I have always thought that tipping, in many ways, is a curious thing. Who we tip and why we tip has always seemed very inconsistent and arbitrary.

If we go to a restaurant and the server provides good service, it is the norm to give that person a 15-20% tip. The logic has been that they don’t get paid a lot per hour, so tips supplement their income and it gives us the opportunity to acknowledge their good service. Seems reasonable.

If you go to a coffee shop or a bar, if the person provides some friendly small talk along with your beverage, it’s pretty common to give that person a dollar or two.

You might tip the person that cuts your hair, maintains your yard or delivers your newspaper, especially during the holiday season.

Why not the person that pumps your gas? Many people pull up, barely open the window to slide a debit card out, while sitting on heated seats, comfortably out of the elements. The gas attendant is on their feet all day, standing in freezing weather, maybe with the wind blowing, with little thanks or acknowledgment. Rarely a tip. In the summer they stand out in sweltering heat but the results are typically the same. How did we leave them out of customary tipping? In Oregon we have the luxury of staying in our vehicles while someone fuels our vehicles. I think it’s time we acknowledge what they do, especially in a time when it’s difficult to find employees.

I am sure there are many other types of jobs I could use as an example, but it’s time to recognize others for the work they do. I would encourage all of you to tip when someone does a job you value, especially workers that are paid at the lower end of the pay scale. Some employers don’t allow tipping, but I think the employee working hard would appreciate the fact that you tried to recognize their hard work. Just a thought.

Have a happy and prosperous 2022.

Scott Erwin


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