Tipping is an activity that has deep moral and social roots in America. Stemming from European aristocrats who had money to flaunt when going out, the idea stuck here in the United States, where it eventually spread. Today in the tipping arena, some find it a bit confusing, but it is said that you should tip at least 15% to 20% the cost of the actual bill. This is because the minimum wage for most servers is $2.22 and since they make such a small amount, the customers that they serve will often be encouraged to pick up the slack.
When it comes to tipping, each individual's circumstance is different than the other. While some people have money to spend frivolously, other's may be on a tighter budget. Though the 15% to 20% idea is set into place, it isn't a hard set rule. In fact, it isn't illegal to not tip at all. However, considering the meager earnings of workers nationwide, it's something to consider. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram are showing their appreciation and support for those working in the food industry with a #TipTheBillChallenge, a movement in which people are tipping 100% of the bill. Example: If your bill is $35 dollars, you'll match that with another $35 dollars, so on and so forth.
Surveys show that tipping is correlated to age and gender, but learned social norms are the most prominent reasons for tipping. Though the #TipTheBillChallenge is highly inspiring for many people as a means to give back to those who tend to, feed, and clean up after them, it is in no way mandatory, so if you aren't necessarily carrying ample cash around, you don't have to feel obligated. It also isn't necessary to pay double the amount of your bill everytime that you go out. The movement was implemented to show those in the food service industry, just how appreciated they are.
Though tipping is a generous action to extend towards those who serve you, it isn't mandatory, nor do you have to tip the designated 15% to 20%, especially if you are low on funds and have no extra money to give. However, it is always a nice thing to do something for someone else whenever you can. Though you may not get a thank you back, it always feels great to do things for other people and expect nothing in return.