The Point of Tipping

October 11, 2013

I don’t normally write about political issues; however, I don’t believe this is as much a political issue as it is a family issue. A neighborhood issue.

I believe the minimum wage should be raised.  But, since the corporations would rather pay extra to hinder this progress instead of paying their own employees a fair wage, we, the “market”, must correct this imbalance on our own. I have an idea that has been sitting and staring us in the face every time we are given our change or our receipt.


And, I don’t just mean tipping waitstaff at a restaurant, which, if the service is good I suggest tipping at 20-25% and if it is bad the minimum of 15% unless the service was rude or awful. I mean tipping everyone who is giving you good service in any industry who you suspect is getting minimum wage or below.


Here is a short list of who we should be tipping but aren’t:

Grocery store, Wal-Mart, Target, Big Box store employee who helps you out. Deli employee. Fish market attendant. Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, Burger King order taker/cashier/cooker of your fast food. UPS, Fed-Ex, US Mail delivery people. Pizza shop employee. Basically, anyone who you come in contact with that is doing a good, quick service for a lower wage than they deserve. And not just around the holidays, do it all year round.

It may seem awkward at first but this is not a charity movement. This is a pay for service transaction. It may require carrying around a stack of one dollar bills and your wife getting suspicious if she finds your wallet laying around; but, a little effort will make a big difference.

For example, after a fast-food employee takes three or four orders they have already taken in more than their hourly wage for their employee. At a coffee shop, a coffee and a donut cost about $4 on average and probably cost about 50 cents, or less, to the company. Thats a profit of $3.50+ for the company and the employee gets 15 cents based on a minimum wage of $8 per hour assuming it takes about a minute to fill your order. Why not give them a $5 and say, “ Keep the change.”?

If everyone gave that employee their change or an extra dollar that employee could double their hourly wage. It’s that simple. Keep the change. Thanks.

Check this out:


According to and a report by Bill Moyers McDonalds has been encouraging their employees to apply for government assistance to take up the slack for their low wages. This amounts to a government subsidy for McDonalds which shifts the cost to us, the tax payers.

Some people who work minimum wage jobs must have 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet. We wonder why some of the people we encounter at the big box stores or fast food restaurants are in such a bad mood or get our order wrong. They are tired and sick of being undervalued.  Fast food puts a bad taste in my mouth anyway but after receiving a screwed-up order or having a bad transaction I have trouble putting all the blame on the person behind the counter. What is their incentive for giving exemplary service? In the short term we can help this with tipping those who deserve it. In the long term, the companies are doing themselves a disservice by presenting a disgruntled front line point-of-service not to mention low quality, cheap products.  We shouldn’t be eating or buying all this crap; but, we do and in large numbers.

So, really, for our own long term personal well-being, we should use our power as the “market” and only frequent those establishments who pay a fair wage and offer quality products. In the meantime, reward good service anywhere you find it.

If these large corporations who would rather pay their lawyers and lobbyists six figure incomes to protect their profits instead of paying their front line employees a fair wage, we, the “market”, must protect our friends and neighbors and pay just a little extra at the point of good service. If we do, we might be surprised that the next time our order is filled, quickly and correctly, we might get an extra smile, or an extra donut. Even though we probably shouldn’t eat it.

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