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RHU Question: Is It Okay Not To Tip If You Can't Afford It?



Plummie Newbie again, and with a question.

I'm a fan of going out to eat, when someone I know can afford it, however, most of the time we can't afford to tip.

Sometimes I read a lot of articles, or waitresses online complaining about lacks of tips, and what not. Or how rude it is not to tip at all. (Sometimes I read it's ridiculous a server's payment for rent depends upon tips.) I've really liked a few waitresses, but again; unable to tip.

Is it bad I go out to eat at restaurants and am unable to tip for the lovely service besides trying to be the best custy ever?

--Plummie Newbie







I understand there are many nuances in life, and I don't know the particulars of your situation, but here's the short form:

If you can budget to go out to dinner, you can budget an extra $10 for a tip. If you can't afford a tip, you shouldn't be going out to eat. Save up for another week or whatever it takes til you CAN afford the tip.

Most servers in the US earn less than minimum wage and are expected to make up the difference in tips. Giving them a smile instead of a tip won't pay their rent.

Raygina Kohlmeier

Unless the service was incredibly bad, you always tip the servers. If you can't afford to tip, then you can't afford to go out to eat. I'm an excellent tipper, heck I tip the people who bring my food out at Sonic.


If you live in the UK, then it's up to you, if you live in any country that pays a half decent wage for their wait staff, it's either frowned on or ok not to tip.

In the US, as I have learned over many years in forums/message boards/journals blah de blah it is NOT ok not to tip. You should tip unless the service was horrible. Even if it was just adequate you should leave 10% (some will foam at the mouth saying it should be 15% basic and 20% normal but that's their issue not mine). Most states in the US pay as little as $2.13 an hour for wait staff so they make their living on their tips. Is this wrong? Yes. Is it going to change? Unlikely in the near future.

Account Deleted

"Most servers in the US earn less than minimum wage"
Then that's Americas fault and they need to change that ASAP. My tipping them won't change the ground-problem.


Agreed. If you can't afford to add the tip in the US, then no, you actually can't afford to go out. And until it gets changed, not tipping isn't going to do anything about it except piss off the waitstaff.


Yeah because people making $2.13/hour can compete with huge companies lobbying to keep the pay rate at $2.13. They've been trying to change it for at least 30 years, with zero luck. this covers it well( And FYI, even if you don't tip, the IRS has a scale that they use to "estimate" the tips a server *should* receive, and they're taxed on that, so they're still being taxed for the money you didn't give them(even if they can prove what they made in tips the IRS still won't budge). THEY END UP PAYING TO SERVE YOU!


Stay classy, GN, be glad you live in a reasonable place.


All depends on where you live. As a Canadian, I know that the servers here receive the same minimum wage as everyone else. The only reason I tip at ALL for standard service is because the American mentality of 'you MUST tip your server' has infected our country, and people think you're a dick if you don't tip. So I give them 10%. If I get shitty service, I am definitely not tipping and don't feel the least bit bad about it.

I hope America will soon come to their senses and start paying their servers a decent wage, so that us Canadians who already do don't have to pony up the extra cash to people who make just as much-or more-than we do. It's expensive enough living up here, we already have to pay more for our meals than an American would because of the wages they pay their workers, why should I have to spend my hard-earned cash so that people who are ALREADY getting compensated for their time can have extra booze money?!?

It pisses me off even more when you go for a buffet and they still want a gratuity. You serve, I tip. I serve, I keep.

Bored at the Bookstore

You could always try a cheaper restaurant... Or order less expensive items... If you have only ten dollars to eat out on, then it's fast food night; if you have twenty, buy the $9.99 special and a refillable drink - or even *gasp* water - then you'd have a little left for a tip, yes? Sometimes it's filet mignon: sometimes it's fried chicken or the fish sandwich. Heck, when I'm feeling broke, I go to a local chain place that has gorgeous, gigantic burgers with steak fries on Wednesdays for $3.50! Eat the giant chopped steak with knife and fork, munch on the buttered, toasted bun, enjoy the fries - pretty good for $3.50! Add a $2 or $3 drink, and it's still about $10 with tip (I try to think of the tip as part of the price of not cooking for one night.

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