Gratuity Essay


Tipping, as we all know, is not a city in China.  In American society, tipping still is an everyday occurrence that most of us will have to deal with at some point.  Whether we are taking our significant other to a fancy dinner to propose, out with our parents for a night on the town, or simply looking for a bite to eat at our favorite joint in town, tipping is a part of everyone’s life.

            What many people may not know, however, is what people should actually be tipping on their meals.  In the breakfast restaurant, people expect a quick meal that is cheap and fast.  The food may not be fantastic all the time, but a general rule is at least a dollar a person (including children because they are massy), and more if the server is pleasant and makes you feel at home.  Bacon and eggs may not seem that much, but these people still have to wake up at the crack of dawn and be cheerful before you get your coffee.

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            Then the lunch whistle blows.  If you’re in the mood for take-out, it’s up to you on the tip.  It’s probably appropriate when they have the food ready for you relatively soon (if you call ahead), but not entirely necessary.  If you go to a sit down restaurant, be prepared to spend a little more (lunch is usually a little more expensive) and tip according to the 15% rule that your parents imparted to you while you were younger.  While the 15% rule (which is before tax) is a bit outdated, you can still get away with this at lunchtime if you’re in a hurry and aren’t looking for a twenty dollar a plate meal.

            And then, before you know it, it is dinner time.  Here’s where rules come in that should be followed, and should be passed on to everyone you know.  Dinner will be the most expensive meal of the day, and this should not reflect a smaller tip to make up for it.  Dinnertime tips should begin around the twenty percent mark, and include a higher markup if the waiter/waitress is particularly pleasant, refills drinks without asking, or makes frequent pit stops to check on how you are doing.  Generally, if you are in a large party of eight or more, the 18% gratuity is added on for you, but this is just a guideline that most restaurants want you to pay.  Do not feel pressured to leave them more or less based on this computer-generated calculation.

            Ultimately, people will cling to the 15% rule that parents have told their children for generations, regardless of their service.  But those of us in the younger generation know the price of living has gone up, inflation has risen, and job security has become a big issue.  The waiters/waitresses of America are doing the best they can to get by, and our tips should ultimately reflect the quality of service.  Twenty percent should become the new rule, and remember to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Because it might be you someday too.