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To tip or not to tip

Tipping, a commonly contemplated subject, leaves students wondering how and when to tip.

Tiffany Curro, Staff Writer

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Since the 1800’s, tipping has grown to become a traditional expectation when receiving any type of service.  It all started within the taverns of England, where customers would tip their servers “to insure promptitude.” — Hence where the word tip originates from. Most customers have grown accustomed to tipping servers, bag boys, and even the people who pump gas into their cars. However, others want to keep this tradition in the past.

For many people, including students at BHS, tipping has become part of their routine. Freshman Chloe Gale could not imagine going out to a restaurant and not tipping her server.

“Why wouldn’t you tip your server?” said Gale. “If you don’t have enough money to leave them a little bit of cash, then why would you even go out? It’s part of the going out experience.  If you want the food, but can’t afford to tip, then just get takeout.”

Senior Jordan Cook also believes that tipping is important since he believes being a server is not an easy job. He knows that waitresses have multiple tables at once and that some days it can get very hectic.

“I think that you should tip because I know a few waitresses who tell me how stressful their jobs are,” said Cook. “I can tell it’s not easy for them because there are always a lot of things going at once, especially when they are busy during a rush. It isn’t easy.”

Although Cook is not a server, he does work at a place where he can also occasionally receive tips — Market Basket. He also can’t deny that he likes to receive tips as well.

  “Sometimes if I help someone bring their groceries to their car, they will give me a dollar or something,” said Cook. “One time, an older woman gave me $5. That was the highest tip I have received. It was really nice of her because she didn’t have to do that.”

For Cook, tips are not his main source of income. However, for students like junior Samantha Ruth, it is a majority of what she makes as a server at Los Tapatios.

“Well, for waitresses, a majority of their income are tips,” said Ruth. “Most don’t get paid minimum wage. They actually only get a portion of that–a very small portion. I get about $3.50 an hour, but after taxes, it is close to $3.”

Since Ruth only makes a few dollars an hour, she believes that people should always aim to tip 20% if they receive good service.

“One time, someone didn’t tip me on a 50 dollar bill, said Ruth. “I was extremely nice to them even though they were being rude to me, and they didn’t tip me anything. How am I supposed to live off of $3 an hour?”

Cook also believes that you should tip your server, even when everything does not go right.

“You can’t always tell if they are having a bad day or something,” said Cook.  Maybe they had a rough morning or dealt with a rude customer before you.

Ruth also admits that just because the food is cold or that there was a long wait, doesn’t mean it was the waitress’s fault.

“You never know what is going on out back,” said Ruth. The kitchen could have messed up, or your waitress was trying to do something for another table.”

Although most people believe in tipping, there are some people who believe that it should not be a thing.  Senior Tyler Pierpont believes that customers should not be the ones who decide how much an employee gets paid.

“When you’re working for your tip, you are not [only] working for your company, said Pierpont. You’re [also] working for your customer. Which is a good outlook, but they shouldn’t be the ones who decide how much you bring home every day. They should not be the ones who decide how much you have for food, rent, your car, or your family. The people who decide that is who you work for.”

He also believes that local restaurants are in for a huge hit with the rise of minimum wages this year. The new minimum wage for the state of Maine increased to $9 this year. So all employees will be paid that amount, except for servers who will receive $5.50 until about 2020, when their wage will gradually increase to $9.00

“The companies [have seen] this as a cheap outlook to have the customers pay for their employees, but I don’t like that, said Pierpont. “Now employees will have to pay more for their employees.”

With the wages established, many people will have to decide if they will still be tipping their server 20%. Gale admits that this new law will not change her style of tipping.

“Well they are still doing the same thing as before,” said Gale.  The only thing that changes is that their boss will give them a few dollars more an hour.  But all minimum wage jobs are increasing, so I don’t see a big difference.”

She also believes that she and her family will always tip anyone who gives her good service, no matter what the job type is.

“When my mom gets gas at Holley’s there is someone there who pumps it for her,” said Gale. “My mom is still going to tip them since they are still standing out in the cold pumping her gas.”

Cook can also see him continuing to tip people with the new wages.

“If someone wanted to help me carry something to my car, and if I could afford to tip them I would,” said Cook. “They are helping me, so I would want to repay them.”

For many, tipping will remain a habit, but for others, it is only a thing of the past.


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The student news site of Biddeford High School in Biddeford, Maine
To tip or not to tip