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Please Learn to Tip: A Word of Advice from a Student Server

A student’s time in college is full of ups and downs. One of those downs includes food. Yes, while the fifth day of Ramen Noodles is saving you money, and the food on campus will occasionally hit the spot, it just doesn’t really do it for you. So you come to the solution of going to a restaurant and it always seems to do the trick.

However, for you students who go to St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), please do not go out. Why, you may ask? Because you bright, well-educated, and hard working students have no clue whatsoever how to tip properly or you just don’t tip at all. Now you may be saying to yourself, “So? Servers get a paycheck anyways and they will have other tables.” Let me enlighten all of you, as someone who has been a server for the past three years, as to why you are being rude for not tipping and why it doesn’t matter that we get a “paycheck”, and you should tip regardless.

As a server at Cracker Barrel (yes, the place with the cheesy hashbrowns) hourly pay is less than $4.00 and after taxes and other deductions that the fun world of adulting takes out of my paycheck, there’s barely anything. My main source of income while working comes from the people that sit at my tables and leave me tips. Along with that, our checks don’t include the gratitude within the check total, and if you would pay attention to the check when you get one at Cracker Barrel, you would see that. So if you sit down at a table and either don’t leave a tip or leave a crappy tip, you just costed me or another server money by using up one of our tables.

I’m specifically talking about Cracker Barrel because not only is that where I work, but also where a lot of you students come in to eat, and I have waited on a decent amount of you guys. And every single time I have waited on a SMCM student, they haven’t left a tip. No, it was not because the service was horrible or I was rude to you. You just refused to leave a tip. I get it: being in college, money is tight, so you have to spend it wisely. But if you know you are going out to eat and you know that you aren’t going to leave a tip, please do us all a favor and stay on campus. Not only have you stiffed me when you come in to eat, but also my co-workers, who come up to me after you have left, and, knowing that I go to SMCM, tell me that you didn’t leave a tip and that my school has such “great people.”

While a lot of you students are going to sit here and read this article and not care, you should. You affect my ability to pay for my bills, to put gas in my car, and to buy textbooks at the start of each semester. If you were to go and get your hair done, have a tattoo artist work on a piece for you, or any other form of service provided for you, you would leave a tip for them, but why not a server? So the next time you are thinking about going out to eat and you know you aren’t going to leave a tip, please just use that money to go to McDonalds or to buy another box of Ramen Noodles. Oh, and as a side note, we servers have a great memory for the faces of people who don’t tip us. Just as a FYI when you go out to eat again.

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