Different groups, different takes on tip culture

Store owners and international students speak up on the new age of tipping

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By EMILY BEST

As inflation and the cost of living increases, the amount that Canadians are tipping has risen in turn.

Ethel Garcia, owner of Roots Cafe at the corner of 49th and Main Street, said she sees people in their 20s and 30s tipping more than other age groups, much more than she used to.

“I see that younger people are more generous,” said Garcia. “Sometimes I feel like oh maybe they just appreciate us, you know?”

Garcia said that when she goes out, she also tips more than she used to.

“Whether I just get these small amounts, I still tip. It’s just I feel that I need to,” said Garcia.

According to a recent survey by Angus Reid in February, 64 per cent of Canadians said they are being asked to tip “more often” and 62 per cent of the Canadians surveyed “feel they are being prompted to leave bigger tips in recent years.”

Garcia said that the quality of service she receives when she’s out doesn’t have much sway over how much or little she tips.

“I think it just depends how you feel, if you feel generous today,” said Garcia.

“I give according to what my needs are. That’s how I feel, just from my heart. Whether I give to that person, and didn’t get the service that I need, I still give,” said Garcia.

Student opinions vary

Navreet Kaur is a second year business student at Langara College who works as a server part time. She said that even though she doesn’t rely on tips financially, it makes her feel appreciated.

“Financially of course it’s good, but yeah it’s for like appreciation also, it’s good,” said Kaur. “When you give someone a tip, even just a dollar or two dollars, it obviously brings a smile on their face.”

Michael Didymus, a first-year international student studying web design at Langara College, said he was surprised by this custom when he came here from Nigeria.

“It’s totally different. It’s kind of a cultural shock coming down here and finding that tipping is like a very big deal,” said Didymus.

“It feels like there’s so much pressure in tipping, so at moments when I don’t tip because I don’t feel like it, I just feel so much guilt.”

Didymus said tipping should be optional rather than mandatory.

“I feel like if I am impressed with your service, I shouldn’t find it as an entitlement to tip you…like if I don’t, I mean I shouldn’t feel bad for not tipping you.”

Jerimiah Almazan, general manager of Bin 4 Burger Lounge in Burnaby, says tipping is important to the service industry, but it varies.

“Tipping culture now has just become really out of hand,” said Almazan.

Service industry and the culture

“I would say, not only from the serving industry, you’ll see it from pretty much anything and everything now which kind of defeats the purpose of the tipping culture.”

Almazan says although tipping percentages have gone up since he was a server, the exact percentage is still random.

“Right now, the tipping standards in British Columbia are 18 to 20 per cent. Most people will do around 25,” said Almazan.

Almazan says he won’t tip lower than 20 per cent when service is poor and will usually tip between 25 and 30 per cent.

Almazan added that tips are important for servers. He said it’s not easy working in the service industry and it requires developing a thick skin.

“You want to make that money, at the same time, and sorry for the language, but you’re getting shit kicked,” said Almazan.

“You’re just like, basically getting put down to a level you’re not expecting.”

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