The New York Post ran a story today claiming that in New York restaurants, 25% is now considered the norm. And rather than blame that on the generosity of patrons, they blame greedy waiters. "Here's how the service industry is trying to take bigger tips off you than ever" screams the headline.
But apart from a few anecdotes about how there are tip jars in more places than there used to be, and some vague reference to "suggested tips" that go up to 30% (in my experience these tip calculations, which sometimes appear at the bottom of checks, start at 10-15% and go up to 25%), there doesn't seem to be much evidence that anyone is trying to "take" anything. What there does seem to be is a trend towards higher tips.
This is evidenced in the Post article by a Cornell study that showed 37% of tippers in Poughkeepsie, NY, tipping above 20%. "Consumer experts agree the average New Yorker is being besieged by an ever-growing number of service workers who are after an ever-growing slice of their spending money," declares the Post. How about an ever-growing number of consumers who are generous?
Not says Steve Dublanica, a dude who wrote a book called Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper's Quest To Become the Guru of the Gratuity. (Seriously? An entire book dedicated to tipping? Guh.) "People are aggravated to no end by it," Dublanica says. Maybe the headline should have read instead "Small hearted people aggravated by other people's generosity."
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Of course, the entire article is based around the idea that New York in particular is experiencing this rise in tips, but I'd venture to guess that tips are rising almost everywhere.
What say you, L.A. servers and diners? Is 25% the new 20%?