Dear Sean


I don’t tip at restaurants. I never tip my waitress. I am originally from the U.K. and tipping is an absolute oddity to me. Why the hell am I paying someone $10 bucks to do their job? I think tipping is stupid.



You’re absolutely right, sir. There is no need to tip your servers. These people in the service industry are just looking for handouts. Screw them.

These servers ought to be grateful for the privilege of wiping your table. Tips? What a dumb notion.

Why show appreciation to ANYONE for their work? Don’t these idiots in the food-service biz know they should be grateful for their $4-per-hour jobs?

Believe me, I understand where you’re coming from, sir.

My mother worked in food service. My sister worked in food service. I worked in food service. My wife worked food service. And at one point, my mother, sister, wife, and I all worked for the same food service. I’ve met a lot of guys like you.

The truth is, we survived on our tips. Our electric bills were paid with tips. We were tip-dependent.

If it weren’t for tips, we would have defaulted on our rent. We would have been without gasoline. We would have gone without groceries.

But who cares about all that? Tips schmips.

I applaud you for your individuality, sir. You’re probably the kind of person who also walks past homeless persons on the street, without even looking at them.

Good for you. This country needs more people like you.

It doesn’t matter that one third of the homeless population in the U.S. suffers from mental illness. Not your problem. Am I right?

Screw them. Screw their daddy issues. Screw their PTSD. Screw their exemplary service in past wars. They need to get a freaking job.

Tipping is much the same in your mind. Why should you care? Why should you pay someone for “to do their job?”

Of course, the short answer is, you’re not paying someone to do their job. You’re paying someone to do YOUR job.

You are paying someone to serve you. There’s a big difference.

You’re paying a human being to make sure your food is hot. To ensure your drinks are cold. You’re paying someone to communicate your special, repulsingly anal instructions to the cook.

Such as, when you instructed the server that you wanted your salad dressing “on the side,” even though once you receive your dressing you’re just going to pour it on your salad and toss it, exactly the same way the kitchen guys would have done.

Sure, I could tell you that there are reasons for tipping that you don’t understand. Reasons beyond you. But you wouldn’t care.

Because, you see, you are the customer. You are always right.

Then again, what if you’re wrong?

What if you’re not holy and inviolable? What if you’re just a basic human being, like the rest of us lowly serfs? What if you’re just common folk like everyone else?

Because if this is true, this changes everything. This would mean that you’re not entitled to impeccable service. It would mean, in fact, that you’re not entitled to anything.

This would also mean that your servers aren’t obligated to wax your hindcheeks or kiss your signet ring.

It would mean that, hey, you could have gone to McDonald’s for supper. You could have had some college kid prepare your order using the same sincerity most use to scratch their backside.

But instead you chose a decent restaurant. An establishment with a pro serving staff.

Meaning, these people got dressed up for you. They ironed their clothes before work. They arranged for expensive babysitters. They did their makeup. They got their hair did.

And do you know why we did all these things? We did it for tips.

We showed up early to help the kitchen prep and peel shrimp. We helped out behind the bar. We vacuumed the dining room and helped the Latino kid wash dishes. We flirted with our elderly customers even though we are a half century younger.

We did it all because tips are the lifeblood of our profession.

But don’t worry about it. You’re above us. You’re different. You’re royalty. When you enter into an eatery, beer joint, or tavern, you are entitled to be treated like a congressman.

You’re deserving of an immaculate dining room, perfect manners, gleaming service, and a staff with speckless etiquette.

Who gives a rip that 90% of servers in the U.S. work for wages below minimum wage ($7.25).

Who cares that these servers chose this job not because they wanted it, but because they couldn’t find another?

Who cares that a server’s average annual income is below $18,900, which is barely enough to sustain one human being in America, let alone children.

Who cares that, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, restaurant servers are twice as likely to live below the poverty line than any other occupation?

I say good for you, sir. I admire your stance on the issue. I truly hope you’re allowed to take that extra $10 bucks to heaven with you.


  1. 🇿🇦🇿🇦 Norma Den - October 10, 2022 7:17 am

    Wow Sean, tell it like it is. Lousy scrimping guy. I’ve travelled in the UK & boy do they expect their tips. This guy needs to crawl back into the hole he came from. A service is a service, no matter how menial. Hope they spit in his coffee next time. I’m in South Africa. I tip pump jockeys at gas stations, I tip the guy who guards the cars in parking lots, I carry nutritious breakfast biscuits to hand out if I don’t have change, or to street kids even adults begging at traffic lights. It’s a hard world we live in these days, be good, be kind & always, always think There but for the Grace of GOD go I. Heck I could go on & on I’m fuming so.

    • Ann - October 10, 2022 12:23 pm

      Well said.

  2. PMc - October 10, 2022 7:25 am

    Thank you Sean, well said for the service industry. If someone is working in it they really need a job and tips are critical!
    Peace and Love from Birmingham 🇺🇸

  3. Alan Day - October 10, 2022 8:00 am

    Wow, did you get pissed. Out of character for your column to be so snarky. Surprised tipping got your goat when so many other issues don’t. Snark is unbecoming for you. There are more positive ways to make your tipping point, more in line with the positive, life afirming, supportive adivice I depend on you for. There is too much anger around me and I depend on you to help me through it. I’ll need to leave if this attitude continues. Please find a way around your anger and the meanness it seems to have justified to you.

    • Jackie Logan - October 10, 2022 9:25 am

      It’s the root of ALL evil…. theGOOD BOOK says.
      “ the LOVE of money”

      • Paul Toscano - October 11, 2022 3:42 pm

        The lack of money is aldo the root of evil.

    • imcdbw - October 10, 2022 1:41 pm

      I think he did a marvelous job of clarifying the error of the non-tipper’s attitude and behavior. Used no foul language. Made clear the necessity of generosity in this country. No nastiness. Bravo Sean!

    • John - October 10, 2022 2:21 pm

      @Alan Day as the saying goes “don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you” bye!

    • H. J. Patterson - October 10, 2022 2:50 pm

      Alan Day, please go to your nearest safe space. All will be well.

    • Dee Jordan - October 10, 2022 3:03 pm

      Thank God it upset Sean. People who don’t tip or under tip are just miserable excuses for being human. People work so hard for their tips and without them, they CANNOT pay their bills. It wasn’t ugly but just to the point. I don’t think Sean was angry, just truly baffled (as I am) by that attitude of not wanting to tip.

  4. Beryl Dixon - October 10, 2022 8:29 am

    Excellent, as usual.

  5. Lisa - October 10, 2022 9:06 am

    @AlanDay – He has every right to make a point like this. Number one it’s his column. Number two, what if the next server at the restaurant you went to needed the ten bucks to buy his baby milk? That’s enough to get fired up about. Third, you cannot depend on Mr. Dietrich to give you life affirming advice all the time. Why? Because he’s human. He’s going to make mistakes. He’s going to fail. You need to look for your life affirming advice from the only true source of all wisdom, The Bible. And God is the one that will never leave you not forsake you. He is the one to give you guidance and point you in the right direction filled with hope. I hope and pray that you take this advice to heart. This is not meant to be a smack across the wrist but a reminder (for us all) where truth is to be found and priorities are to be placed. God bless you, sir.

    • Debbie - October 10, 2022 9:40 am

      LISA….Well said!!

    • Jo Henra - October 10, 2022 1:50 pm


  6. EDWARD LEVERE ROCKENSOCK III - October 10, 2022 9:34 am

    I love everything you write and I loved this this one also but let’s talk. You end your message with the facts that the food service industry pay system sucks. Average income below $19,000 and produces employees who are twice as likely to live below the poverty line than any other occupation. Do you really want to defend this system? Those statistics are because the system doesn’t provide a fair wage even though the vast majority of people tip close to 20%. It’s the business’s responsibility to provide for the wages of it’s employees. Tips should be for extra service. If the business’s clientele can’t support it’s staff then the staff should leave. Many servers make a very good living working for gratuities. For every example you raised in your message there is also an anecdote of a sloppy, self directed, entitled server who doesn’t deserve to be paid let alone tipped. They are also are the ones that think they should receive 20% for even the worst service. Servers work hard and deserve a fair wage, I just disagree on who should provide that wage.

    • Brian E Hill - October 10, 2022 2:07 pm

      Well said.

      • Jean Thompson - October 11, 2022 12:45 am

        I agree, well said. People shouldn’t have to leave, say, a 20% tip as a matter of course, and no matter if the service was bad. These vital and hard working servers should be paid a decent and respectable wage. End of.

    • Joy - October 12, 2022 6:01 pm

      You hit the nail on the head.

      • Joy - October 12, 2022 6:05 pm


        What you said is the truth. You hit the nail on the head.

  7. Diana Martin - October 10, 2022 9:54 am

    True Europeans don’t tip. That’s because servers in Europe are paid a decent, living wage!

  8. Barb - October 10, 2022 9:57 am

    First thought I had is “why is this guy writing to Sean of the South with such a comment/question?” It appears he was poking the bear and it worked. What I have loved about this column is the pleasant, positive tone and the absence of political controversy. I have also enjoyed the comments . . no henpecking others who express an opinion.

  9. Andrew Dodds - October 10, 2022 10:14 am

    Should we mention this nice immaculate restaurant adds a surcharge to every purchase and calls it a “tip?” Gratuities have become an industry designed to take advantage of both sides of a purchase. Tips are taxable. I do not “tip.” I hand gifts of cash to my server and specifically tell them that it is a gift, not a tip.

    • A P - October 12, 2022 10:43 am

      Andrew Dodds, thank you for that tip. I forget how important the fine print can be.

  10. suzi - October 10, 2022 10:28 am

    Now that’s what mama would have called a good spankin’ / switching’!!!

  11. Julie Hall - October 10, 2022 10:43 am

    This was a perfect response!

  12. stephenpe - October 10, 2022 10:52 am

    Good job. Stand up for people who are at the mercy of poor pay and depending on the charity or good nature of people. Yeah, there are lots of issues in society to piss people off but Sean cannot tackle them all. This hit home for him. If Sean has disappointed you there is plenty of crazy,angry or mean stuff on the web to read. btw I tip about 25% usually. And cannot remember bad service. Maybe slow with the food when its busy but thats not the fault of the wait staff.

  13. Ernie in River City - October 10, 2022 11:05 am

    The Brit obviously poked the bear. Sorry, Sean. Most European countries have a high enough minimum wage that tipping is not necessary, but I’ve never had one refused. Mr. Dodds has a good system for ensuring the service staff gets 100% of the intended gratuity. Thanks!

  14. Paula - October 10, 2022 11:14 am

    Wow. So well said.

  15. Denise - October 10, 2022 11:19 am

    Eloquent. The pen IS mightier than the sword. Well said.

  16. Kathryn Carmalt - October 10, 2022 11:27 am

    Today’s column was dead on. Thank you.

  17. Leigh Amiot - October 10, 2022 11:47 am

    I would disagree with justification on one point, the dressing on the side. An older friend (now deceased) I had lunch with always asked for a small to go box at the beginning of a meal, put half her salad in it, then put dressing on the serving at the restaurant. This way she had fresh, non-wilted salad at home with her next meal. The usually generous portions at restaurants are often more than an older person can comfortably eat at one sitting.

    Norma Den, thank you for giving me an excellent idea, nutrition bars for the homeless.

  18. jaystrings23 - October 10, 2022 11:49 am

    Thanks to Lisa for chiming in. As with most everything, there are at least 2 sides to just about everything. One of the saddest situations I’ve experienced was at a Waffle House one Mother’s Day. We asked if she had children so we could wish her a happy Mothers Day. She replied, “Yes, three. And their deadbeat dad has them today. He gets them on Mothers Day and Christmas Day so I can work a double shift. But, ya do what ya gotta do.” She was not complaining, mind you. She was a hard-working Mama Bear who kept 4 tables and one end of the counter’s coffee hot and fought with the cook till he got everyone’s order correct. With a smile. That was 15 years ago. My whole tipping perspective changed that day. This world is full of great people doing what they gotta do and some of those serve us by doing what would otherwise be OUR job so we won’t have to.

  19. Sandi Krym - October 10, 2022 11:51 am

    I had a sister in law who was in the food service industry most of her working life. I could tell you stories of some of the outrageous behavior of some customers. She educated me on the way restaurants operate concerning servers. I hope you educated Confused-in-Chicago and many others who are ignorant of how good (and bad) servers often struggle. It is expected that tips will bring servers income UP to minimum wage. Depending on customers, that may or may not happen. Many servers have to take on second or even third jobs just to keep a roof over their family’s heads, clothes and shoes on their growing children and food on THEIR tables.

  20. Connie - October 10, 2022 11:52 am

    Oh man. If I could hug your neck right now I would. That was great! Anyone who has ever worked in food service can tell you-tips make the difference. Thank you

  21. Miller Michael - October 10, 2022 11:54 am

    I was that bonehead until I started to date my eventual wife, who was a waitress. She struggled to get 10-25 cents as a tip. Now I enjoy helping people.

  22. B Dale Saufley - October 10, 2022 12:02 pm

    It’s unfortunate that our tip economy exists. In Europe and most developed countries, there is no need to tip because the servers, buss-people, cleaners, etc make living wages plus benefits. Maybe it’s time for the US employers to 1) pay a living wage ($15 + /hour) and for real healthcare coverage to be included for all jobs, all employees, just like Congress gets. We can spend 20% less with the military industrial complex. Until food servers are given fair compensation though, I will continue to tip 20% or more, even at the coffee shop where I serve myself.

  23. Marilyn - October 10, 2022 12:04 pm

    In my opinion you said it well, Sean.

  24. John Myers - October 10, 2022 12:07 pm

    The problem lies with the eating establishments. They overprice the food, pay pitiful wages, and expect patrons to take up the slack that they should be paying workers.

  25. mccutchen52 - October 10, 2022 12:07 pm

    People, like the author, should spend time in the food industry. It will give them a better perspective on how some people live. It is a industry that makes you “bite your tongue” with a few people and smile from ear to ear with others. Loved the article Sean

  26. Karen S - October 10, 2022 12:08 pm

    European countries pay a living wage so tips are not necessary or expected. We pay beans for servers work. Tips are the real pay. Best to always find out the practice of the place you are traveling. In the USA—Tip generously.

  27. Dee Jordan - October 10, 2022 12:13 pm

    Hear hear, Sean!!! My daughter was a server putting herself through college and taking care of a sick husband! I personally hate assholes who refuse to tip or have a party of ten on a Sunday morning and throw down a five dollar bill for a tip!

  28. Jim Thomssen - October 10, 2022 12:15 pm

    Sean, they pay servers a much better wage in the UK and Europe where this guy wa from. You are spot on in your answer but there may have been a n educational opportunity there too.

  29. Kim H. - October 10, 2022 12:20 pm

    Well said, Sean!!

  30. Stephen Disney - October 10, 2022 12:22 pm

    “Give the selfish jerk HELL Sean”. I personally think the cheap bastard ought to go back to the UK.
    Maybe we should kick his ass out like we did his ancestors back in 1776!

  31. PSC - October 10, 2022 12:24 pm

    Years ago I tipped 15%, which was easy to calculate. Then I bumped it up to 18%, which I read somewhere was the prevailing appropriate amount. Then our son was visiting from another state where he worked in food service. He saw me using my phone to calculate 18% and asked what I was doing. His response: “Dad, 20% isn’t that much more, it’s easy to figure, and your server will really appreciate it.” Great advice. Now, if my wife and I eat somewhere where we know the portions are huge, we’ll share a meal. Then I bump that 20% up appropriately, because the server took care of two customers, not just one.

  32. Elaine DiRico - October 10, 2022 12:24 pm

    It occurs to me also that those of us who can afford it have a responsibility to get cash out of ‘investments’ and into circulation by giving it to people who will spend it. I have something Donald trump will never have: enough.

  33. FrankinSC - October 10, 2022 12:26 pm

    I must say this one rang a little false to me as well, Sean. I am originally from the UK too and still have many family members there. I can assure you that tipping is very common in the UK even though, for example, servers in restaurants are paid at least minimum wage unlike many places in the US. Anybody coming to America, including myself 40 years ago, is made aware very quickly by our friends of the system in the US where servers in most restaurants make well below minimum wage and depend on tips. I can assure you that visiting friends and family adjust our tipping practices accordingly without complaint. All that said, I do appreciate you taking up so often for the hard working men and women in most of our restaurants and I am sure that your own example has made a difference in their lives. Thank you.

  34. sjhl7 - October 10, 2022 12:27 pm

    Well said and heart felt! Thank you for being our voice, Sean!

  35. Jaeb - October 10, 2022 12:30 pm

    I definitely agree with you that servers here are way underpaid and should always be tipped, and generously especially for good service. Maybe since the writer is from the UK he doesn’t understand the absurdly low pay here though? I found in Europe most servers are paid a decent wage, and you just round up or leave a little extra in appreciation for excellent service. Serving apparently is a profession there….not a less than minimum wage job. I was horrified when I discovered the teenager working the counter at our local big name burger joint made 3 times as much as the waitress at our favorite sit down restaurant who was constantly running! Not saying the teenager didn’t deserve decent pay…..and if we raise the server salary to a decent wage, meal prices go up, and consumers complain. I have often heard people griping that meals went up so they will tip less.
    So we try to always remember to tip generously because serving is a very hard, physically taxing job. Thanks for your thought provoking story.

  36. Stephen Herchak - October 10, 2022 12:30 pm

    This person says they are from UK and I don’t know about the custom there but on the continent for the most part diners do not too. Wait staff there ARE looked upon as and consider themselves professionals and are paid accordingly so tipping is not expected, and in some establishments might even be seen as condescending, not recognizing them as a professional but seeing them as someone who needs a handout because they can’t find a better job when in fact their job is considered a plum and a desirable, respected one.

    At most, it can be seen as generous and appreciative if a dinner rounds up their charge — like from 22 to 25 — rather than leaving exact amount or having them make change.

    This, at least, is what I’ve been widely told from people who have traveled extensively in Europe or lived in Germany for years.

    My 2 cents…

  37. Celia - October 10, 2022 12:31 pm

    Only one small disagreement with this column. I do ask for my salad dressing on the side. It is because there is usually way too much dressing on the salad. You can’t taste anything but dressing. So I like to control that part of my meal. I am a big tipper, especially since the pandemic. But I do wish service people were paid enough so that they didn’t need to depend on people to tip them. I have travelled to countries where you don’t tip. The service staff are paid very well. It is nice to not worry about how much to tip.

  38. Tami - October 10, 2022 12:38 pm

    Applauding your reply to that entitled person. Wish I could tip you right now.

  39. April Ellington - October 10, 2022 12:50 pm

    Wow! I usually really like your write ups but this was a little over the top. The guy from the UK might not know that food workers only make a few dollars per hour in America. I went to Italy pre-Covid and you don’t tip there because they actually make a living over there. Take a breath Sean. It’s gonna be okay.

  40. Nancy C Canter - October 10, 2022 1:08 pm

    This is so true! I have loved this life!!

  41. Suzanne Cahill - October 10, 2022 1:13 pm

    Amen to everything you said.

  42. Trudy - October 10, 2022 1:17 pm

    Sean, I love it when you put people in their place. You always have really good answers for the jerks of the world. Some of the commenters today didn’t like it that you were not all sugar and spice. You tell it like it is, Sean. Keep keeping it real.

  43. Phil - October 10, 2022 1:20 pm

    When I lived in the UK, I rarely tipped. In the rest of the world, servers are well paid and don’t have to depend on tips. Tipping is not expected. Many visitors to the US don’t understand our dumb system that allows employers to get away with underpaying their staff. I gladly tip over 20%, but our system is unfair to the staff.

  44. Misha Benson - October 10, 2022 1:21 pm


  45. Dorotha (Dot) Coltrane - October 10, 2022 1:26 pm

    Way to tell him, Sean! But I wish he had not identified himself as a “Brit” because most people I know from England are generous and unpretentious. They may revere their monarchs, but they are regular folks, just like us.

    • Patricia Gibson - October 10, 2022 3:05 pm


  46. imcdbw - October 10, 2022 1:34 pm

    You are an incredible gentleman. Using no foul language, you showed him the error of his ways.

  47. Kip - October 10, 2022 1:54 pm

    I’m also from the UK, living in CA. Yeah, the whole tipping thing is weird when you first get here. It shouldn’t be like this but it is. I tip. Usually I overtip, because behind the smile you never know what’s going on in that persons’ life, wether they can make rent or have enough to feed their family. Working in food service is a backbreaking job and they deserve to be paid a decent wage.

  48. Joel Jacobs - October 10, 2022 1:59 pm

    I understand your piece… but, it generates a question: do you not know that in most parts of the world the tip is included in the price of the meal? That 15%….+/- is included….
    Our Brit friend in question may well not understand that…. I’ve lived, worked, played on five continents…. I tip here at home.. generally not in foreign countries…

  49. Brian E Hill - October 10, 2022 2:02 pm

    Reading the previous comments, this is going to be very unpopular. But you have to consider that everyone that walks into a restaurant is not rich. So I make $12 / hour and want to take my wife our for a decent dinner. I go to a middle of the road sit down restaurant to dine. My server takes my order, brings me my drink, then brings my food, and checks on me a couple of times while I eat, maybe refilling my drink. All in all my server has probably spent less than 12 minutes serving me. These days that type of dinner will probably run you $50. A 20% tip would be $10. How can a person who makes $12 per hour afford pay a server $10 for 12 minutes worth of work? Also, consider this. More times than not, the service I have received as of late, especially since the virus hit, has been anything but “professional”. I’m already overpaying for mediocre food, now I have to feel guilty that I’m not paying this person’s rent this month for waiting on me. Bull butter! Here’s a “tip” for you Sean. A tip is extra money for a job well done. No one if forcing these people into this line of work. They know the drill when they take the job. I have no problem rewarding someone who goes above and beyond. If you want to get on someone’s butt, how about calling out the businesses that employ these servers. They’re the real villains in this charade. They want the profit for the food and let the customer pay the server’s salary. No dice!

  50. K McGrew - October 10, 2022 2:08 pm

    God bless those who show up!! So many restaurants have closed because they couldn’t find people to hire as servers and cooks. These hard workers aren’t noticed until they don’t show up, then we realize how much we depend on them. They are worthy of their tips.

  51. Lifetime Chicago - October 10, 2022 2:08 pm

    My daughter went to Ireland and the UK last month. She works in the food industry in the US. She knows and tips well. And when she tried to tip there, one person gave it back to her and tried to explain that the US is out of control and didn’t want her tip. Europeans do not tip. Some were very kind if they did accept the tip.

  52. Judy - October 10, 2022 2:16 pm

    I know some waitresses who would love to make $4.00 an hour. In our area they make $2.00 an hour. How sad!

  53. Paul Alge - October 10, 2022 2:21 pm

    Basically this guy needs to know the server is holding you hostage. If you don’t tip something may happen to your food or how quick you get it ect….. I know some bartenders and bar backs and servers making as much as 600 to 800 a shift. It’s down to demographics in this line of work. But the struggling college students and single moms and dads need all the help they can get for sure. What if this guy is living on a budget too ? If I stop and get a meal on a trip on a budget should I have to tip ? Should we tip the cashier at the mini mart ? Lots of variables on this topic.

  54. Cathy M - October 10, 2022 2:39 pm

    I am a generous tipper and I figure if I can afford to go out for a meal, the least I can do is leave a nice tip. I don’t trust cheap skates. That is a quality that speaks volumes about who you are in every facet of your life. Just sayin

  55. Karen - October 10, 2022 2:41 pm

    I am not sure when America will start paying restaurant employees a living wage. Until then, they need to continue receiving tips. If going out to eat means you can’t afford to tip, then save enough to be able to tip and then go out. While in school, my adult children and now my grandchildren worked as servers. I have not met a unpleasant server in many years. Even then I can only think of 2. That is a good comment on the kind of service folks receive from most of these hard working folks.

  56. H. J. Patterson - October 10, 2022 2:46 pm

    Dear Chicago, please check for the next cheap flight across the pond to the UK. You’ll be happier and we will too. Regards to King Charles, long may he live.

  57. Rita Barker - October 10, 2022 2:49 pm

    I see he touched a nerve! Thank you from someone who waitressed a bit….♥️

  58. Mickey McCann - October 10, 2022 2:55 pm

    He must be from the part of the UK that’s called Scotland.
    Those boys could peel an orange in their pockets.
    It has been said that copper wire was invented by two Scots fighting over a penny.
    He is using the UK crutch because he is cheap.
    I am from the UK but I also took time to learn local customs.
    Even worked slinging suds for a time.
    I guess even the British need to gripe.
    Peace Séan.
    Thanks for you writing
    Take care of the doggies.

  59. sflouden - October 10, 2022 2:57 pm

    Another I just have to post on. Some of my children worked in food service. I had a daughter and a daughter in law who worked at …..Waffle House…. and they depended on their tips. I rented a house to them and it was $400.00 a month for them. I got paid each month in Nickels, dimes and quarters….it was a reminder to me of how hard they worked and for how little. I knew they only were paid by the company less than minimum wage and back then it was only $2.25. Each had children…and I would not have charged them any rent but I also had to pay mine. So yeah I have no sympathy for those greedy *&%$$# who pay no tip…I always do and always will gladly…they could be my daughter or sons…living in poverty….and hard working while at it. Thanks Sean.

  60. Patricia Gibson - October 10, 2022 3:01 pm

    Hallelujah Amen, Sean!!!

  61. - October 10, 2022 3:02 pm

    Sean, you are right on the money with this UK fellow. My boys were servers for a time in their life. The stories they told about tippers and nontippers were outrageous. The ones who could afford a generous tip were usually rude and made them work for every penny of it. The ones who were generous tippers were usually very humble and couldn’t really afford the money they so generously gave.

  62. steveleachman - October 10, 2022 3:04 pm

    I always enjoy your posts even when I disagree. With this one I understand your sarcasm. The guy for the UK needs to understand “He ain’t in the UK. In the USA we tip food servers.” I don’t why you added homeless people to the post. You’ve posted many times you give money to homeless people; even those you know are going to buy booze. Giving “self medicating” homeless people money in your mind honors your father. I read the post where he gave the Grand Ole Opry tickets money to a homeless guy. I understand but I disagree with this. It adds to their problem of alcohol and drug abuse. Are they human, of course. I give them food items, tuna in a package, bottled water etc. Ironically many don’t appreciate this and act insulted. Some even throw the items back at me. The solution is to spend the money on mental health facilities with adequate staffing. It would solve a lot of problems. And you could give your money to other causes.

  63. Anne Plitt Heinrichs - October 10, 2022 3:17 pm

    And maybe mention to the original poster that he does pay tips in the U.K. but they are called VAT, a tax included in goods and services. Plus lots of folks do tip in England, just not as big a percent (maybe 10%). But I’d bet he doesn’t tip at home either☹️

  64. woodshop5701 - October 10, 2022 3:26 pm

    YES! I was amazed to learn that searvers in Destin, FL earn an average of $2 to $5 an hour in very up scale restaurants. Food service is very hard work and we should show that they are apprreciated.

  65. Kathy - October 10, 2022 3:31 pm

    You go, Sean!!

  66. Pam Wilkinson - October 10, 2022 3:48 pm

    I have a friend who decided to prune her charitable donations and to use the difference to increase the amount of tips for those who help/assist/serve her in some way. She finds this much more satisfying than sending $ to a faceless organization, and her tips are outstanding.

  67. Sharman Corey - October 10, 2022 3:54 pm

    THANK YOU, SEAN!! These servers get $2.36 per hour from the restaurant, not even minimum wage.

  68. Sylvia - October 10, 2022 4:18 pm

    I think his point was that in Europe, servers are paid a living wage and don’t have to depend on patrons to help out. It’s ridiculous that our servers are paid just enough to cover taxes, and can’t count on any type of salary, or often even get health care through work. How can they plan or save for the future when their salary may vary by a hundred dollars or more a week? I’d rather pay 20% more for my entree and know my server is getting paid fairly.

  69. Alice - October 10, 2022 5:01 pm

    Sean I have a strong he may be taking his $10 in the other direction.

  70. Elaine Bryson - October 10, 2022 5:06 pm

    Sadly, serving in a restaurant is not a “profession“ in the U.S. as it is in most of Europe and the U.K

  71. Carol Stern - October 10, 2022 5:19 pm

    Great article!! Actually the national wage is $2.17. Of course a few states and restaurants have raised that, but most have not.

    A non-tipper should disclose that when they sit down and get what they deserve.

    Carol Stern a 25-50% tipper

  72. Anne Trawick - October 10, 2022 5:20 pm

    Reims me to never make you mad. What a blistering! I have a granddaughter who is a server, and we concur wholeheartedly.

  73. Rhoda Vanderhart - October 10, 2022 5:26 pm

    One thing folks should understand about Europeans who don’t understand tipping—–in most places in Europe, waiters are included in minimum wage regulations, so they make a decent salary without tips and restaurant patrons aren’t expected to tip them to pay their salary like we do here. I lived for a year in Italy where waiters make damn good money, from their employers, not from the people they serve. They are treated with respect and as valued members of the society. Unfortunately, here in the US, restaurant owners are allowed to NOT pay their workers a living wage (maybe one of the reasons they can’t get anyone to come back to work after the pandemic exodus) and customers are expected to pick up the tab. There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems……..

  74. Jackie Wolfe - October 10, 2022 5:43 pm

    Dear Sean, If you’ve never been there, you just don’t get it. I grew up with a single Mom who was a server at a Mom and Pop local restaurant until Cracker Barrel came to our small town off I-40. Every evening when she came home, we rolled her change. (Most people won’t understand that). Then a couple times a month, she’d drive me around town to the Utility company, Water Company, Phone company, etc., with my rolls of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies wrapped with a rubber band and I would run into these places and pay our bills with them. One of my best friend’s Mom worked at the Utility company and she would always make me feel good by telling me that she was about to have to go to the bank for some change and I showed up at the perfect time! Cracker Barrel was good to my Mother. It was the first job she had with insurance and paid vacations. You see, before that, if she didn’t work she didn’t get paid. The years have passed and Momma has gone to be with Jesus and I’m retired myself. But you can imagine that when Husband and I go out to eat, we are what servers call very good tippers! You never know, you may have a single mom with children serving you!!!

    • Richard Cotton - October 11, 2022 11:07 am

      Great post. Sounds like you had a wonderful Mother. God bless.

  75. Michael Saunders - October 10, 2022 6:36 pm

    Hi Sean, how are you? I am speechless. I am starting to love you. A long distance love affair. I live diagonally from you on our great continent. Smithers, B.C. I need a favour from you. How is the fishing in Choctawhatchee Bay? The reason I’m asking is because we will be snowbirding on the panhandle 2023/24. I will bring a small boat. Will it be good near Destin? Love Carrabelle, HoHum RV park and of course Appalatch. When are you moving back? Kidding. We want to see what Alabama is like. Will come for a visit on our way down. Don’t give away so much of your love. Save some for tomorrow. The world will need it. I could give you my opinion of what Putin is up to considering who his friends are. China, India and Middle East countries. Sean, I love your love. Keep writing about it.

    Much love,
    Michael, retired lumber grader

  76. Amy Lawson - October 10, 2022 6:40 pm

    I do believe food workers are paid a living wage in Europe vs the meager wage paid here in the US. When a person comes from one culture, they often don’t understand that the process is different in a new country and why. This doesn’t make them a horrible person, it just makes them uninformed. Unless there was more to the email you than you shared, you went pretty hard on them, where a simple explanation of the pay variance between countries for food workers might have been appropriate. I also realize, based on your history, it’s a very sensitive subject. Clearly, our country needs to pay food workers a living wage!! God Bless

  77. MAM - October 10, 2022 7:30 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for telling it like it is! Bravo! You did it quite nicely, but you put him where he belonged. This is probably the most REAL column you have ever written. And I smiled all the way through because you wanted him to know how You felt.

  78. catladymac - October 10, 2022 7:30 pm

    Guess what ? When you go through a drive-thru you can leave a tip too – even “keep the change” might help somehow. A lot of the drive-thrus I go through are not manned by kids, but by retirees – also trying to squeak by,

    • Seth Thomas - October 11, 2022 2:44 am

      Tonight I let the young lady at Krispy Kreme keep the change. Probably $2 plus change…
      She said “ thank you and have a good night…”
      Without eye contact. 😚

  79. Jennifer - October 10, 2022 7:56 pm

    AMEN AMEN AMEN Sean !!!!

  80. Seth Thomas - October 10, 2022 8:50 pm

    My older sister Jane paid her way through college years by serving customers at a great lodge dining room…

    She always got home late and I was always up just to listen in about all the great customers she met. Then I would watch her sift through all the change she received and separate the coins in like denominations. Yes, coins.

    This was 57 years ago…

  81. Harriet White - October 10, 2022 8:54 pm

    This was a GREAT column Sean! My uncle owns restaurants and boy is he an exorbitant tipper! 50-60 percent tip when he goes out to eat.
    I worked as a hostess in his restaurants and I can tell you I would hate to be a waitress. I watched them work their asses off. They even gave me part of their tips and didn’t even have to. Tipping is they way it works in the ole USA! You don’t like it? You know where to go!

  82. Judith Preuter - October 10, 2022 9:24 pm

    You are so right! We had good friends whose daughter was serving in a nice restaurant. This was to supplement her college money. There was one couple who ate there regularly and always left 35 cent tip. So my husband would leave 35 cents on the table with a very large tip on the bill. Hopefully this was to make her smile at the ridiculous situation she had always endured

  83. Debbie - October 10, 2022 9:30 pm

    Well said!!! I always tell people the 2+ years I spent waitressing after I got off my full time job was the best training ever for corporate America. I also went through an intense medical program. Those of us that waited tables or bartended excelled in our clinical rotations and then in our new careers once we passed our boards. Waiting on people teachings one a slew of skills, it’s hard work and gosh darn it tip those people well.

  84. Jerry N Bryant - October 10, 2022 10:35 pm

    Wow. Ripped this guy a new one.

  85. Lori - October 10, 2022 11:31 pm

    And another thing…..
    Just because you picked up your order instead of eating in, please tip!! My daughter worked curbside in high school and everyone just lined through the tip line. She has to put your dressing in little plastic containers, your sauces, your cheeses, etc. She had to place your warm rolls in a paper bag, pour your drinks, gather your utensils, make sure any accompaniments were with the meal as described, bag it, box it, wrap it, tag it. Please don’t line through the tip area just because you pick up an order. Thanks Sean. You’re the best!

  86. Pubert - October 11, 2022 12:13 am

    By the way sir, in case you didn’t get the message, Kiss My Ass! Have a nice day!

  87. majac3356 - October 11, 2022 12:16 am

    My son was a waiter while he was in college and a well-known football player came in… two couples with four children at two tables and he worked hard for the expected larger-than-usual tip from a man who makes big bucks for playing a game. When they left, there was a one dollar bill on each of the two tables.

    I later told him he should have followed them to the car and returned the tip saying, “Apparently you need this more than I do?”

  88. Jo - October 11, 2022 1:33 am

    I think some people leave negative comments just to get attention from you Sean. They may not actually believe what they are expressing, but do it anyway just to get a response from you.

  89. Patricia - October 11, 2022 8:22 am


  90. Richard Cotton - October 11, 2022 11:02 am

    This should be required reading for EVERYONE who dines at a “sit-down” restaurant. Thank you for writing this.

  91. Toni - October 11, 2022 1:04 pm

    Well said @ Brian E Hill

  92. Sandra Siegel - October 11, 2022 3:42 pm

    I am opposed to tipping in principle because restaurant owners should pay a living wage to servers. In California there is a minimum wage wage of close to $15 an hour. So prices on the menu are high, but they still expect a tip? Maybe some restaurants should shut down if they can’t afford to pay their workers a living wage.
    However, I do tip because its the reality.

  93. Jim - October 11, 2022 6:46 pm


  94. craig johnson - October 11, 2022 7:17 pm

    I’ve been a server at both high end (no tipping as the server is deemed a “Professional with special training – French Service in my case’) and in tipped places. Places where the Government allows the restaurant owner to pay the server LESS THEN MINIMUM because the Government ASSUMES (you know makes an ASS out of U and Me) the server will get at minimum an 8% tip.

    I always tip and I try to tip in CASH (why do you think the government want everything digital – taxes)

  95. DiAn - October 11, 2022 7:42 pm

    Right on, Sean! The only problem is this ‘non-tipper’ may not understand sarcasm. After all, tipping requires judgement & empathy. Those qualities may be lacking here.

  96. Denise - October 12, 2022 1:57 am

    Perfecly said even tho it was wastedtime on these yahoos. TY

  97. Steven Kyle Barron - October 13, 2022 4:14 pm

    I think that anyone who has the audacity to even question a servers worth should try it on for themselves! I appreciate your response to the fullest!

  98. Barbara - October 22, 2022 2:40 pm

    Well said!! As always, thanks for your special stories. Barbara

  99. Patti - October 25, 2022 3:00 am

    I understand the point you were making but such scarcism does not become you. I was really uncomfortable reading this and I do tip.

  100. Ezra Gutierrez - October 30, 2022 1:32 am

    The truth is that tipping is a cultural thing, most Americans like to have a choice on whether or not they tip. It would be much easier to just add 20% to the menu and put everyone on salary, but the servers like the tips and so do the customers, so here we sit. You pay either way when I lived in New Zealand the menu was priced about 20% higher than what I was used to in the states but there was no tip needed. I didn’t throw a fit I adjusted to that culture and moved on. If a restaurant is going to have a certain quality of hospitality then the staff has a certain amount they will need to be paid, you will arrive at that number one way or another.


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