What is the reason (historical or other)for why we tip based on cost rather than effort?


I was originally thinking about delivery (isn’t it basically the same effort to deliver 1 or 2 pizzas?). Shouldn’t delivery tipping be based on distance/effort rather than cost of food?

The same goes for restaurants, of course. If I go with a friend and we have the same meal but I have three glasses of wine, and she has three cokes, I am expected to tip more, but the server’s effort is the same for each of us.

Was it always like this or did it change with time?

Note: I’m only trying to understand this aspect of Us tipping culture. I know that tipping isn’t the norm everywhere.

In: 141


It’s the best proximation we have for effort that’s a simple formula… typically a higher bill means means more people served, more items ordered, or higher level of service expected. It’s not perfect, but people have a hard enough time with a universal percentage to apply… can you imagine some sort of complex formula that factors in drinks vs. food, number of items vs. expensive items, etc? It would be chaos and almost certain to hurt servers’ pay.

As for delivery, how do you know the distance from the location? Are you going to calculate that? What if they have different locations or a ghost kitchen and you’re not even sure where it actually came from. Do you tip differently if the driver has a Prius vs. a Tahoe because of fuel consumption? change based on gas prices that day?

Thank you. I thought I was the only one who thought of this. I feel the same way. This is gonna blow up. I always thought it to be silly on price of the meal. I’m not against sharing the wealth..

As someone who has served before, three glasses of wine and three glasses of coke are not the same effort as one each. On top of having to fetch food orders, putting new orders into the computer, taking a high chair to one table, two sides of ranch to another table, cleaning up a spill at another table, your refills absolutely do create more effort. Not a perfect system by all means, but this kind of thinking is what makes serving such a shitty job. Servers are running their asses off trying to accommodate every single person they are serving, and customers often omit a tip because one thing was forgotten. It’s a shitty job, but it pays well if you are good at it.

While tips have become the better part of income for people in service industries in the US, historically this was not the case and is not the case in most places of the world. You don’t tip based on the service because the idea of a tip is not [in the US: was not] paying for the service. Rather it seems decent that if you spend a lot (ie are visibly capeable of spending a lot) you tip more. This is a historically grown cultural practice that is, as such, slow to change. That being said, effort based tipping was also always a thing when bills from which a percentage could be calculated were not involved. In hotels people helping with the luggage are usually tipped per item and cleaners are usually tipped on a per night basis and are right to expect the tip to be correlated to the size of the room.