I've been reading why tipping is bad for everyone.

  • Waitresses are forced to look and act cute if they want to make money. It's emotionally tiring. They have to jeopardize their integrity for money, and it encourages sexual harassment.
  • Employees make less stable income, being subjected to the whims of customers. (Note, they also get lower wages since employers know they will be tipped. It evens out in theory, but there's more risk involved.)
  • In areas where certain ethnicities are less able to tip, waiters give them worse service, anticipating the lower tip.
  • Making informed decisions is harder for consumers because tips aren't reflected in menu prices. It tricks people. It's just unnecessary effort.

I'd like to stop tipping in hopes that someday, service costs will be reflected in higher prices and higher wages for waiters.

But I don't want to seem rude if it can be avoided. How do I do this?

How do I help waiters and waitresses understand where I'm coming from?

How do I leave 0 tip and not feel guilty or make anyone feel bad?

I don't want to simply avoid all situations where tipping is customary. I'm unclear as to what could be gained from that.

I could tell the waiter in advance that I won't tip and explain why. I could offer to leave if they don't want non-tipping customers. I could leave a pamphlet with my bill explaining it all, offering more information about why tipping is bad. I may need to use a masked credit card in case of retaliation. I may need to check my credit card charges carefully to make sure they don't overcharge me out of anger. But I don't know anything about non-tipper culture or how to make it work.

  • 13
    Honestly, you're just hurting the people you claim to want to help. If you really want to end tipping in the United States, talk your state legislators about why it's important for minimum wage laws to not have lower minimums for tipped workers
    – remy
    Oct 7, 2017 at 22:39
  • 2
    If you stick to fast food, you don't have to tip. If you cannot afford to tip, then don't eat at a place where it is customary to do so.
    – Pete B.
    Oct 9, 2017 at 10:31

2 Answers 2


How do I leave 0 tip and not feel guilty or make anyone feel bad?

Rationalizing the wages of restaurant staff is not within the control of the wait staff. In fact, the IRS assumes that restaurants where tipping occurs will receive at least 8% of their gross receipts in tips:

IRS Topic Number: 761 - Tips – Withholding and Reporting

If the total tips reported by all employees at your large food or beverage establishment are less than 8 percent of your gross receipts (or a lower rate approved by the IRS), you must allocate the difference between the actual tip income reported and 8 percent of gross receipts among the employees who received tips.

So, as little sense as it may make, tipping is baked into the US tax code. There's no way you can refuse to tip in an establishment where tipping is the practice and not make someone feel bad, since it will have a real impact on their earnings.

If you are serious about your principles, you should exclusively patronize restaurants with a "no tipping" policy. They are becoming more common. If you patronize restaurant where tipping is expected and refuse to tip, then people will suspect that it's less about your principles and more about being a "free rider".

  • 1
    i had no idea about this IRS stuff or the no-tipping restaurants. i'll definitely look for some near me. thank you! Oct 8, 2017 at 1:01
  • @AlexanderTaylor Restaurants with no tipping policies typically pay their waitstaff a normal wage, and typically higher than minimum. This is also why when you go to a restaurant where tipping is customary, you really hit waitstaff hard by not tipping, because they make some $2.13/hr unless their wage falls below minimum, where the employer makes up the difference to $7.25/hr. No-tipping establishments typically pay more at the minimum because tipped waitstaff can make >=$12/hr with good tips. But, do not go to a restaurant and otherwise not tip your server.
    – CKM
    Oct 9, 2017 at 16:27

The correct answer to this question is:

Patronize no-tipping restaurants.

(Relevant news articles here).

By doing this, you are supporting the values you claim to support without hurting the very people you say you wish to help.

This can be done at fast-food restaurants, or at full-service no-tipping restaurants, where the service charge for paying staff a better wage is baked into higher menu prices. If you have a favorite restaurant that isn't in this category, you might try writing/calling management to encourage them to switch to a no-tipping policy, and getting your friends to do the same.

Though likely out of scope for this question, you can also eat at home until you save up enough restaurant dollars to travel to a country where tipping is not customary, and see if you can notice (directly and/or through talking with local residents) differences in the level of service diners receive.

  • This is the only real answer. If you don't want to tip and don't want to be rude, the only course of action is not to use services where tipping is expected.
    – Kevin
    Sep 18, 2018 at 20:19

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