The ugly truth about tipping waitstaff during COVID-19
Nineteen percent of Americans say they tip less than they did before COVID-19, according to a new Harris Poll conducted exclusively for Fast Company.
The party of 12 entered the pancake house in Murray, Utah, in the middle of the busiest shift on the busiest day of the week. In they came with rowdy young children, big appetites, and lots to talk about. The group camped out at two tables for two hours that late Sunday morning at the end of September—and then left without tipping their waitress, who makes barely more than $2 an hour.
"I thought,'Damn, this really happened. People stiff you,'" he says, adding that many servers live off gratuities. "Tips go a long way . . . There's a lack of empathy that's been normalized pretty recently, but it's been there for a bit. 'Why should I care about this waitress who's just going to spend all their money on whatever?'"
The dozen deadbeat diners aren't the only ones withholding gratuities. Some 19% of Americans say they tip less than they did before COVID-19, according to a new Harris Poll conducted exclusively for Fast Company. How closely people are clenching their wallets depends on their age; about one-quarter of folks ages 18-34 and those 35-44 tip less often than they used to, versus 18% for 45- to 54-year-olds, 14% for 55- to 64-year-olds, and 12% for those 65 and older.