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My girlfriend says I should tip in restaurants. I say waitstaff are just like construction and fast-food workers. Who's right?

‘As long as all service staff are doing their job and getting paid an hourly wage, there is no reason to tip anyone.’

10/17/2021 5:30:00 AM

'Today my partner spoke to me for the third time about why she disagrees with my belief and practice of not tipping waitresses.' The Moneyist weighs in:

‘As long as all service staff are doing their job and getting paid an hourly wage, there is no reason to tip anyone.’

Today my partner spoke to me for the third time about why she disagrees with my belief and practice of not tipping waitresses.To me, as long as all service staff are doing their job and getting paid an hourly wage, there is no reason to tip anyone, whether they mess up on my order or give me great service.

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I don’t understand why waitresses need to be tipped when they’re like all other service staff, such as construction workers, cleaners, fast-food attendees, etc.I’m not expected to tip all other service staff, so why is she bothering me with tipping the waitress every single time we go to a restaurant? They are doing their job like everyone else.

She keeps telling me it’s the right thing to do — but why?Please explain.A Confused Non-TipperYou can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at, and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Dear Non-Tipper,I assume you choose not to tip waiters too. There are several reasons why you should tip waitstaff. The first among them is that restaurants expect you to tip, they leave a blank space on the bill for you to tip, and if you don’t want to tip, you can not tip in your own kitchen.

It’s part of a social contract — whether you like it or not — every time you go to a restaurant. Every time you leave without tipping, you are not only insulting the person who waited on your table, but you are breaking that social contract. So you do have a choice: Stay home and don’t tip, or go to a restaurant and tip.

Second, and most importantly, it’s an economic justice issue. Waitstaff are not like the other workers you have mentioned. The federal minimum wage for tipped employees like waitstaff and bartenders is $2.13, a figure that has not budged in 30 years, versus $7.25 per hour for non-tipped workers.

It’s left up to the states as to how to deal with that: Some states require employers to pay tipped employees full state minimum wage before tips, while others require employers to pay tipped employees a minimum cash wage above the minimum cash wage required as per the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

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“If anything, we should be tipping our wait staff and delivery people as much as we can afford during these uncertain times.”Service workers have taken the brunt of the financial and health ramifications during the pandemic. They deal with the public’s questions and mood swings — along with the added threat of coronavirus exposure. Listen to one person decide what they want — not wait, they’ve another question! — now do it 20 times a day.

“In 2021, with the onset of the COVID variants and the end of most pandemic relief programs, tipped workers report finding themselves facing more risks and even worse conditions than the first year of the pandemic,” according to a recent report by the nonprofit organization One Fair Wage.

“Not only have health and safety risks remained prevalent in 2021, but workers also report that wage theft has increased, even while tips have reduced even further and sexual harassment has increased since last year,” the organization, which seeks to improve wages and working conditions in the service sector, added.

Tip wait staff and delivery people as much as you can afford during these uncertain times. Restaurant workers have an unemployment rate of 7.5%, above pre-pandemic levels and higher than the overall 4.8% unemployment rate. Many venues closed down, while other workers have decided it’s not worth it anymore.

And third, of all the issues to make your cause célèbre, this one is a doozy. Did you tip on your first date with your girlfriend in order to ensure smooth passage to a second date? Because this would be one sure way to prove a petty point, and nix any chances of a follow-up date.

In other words, is it not easier and more gracious to leave an extra 15% to 20% for a meal — a few dollars here and a few there — to help someone else put food on the table? Is that not the best practice of all capitalists and socialists — spread the wealth, keep the economy chugging along?

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Check out the Moneyist private Facebook group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

The Moneyist regrets he cannot reply to questions individually.More from Quentin Fottrell:• ‘I’m getting compassion fatigue’: My parents said they’d rather quit their jobs and lose everything than get the COVID-19 vaccine• ‘I don’t want a permanent freeloader as a boyfriend’: We met during the pandemic — and he moved 900 miles to be with me

• My mother-in-law changed her will and left everything to her second husband. Can her children contest the will? Read more: MarketWatch »

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You are acheap joker and you,re on Market watch bragging about it. Here’s an idea. Pay them a decent hourly rate. (21.33usd/hr) Regards, Australia. Waiters in Georgia are paid $2.13 an hour. To me this is a real scumbag Leave her Waitress is on top hourly wages that the restaurant union set. $3 an hour so tbey force us to pay them

Always tip!! Make ur money in Crypto. And TIP even heavier.... $$ Next $SHIB ... 1000x Evergrow token.. This is cringeworthy. Absolutely tip unless they suck cheap a$$ In the US, we tip for wait service. In other places, people can’t be trusted , so the “gratuity” is added to the bill. Dump her!

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The tip is for service good service Hey just wanted to say that I think this cartoon guy is PaulyShore like 5 times a day. Not complaining, just saying. Love your tweeeeeets 😍😍 I tip them steadily and always 💰💰💰💰💰💰💰 💲💲💲💲💲 Ditch her Fuck tipping horrible Quantanamo Start tipping the cashier at your local grocery store. They do a lot more for you than most employees at restaurants these days!

Quantanamo We need to change this so called social contact and become like the rest of the first world society. Abolish the tipping wage. Quantanamo Because their boss pays them less than minimum wage and it's somehow legal.

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Quantanamo MessageOnRapture 주님의 말씀에 무조건 순종한자가 순결한자입니다 Quantanamo because their employer is depending on it servers have to tip out a % of their bills for the night to the kitchen and bar whether you leave a tip or not. if you dont leave at least 10% tip there's a chance your server is literally paying to bring you your food.

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