How Tipping Has Become A Representation Of 20-Something Entitlement

by Aaron Stamp

The omnipresence of social media has yielded, among a plethora of irrelevancies, two noticeable trends: puppy GIFs and disgruntled servers posting pictures of their checks with a low or lack of a tip. Underpaid servers are one of the great financial inequalities that Generation-Y suffers.

The majority of Americans understand tipping as a ritual; a sign that we decided to eat at a restaurant, spend money on food and enjoy the service. But now, thanks to the hordes of 20-somethings serving at restaurants, tipping has evolved into a pseudo-social mandate.

We are routinely vilified for not acquiescing to the narcissistic mood swings of a generation that thinks nothing of taking to social media to rage against the man for a perceived slight.

Just showing up is not doing your job; the definition of service is the action to help or do work for someone, while the definition of tipping is to bestow a gratuity.

What is a gratuity, but something given voluntarily or beyond obligation, usually for some service? And, if I might add, a service for which we are grateful. Get it? Gratuity? Grateful?

What you deem to be expected, by way of a tip, is exactly the opposite. As products of Little League participation trophies, our generation has learned to expect rather than earn.

This isn’t an argument regarding tipping as an institution, but rather, a focus on the entitlement that servers, who don’t get what they want, display at the end of the day. In many ways, tipping has progressed into a microcosm of the self-importance that 20-somethings commonly demonstrate and the overvaluation of their own work.

Not only does our generation display entitlement to what we want rather than what we earn, but we also value work at a premium, relative to everyone else. Recently, much attention has been paid to wage discrepancies of servers who earn $2 to $3 dollars per hour, as the establishments in which they work assume the rest of the minimum wage requirement will come from tips.

This is a common argument that angry servers, who feel they were tipped less than they deserve, tout. How is it that servers expect to uphold their standard of living, pay for their education, afford gas and go out once in a while if the consumer doesn’t tip?

Well, quite frankly, no one owes anything to anyone, especially for doing the job a person was hired to see out. Servers are not entitled to tips just because they expect it, regardless of how difficult your day was or how tough you perceive your job to be. You are not entitled to my money for doing your job.

Most people who work in food service aren’t doing so to establish a career in that industry. Rather, most are looking to use it as a springboard into whatever they really want to do, so they use restaurant jobs to obtain the means to pursue those goals.

Despite the noblest of intentions, there is no requirement for a customer to support these goals through an “adequate” tip. Customers enter a legal contract to pay for the food they order, not the salary of the person who is serving, regardless of the quality of their service.

Yes, it is a shame that restaurants have adopted tipping into their finances to eliminate overhead, but ultimately, it’s not the customer’s problem.

Shaming a non-tipper in a passive-aggressive Facebook post or launching into a bitter diatribe about the inequalities of working in the food industry does absolutely nothing to further your cause to get paid more.

What it does do is emphasize the already prolific stereotype associated with our generation: spoiled crybabies who complain about whatever doesn’t suit their particular agendas.

One of my favorite arguments used by servers is, “If you can’t afford to tip, don’t go out to eat!” Objectively, how is this any different than paying a surplus for any service we use daily? Better yet, how is it more benevolent than just taking the money you would otherwise use to tip a server and donating it to those who are in real need?

Generation-Y needs to abandon the ethos that comes from perceived unfair circumstances, whether they come from a low-paying job as a server or being bored in an office. We, quite simply, need to learn to deal with it.

If you don’t like your wage, but you can’t leave the job because you need the money so you can get an even better job, how does that burden fall to the consumer? How does that make you entitled to complain about your low-paying job and how I’m not doing anything about it?

Moreover, how does bringing pity upon yourself for not making as much money as you want to make, and attempting to shame those who don’t help you get it, garner any sort of deference? Just food for thought.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Elite Daily.

Photo Courtesy: 20th Century Fox/Home Alone 2: Lost in New York