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How much should I tip?

How much should I tip?
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Hey everyone! Are you in the habit of giving tips? And how much should be given to someone to thank for the service? Answer twenty questions and see for yourself!

A gratuity (often called a tip) is a sum of money customarily given by a customer to certain service sector workers such as hospitality for the service they have performed, in addition to the basic price of the service.

Tips and their amount are a matter of social custom and etiquette, and the custom varies between countries and between settings. In some countries, it is customary to tip servers in bars and restaurants, taxi drivers, hair stylists, etc. However, sometimes, tipping is not expected and may be discouraged or considered insulting. The customary amount of a tip can be a specific range or a certain percentage of the bill based on the perceived quality of the service given.

It is illegal to offer tips to some groups of workers, such as U.S. government workers and more widely police officers; the tips may be regarded as bribery. A fixed percentage service charge is sometimes added to bills in restaurants and similar establishments. Tipping may not be expected when a fee is explicitly charged for the service.

Giving a tip is typically irreversible, differentiating it from the reward mechanism of a placed order, which can be refunded. From a theoretical economic point of view, gratuities may solve the principal-agent problem (the situation in which an agent, such as a server, is working for a principal, such as a restaurant owner or manager) and many managers believe that tips provide an incentive for greater worker effort. However, studies of the practice in America suggest that tipping is often discriminatory or arbitrary: workers receive different levels of gratuity based on factors such as age, sex, race, hair color, and even breast size, and the size of the gratuity is found to be only tenuously related to the quality of service.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “tip” originated as a slang term and its etymology is unclear. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the meaning “give a small present of money” began around 1600, and the meaning “give a gratuity to” is first attested in 1706. The noun in this sense is from 1755. The term in the sense of “to give a gratuity” first appeared in the 18th century. It derived from an earlier sense of tip, meaning “to give; to hand, pass”, which originated in the thieves’ cant in the 17th century. This sense may have derived from the 16th-century “tip” meaning “to strike or hit smartly but lightly” (which may have derived from the Low German tippen, “to tap”), but this derivation is “very uncertain”. The word “tip” was first used as a verb in 1707 in George Farquhar’s play The Beaux’ Stratagem. Farquhar used the term after it had been “used in criminal circles as a word meant to imply the unnecessary and gratuitous gifting of something somewhat taboo, like a joke, or a sure bet, or illicit money exchanges.”

The etymology for the synonym for tipping, “gratuity”, dates back either to the 1520s, from “graciousness”, from the French gratuité (14th century), or directly from Medieval Latin gratuitas, “free gift”, probably from earlier Latin gratuitus, “free, freely given”. The meaning “money given for favor or services” is first attested in the 1530s. In some languages, the term translates to “drink money” or similar: for example pourboire in French, Trinkgeld in German, drikkepenge in Danish, and napiwek in Polish. This comes from a custom of inviting a servant to drink a glass in honor of the guest and paying for it, for the guests to show generosity to each other. The term bibalia in Latin was recorded in 1372.

The practice of tipping began in Tudor England. In medieval times, tipping was a master-serf custom wherein a servant would receive extra money for having performed superbly well. By the 17th century, it was expected that overnight guests to private homes would provide sums of money, known as vails, to the host’s servants. Soon afterward, customers began tipping in London coffeehouses and other commercial establishments”.

The practice was imported from Europe to America in the 1850s and 1860s by Americans who wanted to seem aristocratic. However, until the early 20th century, Americans viewed tipping as inconsistent with the values of an egalitarian, democratic society, as the origins of tipping were premised upon noblesse oblige, which promoted tipping as a means to establish social status to inferiors. Six American states passed laws that made tipping illegal. Enforcement of anti-tipping laws was problematic. The earliest of these laws was passed in 1909 (Washington), and the last of these laws was repealed in 1926 (Mississippi). Some have argued that “The original workers that were not paid anything by their employers were newly freed slaves” and that “This whole concept of not paying them anything and letting them live on tips carried over from slavery.” The anti-tipping movement spread to Europe with the support of the labor movement, which h led to the eventual abolition of customary tipping in most European countries.

Also, proprietors regarded tips as equivalent to bribing an employee to do something that was otherwise forbidden, such as tipping a waiter to get an extra-large portion of food. However, the introduction of Prohibition in the US in 1919 had an enormous impact on hotels and restaurants, which lost revenue from selling alcoholic beverages. The resulting financial pressure caused proprietors to welcome tips, as a way of supplementing employee wages. Contrary to popular belief, tipping did not arise because of servers’ low wages, because the occupation of the waiter (server) was fairly well paid in the era when tipping became institutionalized.

Are you in the habit of giving tips? And how much should be given to someone to thank for the service? Answer twenty questions and see for yourself!

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