First Person: I Don't Like the No-Tip Movement

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I've heard a growing number of high-end restaurants in New York stop customers from tipping the servers. I'm hoping the "no-tip movement" doesn't reach Florida because my family depends on tips. My teenage son earns tips from his job in the service industry, which pays his many expenses. In the past, when he had a job that didn't pay tips was temporarily in between jobs, it weighed on our family finances. I noticed we ran up credit cards and depleted our savings to help him pay his car insurance, phone bill and gasoline.

Paying for better service

I don't think tips ensure better service during the initial visit, but I do believe many servers roll out the red carpet for generous tippers who are repeat customers. They already know when I walk into my favorite restaurant that I'm going to leave a good tip because I always do. I've also been on the other side. I worked as a server when I was in high school and college at a number of different restaurants. I spilled water and squirted ketchup on customers. I dropped the heavy trays. I was not very good at the job. I remember one generously customer tipped me when I took his order, asking me to put him ahead of other customers. I gladly took the money, but couldn't persuade the cooks to move him ahead of the others.

Confusing the customers

I personally have no problem with the fact that some establishments refuse tips. I know the grocery store that I frequent has a no-tip policy when baggers take groceries out to my car. However, I do think no-tip policies in restaurants can be confusing. According to a recent article by Market Watch, servers in restaurants that adopted the no-tip policy had to chase down customers to return the tip money. Evidently some of the restaurants raised their prices by 15 percent to cover the new salaries that would replace tips. If the restaurants decide to do away with the no-tip policy, I'm pretty sure they won't lower their prices.

Pooling tips complicate things

I also don't like the idea of giving a tip that will end up in a pool for a variety of different employees. At Starbucks, baristas recently sued because they didn't like the way tips were divvied up. Shift managers should be given a higher pay to make up for the absence of tips. I just want to feel as though the tip I give is going to the particular person who I think deserves the token of appreciation.

Even though there is a no-tip policy at one of the fast-casual restaurants I frequent that provides "curb-side pickup," I noticed the servers are more than happy to take cash tips. One server told me they weren't allowed to receive tips when I paid with credit card or debit card. She said she would gladly accept cash. Her interpretation of the no-tip rule was that cash was still fine to receive. Because the servers need to bring my food out in the rain, I have no problem having a cash tip ready for them. Tipping is as much a part of our culture as sparing change for a homeless person begging on the street corner. And, I've noticed in some cities, they are trying to do away with beggars as well.

More from this contributor:

The Spent Challenge Turned me into a Saver

Is the Minimum Wage Really Fair?

Making it in a Family of Hamburger Flippers


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