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Students should tip

There seems to be an ongoing debate as to whether customers should be obliged to tip their servers at restaurants. Should we be obligated by a societal courtesy to tip those who are just doing their job? Or should we be allowed to leave nothing without getting a guilt trip by the waiter?

This debate is made even testier by students. Why should we have to give a dollar to someone when we can barely afford to feed ourselves as it is?

But the answer is simple: If you can’t afford to tip 15 per cent then you shouldn’t be eating out.

Servers’ minimum wage is $2 lower than the standard minimum wage, amounting to at least a $10 difference for a five-hour shift. That might not sound like much, but when you are expected to serve food, entertain, be polite, deal with various customer complaints, clean up after filthy people — all at multiple tables — it really can make all the difference to feeling valued at the end of a shift.

If you have ever worked a minimum-wage job you know the feeling of getting a terrible customer. If in retail or at a fast food restaurant you only have to help them for a little bit, imagine being stuck with them for an hour or more, keeping that fake smile plastered on your face and trying not to strangle them while you wait on their every need.

Yet for some ridiculous sense of entitlement, some students still suggest that servers should put up with all of that for less than the standard minimum wage, or that not being at 100 per cent levels of friendliness at all points of your shift is deserving of no tip.

Tipping is part of the restaurant experience in Canada, for both employees and customers. So, just a tip to those who are not tipping: put yourself in the shoes of a server. And next time you go buy a pack of gum or a cup of coffee, don’t. Save your change for someone who deserves it.