CEHS News

Teenager Tipping Tradgedy

Yetla Reyna, Cover Editor

Walking into a restaurant, you are seated at a table with a friend. Service is great, the meal is delicious, and you are ready for the bill. While you wait, you discuss tip amount with a companion.

Well maybe, sometimes you don’t.

Growing up, a child does not worry about the bill at a restaurant. We rely on our parents and/or guardians to pick up the check and pull out the money. As teenagers, we have started to go out to restaurants and places where a tip is appreciated, yet many students do not know how much to leave and some do not leave any at all.

In Indiana, servers can get paid as low as $2.13. Servers in the USA mostly rely on tips as a means of living.

Servers can sometimes earn as much as minimum wage on slow days. A teenager with a job can know the downside of getting little money at work, yet some are still rude and messy when they go off for lunch.

As a student server Kendra Pastrick, 12, makes $2.13 hourly from IHOP. Pastrick said teenagers sometimes do not realize what servers make in tips is what they rely on, not their hourly wage.

“A group will come out to eat and order $60 worth of food and only leave $5. That is a good tip for a $20 check,” Pastrick said.

Taking tables full of peers from school can be intimidating. On the contrary, Pastrick takes the tables full of people she knows, allowing her to show them what it is like for her as a server. It is an educational opportunity outside of the classroom.

“Personally, I treat my peers just as well as other tables. Especially because I don’t want to lower my tip throughout the process,” Pastrick said.

The treatment teens get is based off of the stereotype, but if someone plans to tip well, the treatment could do less than justice. Not all teenagers are bad tippers, but in a general sense, servers and wait staff shine a dim light on teenagers now.

Pastrick said as a teen, she has been treated differently when she is eating out with her friends.

“They [servers] expect you to leave a small tip from the beginning, so they don’t give you the service they would if a well dressed older couple comes in as they will expect a better tip from them,” Pastrick said.

As a teenager, she explains it is hard for her to go out with her friends because she knows she will be treated differently.

Some servers, like Vanand Abedian, know teens are struggling with money, some having minimum wage jobs themselves, so he doesn’t expect much from them.

Abedian has worked for a year and a half at Amazing Joe’s and another year and a half at Camila’s. He thinks teenagers may be justified in tipping so low, but remembers his generation tipping more.

“I think my generation tipped better, we were more aware [of servers’ hourly wages],” Abedian said.

It is hard to really track how much teenagers tip regularly but some servers are aware teens tip less and it may not be their fault.

“I believe the lack of awareness about how servers are paid, how much to leave and also wanting to save their money for fun activities are the reasons [they do not leave an appropriate tip],” Abedian said.

Teens may not be super aware of tipping at restaurants, but those who are, can be aware of the different treatment they receive with different people they go with, parents vs. friends.

Servers and teens can get past the stereotypes they have formed for one another. Things could change for the better, but both groups have to look past the generalizations they have implemented for themselves.

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