But I've just recently realized that leaving a good size tip is important for other reasons. It is one of the few opportunities we have in our regular life to actually choose to pay a decent wage to someone who most likely needs it. Consider what kind of people typically take jobs as servers (and I know this from experience): college students working their way through school, single moms trying to support their kids, wives (or husbands) trying to supplement a family income that may not be enough to make ends meet otherwise, etc. And serving is hard work: physically, mentally, and often emotionally too. In other words, servers are often people with financial needs who are working hard to meet them.
And unlike pretty much any other part of our economy these days, with servers we still get to decide what they get paid. Their take-home pay is not determined by corporate executives somewhere in Arkansas, or even by the management of that particular restaurant. Their income is determined almost entirely by the people who benefit from their services and goes directly into their own pocket, no middle man.
So if you want to help someone most likely less fortunate than you, then add a few percentages and a few dollars to your usual tip. After all, what's a couple more bucks on top of a $15 or $20 or $30 check? (Though if you're really concerned about saving your own money, then drink water and add the price of your drink to the tip.) Not to mention that 20% is a lot easier to figure out than 15% (just move the decimal point one place left and then double it). At the very least, you'll be making up for some skinflint who stiffed them at another table (or some senior citizen who hasn't realized that a 10% tip isn't standard anymore), and at best you'll be brightening their day a little and helping contribute to the needs of others.
So just a tip: leave a big one.
Links to this post