I often have a great relationship with the people who serve me (it’s a smart thing to do; after all, they are bringing your food and it’s never smart to make the people who have your food last before you get it mad at you), so tipping on the high side is often justified. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly, and if the waitstaff has gone out of their way to give you a great experience, didn’t they deserve it?

I have no problem tipping more if service was pretty good. As a matter of fact, after taking a motivational course that encouraged us to life and think about life and prosperity, I’ve started tipping around 30% most of the time; if some situations I’m tipping closer to 50%. This depends on the amount of the bill; if it’s over $30 I’m not tipping $15, but if it’s under $15 sometimes I do. In any case, I’m tipping more than I used to.

Of course, no one is ever obligated to tip. If you were treated badly not tipping or under tipping is a great way to get your point across. If you think you’ll be going back to a certain place it makes sense to tip because restaurant workers always remember the patrons that give lousy tips; always! It’s important to realize just how badly these types of workers are paid and treated by the government; please think about them when you’re ready to pay your bill.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2019 Mitch Mitchell