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TIP WARS: WaPo food critic says you have to tip 20 percent, no matter what


Oct 25, 2017
Tokyo, Japan
I don't like the concept of tipping*, but I do tip but I don't go by percentage. I am actually close to that 20% for the average meal cost I usually have.

* Might at well ask for the owner of the restaurant for the water bill. I'll pay that, too. lol
* Seriously, though, servers need a living wage. Not pay in scraps.


Jul 11, 2018
Should you tip customer support? Because you know, you paid for a product, but customer support are people that try and help you with that product.


Oct 27, 2017
Yea I am a solid 15% tipper unless the service impresses me, and then it's more.

I'm not going to go to 20% just cause some folks feel it's right. I live in California anyway so it's not like the servers here are getting $3/hr.


The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
I work for the IRS and worked in public accounting in tax before this.

If they're being taxed for income THEY ARE NOT ACTUALLY RECEIVING, that's incorrect and they are doing their taxes incorrectly.

In the United States, servers are not taxed on income that they do not actually receive.

In the United States, servers are not taxed on income they "should" have received from a moral standpoint (that they should have received a 15% tip that isn't mandatory). They are only taxed on income they actually receive.

In the United States, for the IRS to assess taxes on income, the burden of proof for receipt of income is on the IRS. So, if you do know someone that was taxed on income, there is proof (be it via bank statements, etc) that the income was received.

I have no idea why you labor under the impression you can be taxed on income you don't actually receive as waitstaff.

*edit: I double-checked this just to be sure, and turns out, the employer is allowed to allocate tips under tip compliance, benchmarked at 8% of monthly sales. Taxes withheld on this assumed tip amount is just that- it's assumed you earned an amount.

HOWEVER, if you have records that prove you earned less (that you received less in tips), you only pay tax on what you ACTUALLY earned.

The US does NOT tax income that you don't actually earn. Tax being withheld from your paycheck over your actual tax burden is returned to you when you file your taxes and get a refund.
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May 25, 2019
Exceptional services get a 20% from me. Standard services get a 15%. Subpar gets anything between 0 and 10%. That said, I’m not the kind of person who’s trying to find all possible reasons to find a service subpar. Just do your job (take my order, ask for a drink, pour me some water, ask me somewhere during the meal if everything’s fine, ask me for a dessert) and you’ll get your 15%. Hell, if I see you’re in a deep rush because some of your colleagues bailed their shift and your taking the blow, even if you are not on par with my expection, I might actually give you 20% because I understand what you’re going through.

But if you provide a shit service and I see you talking to your colleagues most of the time or checking your cellphone, I will absolutely cut your tip as a sign of protest.


Oct 27, 2017
I'm good with 20%, that's generally what I'll tip unless something is really done poorly. The problem I kinda have though is it feels like 25% is going to become the expected norm and then maybe 30% after that.

And to be honest I'd probably even be OK with 25%, but at that range I have to say I'd also start thinking twice about how often I eat out, and that's a can of worms that I don't think the service industry wants to open, because $0 tip is what you get from an empty restaurant.

There should be some care in not pushing it too far.


Oct 27, 2017
People who are/were servers: Tip 20% Always
People like me who used to be cooks: Tip 10% to the server, tip 10% to the cook

You guys who defend the crazy tipping culture in the US completely neglect all of the other people who contribute to the dining experience who are completely cut out of that tip. Some places (none of which i worked at) will do tip-sharing with other staff, but that is super rare. Honestly, the arguments for people who defend tipping culture are the exact same arguments that rich people use to justify their position.

I worked hard for this! (Ignoring the other people who are equally responsible for your money who work equally as hard)
Yes, some days are good others I hardly make anything! (People who work in tipping positions make far more than any other position in a restaurant which is why they don't want to give it up)

Servers will fight against tip sharing the way that rich people will fight against fair wages and increased taxes.
Curious, does tipping in cash make it easier or harder to make sure the restaurant doesn't stiff the staff on tips? I do it primarily because I know some servers will put their own tips on cards, but I also hope it makes sure that it's done fairly.

I never use a credit card at a place with tips.