Tipping: The New Rules

Proverbs 11:25

“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
    and one who waters will himself be watered

My wife and I recently returned from a cruise.  For those of you who know us, this should come as no surprise as it’s our favorite way to vacation.  This was a trip that my wife planned for my birthday.  We went on the same cruise line as always as our loyalty perks are something we can’t give up.  Our experience was great as always which we’ve enjoyed several times and something we’ve come to expect.  The only thing that caused me to pause about our experience was our visit to one of the specialty restaurants on the ship.  The food was excellent and the service was as wonderful as usual.  Our time at dinner was truly enjoyable.  

So, you might be wondering what the issue was.  At the end of our meal, we received our bill.  I scanned down the charges and noticed something called a “Service Fee”.  I wasn’t quite sure what that meant.  Was that what they required I pay as a gratuity?  Was I supposed to add an additional tip to the cost?  I wasn’t quite sure what to do.  

Not wanting to make an issue of it, I added a tip and signed the receipt. My wife and I have had many ( and I do mean many!) discussions about over-tipping….. I mean tipping.  Let’s just say, she really enjoys tipping!  I on the other hand am more conservative with how much I tip. After returning home, it got me thinking about how tipping has changed over the past 3 years or so. 

If you are like me, you remember a time when tipping was something you did when you went out to eat at a restaurant where a waiter brought you your food, filled your drinks as needed, and made sure you enjoyed your meal. Or you would tip your valet driver at the end of a night out with your spouse.  After 2020, it seems as though everyone is expecting a tip every time for everything.  Not only that but you’re expected to tip 20% or more.  Not to mention how awkward it is to have to fill out your desired tip amount on a kiosk with the person standing across the counter from you, watching your fingers as you press them on the screen.  

With inflation being the reality that it is it seems as though “tip-flation” has joined this reality as well.  Yes, with everything being more expensive, the cost of living has increased but 15% on a higher bill is still more money, right?  It’s just math!  But in all seriousness, leaving a tip is still your choice.  If you feel that the service you received warrants a tip then by all means, leave a tip of your choosing.  Don’t let the higher default amounts twist your arm into leaving more.  

Let me end with this, During the many discussions my wife and I have had over the years regarding tips and what the appropriate amount is, she reminds me “God has blessed us with so much so we can be a blessing to others.”  I have to admit that she’s right.  No matter what our circumstances He has always provided.  Maybe just maybe that little extra that I leave for a tip is just what God was using to provide for the person receiving it.  

OneAscent Financial Services, LLC (“OAFS”), d/b/a Provident Oak Financial, is a registered investment adviser with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. OAFS does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by OAFS or any unaffiliated third party. OAFS is neither an attorney nor accountant, and no portion of the presented content should be interpreted as legal, accounting, or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly