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Monday, March 8, 2021


Raise minimum wage: Tipping should be sign of gratitude, not expected custom

Imagine going to a restaurant. Choose any one, because you’re paying in this fantasy. But keep one thing in mind: not only will you be paying the check for the meal, you’ll also be paying a healthy portion of your waiter’s salary.

According to, the federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour. Seven states, as well as Guam, “require employers to pay workers full state minimum wage before tips.” Twenty-six states “require employers to pay workers above federal tipped minimum wage,” which is often still low in comparison to other fields.

And in 17 states and two territories, tipped minimum wage is still all that employers have to pay their workers as long as they qualify as tipped employees. Unsurprisingly, Texas is one of these states.

Monetary gratuity for the service industry is a well-known, well-understood and well-kept tradition that occurs on a daily basis, which is fine.

Waiters and waitresses, maids, valets and so on work hard jobs to make an experience enjoyable for someone else. Then they go home to their apartments and try to rest before work comes back around.

Not only do they exist in an industry that sees them as expendable, but their wages are far too low, and we all know how rough those jobs look. Dominoes on the corner of Scott Street and Elgin Street is just one local example of a dirty, wearisome, depressing work environment that is inhabited and run by tipped workers.

The issue here is layered. People who work hard to please other people, especially in a country that is supposedly void of discrimination of class, deserve tips; these perks necessarily exist due to the relationship-centric nature of these jobs.

Tips should convey gratitude and satisfaction. Instead, they hold no merit, but are simply an expected custom.

According to, “most states allow employers to claim a ‘tip credit’ which can effectively reduce their minimum hourly obligation for tipped employees to as low as $2.13.”

Employers are taking this whole tipping conspiracy past the realm of half-hearted complaint into that of actual treachery.

According to, there has been a legislative proposal by Rep. Terry Canales that would prevent Texas restaurants owners from “deducting from the tips of waiters and waitresses the transaction processing fees that businesses must pay when customers use credit cards to pay for their purchases.”

Not only should people be paid enough to live off of, especially in the so-called first world civilization that is America, but they should also receive gratuity when they work for it. That is the nature of tipping.

Tipping needs to become less of a custom and more of a symbol of gratitude that exists only for the employee and the customer that they are servicing.

Work is not all there is to life, yet so many have to make work their main priority just to get by. Increase minimum wage for tipped workers as well as all workers.

Maybe then everybody can have the chance to utilize their creativity to better themselves and their community, rather than rotting in servitude and exhaustion.

If tipping becomes less important, each instance of gratuity will contain more personal meaning, as it should.

Opinion columnist Henry Sturm is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected] 

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