Sorry, I’m Not Tipping You Anymore

Amanda Claypool
9 min readOct 17, 2022
Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

I’m about to broach a very touchy subject. And it will probably offend you. But, we need to talk about this.

Tipping is out of control.

It’s no longer something you just do for restaurant workers.

Everyone wants a tip now.

The mechanic who worked on my car the other day.

The college kid who poured me a pint of beer last night.

Heck, even writers like me want a tip. (P.S. there’s a button at the end of this article if you feel so obliged).

Everyone wants a slice of the tipping pie.

But I’ve had enough. I’m struggling to keep myself afloat. I can’t continue to be expected to cover your cost of living too.

I’m sorry, I really am. But I’m not tipping you anymore.

How We Got Here

Tipping is an American thing. When you travel abroad you’ll discover tipping is not part of the service culture anywhere else but here in the good ole U.S. of A.

In fact, it is such a foreign idea that American tourists are often taken advantage of because of our tipping culture.

In my 20s I lived and worked in the Middle East. When you travel you eat out a lot. I can’t tell you how many times I dined out and found an optional gratuity charge had magically made its way onto my bill.

So how is it that America became the land of tipping in the first place?

To understand tipping we have to go back to the 1800s. At the beginning of the century, America’s labor force was uncompensated. It came from slaves, indentured servants, and other miscreants unworthy of a wage.

By the end of the century, slavery was abolished and America became industrialized. Employers needed labor but they didn’t want to pay for it (and let’s be real they still don’t).

They needed something to give workers the illusion of earning money without it impacting employers’ balance sheets.

Enter: the tip.

According to this NPR interview, tipping was a byproduct of the Civil War. Newly freed slaves were, well free. They couldn’t legally be enslaved anymore but just…

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Amanda Claypool

I’m a writer & strategy consultant musing about the future of the world as it’s unfolding. Stay ahead of the curve: https://amandaclaypool.ck.page/reading-list