Anda di halaman 1dari 6

Williams 1!

Hannah Williams

English M02

Professor Rosenfeld

6 February 2018

Fast-Track Your Way to a Life of No Tipping

Would you like a smile to go with your dining experience? Don’t worry, that will only

cost you 15% extra. In the article “The Case Against Tipping,” Michael Lewis argues that the

increased need for tips in every day life has become over-dramatized. The simple act of

providing over-the-counter service should not call for an extra donation. It is alarming that tips

have become the ultimate motivator in order for a server to perform well. A person who chooses

to opt out of tipping is automatically labeled a “cheapskate.” Tipping originated with the option

to choose and has now become mandatory in the eyes of society (Lewis). The concept of tipping

should cease to exist because it is simply an excuse to justify low pay. It is a way to allow

discrimination to secretly take place through the customers own biases of race, age, and gender.

Furthermore, it encourages sexual harassment in order to receive money.

Proponents to the idea of tipping may argue that employers need to pay their employees

a living wage and that the only solution to that problem is through the use of a tipping system;

however there are other solutions. Employers are using tipping as a means to pay lower wages to

their employees. Across the nation the tipped minimum wage is set to $2.13 an hour and the rest

of the employees’ money is made through tips. The origin of tipping dates back to the period of

industrialization where as the restaurant industry began to grow, the demand for more employees

increased as well. This led to the hiring of freed slaves as tipped workers and the ability for
Williams 2!

employers to pay them merely nothing (Ferdman). This idea of being paid little to none devalues

the employee as a human being. The restaurant industry is one of the fastest and largest growing

industries, yet “the Department of Labor reports every year that seven of the ten lowest paying

jobs are restaurant jobs” and that “even including tips, restaurant workers make up four of the ten

lowest paying jobs in America” (Ferdman). This derails the idea that tipping poses as a positive

incentive for restaurant workers. There is always the occurrence that the tips accumulated for the

day do not meet the minimum wage requirement. In this case, it is by law that the “employer has

to make up the difference between the lower-tipped minimum wage and the regular tipped

minimum wage” (Ferdman). However, the “U.S. Department of Labor reports an 84% violation

rate in regards to employers actually ensuring that they make up that difference” (Ferdman). The

concept of low pay defending tipping has been uncovered to reveal a negative affect towards the

employees. For the employee it creates an impression that they are not important enough to

receive an income even worthy of making a living. It enables the high authority of employers to

go against the law of making up the difference of the lower-tipped minimum wage and the

normal minimum wage, and in turn is negatively affecting the employees. Employers simply

need to do their job by paying their employees a living minimum wage instead of relying on

customers to do so. The factual evidence has proven to show that the use of tips does not create

an overall positive result.

The amount of money that is tipped to the server fluctuates based off of their appearance,

gender, and race. Matt Parrett constructed a study that compared the tipped amount relating to

the appearance of the server. The study consisted of five restaurant locations and over five-

hundred customers asking a series of questions based off of their server, the amount of their bill,
Williams 3!

and the amount they tipped. The study found that “attractive servers earn approximately $1,261

more per year in tips than unattractive servers” and that they “earn approximately 1.26

percentage points more on a percentage tip basis than unattractive servers” (qtd. in Jacobs). A

study done by Michael Lynn at Cornell University found that “waitresses in the U.S. with blonde

hair, smaller waists, and large breasts received higher tips then women without those traits” (qtd

in Gurly). This concludes that restaurant customers have a specific preference when it comes to

the appearance of a server. The biases in tipping also result from a racial standpoint. In research

conducted on racial segregation there is a “$4 per hour wage gap between what white workers

and workers of color make in the restaurant industry, and it’s because workers of color are

regulated to lower level positions . . . and work in lower level segments” (Ferdman). This already

creates an unfair disadvantage for workers of color in the tipping system. Since the origin of

tipping dates back to the time period in which freed slaves were being hired to work for little to

no pay, it created this idea that tipping was a race-specific practice. It instilled this “cultural

stigma where white people would balk at the idea of being tipped because they found it

degrading” and that inferiors are the only people who are tipped (Ferdman). It seems that the

standards and beliefs from decades ago have discreetly crept into the minds of society today.

The act of tipping being a grounds for discrimination is an awful reality, and unfortunately the

biases of customers cannot be changed. The only way to prevent this discrimination from

occurring would be to abolish the tipping system completely.

The restaurant industry is home to a vast majority of sexual harassment cases in both men

and women. Most servers are not given a minimum wage to make a living off of, therefore it is

made up through tips. This puts them in a position where they must endure anything in order to
Williams 4!

receive that tip including being exposed to sexual behavior from customers. People may argue

over the fact that servers have a choice not to put themselves in that type of situation, however

when it comes to trying to earn a living and possibly providing for their family, a person would

do anything. In a recent report that came out in 2014, hundreds of restaurant workers were asked

if they have experienced scary or unwanted sexual behavior; “90% of workers, both female and

male, said yes” (Ferdman). The vast majority of servers are female which subject them to a

higher chance of being sexually victimized. In fact, “waitresses in tipped-wage states are three

times more likely than workers in non-tipped wage states to be asked by management to

sexualize their behavior and appearance for guests” which is preparing them to be open to attack

(Gurly). The restaurant industry has “the highest rate of sexual harassment of any industry in the

United States . . . [and] it’s the single largest source of sexual harassment complaints of any

industry in the United States” (Ferdman). A waitress speaking at a Senate press conference

stated, “Because my income depends on the people I serve, I have to put up with a guy groping

my butt every day so I can feed my four year old son every day” (qtd in Ferdman). The

restaurant industry has created an environment that is uncomfortable for servers. It

underhandedly gives control and power to the management of the restaurant by being able to

enforce the way their employees should act and appear to customers, and gives power to the

customers by being able to control the amount of money the server receives depending on their

performance, which can include the use of sexual behavior.

The tipping system has created an unsafe and unfair practice that does not benefit the

restaurant industry. Employers need to carry out their jobs and provide for their employees

properly by paying them a living wage. Tipping has created an environment that is subject to
Williams 5!

discrimination based off of appearance such as age, gender, and race which conducts an unfair

disadvantage for those affected by it. It has created an environment that portrays sexual behavior

as being acceptable in the workplace. So far seven states have completely rid the idea of tipping

and it has proven to have a significantly positive effect. The act of tipping has created a series of

ongoing problems, therefore, it needs to be terminated. 

Williams 6!

Works Cited

Ferdman, Roberto. “I dare you to read this and still feel good about tipping.” The Washington

Post, 18 February 2016,


utm_term=.ba50fbd096ab. Accessed 2 February 2018.

Gurley, Lauren. “Why Sexual Harassment Rates are so High in the Restaurant Industry.” Citylab,

21 Nov 2017,

workers/546314/. Accessed 2 February 2018.

Jacobs, Tom. “Attractive servers get bigger tips.” Pacific Standard, 11 May 2015, https:// Accessed 2 February 2018.

Lewis, Michael. The Case Against Tipping, 21 Sept 1997.