“I just don’t feel the need to tip that much,” explains Sam, a 29-year-old woman living in New York City. “I spend a lot on food and alcohol and travel because I enjoy those things. I’ll tip a little bit but I don’t feel like I need to tip a lot.” Sam knows that she should tip, and shame around not tipping well is one of the reasons she has asked not to be identified by her full name here.
Her standard tip is around $5, whether the bill is $50 or $100. (This is up from $1 or $2, the amount she’d drop when she first started dining out as a college student in Indiana.) There have been times when she hasn’t left a tip at all — not because service was bad, but just because she didn’t feel like tipping that day.
Sam knows the amount she chooses to tip isn’t the norm. In fact, one of the reasons she doesn’t think she needs to tip is because she believes everyone else tips enough to make up for it. “They’re making $5 off of me and the next person they’ll get like $25, $30, and that’s all going to their pocket, so what’s the difference?” she says. “I’d rather spend that money on other things.”