Should Tipping Be Mandatory?

by Danielle Pointdujour

TippingRecently an Applebee’s waitress in St. Louis named Chelsea Welch lost her job after she posted online the receipt left by a customer who refused to leave her a tip.  The note on the receipt, which was left by Pastor Alois Bell, said “I give God 10% Why do you get 18?″  Welch, who told Consumerist that she originally posted the receipt as a “lighthearted joke,” was fired after Pastor Bell complained to Applebee’s about the humiliation she was facing in front of her congregation and peers.

Despite losing her job, Chelsea remains unapologetic for outing the pastor and says:

“Because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness was made public,” she said, “Applebee’s has made it clear that they would rather lose a dedicated employee than lose an angry customer. That’s a policy I can’t understand.”

Now I’ve never worked in food service, but I imagine that it is harder than it may seem, and after serving a customer I’m sure it is a welcome relief to see a few bills on the table for your hard work.  But as many of us also know, not every waiter and waitress is deserving of that extra change in their pocket.

While we may never know whether Pastor Bell was being a cheapskate or if Chelsea Welch was just a bad server, the situation does raise the question on whether or not tip should be mandatory.  While there are places like Applebee’s that add a mandatory gratuity to every receipt or to parties of a certain size, there are many that don’t, leaving the decision on whether to tip on not in the diner’s hands.

Countries like Japan actually frown upon tipping and many servers will out right refuse the gesture despite you’re wanting to thank them for a job well done.  If they can survive without getting tipped every night at work, why do American waiters and waitresses feel that tipping is a right as opposed to what it really is, a voluntary gesture of thanks.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with tipping a server for their great service, especially if they go above and beyond for me.  Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done and servers are no exception.  However, it might be a bit much to basically force patrons to tip whether or not they feel the service deserved it or not.  Some might even go so far as to say that mandatory tipping causes service workers to do half-ass jobs because they know they are getting money whether they do a good job or not.  As the debate over mandatory tips wages on I choose to stick with what has always worked well for me, good service gets tipped, bad service gets reported to management, who mandatory tip rule or not, will usually side with the customer if warranted.

And as for Pastor Bell, she may not have given Chelsea a tip, but I have one for her, practice what you preach to your followers and you won’t have to deal with the humiliation of karma.

Do you think tipping should be mandatory?  How to do you handle bad service?

  • Rosey

    Wow, he didn’t leave her anything? He should have stayed his @ss at home. WWJD? I’m sure he would tip.

  • Nat

    the pastor actually did leave a tip at the table…it is not shown on the receipt.

  • qj201

    “why do American waiters and waitresses feel that tipping is a right as opposed to what it really is, a voluntary gesture of thanks.”

    Clearly you have NOT bothered to check out your know, PAY rates in countries that have tipping and those that don’t.

    In Japan and other places, servers are paid a LIVING WAGE hourly.

    However here in the US, servers can be paid 50% of minimum wage legally because they “make up the difference” in tips.

    Get a clue before you shoot your mouth off.

  • donnadara

    Many wait staff make under minimum wage. Tips bring them up to the minimun.

  • EST. 1986 (GO RAVENS)

    No, tipping should not be mandatory.

  • FairyDust

    So are yall not aware servers make $2.14/hour in VA??

  • Sasha

    This pastor had $35 to spend on food but couldn’t choke out the extra $7 in tips? God must really be causing her to squeeze those pennies tight. While many people disagree on a “set” percent to tip (some people say 15%, others say 20% and yet others say its based on the service), I tip at 20% and it goes down depending on the service of the quality. Yesterday I got a wax done, total came to $50, I tipped the esthetician $10, a little under 20%. I don’t know how deep some people’s pockets are but what I do know is the pastor’s note was disgusting and I do not think the waitress should have been fired. My take on the situation is this: if you cannot afford to tip then you should reconsider getting the service/ going out to eat or to the bar.

  • Rosey

    Thanks for clarifying. That’s better …but the comments on the receipt still is arrogant and unnecessary imo.

  • The Mighty Quinn

    As a waitress, you don’t get paid much because you rely on tips. I never thought of it until I traveled abroad and a British friend said “America is a service oriented country”. She then pointed out that in most of the world waitstaff are salaried and with that comes service you don’t see in the US and she highlighted that at the table we were sitting with a party of about 10, some people were eating and others still waiting for food. From that point on I took note, I noticed that in Switzerland the waiter gets there when he is good and ready and that is most of Europe. I say this to point out that service in the US is different and more attention is paid to someone spending their hard earned dollar. You are running around tending to a customers every whim and from the other articles I read, the table was pleased with her performance.

    Yeah, she is paying God 10% of her yearly salary but would not pay 18% of her restaurant bill. The thing that REALLY gets me is it plays into the stereotype that Blacks are bad tippers, which when I waited tables, was my experience.

  • myblackfriendsays

    If you get bad service, then don’t leave a tip, and speak to the manager. But service that I would consider bad, happens so rarely as to almost not be an issue. I think 15% is acceptable for borderline to ok service, 20-25%+ for good or excellent service.

    I think that some people don’t factor in the tip when calculating the price of going out to eat, and have no intention of tipping no matter what the service is like. That is just messed up, in my opinion.

    And if you want to talk about other countries, service is consistently slower, less attentive in places where employees are getting a flat wage. It’s called hustling. Great servers work hard, treat their customers well, and make way more than minimum wage when all is said and done.

  • myblackfriendsays

    And as far as the pastor being humiliated–that’s what she gets for being cheap (and trying to be funny.) But I also agree with Applebee’s firing the server–that was unprofessional behavior.

  • Laurel B

    A friend of mine used to work at Pappadeaux and he told me all his horror stories, mostly of how a lot of patron’s would make a mountain out of a mole hill and while the customer gets coupons and a free meal, the server gets their already low pay docked or even worse, fired. I live abroad and despite tips being unnecessary, the service, from my experience, has not been unsatisfactory at all. Honestly, if tipping bothers you that much, then don’t eat out!

  • Kristi

    No, tipping shouldn’t be mandatory….what should be mandatory is that wait staff in restaurants be paid at least minimum wage. That way customers can tip based on service. Yes, it’s polite to tip. But I don’t think we should have to, or be made to feel like terrible people if we don’t tip especially since waiters and waitresses make less than 3 bucks an hour in most cases. Why doesn’t the restaurant industry take some heat for that?

  • EST. 1986 (GO RAVENS)

    Why should tipping be mandatory when businesses can just pay their staff a proper wage?

  • Anthony

    The minister was a cheapskate and deserved to be embarrassed. The waitress should get her job back. I also cannot believe the author didn’t know that American waiters depend on tips to make ends meet.

  • MySister’sKeeper

    Honestly it is so sad that the restaurant industry has us conditioned to believe that tips should be mandatory. I understand waitstaff make less than minimum wage and tips supplement their income, but how is that fair to customers? Restaurants are businesses like all others and it should be their responsibility to provide their employees a living wage. Tips are a “thanks for service” at a rate in accordance with the quality of service. It’s really a shame that we are fooled to believe it is our job to supplement this income. I always tip but it’s such an odd feeling that we are essentially bullied into it.

    I lived in Spain for a while and it took me so long to get over not tipping. The servers would return my money like “hey dummy, can’t you count.” It’s so nice to be served without an expectation of having to tip for someone doing their job. Rest assured the cost of the food is sufficient to pay employees a living wage without the additional necessity of the tip. It’s just that the restaurants don’t have to because there is an expectation that we will do it for them.

  • cookiechica

    Some pertinent info has been left out. The pastor was in a group that was larger than 8. Applebee’s policy(not unusual in restaurants, especially corporate chains)is to include an 18% gratuity to the bill when large parties(often 8 or more) are being served, and if people want to add extra to the bill, they can, but don’t have to. According to all the reports I’ve read, no one in the group had any complaints about Chelsea’s service. The pastor took it upon herself to cross out the automatic gratuity and leave nothing but her message, meaning she violated Applebee’s policy. If the pastor had a problem with Chelsea’s service, she could’ve easily called over a manager and complained about how the auto grat shouldn’t be in affect due to poor service, rather than leaving a self righteous message about how God already gets her 10%.

    I’m not a fan of tipping either, and restaurants should pay their servers wages that would put the whole issue of tipping back to the voluntary action it is, not make it something that brings sub-minimum wage pay up to barely standard living wages. The frowning upon of tipping in Japan is also a cultural norm(along with being paid a decent living wage), where tipping in the U.S. is a combination of cultural norm and mandatory due to a below base minimum wage paycheck and tips are seen by management and owners as part of average wages, not a perk or reward for a job well done.

  • omfg


    ultimately, this is a labor problem that is between the employer and the employee.

    the customer should not feel obliged to pay the server anything. this is not the case in just about any other business.

    restaurant owners are responsible for paying wages, not customers.

    so, maybe you should get a clue and demand that restauranteurs pay staff living wages rather than expect others to make up for it.

    leave customers alone.

  • JaeBee

    “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?”

    Hmm, let me think…maybe because God doesn’t need your money to survive! Not to mention that the reason behind a tithe (sacrifice) is different than a tip (gratuity).That said, there’s a lot of disagreement as to whether tithing is actually commanded of believers. Pastor Bell may not “need” to give God 10% after all.

  • TPerk

    If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to go out to eat. Period.

    Horrible, rude, disrespectful and bad service does not need a reward. But if your order was correct, your drink always full, your food was hot when it hit the table and you never had to flag down your waiter/waitress for ketchup, leave 15%.

    I waited tables throughout college in Boston sports bars and I can tell you, it’s not easy. And at home in Louisiana too, and there, the pay is less than minimum wage. Way less. So I always tip 20% or more unless the service is bad.

    If you don’t feel a tip is necessary, then head on over to Burger King or McDonalds or somewhere where someone is not running around like a mad woman, taking care of your table along with 4 others for 12 hours straight while your little brat screams and throws soggy cheerios at her.

  • omfg


    and why is it the customer’s responsibility to make up this difference?

    please tell me. why is it the customers’ responsibility to make sure a server’s wages are higher? why isn’t the employers’ responsibility? or the employee’s responsibility to search out other forms of employment that will pay them at least minimum?

  • MySister’sKeeper

    Oh, and glad she got fired too. The woman who was fired was not even the waitress who served the pastor and got stiffed on the tip. She was another employee who got into business that wasn’t hers to get into. She took the receipt from the pastor’s actual waitress and posted it on an atheist board to embarras the pastor. It seems that not only was she trying to embarrass the pastor, she was using it as a larger commentary on religion. Some lessons are hard learned.

  • Lena

    I wish that the US would adopt a better minimum wage law for service, because waitresses and waiters get paid only like $2.15 an hour. Only California is an exception and they get paid the normal minimum wage of every other job.
    For now, please tip the baseline of 15% if you have decent service and more if you have gotten exceptional service, their rent depends on your tip.

  • CurlyCrazy

    I think you should (almost) always tip. The only exception is if the service was downright horrible! In that case, you really should speak to the manager and let him/her know about the problem.

    As pointed out by other commenters, servers get paid way below minimum wage and are supposed to rely on tips to bring them up to a living wage. So for that reason, unless the service was atrocious, you should always tip. I honestly can’t remember the last time I left a zero tip. The issue I DO have is when the tip is included in the bill (with the exception of large parties). I find that the service suffers when they know they’re getting an 18% tip regardless of the quality of their service.

    Also, in a lot of countries servers don’t expect tips because they get paid a decent wage (unlike here in America), so you really can’t compare the two. But I have noticed that in countries where tipping is not customary, customer service is nowhere near as good as it is in the States.

  • Humanista

    “If they [the Japanese] survive without getting tipped every night at work, why do American waiters and waitresses feel that tipping is a right as opposed to what it really is, a voluntary gesture of thanks.”

    Are you kidding? You can’t possibly compare the two countries w/o taking into account the cultural norms, and, most importantly, the PAY. American waiters/-tresses can’t survive on 0 tips because without them, many make less than HALF of minimum wage ($7.25, in case anyone was wondering). I am not sure whether this is a devil’s advocate article or if basic research on the issue was just not completed at all.

    As for the pastor, her snark was uncalled for, especially if she really did leave an appropriate tip in cash on the table. Why would she be embarassed unless she knew that her note was out of line? She should be embarrassed.

    The fact that restaurants are even allowed to base up to 50% of the pay of an employee on the kindness of strangers is outrageous to me, especially when the jobs that they do are not “extra”, but mandatory. A server’s ACTUAL job is to take orders, bring food/drink, etc, so their wages (from the restaurant) should reflect that. I can’t think of any other profession where the employer pays part of a wage, while the customer decides what else the employee gets paid, w/o a contract, based on whatever they feel like after the service has been completed. Even contracted workers’ wages are determined prior to the start of service and, certainly, are at least minimum wage.

    Not a single one of us would not be okay w/ that arrangement in our own jobs; so why are we so quick to accept this norm in the retaurant industry? And given that reality, if it only costs you as much as a latte or less, why not just tip the person who served you (provided they didn’t suck)?

  • binks

    No, I don’t think tipping should be mandatory; basically I give tips as a courtesy regardless and great tips based on the service I received and how I received it. I do think wait stuff work very hard in the restaurant industry in which THEY need to get or form some kind of union and hold their employees’ feet to the fire so they can received at LEAST minimum wage so they won’t rely heavily on tips to make up the difference in their paychecks. But that note the pastor left…smh…way to lead by example buddy….

  • EST. 1986

    Why do you copy and paste the same responses on every article?

  • EST. 1986 (GO RAVENS)

    “If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to go out to eat. Period.”

    I knew this statement would enter the discussion at some point. Should those who are wealthy only be able to eat out?

  • EST. 1986 (GO RAVENS)

    “their rent depends on your tip.”

    It is not the customer’s job to make sure someone else’s rent is paid.

  • Greg Dragon

    Certain black people should just avoid eating out or restrict their meals to buffets and fast food restaurants where their arrogant and uninformed opinion on tipping will stop affecting those of us who actually give a damn.

    Black people not tipping is the biggest joke going in food services and if you query any honest waiter they will say as much. This Alois Bell woman and her 10% god rhetoric only added fuel to the fire as this thing goes viral with Reddit on the warpath. She has been exposed and Applebees is catching holy hell for firing her waitress.

    Don’t want to tip? Don’t go to restaurants.

  • au napptural

    I agree you should tip 15-20% for good service. My problem is no one talks about the downright casual racism black patrons receive. Right r wrong, most servers just assume black people don’t tip well, so we don’t get the stellar service. It gets my goat, because I go out ready and happy to tip well, then get sloppy service, and if I give the person a bad tip they’re going to be all “oh, I to9ld you blacks are stingy.” You reap what you sow. Furthermore, service is pretty much always pretty bad with a group of young black people, no matter how you dress or how polite you are. Waitstaff always complain, but they should try to see it from the customer’s persepctive. My parents taught me coming up that waiters depend on your tips, always give a great one for great service and leave something even for the less than average. But when I go out somewhere nice and get stiffed on service, it doesn’t put me in a giving mood.

    Restaurants should be required to pay min. wage, but service, in most cases, should dictate the tip. The automatic gratuity does give waiters the easy way out, but I think it’s necessary b/c 20 people will go in, use up the waiter, and then not tip. That’s not right.

  • Sasha

    That’s really all there is to it. The fact that anyone argues whether they should *have* to tip or not is classless and, dare I say, “ghetto”. The question isn’t WHETHER you should tip or not, its HOW MUCH you should tip, 0% not being an option and certainly not anything lower than 10%. The standard is 15% or 20% period, you can take off or add for service. On top of it being embarrassing and ghetto, its so arrogant because I’ve never seen anyone so loudly protest to tipping or go as far as writing down such a condescending, disgusting statement. I recall an article a while ago along the same lines, something about stereotypes of Black people not tipping and while I do not laregly buy into stereotypes, this is one that is apparent through and through. My older sister was a server in college for a couple of months and after a while she refused to serve Black people, especially large groups. Apparently it is a very common inside joke int he restaurant industry that you don’t want to serve Black people, particularly groups of Black women. Stereotypes suck but it is what it is. A commenter above questioned whether only wealthy people should go out to eat. No, wealthy people shouldn’t be the only people who should be able to frequent restaurants but instead people who have class and are not uncouth.

    Bottom line: if you don’t want to tip, then head to the nearest Safeway and buy the ingredients to make your own meal or KFC if you’re feeling especially lazy.

  • apple

    not everyone believes in the same god or any god at all,especially america so she shouldn’t have expected for every one to follow her religious law ..should tips be mandatory? sure i’m okay with the 18% thing and the fancy restaurants that charge 18% already , how else will waiter/waitress make their tips.. here’s a tip, if i don’t want to end up paying to sit/be served/ and pay for a high drink , i just take it to go..taste the same at home :-)

  • apple

    jesus can turn water in to wine , why would he even bother at applebees? just kidding hehe

  • Job

    Seriously. If you can’t tip go to McDonald’s. I really can’t believe some people can be so arrogant about tipping. One poster told them to go get another job. What if that’s the only job they can get while working their way through college? Do they need to wash your feet before you can leave a tip? Stop being so cheap.

  • ImJustSaying

    When you apply for a job waiting tables they tell you your hourly wage will be $xx.xx PLUS tips. Restaurants anticipate that severs will get tips in order to pay them less. So most servers will do what they believe is a good job and hope that they get enough of a tip to live on.
    I believe Oprah did a show about customer service and the waitress she spoke to said if a customer doesn’t tip her she’s basically paid for the meal. American Minimum wage laws make it okay to pay a sever 3.50-6.50 an hour. Most servers are part time that’s 15-20 hours a week if you’re lucky. Most people work 40 hours A WEEK this is 40 hours A MONTH. that’s 260 a month BEFORE TAXES.
    Everybody needs to tip because when you decide to dine out you are paying for some one else to do all the things you are avoiding by not making food at home. The prices on a menu are the same whether you dine in or Carry out. That is the price of the FOOD. If someone came to your house and did everything a server does for you, I would hope you’d want to thank them in some way. In this case, the thank you is the tip.

    And on the “Servers run from black diners” thing sometimes we make things into a racist action when they aren’t. If you go in to a restaurant thinking “They aren’t trying to serve black people in here. Watch how they do us” Everything the server does will be overly scrutinized and you will find something that “They” did wrong.
    However if you go in with a smile on your face and are cordial to your server they would give you great service because you are so nice. People of ALL RACES are rude to servers so when someone is nice you get even better service than average.
    Try being nice even extra nice and see what happens next time you dine out.

  • Do better

    Omg this is the best comment I’ve read! Why do people go out to eat or get services if they cannot afford to tip? I just don’t get it.

  • onegirl

    I went to a restaurant on Tuesday, and the service was terrible. I didn’t read the menu because they were offering a special menu for Restaurant Week. Well, because the service was so bad and my friend and I were rushing off to a show, we just put down tip money and rolled out. They automatically included 17% gratuity (which was listed on the regular menu, but not on the Restaurant Week menu), and we were screwed. I did write a bad review on Yelp, and that is the end of that. I will not return to that restaurant, and I have told everyone I know not to return to that restaurant. Automatic gratuity at any establishment is bogus. Sorry your clientele sucks, but don’t force me to pay for it!

  • mluv

    YES I think should be mandatory to leave a tip. The pastor who wrote that was an absolute jerk. Most restaurants I’ve attended a waiter or waitress will do their job and are deserving of one. This woman should not have been fired, and it’s a shame how rude and selfish people can be. They know that these people make most of their income on tips. And I hate when people try to used God too. God has nothing to do with it! lol

  • Kay

    Being wealthy has nothing to do with it. I’m not super wealthy either, but I understand that I am paying for a service, therefore, when I go out, I plan accordingly. I leave a tip. And most of the time, if it’s just a simple $20-$30 bill what’s so hard about leaving a few extra bucks? I work in an industry where I have to have lots of meetings with people over lunch and this has NEVER been an issue. So I just don’t get it.

  • Pseudonym

    THIS!!!!! I hate this whole tipping business b/c of what it has become: a way for employers to short-change their employees. Service providers should earn AT LEAST minimum wage and THEN get tipped based on their service. I will leave $0 if I get HORRIBLE service (cold food, inattentive waiter who takes half an hour to bring syrup for my pancakes so they’re cold by the time it arrives, etc.) and I will leave a note telling you exactly why (Plus, I probably complained during the meal, so the waiter had an opportunity to make up for it, even if with an excuse of “It’s my first day” to allow me some reason as to why I’m getting piss poor service). I give 15% for slightly subpar service and then average or more I give 18-20%.

  • Pseudonym

    Note: restaurant employees are guaranteed to earn at least minimum wage, though. I looked up the laws for a friend who was working as a waitress and going home with pennies. The way the law works, waiters are supposed to report their tip earnings to their bosses. Then, that amount is added to their hourly rate and if that total does not add up to minimum wage, the boss has to make up the difference. Problem is, lots of restaurant workers don’t know their rights and don’t exercise that part of the wage agreement.

  • omfg

    @greg dragon

    i am waiting for someone to explain why the customer has to make up the difference for the actual employer.

    please explain this – beyond the emotional part of the argument.

    also, if customers stayed away because they can’t afford or don’t care for the 15% tip, a lot of business might cease to exist.

    you’d rather a restaurant close over lack of tipping than stay in business?

    whose responsibility is it to pay the employee? the customer or the employer?

  • Pseudonym

    So, say you keep working empty shifts, you still get your minimum wage and don’t have to penalized b/c your employer doesn’t have customers.

  • omfg


    again, this is a labor issue between the employer and employee.

    it is not the customer’s fault if the person took a job expecting for lots of tips.

  • Pseudonym

    Maaaan, waiters in Spain don’t get tipped and you can tell! You will see your waiter only to order your food (so don’t forget anything or want something extra), receive your food, and receive your check. To get a beverage, you practically have to chase them down!!!!

  • Child, Please

    This is he the most sound comment I’ve read. I did a report on this in school and many paying around 2.15/hr, but they aren’t required to pay more. There is a union organization for hospitality staff and restaurant workers (can’t think of it b/c this was a while ago), but I imagine it’d still be too much for them to join and keep up with dues. I think also if we’re going to address the aspect “black people not tipping” it should be noted that across the board blacks in service jobs (minorities in general really) are least likely to be tipped as well. I just wish there was more of a crack down on issues such as this because no one should feel obligated to make up the difference in spite of a greedy employer.

    SN: I didn’t get a chance to research chain restaraunts (i.e. Olive Garden, etc.), but I am curious to see how much they get paid since there are so many and I imagine their bottom line would be massive.

  • KayKay

    The pastor deserves all the embarrassment she is receiving. She wrote a flippant, sarcastic remark on the receipt and even had the audacity to use the name of God. So as the scripture goes, “you reap what you sow”.

  • AygirlAygirl

    Then the food would be more expensive. You’re paying for it either way. At least now you have discretion.

  • MySister’sKeeper

    They both deserve what they got.

  • MD

    Let me tell you, that inside joke is not on the inside. I’ve been out at bars and restaurants and have seen the tip amounts left by people who ordered lots of drinks and food. My friend is a bartender and she’s put a few receipts w/o the signature on her FB profile and I have seen $5 left on a $100 tab. Disgraceful. When I’m out, unless the service was atrocious, do I not leave a tip. I have personally seen people leave a dollar or 2 on a $50 tab. It sometimes makes me over tip to try to break the stereotype.

  • Old TImer

    Define proper wage. How does one differentiate wages when it comes to “slow nights,” “busy nights,” parties, wealthy patrons, working class patrons, poor servers, exceptional servers, seasonal business levels, menu price fluctuations, banquets (1 server attending to one party the whole night) etc etc etc. A good/professional server can make $40,000k in tips in a year good luck convincing them to taking “a proper wage,” in lieu of tipping. Please… this argument has been settled decades ago.

  • Miss S

    Agreed. I have to do battle with some friends about tipping properly and I tend to be the one who goes above what they “think” is fair. I try to explain there are standards. This isn’t just my black friends, tho, lol. It’s all my broke friends too, or my stingy friends, or my friends who are just plain cheap. I call them all of this to their faces, they don’t care. This is why I try to avoid group meals, sad, but true. I also never go out to eat if I don’t have at least 15% of what I know the meal will cost, and nope never worked in a restaurant, but I feel I’d want nothing less.

    Also, if you’re not going to leave a tip, why leave commentary? This woman was begging to be internet famous. People really need to be mindful of how the world works in a technologically advanced world. I feel no way about her feelings. Maybe next time she’ll pay with cash if she won’t be tipping.

  • EST. 1986 (GO RAVENS)

    The response from KR/Keeping It Real was the same one he copied and pasted on a Madame Noire about tipping about a couple of months back.

  • EST. 1986 (GO RAVENS)

    KR/Keeping it real posted the same comment, which has been deleted, on an article on Madame Noire about tipping.

  • Mademoiselle

    She gives God 10%. Mere mortals shouldn’t make as much as God, of course.

    I don’t agree with mandatory tipping only because it irritates me that restaurants are allowed to skirt the responsibility of paying their employees living wages, but the Pastor’s reasoning is stupid. Even if she was going to pull the tithing card, she didn’t even leave 5%. She gave her waitress a zero-sum option, and since God wasn’t serving her, homegirl got zero. That’s a shame.

    Honestly, I prefer mandatory tipping because at least then I know employees are getting paid realistic wages (I think). I honestly hate having to monetize my generosity just to eat. Tell me the all-in cost of the meal, and I’ll either pay it or eat elsewhere — that’s what I’d like. Same goes for taxis, valets, hotel staff, etc. Stop guilting me and excusing their employers for their poverty.

  • AnGe

    The only absolute time I think tipping should be mandatory is when the party is over a certain size. I think in the video it mentions the party was over 8 people or so. Having to take orders for that many people at one time is worthy of receiving a tip.

    Her comment was just rude. And usually a tithe is off of your income which should be a lot higher than your applebees’s bill. What a joke to throw religion into the middle of tipping. Like God wouldn’t want her to tip her waitress who’s working off of minimum wage and running around like a mad woman to get your order correct.

    Her actions were just weird.

  • Kaeli

    I am confused about the tone of this article. In America the culture is to to your server 10-20%. The range is there so you can tip based on the quality of the service. I’m truly hoping that those who are questioning tipping still tip. Also, if your service is poor ask to see a manager and prior to the end of your meal and still tip.

  • Somebody

    Speaking as someone who has been a minimum wage earner before, I can sympathize with waiters and waitresses. But it’s not a customer’s duty to make up for bad wages. When I worked in retail, I was never tipped for providing excellent customer service. All I got was a smile and kind words from customers and I wasn’t complaining because it was my own choices and circumstances that led to me to such a job.
    I’ve read comments in which it was stated that if someone comes to your house to cook for you and serve the meal, you would pay for it. Well, yes, you would and that’s why you’re not eating at the restaurant for free. Tips shouldn’t be mandatory. I don’t understand how this became the case. You tip when you’re impressed by the service but it shouldn’t be forced upon you.
    Having said that, writing a comment on the receipt was not necessary, and was rather rude.

  • Blackgirlmd

    This article was really poorly written and its evident that no research was done. The editors really need to get on this.

  • Child, Please

    I meant to post this on your response below, but you are SPOT ON about how restaurants are supposed to make up the difference in worker pay! I saw that and my jaw dropped! I was infuriated because I had explained to my friends reason why tipping wasn’t reasonable (one was we consistently get bad service even if it’s two or eight of us depending on where we go and we’re just allowing people to get away with foolishness by doing so) and that if folks would pay stop badgering those who can’t tip and focus on the larger wage issue, this problem would be solved. I’ve often wonder how many other service jobs receive tips because they provide a service a la a cashier or a non-profit worker. If tips have to be used to make up one’s income, we may as well live on a barter system.

  • MimiLuvs

    I wonder…
    How many people have no qualms about tipping their hair stylists/shampoo girls/barbers/the nail technicians?

  • Lisa

    I agree. This article is horribly written. So much is wrong with it, I don’t know where to begin. People need to be made aware that yes, tipping IS mandatory. The other option is paying more for your food. BUT the amount you tip is optional and should be based completely on service. Servers make an average of $2.83/ hr. -NOT minimum wage like so many people think. They automatically pay taxes on 15% of their sales (so the government is assuming they are being tipped 15%), they have to tip out to bartenders, Bussers, Hosts, & food runners (automatically deducted off of their food sales, not how much they make in tips). If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to eat out. When you stiff a server, they still have to pay taxes & tip outs which means money comes out of their pocket for your meal. & therefor comes out of my kids’ stomachs. If you have a problem with a server, take it up with the manager. If you have an issue with a restaurant’s policy, take it up with the manager before your meal. & if you sit around for hours after your meal, you need to leave extra tip. Servers only get so many tables/shift. When you sit around talking(& I am VERY guilty of this but always make up for it), that’s money they can’t make.
    “Pastor” Bell & her party knew about the additional gratuity that is added on for larger parties. That is why they asked for separate checks, they were trying to avoid having to pay from the beginning.
    So you can either tip your server the norm, below, or above, based on their service OR you can pay more for your food, not be guaranteed decent service & have the server be paid a normal pay like others. These are the only options if you are a decent human being.

  • dirtychai

    “it is not the customer’s fault if the person took a job expecting for lots of tips.”

    This is the most tired excuse of all time.

  • dirtychai

    Exactly. Tipping is extended to more than just restaurant servers. However I do feel that servers get the short-end due to their low hourly pay.

  • Nik

    Is everyone aware that if restaurants payed servers the regular minimum wage, like in Europe, the whole dining experience would be much more expensive? You’re going to pay for it one way or another.

  • Fantastico

    Thanks for breaking it down!

  • K

    “Countries like Japan actually frown upon tipping and many servers will out right refuse the gesture despite you’re wanting to thank them for a job well done. ”

    That’s because countries such as Japan, Malaysia, etc. include tip in the total at ALL service establishments. It is a country-wide policy and is not written on the receipts since the citizens are well aware of the policy. So any “tip” you are think you are giving is actually an additional tip.

  • Meme

    I lived in Tokyo, the reason why costumers are not allowed to tip is because waiters are paid properly so there’s no need to feel you have to serve well, actually Japanese customs on service is so impecable, they don’t do it for the extra tip, it’s just the way they are. If Americans can learn that it’d be a good thing. I personally don’t like tipping, not because I’m selfish but as I’ve said, I lived in Japan and I didn’t live in America long enough to understand this. Just pay your people a proper salary and it’d spare us the annoyance.

  • Meme

    Hmm that’s not true. Can you prove that eating in “Europe” which is a continent will many different countries is more expensive than in the US because they don’t tip?

  • Nic

    Right, and in my experience, my friends who leave little to no tip are the ones who think that service people should lick the bottoms of their shoes, and are very imperious and demanding to boot.

    If I don’t tip you well, it’s b/c you did a bad job.

    But if I feel that broke, I don’t need to spend money eating out or getting my hair/nails/eyebrows done either.

  • DanaT

    Not quite, I’ve been to plenty of eateries where the waitstaff was downright horrible and it was obviously based on race. Seeing this waitress with other customers–being attentive, filling water and double checking, was simply not afforded to me and my friends. This happened a couple of week ago but I have seen this done again and again. Waiters also harbor judgements and stereotypes. When they see my color, they automatically assume the worst and commit to self-fulfilling prophecy. They give crap service and I have to let them know and that affects my tip.

    Overall, the dining experience can potentially suck because of selfish cheapskates like the “pastor” but also waiters that like to generalize. I’m sure there are plenty of cheap,selfish white people who also don’t tip but somehow, they don’t get grouped together.

    I heard we are called Canadians in restaurants. No one wants to “seat the Canadians” because we’re cheap. Already, black people are walking into coded language.

    I highly doubt in these situations that being “extra nice” to waiters will dilute their preconceived notions.

  • Kema

    Its not that confusing. Some people don’t like the idea of a voluntary act being considered mandatory. I think you should tip. But I also think waiters should be paid at least minimum wage to begin with. Then my tip can really be a thank you rather than alms.

  • PBR

    Well guess what? The current custom is that waitstaff get paid $2 an hour and rely on tips to live. The current custom in North America is for restaurants to pay them this way and let them rely on tips. Everytime you slide your behind into a booth at one of these restaurants you are endorsing the restaurant and its policies. In 2013 the restaurant is still payig that waiter $2 an hour to wait on you and expecting you to tip. So if you don’t agree with the policy and don’t want to go along with the custom stay your behind at home, cook and serve your own food to yourself. Don’t take it out on the employee.

  • Jessi Jess

    My belief is that tipping is MANDATORY at all restaurants where you are served. As an easy-going patron, if you bring my food and drink in a timely manner, you will receive 15%. Sub-par service, rude attitude will dictate a 10% tip and outstanding, helpful service where a person goes above and beyond deserves at least 20%. The thing that I don’t understand (as in the case of the Pastor) is that we are talking about less than $10 most of the time. Most Americans frequent chain restaurants where the tip due from each person is not expensive. The Pastor denied this server $6. SIX DOLLARS! If the pastor could not afford, like those who left comments previously, they should eat at home or restaurants where tip is not due.

  • deviousdanid

    I kinda understand your argument but this isn’t Japan. Its so selfish of you to refuse to tip because you don’t like to even thought you know that your server is getting paid less than minimum wage to give you a pleasant dining experience. Do you know whats annoying for your your server? Doing all the work and getting no reward or gratitude. Did you cook the food? Pour your own water? How did the food appear on your table? Yeah thats what I thought! Its one thing if the service is bad but if you have a good server, and you enjoyed the food then tip accordingly. Or just stay home and cook for yourself.

  • Becky

    Take your cheap ass home and cook your own food. Get the waitress her job back or suffer not having any peace. I call on all people living in her town to picket her church until she is fired as pastor as justice for her making a horses ass of herself then blaming the waitress for calling her on it. Picket Picket Picket her until she has no choice but to ask Applebee’s to offer her ….her job back.

  • deviousdanid

    If you don’t want to feel obligated to leave a tip at least have the curtesy to tell your server ahead of time so they know not to waste their time catering to your every whim. Get your own napkins, soda, ketchup etc. And while your back there you might as well cook the food your damn self. As a person who works in the service industry I just need you to know your a jerk. Stop playing the victim. No one is forcing you to eat out. If showing gratitude for services rendered is to much of a pain, I’m pretty sure you have a kitchen, so get in there and serve yourself.

  • Jenn

    I think we should do away with the practice of tipping and pay people a LIVING WAGE! Why should you have to kiss ass above and beyond just to make 7.50 an hour? And I promise you, to some customers, being nice just isnt enough.

  • Ellie S.

    I enjoy the pastors humor and find it fitting. The receipt dictated Tip18% and then wrote additional tip. This is poor administration of the restaurant. If it’s gratuity that is mandated, then add it to the total bill like the tax, don’t make it an option for the patron to fill out. Or call it a service fee and ADD It to the total bill. The waitress took this personally; she should have taken it to her manager and told the manager this is a inefficient and confusing way to pay for the customer. Why she should be concerned? Because she is an employee. I work in customer service and I live by “customer is always right” EVEN if we know that is not correct. If they merit this reaction, we internally have to figure out how to design it better so they have a better experience and we get the money owed to us. WHICH IS NOT A TIP. Tip is VOLUNTARY.
    Also, don’t make a living off tip. That’s an inefficient system. There needs to be more accountability in business owners to make sure each sever is making minimum wage. This should be mandated by law and governed more closely. The reason why government is taxes service employers on an assumption of tip is because servers weren’t reporting taxes on their tips. Accountability people! Patrons should not be responsible for a server’s livelihood. Everyone is responsible for their own. Tip is a VOLUNTARY addition. If you feel you have to make it up after wages, the business owners should call it a service fee and make it mandatory of customers. Don’t call it a tip. The term mandatory tip or obligatory tip is contradictory and what makes people so angry. No one wants to be forced to something voluntary or optional, that makes no sense. If you get angry for not getting something voluntary, you need to realize you are relying on an unreliable income and you are just doing this to yourself. Service oriented jobs are about customer service. If you did a good job, you the job you were paid for. If you did great job, we hope to get rewarded but doesn’t mean you always will. To think that every time you did a good job you should get rewarded with money is a fantasy not a reality. So stop thinking you deserve it and appreciate you got the tip. If you don’t get a tip, you never lost anything because that money was never yours to begin with. If you get a tip; you gained it. Live off a sure thing, wages;thrive off the tip. You want to help a real “livelihood” – donate to a nonprofit or charity that is give to a community vs one individual. Personally I would rather my tips go to a donation that helps someone who really needs it. I do need my wages for living expenses, I try really hard to see my tips as extras/rewards because that is what is it. and yes, I do donate a portion of my tips that is tax deductible so win win.
    Also, calling people cheap or cheapskate is bullying. You don’t know a person’s situation or experience. Especially to the Pastor. Talk about karma.

Latest Stories

Janelle Monae Talks Diversity and Being Honored at Harvard University


Shanesha Taylor Still Faces Eight Years for Felony Child Abuse Charges


Yes, Black Women Can Have Bedhead, Too


5 Types of Instagram Abusers

More in manners, Pastor Alois Bell
hy I'm Teaching My Son Manners, Even If Adults Have Given Them Up
Why I’m Teaching My Son Manners, Even If Adults Have Given Them Up