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Survey: 10 percent of millennials never tip

Illustration for article titled Survey: 10 percent of millennials never tip
Photo: Studio Omg / EyeEm (Getty Images)

It’s getting more and more difficult to admit that I’m a millennial. We’re putting Costco in peril. We’re too lazy to go to bars to drink. We can’t cook for shit. And it’s recently come to light that we’re the worst generation when it comes to tipping, with a whopping 10 percent of millennials admitting that they never leave a tip when dining out.

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According to a CreditCards.com survey of 1,000 adults, it’s not just a deadbeat 10 percent dragging our generation down: A full third of millennials say they routinely leave less than 15 percent gratuity at restaurants. Who are these monsters? I want to have sympathy for my compatriots, many of whom graduated college with crippling student debt, struggled to start careers during a recession, etc. But guys, not tipping is not the way you’re going to make it to the top of the financial totem pole. (Ahem, that would be eschewing avocado toast.)

Older generations were more generous with their tips, a preference that professor Michael Lynn of Cornell University’s School Of Hotel Administration explains thusly: “Income predicts tipping.” That seems in line with the woe-are-we-broke-millennials outlook, as well as the finding that seniors over 65 have the highest percentage of respondents who said they regularly tip 20 percent of more on a bill.

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Maybe millennials’ trouble with generous tipping comes down to math issues? Despite being stingy with their gratuities, 27 percent of millennials said they favor eliminating tipping in favor of higher menu prices that would be passed on to the staff. Still, that’s only a quarter of my generation, which means the vast majority are sticking with their “No, I don’t tip well and don’t feel like changing that” mentality. Ugh.

Desperate for some positive news about my cohorts, I did find a heartening nugget about tipping as it relates to gender: Women are better tippers than men, leaving a 20 percent median tip instead of men’s 16 percent median tip. For what it’s worth, I tipped more than 20 percent on my last dinner out—and I know how to cook for myself.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

The only problem I have with this survey is that it doesn’t make a distinction between dine-in restaurants with actual tipped wage employees and fast casual restaurants that gladly accept tips on their receipts despite being staffed by full wage workers. Not only are millennials more likely to frequent the latter than the older generation, but they don’t offer any services that would illicit a tip.

Full disclosure, I’m a millennial. I don’t tip at fast casual restaurants that pay their employees full wages. I tip north of 20% at traditional dine-in restaurants.