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Not one person liked CNBC’s “simple tipping trick”

Illustration for article titled Not one person liked CNBC’s “simple tipping trick”
Photo: BrianAJackson (iStock)

The Takeout commentariat points out the frequency of questions about tipping sent to our own Salty Waitress. Not too long ago, she answered a question about whether to tip on the pre- or post-tax total: “Do you know how often I get asked this question? Like once a week. So why haven’t I answered it in this column yet? Because it’s a dumb, cheapskate question.” As Salty points out, the difference is usually minor, so be the bigger person and round up to the larger amount while tipping.

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A CNBC video released in February 2018 took on viral status on Twitter over the weekend exploring the same issue, but via a different route. CNBC reporter Zack Guzman (now with Yahoo! Finance) calls tipping a “seemingly insignificant decision that can add up over time,” which “could save you over $400 without looking cheap.” Bit of a swing and a miss, there.

Guzman’s suggestion is to tip by doubling the tax (which results in a tip that’s about 18%) instead of going to 20%. A few people CNBC talked to on the street support him in this, saying they tip around 10%, and even etiquette expert Lizzie Post backs him up, saying that 15-20% is just fine. But the video contains a serious dose of tone-deafness, in that you would be saving money at the direct expense of another person.

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So Guzman’s general thesis that you can save money by giving less money to the people serving you has kicked off a bit of a hellstorm on Twitter, as well as yet another debate on the unfair tipping culture, which our long-suffering Salty Waitress is well-familiar with.

In Guzman and CNBC’s defense, he’s not suggesting not tipping at all, and his double-tax method probably adds up to more than 15%. But still. As the Twitter protesters recognize, shaving a few bucks off of the money you’re giving to the hard-working people who are serving you is a lousy way to add to your bankroll.

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How about making a few meals at home instead if you want to save $400 a year? We have lots of suggestions.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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DISCUSSION

erikzimm
Erik the Red

I think their suggestion is fine.

Once upon a time, 15% was a good tip for good service, where 20% was reserved for excellent serviced. I hate this tip creep that suddenly we have to be tipping people over 20%. I’ve waited tables and bartended back in “my day,” and I would be perfectly happy if someone doubled the tax and I consistently got 18% tips. But no, I worked at a mediocre family friendly restaurant where I would often get handed $5 on a $50 bill like they were doing me a favor.