“Tipping: Americans’ Path of Resistance

Though accumulated by society, tipping in America is often met with hesitation and sometimes, an outright “No.” A survey conducted in 2018 by CreditCards.com attested to the sentiment of non-tipping Americans. It was reported that 8% of the respondents refused to tip whatsoever – nearly double the amount who answered that they do tip. The survey also revealed that nearly a quarter of respondents aged 18 to 37 tend to not tip, compared to only 6% of those 55 and over. But why are so many Americans shying away from tipping the service industry? Though some state that tipping is a matter of budget, it appears there are other factors at play here. Perhaps it’s because many Americans view tipping as a forcible custom – they need to tip just because society expects it. Moreover, with the risk of unequal income, service industry workers feel like they need to earn their tip – the burden is on them to shape that extra amount of money. This pressure often leads employees to engage in activities that could be seen as cring worthy (e.g. hound customers to tip). As stated by sociologist Michael Lynn, “The employee works to make the customer be generous, at least explaining it as a reward for the employee’s service.” Americans are also hesitant to tip, because there is the fear of their server taking advantage of them if they are perceived to be prosperous. “For wealthy customers, there’s sometimes a fear that servers are taking advantage,” says Elizabeth Dunn, a professor of psychology at University of British Columbia who studies happiness and consumer behavior. The credit for American’s ever decreasing tipping rate doesn’t only lie on customers. A major factor in tipping etiquette is actually restaurant owners and how they handle their employees. After all, a big reason why some don’t tip is because they assume that restaurants pay employees far more than what they really do, FYI: the median wage for a tipped worker in America is $10 an hour. And that’s three dollars short of the national minimum wage. It’s also worth mentioning that many restaurants also keep their earnings from tips. When customers don’t tip, it’s not the waiters who are out the money: it’s the restaurant owners who take the hit. Tipping is a common practice everywhere, however, the tipping etiquette differs across the globe. It is necessary to remember and understand that tipping is still an important part of the American Service Industry; it is your polite gesture to show the service served was up to your standards. Though for many Americans, tipping is still a requirement that they have to follow, it’s nice to know they don’t have to forgo their morals or principles in the process.