top of page


  • Writer's pictureDillan Taylor

Why I don't tip

For years I've avoided any "back in my day" or "these kids today" lectures. They're often boring and whiny.

But as my friends and I edge closer to our 30s, it's impossible not to see how the world is changing. And it's tough not to compare it to the world we used to know.

I remember my first job.

It was at a local grocery store. I collected shopping carts, bagged groceries, and eventually became a cashier.

$6.50 an hour. Each week I'd use my small paychecks to buy weed, food, and soccer cleats.

I didn't love working there but I remember learning the early lesson of inputs to outputs. If I wanted to earn money and pay for things, I had to trade effort for it.


Things are different now.

Maryland minimum wage is $13.25. I run my own business. I haven't smoked weed or played soccer in years.

And one of the most lively talking points when it comes to the workforce is affecting anyone who leaves their house.


The title of this post was admittedly a little clickbait. I do tip people.

But only the normal folks: servers, valets, and my hair stylist. Those who earn their living based on the tips they receive. Those who work themselves to the bone or have developed a craft.

Handling five tables at one time. Cutting someone's hair. These skills take lots of time and effort to do well.

What has been boiling my blood (and pissing off most of the country) these last few years can be summed up in a meme my dad sent me.

Most stores now request a tip at the end of your purchase. Smoothie King, cafes, the sandbox at the local park.

The term has been coined "tip creeping." (Brett Cooper has an awesome video on this.)

I've been devouring Chipotle burritos since I was a child. The price of entrées there has naturally gone up with inflation over the last decade and a half. That's fine.

But a few months ago when I was finishing an online order, I saw a new option at the bottom of checkout. "Want to leave a tip for our 5-star Chipotle team?"


No I do not.

I haven't tipped a single person at Chipotle in 17 years. Why would I start now?


I don't get angry easily. But one thing that fills my heart with rage is bathroom attendants. The dudes who sit next to the sink and put soap on your hands and hand you a paper towel.

Wow. Thank you so much guys. What would I do without you?

Well, I guess I would just wash and dry my hands like I do every single other time I use the bathroom because I'm an adult man.

I do everything I can to rebel against these people. I catch them spraying another gentleman's fingers so I can swoop in and grab my own soap. Sometimes I flat-out decline their towels and just grab my own.

One time this dude put soap in my hands (because that was the only way to acquire soap). I dried my hands on my own, as did several other men in the restroom with me.

As I walked out he said, "Tips are appreciated, gentlemen."

I wanted to pour the soap into his eyes.

You never shame people into giving you money.

I've been running my own business and creating content for years. What I've learned in this beautifully chaotic and capitalistic journey is this...

The best way to earn money is by providing so much value that people want to give you their hard-earned cash.

I love tipping restaurant servers and bartenders who do an amazing job. They talk me through the options, they're kind and efficient, and they clearly care about doing great work.

Same for my hairdresser. She asks questions about what I want, shares her honest opinion, and engages in fun and fruitful conversation.

Please take my money. I'll happily tip 20-50%.

But ringing in my coffee order? Putting my bagel in a bag? Handing me a paper towel that I could've just grabbed myself?

I'm sorry, but no. In what world would I tip you 20, 22, or 25 percent?

And that's what so many people are frustrated with. It's not just about tipping people who don't actually deserve it.

It's the guilt they feel when a cashier abruptly spins that iPad around asking them to "answer some questions." (This 16-second video portrays this brilliantly.)

And it works.

"Toast, a point-of-sale software company, found that businesses using its software, which prompts customers to leave a tip, receive tips on roughly 60% of card sales, versus 28% for businesses that give customers a paper receipt and leave a tip jar for cash on the counter."

I hate being pressured to tip a bathroom attendant because I never feel they provide enough value to justify it. That's how most people feel with these damn iPad people.

Most customers are not evil, stingy blokes who want employees to be poor and miserable. They just don't really feel the urge to give them extra cash. So when they're psychologically pressured to do so, they feel twice as bad.

I feel the heat when the person my tip would go to is standing right in front of me and asking me to decide his or her fate.

But I hit "no tip" just about every time. Here's why.

I have a system.

Having worked in restaurants for years, I have a soft spot for the service industry.

I tip at least 20%. If the service is mind-bendingly-excellent, I'll go as high as 50%. If it's utter trash and makes me question my existence, I might go down to 10-15%.

Again, this goes for servers, bartenders, hairstylists, valets, and guides (skydiving, boat drivers, etc).

For large carry-out orders, I'll leave $5-10.

Everything else: nothing. Just hand me my bagel please.

I have a similar system for donations and giving to charity, which I'll share in a future blog.

But the principle of it is this: Decide where I want to cough up my money on a regular basis. Give generously and give often. Then exclude everything else.

I've decided. The people I tip will be well-compensated.

Any bathroom attendant who holds out his hand for a tip will get an excellent high five from me.


bottom of page