I do not support the tipping system. I think it's absolutely repulsive that restaurants don't just pay their employees what they ought to be paid, and instead have them relying on the whims of random customers (and their wallet sizes).

Change is only going to come about through resistance, and for that reason, I do not tip.

Inspired by this thread, Covering for person who refuses to tip waiter without offending?, how do I then deal with Americans who try to force me into tipping?

How do I deal with these sorts of people? How do I make them understand that no, tipping is not a good system, and that yes, resisting the system will bring about change (as it already has in many places in metropolitan cities)?

  • 2
    Welcome to the Interpersonal SE. As it stands, this question is primarily opinion based or too broad. I've put a close vote on it for that reason. If others agree with me, your question will go "on hold", but you can still edit it to be suitable for this website. You can try proposing your question in the sandbox (interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3129/…) if you would like some guidance.
    – Belle
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 13:50
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    maybe useful
    – JAD
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 13:57
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    Have you actually been in this situation? Or is your question hypothetical, motivated by the other question? If you have been in a similar situation, what have you tried to make clear to the American that you don't like to tip? If you haven't, what do you think you would do, and why do you think that won't work? Is this about not having to tip at a given occasion? Is there a time and place where you're having the discussion on not wanting to tip, and your motivations for it?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 13:58
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    It also may help if you change your tone from being accusing/derogatory to being sincere. No one in the other question ever acted as though the tipping system is some superior culture trait (I certainly don't think so), but it's something that is culturally unavoidable in the US if you don't want to be rude, regardless of if it's wise or convenient.
    – Jess K.
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 14:47

3 Answers 3


Refusing to tip as an individual kinda shows a distinct lack of understanding of the issue and a lack of interpersonal skills.

First off, I would hazard a guess that most Americans don't particularly like the tip system. They just understand that refusing to tip only hurts the individual service person. Basically a restaurant owner is unlikely to change policy within their establishment because people don't tip, they're not directly affected by their wait staff losing money.

Your approach also shows a lack of a rather important interpersonal skill, empathy. Effectively you're saying that you don't care that you're hurting, what are already, low wage workers. You're fine with having a negative impact on the quality of the life for these workers just so that it doesn't come out of your pocket...

If fighting the tip system is really important to you, boycott the businesses, don't just withhold tips. Both approaches hurt the workers, but at least in this way you're also putting a little pressure on the business owners.

Or if you really want to see real actual change, encourage and support labor unions. That's where most of these kinds of large systemic changes for workers come from in the United States. Collective bargaining, through unions, allows workers to stand united and demand a living wage.

Taking a step back and looking at why a culture does something is an important step before attempting to change what a culture does. Probably one of the the major criticisms of American culture is that we have a history of not bothering to understand a culture before trying to change it.

The idea of "American exceptionalism", the idea that our way is inherently better, has caused an awful lot of problems throughout history...

Probably best to learn from our example, lest you end up with our reputation.

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    You could argue that if everyone followed the approach of not tipping, the system would quickly fall apart, either the restaurants having to increase wages (to stop staff quitting or due to federal law), or would shut down. Yes it would hurt some people who are not to blame but it can certainly be argues that en masse it could be an effective strategy.
    – Vality
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 22:37
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    @Vality One could argue that that strategy would require a massive organized movement in order to be effective.
    – apaul
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 22:41

One: Explain to "the american" why you don't wanna tip.

Two: Find a restaurant where employees have a minimum wage (for example by searching on Google). By doing so, you will support restaurants that pay a minimum wage. In the long term, restaurants that don't pay employees well might die because no one would want to eat there anymore.

Three: If no restaurant fitting your criteria is available, don't go to the restaurant. The true aim here is to not support restaurants who do not directly pay their employees. If you eat there, you will participate in this form of "modern slavery", even more if you are not tipping.

  • How could you find out what the restaurants are paying their employees?
    – komodosp
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 11:54

You could explain to your friends exactly the reasoning that you provided here: that you don't support tipping because restaurants should pay their employees fairly, and that you believe resisting the system will bring about change. This is the most honest, straightforward course of action. It has the potential to start a thoughtful debate about the subject. But remember that you can only explain it to them; you won't necessarily be able to convince them to abandon a cultural norm that they've always known.

Additionally, you have to accept that if you are in the USA, you will likely be perceived as rude by your friends and by restaurant staff. Also, while refusing to tip may bring about long term change, it has an immediate detriment to the waitstaff you encounter.

  • 1
    Hey, thanks for the answer! Can you please explain exactly why you think that this is a good idea? Why do you say to take this course of action? What’s the thought process behind this answer? As this currently stands, this is essentially a “Try this!” answer. We require that answers provide some sort of explanation for why they are suggesting this solution, and unfortunately, at the moment this answer doesn't appear to do that.
    – Mithical
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 14:50
  • @ArwenUndómiel I edited it, is that better?
    – zanahorias
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 14:53

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