Comfortable and Furious

Why Bad Tippers Deserve Horrible Deaths

If you do not tip, or if you tip substantially less than social norms dictate, you deserve to be drowned in a cauldron of boiling vomit. You are the worst. A dictator who cleansed the earth of bad tippers would be remembered as a hero for a hundred generations.

bad tippers suck i don't tip

The argument for tipping is pretty simple. The mental gymnastics performed by selfish pieces of shit who wish to weasel out of the obligation are astounding and I will address them one by one. But first, here is the basic, airtight argument that convinces every decent person.

If somebody offers their labor in exchange for tips and you accept their labor and it is satisfactory, you owe them a tip. If you regularly accept things on the understanding you will pay for them, then refuse to pay, you are a crook.

That’s it. So if you are such a crook, let’s move on to dismissing your bullshit excuses for your scumbag behavior.

“I don’t believe in the system of tipping because blahblahblah duuurrrr drool.”

All of these exchanges are going to be variations on a single theme. You’ve probably heard this phrase before, but I want you to really think about it. The world does not revolve around you. There are millions of people who live in a world in which you are completely insignificant. And we all have different ideas and preferences. It is impossible to accommodate all of them, so we reach compromises and establish norms when we interact. This is known as a society. We are trying to have one. You make it difficult.

Everybody disagrees with some social norms, rules, customs and laws. What you, as an individual, think about them, really doesn’t matter. Now, if, say, having your tax dollars go to a war is a violation of your conscience to the point that you are willing to make some self-sacrifice, then you can refuse to pay and do a little time in jail. But tipping is not a violation of your conscience. It’s a violation of your desire to take something without paying for it.

Moreover, many customs and norms evolve over the course of millions of human interactions through generations and have an intricacy and complexity is hard to really understand. I’m reminded of a video I saw on YouTube a while ago in which someone declared that the colors of traffic lights were arbitrary social constructs. It was pointed out that red, the color of blood, likely causes a primal reaction and, more importantly, stands out well against blue (sky) and green (plants) backgrounds. Had the arbitrary social constructs guy been put in charge, many people would have died in traffic accidents to satisfy his ego because he is an idiot who can’t grasp the fact that most of the intricacies of the world are not immediately obvious.

The point is that things are often the way they are for good reasons. Assholes like you just assume that everything the rest of the world does is capricious folly and only you, after watching a speech in Reservoir Dogs (given by a psychopath), have the wisdom to set things right. And if the rules are not changed to your liking, an elevated spirit such as yourself should not be bound by the conventions of your inferiors.

But even if the tipping system is bad, it’s the system we’ve got. Everyone engaging in it does so on an understanding that the customer will pay the worker for their work by tipping them. When someone working for tips provides a service to you, they assume you will pay them for satisfactory work. And you know damn well they are operating under that assumption when you accept the work.

When you engage in a system based on such an understanding, you are tacitly agreeing to abide by it. When you violate that agreement, or pretend that it doesn’t apply to you, you are being a crook.

bad tip waiter not stiff
If you really don’t like the system, don’t participate. Don’t eat in restaurants with waiters, go to bars, take cabs, go to casinos, use valets or barbers, etc. Drink a bottle of Popov at home, eat a TV Dinner and cut your hair with a vacuum cleaner. If tipping really bothers you that much, opt out instead of taking all of the benefits of a system you don’t like and imposing all the costs on other people: not only the servers, but the customers who are not crooks. Since stiffs are a fact of life, tippers must pay extra to provide a decent living for those who serve them, just as those who pay for retail goods must cover the cost of shoplifters. So why not opt out of the tipping system altogether? Because the reality is that you want to take advantage of those services and not pay for them.

“I’m from some country where we don’t have a tipping system.”

Well that’s just super! But again, the world does not revolve around you. Do you honestly expect every foreign country you visit to adopt the laws and customs of your home country when dealing with you? When you enter a business and declare that you hail from Stiffembourg, should the proprietor stop everything and restructure his entire system of employee compensation solely as it pertains to your purchase? The number of times I’ve heard this has completely alleviated any concern about being an ugly American when abroad. I might be ugly and I might be American but at least I’m not a stiff.

“Why should I pay for labor? That is the owner’s responsibility.”

Get a load of Adam Smith over here! Where do you think the owner of a business gets his money, you economic wunderkind? Do you think that, when you open a restaurant, money just starts shooting out of your butthole? No, the owner of a business gets his money from charging patrons for goods and services. So guess what would happen if there were no tips at a restaurant and the owner paid the staff more? The price of the food would go up.

In fact, it might be even more expensive than the food plus tip because more money would be taxed more often. You are paying for the labor either way. It’s just a question of if you pay the worker directly through tips, or if the same (possibly more) money is filtered through the hands of the boss and the IRS. Guess which option the worker prefers. Most customers prefer tipping too because, if you are not an asshole, it feels good to fairly compensate a someone directly, knowing that they and their coworkers will get the money. Shit, you might even occasionally try to brighten the day of a working stiff with a little something extra, assuming you give two shits about other human beings.

“I think tips are demeaning to workers. If they aren’t being paid well, they should organize and demand high wages, or the government should pass laws requiring better compensation.” (Yes, people, usually foreigners, actually say this).

You are one noble and principled motherfucker. Rather than seeing the working man well paid in a system he likes but that you disapprove of, you shall boldly take money from his pocket and put it into yours. I envy your courage.

Look, America is not a labor friendly country. It is not a coincidence that jobs that involve a lot of tipping are far better than jobs of a comparable skill level where you have to rely on the generosity of your boss. Tipping culture is kind of a cool way we circumvent bosses and the politicians they own to be decent to each other and provide a comfortable living for those who provide us with services.

If you ever bothered to ask, you’d find that most people who work for tips like it just fine and are very generous tippers themselves. The only real flaw in the system is people like you.

”I believe tips are to be awarded for exceptional service.”

Again, it doesn’t matter what you believe. You sound like that county clerk who refused to issue gay marriage certificates because she didn’t like them. Some people think man boy love should be embraced by society. Others believe the preponderance of our federal budget should be used to prepare for an alien invasion. They are free to hold those views, but they can’t bang boys and we’re not building a giant ray gun.

Regardless of what you think tips should be, here is what they really are: an honor system in which customers pay workers directly for satisfactory services rendered.

Now, if the service really is exceptional, feel free to tip more than the standard amount that you are obliged to for accepting the service.

“Tipping is optional, not mandatory.”

Tipping works on the honor system. Someone provides you with a service on the expectation that enough people will be honest and pay for it. It’s really pretty cool that such a system can exist. It’s one of those little areas of life you look at and say, “maybe people aren’t so bad.” Except, of course, for filth like you.

It’s not illegal to be a stiff. Nobody is going to force you to tip at gunpoint. So, in that sense, it is not mandatory. You can make the choice to be a stiff. Just like you can make the choice watch somebody drown instead of saving them, or to fart in an elevator. You can go to church every Sunday and never put anything in the collection plate. You can welsh on bets. You can borrow money informally and never pay it back. You can con and manipulate people into giving you money in all kinds of ways that are perfectly legal. There’s really no end to the terrible and dishonest things you can opt to do. Being a stiff is just one item on a full menu of scum-baggery.

“Times are tough and I cant afford to tip.”

I’m sure if Di Sica were still alive, he would make a movie about your life. But if you can’t pay for a service, then you can’t afford to use it. No big deal. Eat some place cheaper or make your own food. Take the bus. Drink at home. If you genuinely don’t have a few bucks to spare, you are also one bad break from destitution or homelessness. You should be clinging to that money for dear life, not going out for margaritas.

bad tip single mom bullshit stiffs cheapskates

If the reality is that you do have a bit of money to spare on buying margaritas for yourself, but would prefer to keep the tip money for yourself, once again, consult Copernicus.

“I do tip sometimes, but I often get bad service.”

I am in casinos for about 30 hours a week and eat out at least twice a week and I rarely get truly negligent service. Most other people seem to have a similar experience. Somehow, it works out that a small number of people wind up getting all of the “bad service.”

On occasions when I feel a worker doesn’t deserve a full tip, I’ll give them a small one and give the rest of their tip to someone who will appreciate it because tipping them really is optional. Someone like a custodian in a casino. If you aren’t just a cheapskate, maybe you should try that.

But I’ll allow for the fact that different people have different criteria here. I’m not likely to blame a waiter for understaffing, or a backed-up kitchen, or honest mistakes as those are just things that happen. I certainly don’t blame someone for being below average at their job, as long as they are trying. Somebody has to be below average. But maybe you want to shave 20% off your tip to disincentivize these things. Well, OK. Of course, by that logic, you are adding 20% for good service just as often. If not, you’re being a cheapskate.

If you are one of these people who constantly has problems with bad customer service, though, chances are the problem is you. Waiters are there to serve you, but they are not your slaves. You don’t deserve obsequious fawning from anybody, just because they work in the service industry. And if you don’t like policies, put forward by management, that’s not an issue of poor service. Plus, about 75% of the time, those policies will be in place for good reasons you’ve never considered (like the traffic lights). You just dislike them because they don’t serve your immediate self-interest and you are a baby.

Your servers can’t read your mind. Some people like their waiters to come by often. Others find it annoying. Some people like to be greeted and chatted with at a business, while it seems disingenuous to others. Your waiter doesn’t know that you have a very high or very low tolerance for spicy foods unless you tell them. A blackjack dealer doesn’t know that you would never stand on a 16 against a ten. One last time: the world does not revolve around you. If you find yourself routinely not tipping, or leaving bad tips because of issues like these, chances are that you are not the unluckiest person on earth when it comes to experiencing bad service. It is unlikely that the rest of the world is out of step with the objective reality that only you perceive. Most likely, you are just an asshole who sees everything through a lens of selfishness.