Why Don’t Restaurants Pay Decent Wages Instead Of Relying On Us To Tip?


In North America, tipping is a custom. The way we’ve structured it, we have to tip all kinds of people for all kinds of things. Most importantly though? People who work in restaurants and bars. Tipping used to be solely for service you enjoyed. Tipping now though is pretty much demanded of you. It’s not an option. You don’t tip? You’ll be cast out of society and forced to walk alone like Judge Dredd. The main reason it’s demanded of us is that the people working at these places are paid next to nothing. Okay.

If that’s the main argument, then that war is not between humans walking around and servers. It’s higher ups dictating what servers make, then what we should do to compensate, and making us fight each other. It’s not our fault that you are paid below minimum wage, and it’s not your fault that your livelihood is dependent on strangers that come into your work. Why are you not paid a decent human wage? It’s done in other parts of the world. One major problem nobody talks about is, why the hell are you paid below minimum wage? Why!

Why is that never an issue?

“You have to tip. Do you know what he makes? If he works an eight-hour shift, he makes like twenty-seven bucks.”

“That’s crazy. Why?”

“Why? What do you mean, why? Just give him some goddamn money. What are you, an animal? He’s gotta eat!”

“Sure. But I was just wondering why he is paid below minimum wage. Isn’t that the whole point of minimum wage? That is the minimum that you are allowed to be pai…”

“Look, if you’re too cheap to tip, don’t tip. Just know there’s a special place in hell for you. And it has more fire than you can imagine!”

Why are servers paid below minimum wage?! Why is that allowed to be!? So people are tipping because we feel horrible that the government refuses to pay you what someone at McDonalds makes? Why aren’t they tipped? They’re doing almost the same thing. They are serving the public in an establishment that’s disgusting compared to your restaurant. People yell at them constantly. People fight almost daily in the place that they work. We don’t tip people who work at McDonalds, though. Why? Because they are paid minimum wage! Why the hell aren’t servers paid minimum wage, and because of that is it up to the public to make up for it? Was that that easy of an argument?

“You’re hired! Also, you’ll be paid half of what minimum wage is.”

“What? Why?”

“Oh, because the good people that come in our are obligated to give you money. They just have to.”

“Ohhhh. Makes sense. And when they don’t, I’ll hate them and this whole world for the rest of time.”

“There you go. Now you’re getting it.”

When servers get mad at the people that didn’t tip them, I find that hilarious. You can’t yell at someone for not tipping you. That’s not how tipping works. Yes, that is the only way you actually make a real amount of money, but you chose this job. A lot of the time you get tipped, sometimes you don’t. You can’t yell at people who don’t. I used to sell shoes at Adidas. I can’t yell at a guy for not buying them.

“Naw, I’m not gonna get them.”

“What do you mean you’re not going to get them? You wanted to try them on, didn’t you? I was nice, wasn’t I? I went and got them and told you how cool they looked on you? What the hell do you mean you don’t want them!”

“I just don’t want them, man. I thought I did but I don’t.”

“Ohhhhhhh. You THOUGHT you did? Well, maybe next time I’ll THOUGHT about not getting you a pair of shoes. GOOD DAY TO YOU, SIR!”

Yelling at a guy who didn’t tip you is one step away from just begging him for money. Sometimes homeless people yell at you when they ask you for money and you don’t give it to them. Why? Because YOU are the only way they make money. You, the person walking by. Same as a server or bartender. The only way they make money is if you give it to them. If you don’t tip and they yell, they’re one short move away from just begging for it.

“No tip, huh? Really? You can go to hell!”

“I’m sorry, man. I just didn’t like what you were doing.”

“Ah, come on, man. I need this money. I haven’t eaten in weeks. Just a dollar. Just gimme a dollar.”

“I just don’t have it, man. Sorry.”

“Ah, screw you, then. You think you’re better than me? I wasn’t always on this side of the bar, you know. You ain’t better than me! Keep walking, pound of wings. Keep walking.”

A lot of servers and bartenders say they hate people. That’s hilarious. People pay you! You only make money from people. What you mean to say is that you like six people, and that you hate every person you serve. If servers are allowed to hate people the way they do, why can’t people hate servers and not tip them? It’s against the law to not like service? When tipping is optional, can we the people just not like you, the server, and decide not to tip you?

“Why didn’t you tip me?”

“Why didn’t you come back to this table more than once?”

“… Because I don’t like your face.”


I do think people should be tipped, but not just because. Here are some reasons servers should not be tipped.

1. Not splitting up the bills because they say, ‘Our machine does not do that.’

Are you serious? It doesn’t do that? They all spit out receipts louder than anything. And we all know, they can do it. If the machine that they have at an Applebee’s can do it, I’m sure the machine you’re using at this Moxie’s can also make it happen. Just say you don’t want to do it. People would respect you more. What stupid manager told you to tell the customers “our machines don’t do that”? They should be fired, and you shouldn’t be tipped.

2. They have a terrible default face.

You know the face you’re making when you’re not making a face at all? That’s your default face. The face that just happens across your face when you are doing nothing. Some people’s default face makes them look like they want to and do kick kids. It’s hard to want to tip that person.

3. Because they poured you a beer.

The beer is right there. Right there. You take a glass, move your hand down, pull a lever, beer happens. It’s the same as getting a glass of water. You didn’t mix anything. You didn’t even turn around. It’s really the easiest thing you could possibly do behind a bar. Unless someone said, “Hey. Can you just get me a glass of you standing there doing nothing?” Opening a bottle of beer is even less. You hand someone a bottle of beer? No way you should be tipped for that. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Nathan Macintosh

More From Thought Catalog