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A Tip or a Paycheck

Tipping Has Gotten Way Out of Hand

Photo by Dan Smedley on Unsplash

Tipping culture, once a reward of exceptional service, has taken a peculiar turn in recent times. It's no longer just about acknowledging outstanding efforts of servers as it has seeped into the realm of routine tasks. A recent survey by Bankrate found that roughly 66% of Americans have a negative view of tipping. Around 30% of respondents think that tipping culture is “out of control,” with more companies encouraging customers to tip at their counters than ever before.This issue has spiked concern with inconsistent service, tension among employees and the pressure on customers to overtip workers for performing basic tasks.


This recent tipping overload has created an environment in which the amount a worker earns often depends on subjective factors rather than the quality of their service. Customers' tipping behaviors can be influenced by personal biases, cultural norms or even the appearance of the service provider, rather than the actual experience they receive. Consequently, service providers may find themselves at the mercy of customers, receiving disproportionately high or low tips regardless of the effort or skill they put into their work. This inconsistency in compensation can lead to dissatisfaction and demotivation among workers, as they may feel that their efforts are not adequately rewarded. It can also create tensions among employees, as those who consistently receive lower tips may perceive their colleagues as receiving preferential treatment or unfairly benefitting from tipping practices.


Tipping individuals solely for simple duties like checking out can perpetuate an unsustainable culture of obligatory gratuity. This doesn't reflect the complexity or effort involved in the task, often resulting in disproportionate rewards for minimal effort. Furthermore, it blurs the line between essential service and optional gratuity, leading to confusion in tipping. It can also create resentment among customers who feel pressured to tip even when. Ultimately, it undermines the generosity of customers who tip  and detracts from its intended purpose of rewarding exceptional service, making servers take tips for granted.

Furthermore, the reliance on tips as a primary form of compensation can disincentivize workers from delivering exceptional service, as there is no guarantee that their efforts will be reciprocated with higher tips. Instead, workers may focus on maximizing their tips through strategies such as favoritism towards certain customers or prioritizing quantity over quality of service.

Tipping is not something that is going away. It can be good as it gives workers a little extra in their pocket and shows a job well done. However, expectations for tipping have gotten too high and some workers need a reality check on the amount they expect to be tipped.


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Andy Poll

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