This is a subject that’s long been near and dear to my heart. Having worked some part-time gigs as a bartender in my youth, I’ve always had a good bit of empathy with the wait staff at bars and restaurants and tried to be a good tipper, at least when the service merited it. But that’s not the same for everyone. I’ve had conversations with wait staff in the past who confided about dinners where everything went off without a hitch and they still wound up getting a three dollar tip on a $100 dinner. The frustration is understandable.
But what are the trends, assuming there are any? Is there any demographic breakdown that predicts who is likely to be a good or bad tipper? According to one new survey, perhaps there is. And the one group that seems to come in for criticism is millennials. (CBS Miami)
How much do you tip? A new study finds some people are more generous than others.
Ted Rossman with Creditcards.com says, “We found that in general, men and millennials are the worst tippers. Which means that women and baby boomers, generally speaking, are better tippers.”
And who gets a tip varies greatly. Seventy-seven percent of all people surveyed say they always leave something to servers at a restaurant. But the numbers drop with food delivery people, hairdressers and taxi and rideshare drivers. Only about one out of four people tip hotel housekeepers and coffee shop baristas.
Update: Original survey source data for the CBS article came from creditcards.com.
Before going any further, I have to take issue with what appears to be a flaw in the methodology of this study. They’re using credit card receipts as the data source to see who is tipping and how much. For plenty of people, I’m sure that’s fine, but if you look at my credit card recipts you might think I was the stingiest person on Earth. The reason is that I rarely (if ever) add a tip to the credit card. At a more expensive place, my wife and I will pay the bill with a debit card, but I always bring along money to leave a tip in cash. That’s because I know some places dip into the tips or it all gets reported. Whatever the reason, I’d rather leave it to the server as to how they handle their tips. So if there are enough people like me, that probably throws off the numbers.
With that said, I find the idea that men tip less than women to be shocking. That’s certainly not been my experience, but perhaps that’s because most of my dining has been with dates or my wife and I’m the one who winds up handling the tips. Perhaps I’m just assuming that women frequently have less excess money to hand out. Of course, that’s another generalization I should probably keep to myself.
Baby boomers being better tippers doesn’t come as a shock to me. I think it was always part of our culture, but that culture has been changing at an accelerating rate for a couple of decades now. Still, wouldn’t you think that the woke crowd would have the most empathy for people working brutal hours for jobs that often pay far less than minimum wage and rely on tips to live? If the numbers in this study are valid, it’s really an eye opening experience.
Plus, of course, it gives us another chance to dump on millennials. So that part is definitely true.