According to an advice video from CNBC, you can save hundreds of dollars every year by following a simple trick: double the tax on your meal in order to determine how much you should leave for a tip. Depending on the sales tax in your state, this will still leave you with a tip in between 15 and 20 percent. You can still follow social etiquette while being money-conscious.
But for many, tipping below 20 percent is a slight to service workers everywhere. According to the Sun Herald, many service workers are dependent upon tips to make a living wage. By leaving an inadequate tip, customers are not only insulting the waiter or waitress who worked hard to serve them, but they are also actively making those workers' lives more difficult.
Some people believe that by leaving any tip at all, customers are only furthering a pay structure that makes service workers the losers. Thrillist's Dave Infante looked to Greg Linster for insight on why tipping for the sake of subscribing to social norms perpetuates an unequal pay structure. Infante explains:
Basically, if you're not tipping for truly great service, you're tipping to avoid having your peers perceive you as a truly lousy butthead. Buttheads being what they are, that's an understandable rationale, but it's still an unfair one, and it's costing you money.
According to Infante and Linster, America's unique tipping system gives restaurants a pass to run low overhead and treat workers unfairly. Rather than leave a 10, 15, or 20 percent tip, Infante calls for a revolution:
But if the customer-fueled tip-train ground to a halt, tippable restaurant employees -- a group that represents 60% of the entire country's tipped workforce -- would go from earning enough, to barely making ends meet. Many would exit the industry for other jobs; those who couldn't would suffer at the poverty line.
This duo believes that service workers' take-home pay should not be up to customers. By attempting to do the right thing in leaving a tip, customers are only "screwing everything up." We should demand better practices from restaurants instead.
According to the universally-loved and universally-missed Anthony Bourdain, leaving an inadequate tip is a poor reflection of character. Bourdain understood the meaning behind leaving a tip and encouraged his fans to acknowledge the same: help out your fellow man and leave a 20 percent tip for your server no matter the circumstance.
Another restaurant-goer responded to CNBC's advice on Twitter by adding:
Nice! Also pushing down old ladies and stealing the change in their wallets could earn you up to $385/year!
If you need to save money by leaving small tips for your service workers, you shouldn't be eating out.