As a waitress, I get paid $2.13 an hour. I rely on the rest of my earnings from the “hospitality” of customers, which varies greatly. Those nights when I walk out with over $100 in tips make up for the nights when I barely break $20. On an average night, I am not surprised to see some customers draw a perfect circle with a diagonal line slashed through it on the gratuity line.

On the other hand, that lost tip can be made up for a table that leaves a generous tip over the suggested 20 percent. Don’t get me wrong. I love being a waitress, mainly because of the human interaction. I essentially get to have a meal with complete strangers in which I bring them their food, make small talk and, on the rare occasion, build a friendship with regulars.

But where did this idea of “tipping” come from? The practice began in 17th century England taverns when drinkers would sneak money to the waiter in order “to insure promptitude” or “tip” for short. Tipping originated in America in the late 1800s after wealthy citizens noticed the practice when traveling in Europe.

On an average night, I am not surprised to see some customers draw a perfect circle with a diagonal line slashed through it…

In North America, and especially the U.S., tipping is essentially mandatory. This is because tips account for nearly 100 percent of a server’s take-home pay. However, in most other countries, a service charge is included in the bill. In these countries, servers are given a higher wage with this mandated “service fee,” but in America, tipping has evolved to the notion that customers choose what their server earns based on the quality of service given.

The restaurant I waitress at is in a location that brings in college students who sometimes claim to be “the poor college kid.” Don’t even get me started on “I’m foreign.”

Since becoming a waitress, I do not see any validity in either of these apologies. I am also a “poor college student” on a budget working as a waitress in my free time. If you plan on going out, plan on leaving a tip or don’t go out at all.

Tipping is a weird custom that is now ingrained in American society.

As for point two, when living in or visiting another country, you should be acquainted with foreign customs.

Tipping is a weird custom that is now ingrained in American society. It seems to create a hierarchical system between customer and server. I do enjoy being a waitress and would much rather be in the food industry serving people food than folding clothes all day at a steady wage. Knowing that my nightly earnings depend on tips motivates me so much more to be attentive and charismatic with my customers ensuring that they had the best experience they could during their dinner. There is some legitimacy to requiring servers to earn a higher wage. Maybe American restaurants should adopt the European way of including a service charge. Perhaps the restaurants should take more responsibility for the earnings of their wait staff. There would be less confusion from customers and disgruntled servers.