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Tipping Skimpers on the Rise and in the News

It would make sense that restaurant servers' tips have declined with a weak economy causing more people to forgo eating out, but they are also reporting a decrease in the amount of tips received from regular customers. Bartenders, cab drivers, and hairstylists have also noticed their income from tips falling along with the economy and admitted that some customers aren't giving any gratuity at all.

People are generally putting some distance between themselves and unnecessary services: scheduling hair appointments further apart, eating and drinking at home, and opting for public transportation over cabs are some ways they're doing this. This is completely understandable, but when we do use those services we should be prepared to tip accordingly.

It doesn't make sense to me that tipping would waiver if there hasn't been a change in the quality of service. Considering that many service workers rely on tips for the majority of their income, we should be mindful when paying and remember that everyone has bills to pay! Have any of you working in tip-reliant jobs noticed negative changes as of late?


Join The Conversation
Captious Captious 8 years
In case anyone else reads this and has the confusion amynick3 has- There is a federally mandated wage in the US of $5.15 (or it was may have gone up when you read this) what they are talking about is server minimum. What this means is this- For any hour the server works that her $2.83 plus tips = < $5.15 the restaurant must pay whatever the difference is to bring her hourly wage up to $5.15. If the server makes > $5.15 w/ tips + $2.83 the restaurant pays $2.83.
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
I truly feel sorry for workers who basically depend on tips alone. It's never been easy, and unfortunately consumers are still going to do what they usually do... yet tip a little lower, get less services, skip the drinks and deserts. It's hard times for everybody. You can't blame the consumer, blame the government. We continue to tip, but I can honestly say it's not as generous as before.
Mintie Mintie 9 years
It's waver rather than waiver.
sundrops sundrops 9 years
We would tip regardless, but I don't think we've gone somewhere where we've had to tip since gas prices sky rocketed. My husband waited tables as a second job earlier this year and their busiest season was the sales AFTER Christmas, then it got totally dead. I can't imagine it now.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
well i tip regardless, but i have to admit that i feel like overall the service that i'm getting in any venue has been so much worse. i don't like to give rewards to people who haven't even been courteous, however with a server, they might get only a little something. it's hard - you know that you want to cut back on spending, and it's not like our expectations on service have changed as a result, it's just one of thos things i guess. it might be the people who don't normally get regular tips (i.e. the valet at the parking garage, mailman etc) that will see the biggest imapct this holiday season.
verily verily 9 years
I'm amazed by the audacity of people who tip low because money's getting tight. If money is so tight, why are they going out to eat in the first place? I always tip at least 15% of the bill and it's usually about 20%.
avettafawna avettafawna 9 years
I'm a server at a fairly upscale restaurant, and myself and my coworkers have all experienced a pretty noticable, and pretty universal drop in our tip percentage lately. I'm grateful that my restaurant is still doing well and I still have people to wait on every night, but as most of the customers who dine at my restaurant are generally pretty well off, and our standard of service hasn't gone down, I'm chalking a lot of these tips up to cheapness and corner cutting. The argument of not being able to afford to tip well doesn't fly with me when you're spending $100 for dinner for two on a Tuesday night.
lawchick lawchick 9 years
my husband makes like $2.30/hr plus tips waiting tables. so, tipping waiters is not optional as far as I'm concerned. Tipping WELL is optional depending on the service. I totally agree with the above posters that a tip should be included when you're thinking about how much money you are going to spend at dinner.
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
It used to be 2.13 when I started serving several years ago in KY. I don't know what it is now; I assume it's increased b/c the nat'l min wage has increased, but I'll bet like Amanda's state 2.83 is probably close. It's ridiculous.
amynick3 amynick3 9 years
itsamanda9 - my goodness, what state are you in? Is minimum really that low? I'm in Nevada of all places but our minimum's $6.33!
itsamanda9 itsamanda9 9 years
I'm a server at a small bar/restaurant. I've noticed people not spending as much whether that means ordering cheaper meals or less drinks; we are only paid $2.83/hour. I'm not sure about other states and their minimum wages for tipped employees, but that is only enough to cover our state and local taxes (that we pay on the tips that we must claim) for each pay period. For those who think their tip to me is simply a "bonus" should consider the fact that I haven't received a paycheck since my training for my job - their tips are the only income that I receive. I know bad service doesn't deserve a stellar tip, but if you don't tip at all you really shouldn't be out.
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 9 years
Dameneko- did you tell them you only got 75 minutes? You need to mention it for the next time and to keep them honest. And if money is tight, I wouldn't think about stiffing the tip. That seems ridiculous. I will say that I've lucked out with my hairdresser now. She used to be $11 more plus $7 for the tip but has switched to renting a chair as opposed to working for the salon. I tipped her the first time but the second time I didn't because she is her own boss now. Is this correct? I asked her about it and she gave me, "you can if you want, but if you don't that's fine," answer.
Just-Oh Just-Oh 9 years
Great topic. There's such a wide spectrum here as most former servers are universal 20% tippers and there are many who think 10% is generous tip for even the most fantastic service just because a tip is "extra." Diners who view tips as completely optional will always be the first to cut them out completely in tighter economic times; even if they aren't personally hurting! I've witnessed this first hand. That won't fly in my household as we always plan our evenings out.
Chloe08 Chloe08 9 years
While I agree that you should tip for good service, I completely disagree with this idea that you are obligated to tip. A tip is a bonus, given to show your appreciation for great service. No one should be forced or made to feel guilty for not tipping, especially now that money is tight for everyone.
ualili ualili 9 years
My DH and I feel that if we can't afford the tip we just won't go - we always factor it in before we go out. I don't think its fair to the server, therapist, etc, to expect them to do their job yet not tip them accordingly. I think its plain and simple: if you can't afford the tip, don't go!
fuzzles fuzzles 9 years
As a server through both high school and college, I wouldn't even dream of going to a restaurant without considering a tip into the final cost of a meal. To me, that means allowing 25% of the bill as a tip for good service. Needless to say with the cost of gas and such, I dine out maybe once every three months. And we aren't talking steakhouses!
dameneko dameneko 9 years
i recently tipped a massage therapist $10 instead of my usual $15 for 90 minutes because she was 10 minutes late and quit 5 minutes early. i have been going to this place for almost ten years and have never been shorted like that. later i wondered if they had been booking their staff without breaks. i felt a little guilty for giving her a small tip as i have many friends who do this sort of thing for a living and they tell me about crappy tippers, but they charged me for a 90-minute massage that was only 75 minutes.
imLissy imLissy 9 years
it really bugs me when I hear people say, I ate out, but I didn't leave a tip because I don't have any money... then why eat out???? I tipped too much last time I ate out, lol. My food was only like $7 and all I had was a $10
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
"And a sincere thank you to those who plan ahead and tip accordingly when they go out - we servers appreciate it!!" :D I served for a long time. No way will I ever stiff a server!
amynick3 amynick3 9 years
I'm a server at a busy, moderately priced restaurant, and while I've noticed a slight decline in tip percentage from some, it seems that people just want to spend less these days (and understandably so). So while people may tip the same percentage, it still hurts when they go out to eat and penny-pinch every step of the way; less in sales also means less in tips. Just an observation from someone in the service industry. :-) And a sincere thank you to those who plan ahead and tip accordingly when they go out - we servers appreciate it!!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
"when we do use those services we should be prepared to tip accordingly." I agree completely. When the fiance and I are trying to figure out if we can afford to go out for dinner or whatever, we factor the tip into what we can spend. If we don't think we'll have enough to tip properly, we just don't go.
SillyGirl SillyGirl 9 years
At a couple of places (salons, spas etc) I have been noticing more "overlapping" of customers, and yet increased prices lately. I refuse to pay a higher tip based on the now higher priced service when I feel the quality of the service is not as good. I paid my standard tip % but based on the older prices.
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