Tipping shows gratitude for service

Mark Williams went to eat at a local restaurant. He and his party were left at their table for 25 minutes before they were given a menu. Still, Williams left the server a 15 percent tip at the end of the night.

Should he have tipped the waiter?

“If the service is average, or poor, I would still tip at least 15 percent. If it is good, I tip more,” said Williams, 24, a senior computer information systems student from Garden City, N.J.

According to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), tipping is a way to say thank you for services rendered.

Christina Cintron, a waitress at Red Lobster makes $2.13 per hour, but she averages around $250 per week in tips.

“I rely most heavily on tips because the basis of my money comes from tips,” said Cintron, 22, a senior business student at Florida State University.

There is no law that specifies how much a person should tip, but the ASTA suggests that it is standard to tip waiters at least15-20 percent of the pre-tax check.

Cintron said most of her customers do not tip 15 percent.

“I think most of my customers tip because they feel like they have to,” said Cintron, “I think they don’t know how much they should tip.”

“A lot of times, even when I go out, I still tip 15 percent, it’s the minimum,” Cintron said. “You should at least tip 15 percent.”

As folklore has it, tipping began generations ago when an employee put a moneybox on a table and wrote the words “To Insure Promptness” on it.

Since then, tipping has basically been mandatory.

“I tip everybody,” Williams said. “If a bartender fixes an $8 drink, I’ll tip him $2. The next time they’ll hook your drink up.”

Williams said he has tipped in restaurants where he did not receive prompt service.

“I’ve worked at a restaurant before; I know how much they make. I know people who need tips to pay their bills,” Williams said.

Even though they really don’t have to, some people feel obliged to tip because they know many servers depend on the money they receive from tips.

“If they’re getting some type of service, people should feel obligated to tip. If the service is horrible, then it’s a judgment call,” Williams said.

In the end, the decision to tip or not is made by the customer.

The service, food and promptness matters, but the server should be considered as well.

Contact Vinette Woodum at Vwoodum@hotmail.com.