I went on a date with a guy on vacation from Switzerland a couple years ago, and had almost this exact conversation with him when it came time to pay for the meal. He knew tipping was part of our culture and always left a few dollars because, as he said, “your minimum wage is so low compared to everywhere else” and I informed him that servers make less than half of minimum wage and the rest comes from tips, and he was horrified. Like he had just witnessed a murder. He about emptied his wallet out on the table and vowed to tip 25% anytime he was in America. As someone who has worked as a server/bartender, I know a lot of folks in our industry don’t like serving foreign customers because they don’t tip well/at all, but it’s because we’re the only country that does things in this fucked up way, and they truly don’t know that in many places, people are making $2/hr. Like, yes, sometimes you can get enough tips to be making $30+/hr, but then there’s all the side work you have to do that nobody tips you for, the hour before open/after close where you are prepping and cleaning, the complete lack of breaks despite it being illegal. The best industry job I ever had paid me the full minimum wage instead of the server min. That’s extremely rare. I wore the soles completely off my shoes and destroyed my knees and had no social life for an industry that considers $10/hr to be a crazy high wage.

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