Crabby Tip

Tribune News Service file

Dear Crabby,

It has been brought to my attention by recent news coverage that millennials are bad tippers.

I am in my late sixties but in my youth I was a server, and most of my children have at some time been servers. Because of this, I am extremely generous in tipping. I know how hard the work is.

One of our daughters is a server in a high-end Yakima restaurant, and she often comments how people can order $200 in wine, have a bill of $400 and leave her a $20 tip. Really?!?

These are diners who are waited on hand and foot, and have enjoyed a wonderful experience. I will ask, “Were they old?” Because many old people are still in the  10 percent tipping mode, and she’ll say, “No, they are millennials most of the time.”

Wow! So, folks if you can afford a luxurious meal and beverages, remember it didn’t fall out of the sky. These servers must tip out the kitchen and bar staff, so be kind and pass your good fortune on to those that have served you.


What’s With These Kids

Dear What’s,

I read that same coverage. All the stories were based on a single survey by — a survey that isn’t exactly bulletproof (small sample size, results that could be skewed by the fact it included questions about “fast casual” restaurants, and so forth), so I’m inclined to take it with a grain of salt.

That notwithstanding, your daughter’s experience is troubling. I would have bet money (at least $5) that millennials were better tippers than older, richer people just because so many of them work in the service industry themselves. It’s disheartening to hear that’s not the case where she works.

I mean, anyone leaving a $20 tip on a $400 tab is abusing the tipping model and is a horrible person — the kind of person who either doesn’t get it or is too selfish to care. Yes, it’s true you don’t legally HAVE to tip well (or at all). But there’s a social contract here. The food is cheaper and the salaries are lower under our tipping model because customers are supposed to help pay the waitstaff. In other countries staff costs are built in (so that $400 bill would be $480 to start with).

That seems like a better system. But you already know this. Everyone knows this. Still — here we are.

So I’m loathe to blame the problem on millennials, whom we’ve already blamed for just about everything. (I heard it was millennials who kidnapped the Lindbergh baby.) The study was flawed and your daughter, while no doubt telling the truth, is just providing anecdotal evidence. Bad tippers exist across all demographics. Maybe millennials are worse, but I haven’t been convinced.

In closing, I will say this: To the people who tipped your daughter 5 percent and to all people who tip just 5 percent — really anything under 15 percent (but REALLY anything under 20 percent) — you and I will never be friends. You are bad people, and you should feel bad about yourself.

Hope that helps.



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