People take advantage of tipping

Workers are helped when customers in restaurants give them a bit extra, but people have begun to take advantage of this system.

Advik Sood

Workers are helped when customers in restaurants give them a bit extra, but people have begun to take advantage of this system.

Advik Sood, Staff Writer

You get what you give in life, but the nation’s honest workers have done nothing to get taken advantage of. Tipping is how people give back to service workers, and it’s become a social norm. However, many employees are letting themselves be pushed around by customers under the hope that they will receive better tips.    

Restaurant workers are financially dependent on tips. The National Employment Law Project found that workers earned more in tips than they did from their base salary in 2018, with waitstaff making over 58% percent of their hourly earnings from tips alone. In some states, including Virginia, that number is as high as 65%. These high numbers in tips are because the minimum salary for restaurant workers is $2.13 an hour, with tips expected to supplement the rest of the income. Most customers have realized how important tips truly are to restaurant workers, and continue to offer their generosity in an attempt to help workers out. 

Some, however, have begun to abuse this fact by making inappropriate requests. Red Bank Legal in 2019 found that both men and women from the restaurant industry accounted for 37% of sexual harrassment complaints, despite restraunt workers making up less than 4% of employees in the US. Clearly, some customers think employees will condone unwanted attention and requests if it means getting tips. 

Eater also found that White servers made over 25% more in tips than Black servers, and nearly 50% more than their Asian counterparts on average. Forget good service, it’s the skin color of employees that can dictate the amount of a tip they receive.  

People in the service industry put up with these hardships every day because it’s the backbone of their livelihoods. Refusing to accept these inappropriate demands would risk losing extra money.

Even though tipping gives businesses the legroom to lower their payrolls while giving employees a chance to make more than just a salary, it also clearly invites discrimination and hate with open arms. None of that matters more than the wellbeing of workers themselves, though.

No, they are really not just our “servants” that we can use when we need them. Restaurant workers are people with lives to live. They are people like us, trying to get by one shift at a time. 

In the end, we as students don’t have much of a say when it comes to how well corporations pay their employees. However, we can choose to make restaurant employees’ days better for all the right reasons. So the next time you’re at a restaurant and the check arrives, don’t penalize your server because you thought they didn’t look good enough for you; reward them on how they bettered your experience.