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Why people are embarrassed to tip


Tipping is one of the things that I tried to figure out in order to become a grownup. And... I'm still working on it. Like all forms of social etiquette, it's supposed to be "assumed that you know". People don't talk about tipping. Anyone who talks about it is considered either cheap, or inexperienced in the ways of the world. And of course, tipping is different all over the world.

When I taught at my local community college a few years ago, I often thought at how funny it would be to put a tip jar on my desk in class. Of course, no one tips teachers! And that's not because teachers couldn't use the money - very few are wealthy, but because of a different reason - people don't know if it's appropriate.

For people who are embarrassed to tip, they are unaware of whether it's appropriate or not. And that appropriateness is something that, especially here in the US, people are uncomfortable with, and for lack of a better term I'll call it "class distinction".

The moment that you give someone a tip, you seem to be putting yourself above them. You're saying that your lot in life has been fortunate, and theirs hasn't. Sounds kind'a degrading when you look at like that, doesn't it? But it was true when I delivered newspapers as a kid. Believe me, I knew that my situation was sad - slogging through the snow to deliver newspapers! I loved getting a tip, and really I expected it.

Nowadays I really don't think much about tips. Most of the businesses that I go to ask for a particular amount of money, which I pay, and that's it. I've been taught to add 20% to the bill at a restaurant, or for the person who cuts my hair. But there are other people that I wonder if I should tip, like the band at the Casino? And since I don't know what the social etiquette is, I just have to wonder how much these guys get paid? Is it enough? Should I give them a little bit more, because my lot in life appears to be better than theirs? After all, I'm in a Casino, I must have plenty of money!

I'm amused by people who use discounts at restaurants, and then leave a generous tip. They see the business itself as making plenty of money, but the servers not getting much of that money from the business, which is true. And working for tips can make a huge difference to someone's motivation - I've known servers at clubs that make a nice amount of money - because their clients appreciate them, and give them good tips!

So, don't be embarrassed to tip. It's not "To Insure Promptness" - it's a way to just show that you appreciate someone, and the effort that they made.