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The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

Here’s a tip: stop tipping. The truth behind gratuity.

Should we really be tipping the employees at counter service restaurants when they simply hand us our food and tell us to swipe our credit card?
Employees+at+entry-level+jobs+are+always+required+to+compensate+for+their+salary+with+Americas+unusual+unspoken+tipping+rule.
SHUTTERSTOCK
Employees at entry-level jobs are always required to compensate for their salary with America’s unusual unspoken tipping rule.

My stomach is growling after a long day of Ms. Hasa’s English and Ms. Truong’s Math. Let’s say I walk into the Dunkin’ Donuts at Van Nuys Blvd. and Sherman Way after school. The donuts are calling my name, especially the maple donut. 

The girl behind the counter grabs my donut, bags it, and hands it to me. “That’ll be $2.50, please,” she says with a smile. I hand her my card to pay. 

It should be that easy, but it’s not. Now there’s a conundrum. Do I still tip even if all the person behind the counter did was hand me my donut and tell me to swipe my card?

About six months ago, my family and I went to our favorite breakfast restaurant in Sacramento, Bella Bru. We went up to the counter to order our food, but when my dad swiped his card, he was asked how much he would be tipping. The people working there didn’t do anything besides give us our croissants and enter the number we wanted into the register. We didn’t tip, but from that day on, I couldn’t stop thinking about how — if we had tipped — we would be praising someone for doing practically nothing.

The average tip that you will see counter service restaurants ask for if they are using the Square app and a Square Stand, which is a tablet that a lot of restaurants use as a register for contactless payment, and if the tipping settings are in default, the customer will be asked to tip $1, $2, or $3 for purchases under $10 and for purchases over $10, it is 15%, 20%, or 25% according to the Square app’s support website. 

Suppose that the employee at the counter is earning $19 an hour for a seven-hour shift. They’ll earn $133 a day. If everyone who goes to the restaurant orders something for $10 and tips the recommended amount, everyone will tip about $2. If there are 30 customers every hour, the employee would receive about $420 in tips for the entire shift (if the restaurant does not take a percentage of the tips). They would be earning about three times as much with all of the tips. That’s crazy.

Employees at these restaurants aren’t paid much to begin with, so it’s understandable why people tip them. But here is a crazy idea: pay your employees a fair wage. That way, they won’t have to beg for tips. 

 When visiting an establishment such as Buca Di Beppo, which is a casual, sit-down Italian restaurant, the table service will likely be splendid. They come to fill up water, bring bread, take orders, and ask if everything is okay with the food. This is a justified scenario in which a restaurant should be asking for tips.  Of course, sometimes a waiter or waitress may not fulfill the required services, and that makes a perfectly good reason to not tip the desired amount. . However, tipping at least 15% is generally a good rule of thumb, unless the waiter in question does a terrible job. But if a counter service restaurant employee and a table service restaurant employee are both doing what is expected of them, then tipping them both the same percentage would be the equivalent of spitting in the table service employee’s face.

It’s almost comparable to a kids’ soccer game.  There’s always one player who’s motivated to be the greatest. They go to every practice, perfect their kicks, and are motivated to try their hardest. When the big game comes around, they absolutely crush it, they score the winning goal and beat the other team by a landslide. And yet, some players are completely uninterested, never showing up to any of the practices or participating for that matter.  But at the end of the game, everybody gets the same prize, no matter how hard they worked. The kid who was determined now realizes how it didn’t matter how much they tried. Everyone who plays is treated the same regardless of their efforts. The next time they are at a soccer game, they aren’t going to be as driven as before, and they will feel as though their efforts aren’t appreciated.

Some people don’t mind tipping when there isn’t service, but consider the message that you are conveying to the person behind the counter – they might start to think they deserve tips for the little effort that they put into their job. Rather than praising members of the food service industry who do the bare minimum, tipping workers who truly deserve it is a fact of common sense that many don’t realize.

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About the Contributor
Docette Danialypour, Staff Writer
Docette Danialypour is an Opinion writer. She is a freshman in her first year of journalism. Outside of journalism, she enjoys watching movies, playing tennis, crafting, listening to theme park ride soundtracks, and going to Disneyland. She hopes to become a movie director in the future and currently writes, produces, edits, and directs her own short films, starring her two younger brothers. She is inspired by the hilarious skits on Saturday Night Live and the great works of Steven Speilberg and Taika Waititi. 
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  • A

    Adan Martinez-KeeDec 3, 2023 at 12:35 am

    You’ve got it all backwards, or immodestly askew at best. Certainly a company like Buca di Beppo, a household name with 74 k+ followers on instagram CAN pay their employees a wage which could be relied upon to live by if people actually did stop tipping. They have buying power and resources that smaller establishments just don’t.
    A small cafe like Bella Bru, with just 2,403 instagram followers in comparison, obviously does not have nearly the market share. With only 3 locations in 3 different small California suburbs the influence in the market to widen their margins, is non existent. At the casual Italian sit down, you say the waiter is going above and beyond. You say the cafe employee is just doing the job that is expected of them, and according to you that is, “practically nothing”. Really? That is absolutely disgusting. Are they not keeping your apparently “favorite” Sacramento breakfast restaurant open and stocked with donuts, bagels, coffee etc? Did they “just” hand you the croissants? Or did they wake up at the crack of dawn to make them so you could so self deservedly walk up, expect a product and snub their efforts? If that’s how you treat your favorite anything, I don’t even want to know. And really, come on, you actually think completely denying them a tip is making a statement about fair wages??? OMG. The privilege you so effortlessly flaunt. Tactless, wretched. Oh, right. You eat at places like Buca di Beppo, and congratulate yourself for doing the bare minimum of something that is expected of YOU. Of the few, there is one hilarious ( also, deplorable) contradiction. You are willing to tip at least 15% at this establishment for their overpriced 2.5 star “Italian” food. Wait, wait, let me guess, you tip on the tax too. That server is ALSO doing the job that is expected of them. They are not going above and beyond. They were hired to do this job. It was a choice, for them, to accept the position. You see? And, It is nothing like youth sports. Are you serious? Are the kids you know getting paid to play? I am astonished at the effort you’ve put in to let the internet know how displeased you are and to justify not tipping someone on a total of $2.50. I’m positive your bill at the chain Italian restaurant is never less than $50. But this is because you EXPECT a level of service that you are willing to pay for and detest the thought of thinking beyond your pea sized world view to understand that you might want to be a little more generous and supportive of the people who could use it, who might be doing the job that is expected of them, because they have to. I’m talking about Bella Bru, fyi.

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  • G

    GrandpaOct 5, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    Dear Docette. I am so proud of you for your beautiful writing. I thought I know something about writing. Now I realized that I was treating the water. I should put my pen down.

    Reply