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” Sometimes I know exactly what the answer to that question is, and things run smoothly.
But other times, I find myself in the dreaded Ambiguous Tipping Situation. I put on my Weird But Earnest Guy Doing a Survey About Something hat and hit the streets, interviewing 123 people working in New York jobs that involve tipping.
I only took seriously a viewpoint I heard at least three times, and in this post, I’m only including those viewpoints that were backed up by my online research and Lynn’s statistical studies.
Here’s the overview, which is a visualization of the results of Lynn’s polling of over 1,000 waiters.
In my case, the story goes like this: In college, I was a waiter at a weird restaurant called Fire and Ice.
This is the front page of their website (fyi, those lame word labels are on the site, not added by me): That sad guy in the back is one of the waiters.
He’s sad because he gets no salary and relies on tips like every other waiter, but people undertip him because at this restaurant they get their own food so they think he’s not a real waiter even though he has to bring them all their drinks and side dishes and give them a full tour of the restaurant and how it works like a clown and then bus the table because they have no busboys at the restaurant and just when the last thing he needs is for the managers to be mean and powerful middle aged women who are mean to him, that’s what also happens.
Bad life experiences aside, the larger point here is that I came out of my time as a waiter as a really good tipper, like all people who have ever worked in a job that involves tipping.
Throughout my interviews, I heard a lot of opinions reinforcing what’s on that chart and almost none that contradicted it.
1) Different demographics absolutely do tip differently “Do any demographics of people—age, gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, profession—tend to tip differently than others?
” ran away with the “Most Uncomfortable Question to Ask or Answer” award during my interviews, but it yielded some pretty interesting info.
Along the same lines— Food delivery guys are undertipped—they’re like a waiter except your table is on the other side of the city.
really isn’t a sufficient tip (and one delivery guy I talked to said 20% of people tip nothing)— or is much better. The delivery guys I talked to all said the tips don’t change in bad weather—that’s not logical.
Likewise, while tipping on takeout orders is nice but not necessary, one restaurant manager complained to me about Citibank ordering 35 lunches to go every week, which takes a long time for some waiter to package (with the soup wrapped carefully, coffees rubber-banded, dressings and condiments put in side containers), and never tipping. It might not make sense that in the US, we’ve somewhat arbitrarily deemed certain professions as “tipped professions” whereby the customers are in charge of paying the professional’s salary, instead of their employer—but that’s the way it is.