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Another Reason to Abandon the Tipping System: Young People are Bad Tippers

This guy's got another reason to be fed up with tipping.
This guy's got another reason to be fed up with tipping.

The advent of using tips to compensate front-end employees at restaurants has come under a lot of fire recently, as it has been proven to be unfair and inefficient. For one, customers rarely tip based on the quality of service they receive, using a default tip amount based on their own perceptions more often than not, and bigger tippers seldom get better service. Not to mention some racial groups are stereotyped as bad tippers, potentially hurting their service before their water glasses land.

Now a new Harris poll further questions the system's future viability: Young diners, it turns out, tip like shit.

See Also: Maybe We Should Quit Tipping Our Front-End Staff Altogether

The survey asked 2,000 participants about their tipping habits, and found that 30 percent of Americans aged 18-34 most often tip less than 15 percent when they consider their service to be good. The national average is an 18 percent gratuity for good service, and older people stiff the wait staff far less often.

Maybe it's cultural, and maybe it's financial: High student loan balances and high rates of unemployment have weighed significantly on the finances of millennials, and now there's evidence that the pressure could affect wait staff compensation.

The poll found some regional differences as well, with southerners tipping less than their Yankee counterparts, on average. So, if you've been thinking you consistently get lethargic service when you dine out and you recently graduated from Alabama, your paranoia just may be founded.

Of course, there's a solution to all this: abandoning the tipping systems in favor of a compensation system that's more in line with other vocations. Europeans, who started the whole tipping system, have abandoned it in favor of paying wait staff a living wage.


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