Tipping Point

by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

"After four waiting jobs, I never tip below 20%." The irony of that statement: while it tries to state an empathy towards 'real' working people, you'd be hard pressed to explain why the waitperson at your $100 meal deserves $20+, the one serves you a $20 meal deserves $5 (or even $10 for a 50% tip). I've heard all kinds of rationalizations for this disparity, but as also having had a number of jobs that were 'tip' oriented, I know it really is BS, as in the end the one person gets paid significantly less for the equivalent work. And which person do you think generally 'needs' the money more: the person working at the diner, or the person working at 'Le whatever'?

Good point. To offer an example: I was tipped about $90 a night at a North Carolina diner and about $140 a night at a West Village restaurant, but they were equally exhausting. Then again, the standard of living is much higher in NYC, and one can typically turn over more tables in less-fancy eateries. And as far as "real" working people, keep in mind: the more you tip your "Le" waiter, the more they tip out bussers and dish washers.