Anna
Lv 5
Anna asked in Society & CultureEtiquette · 4 months ago

Why does tipping seem to be mandatory in America?

I live in the UK and while you should tip here it's not mandatory. It's a choice plus what if you only have enough for the bill or if you had crap service. My boyfriend and I go to cafes and don't tip and we still get good service (although we're only buying a drink not a meal). Why is it different in America? Why not just make it mandatory to pay wait staff a decent wage?

22 Answers

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  • Cogito
    Lv 7
    4 months ago
    Best answer

    Hi - I'm from the UK too, and here, waiters and bar staff are all paid at least the minimum wage, which is a decent amount to live on.

    In the USA they're often paid really terrible wages - certainly NOT enough to live on.

    I agree that the problem is that the USA doesn't have a good minimum wage level, but until that changes, unfortunately everyone is expected to tip between 15% and 20%. The Americans have all got used to it - and I guess that when we visit the USA we just have to accept that as their tradition and go along with it.

    It's like having to pay more at a supermarket than whatever you've bought was price-marked, because of their sales tax being added at the till. I find that really annoying! But it's just something you have to deal with when visiting the USA.

    • Nuff Sed
      Lv 7
      3 months agoReport

      First, all tipped employees in the USA are making at least the same statutory minimum wage as everyone else, whether or not anyone actually tips. That's the law. Second, the value-added tax on goods is not unique to the USA. NOBODY in the USA pays 20% retail tax, like they do in the UK.

  • 4 months ago

    Ask most waiters and bartenders and they like the system just as it is. Good money to be made from tipping. We hate serving cheap-assed Euros who refuse to tip. We spit in their food.

    • Nuff Sed
      Lv 7
      3 months agoReport

      All tips are optional. How are you going to spit in a non-tipper's food if they haven't yet decided whether to tip you? Also, be ready to spend some time in a hospital or jail when you get caught tampering with someone's food. Take your teeth home in a Dixie® Cup.

  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    probably cause theyre not getting a decent wage

    • Nuff Sed
      Lv 7
      3 months agoReport

      There are thousands of jobs in which workers make only the minimum wage and yet they get no opportunity for any sort of tips. It's a free country; get a job that pays more than minimum wage and you don't have to beg for tips.

  • 4 months ago

    Wait staff are paid way below minimum wage in order to insure that the wait staff works hard at pleasing the customers so they EARN tips. TIPS means To Insure Prompt Service.

    So, you may ask, well then, why doesn't the wait staff just get paid more money? Well, then they would not work as hard to please the customers, making the restaurant perhaps not a popular place to go if the service sucks.

    • Common Sense
      Lv 7
      3 months agoReport

      To Nuff: Rightyo. Tipping is a terrible custom. Actually working in the restaurant industry is very difficult and quite cut throat when employees have to deal with egotistical co workers and managers and some horrible owners. That is why there is a huge turnover in restaurant employees.

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  • drip
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    I don’t know how the heck got started. Never researched it.

    But it is here now and seems like it is here to stay,

    At least be sure to tip at a restaurant.

    It isn’t mandatory, but it is considered beyond rude, a direct insult not to tip.

    • Nuff Sed
      Lv 7
      3 months agoReport

      Part of the job's income may come from tips, but the employees are all going to be making at least minimum wage regardless of tips. Expecting to be paid more, with a gift, for showing up and doing the job is rude. You can NEVER expect to get a gift, unless you're rude.

  • 4 months ago

    Just a corrective to what some people seem to think: In the UK we DO tip, just not nearly as much, or as often, as people do in the US. In a small cafe I leave a few coins; in a proper restaurant I leave about 12% if the service has been decent, but the sky is the limit if it's been in some way extraordinary.

    At hairdressers I leave 10%; taxis I round up to the nearest pound and add another pound (or two if the fare is well over £10). I don't think I even think of tipping anyone else, ever.

  • Foofa
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    This country only exists because a bunch of businessmen didn't want to pay taxes. Our entire system is set up to preference commerce over people. This concept of under paying servers and expecting the patrons to make up the difference is only one of the ways the US forces the public to subsidize low wages. Some of our major employers pay so little that their workers still qualify for public benefits and of course they're also allowed to hire unlawful foreign nationals and pay them less even than the minimum wage. I lived in the UK and it's definitely better there to be able to order a meal knowing you won't be expected to add 20+% onto your bill.

    • Nuff Sed
      Lv 7
      3 months agoReport

      Nobody is expected to "add 20+%" on the bill in the USA. All tips are optional. In the UK you get the bonus of paying VAT of 20%, which is NOT optional, right?

  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    "Why not just make it mandatory to pay wait staff a decent wage?" Because tips provide incentive for the staff to provide adequate service. This is good for the customer and it's also good for the restaurant owner.

    And by the way, it IS mandatory that tipped employees receive at least minimum wage. If zero customers tip, the employer is required to make up the difference between the serving wage and the minimum wage. There are zero servers in the USA who are (legally) earning less than minimum wage.

  • 4 months ago

    Tipping seems to be encouraged because in some places waiters and waitresses are getting paid very little so they can make room for their tipping wages. Why not have them paid the same way, same reason how tipping works, by making room.

    • Nuff Sed
      Lv 7
      3 months agoReport

      First, not all US states allow inclusion of tips as part of the minimum wage. Second, there is no tipped employee in the USA who is legally making less than minimum wage. Finally, if a server wants to make more money, they can ask for a raise. Pretty simple concept.

  • susan
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    I don't know how or what century it got started, but that is the custom here. We do it because to go against the custom is seen as extremely rude, even ethically wrong. It's like you have customs that have to do with royalty, such as don't stand in front of the Queen. We don't know all those rules, or why you have each particular one.

    Failure to tip is regarded here as kind of cheating the wait staff. Whether you tip or not, they will be required to pay taxes on what the tip "should have been," as well as a certain percentage to other staff in the kitchen and those who clear the tables. That combined with low wages means that an actual tip of zero percent can very well result in it actually costing your server a small amount of money per hour for the privilege of having served you.

    • Nuff Sed
      Lv 7
      3 months agoReport

      You're a liar. Nobody has to pay taxes on tips they never received. All servers make at least the same minimum wage as everyone else, whether or not customers tip anything at all. Failure to tip is a personal choice. All tips are optional. Get used to the idea.

  • 4 months ago

    Tips are often a major source of compensation for wait staff and other U.S. service providers. Employers often pay these employees lower wages in anticipation that tip income will provide a significant portion of the employees' income. Customers should realize that they are not auotmatically paying 'more' (due to tipping). In non-tipping countries, the tips are simply built into the price of the food. An advantage to tipping, therefore, is the ability to tip whatever is appropriate: if the service is poor, a small tip should be left, signaling to the server that their service was subpar. (Trip Advisor).

    • Nuff Sed
      Lv 7
      3 months agoReport

      If "service is poor", then NO TIP should be left. Why reward bad behavior with a gift? Idiotic. All tips are optional. The employer knows that and builds the cost of service into the menu prices, whether or not anyone tips. Also, tips are optional and cannot be "built in".

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