A Few Nice Big Tips—Even if the Tipped Minimum Wage Needs a Fix

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Tipping generously is essential in a galaxy where pay structures, working conditions, and health care access aren’t equitable or sustainable, but as Recharge boosted back in May, many customers are stepping up: the $1,300 tip for an 18-year-old Texas server; the Arkansas worker landing a customer’s entire $1,200 stimulus check; the bakery workers scoring a $1,000 tip in Florida. The tectonics of tipping haven’t shifted since the pandemic’s onset (notwithstanding this week’s news that Danny Meyer’s restaurants are ending their no-tip policy), but big tipping continues. On today’s menu, $105,000 in crowdfunded tips for the barista harassed by a maskless customer blathering about her right not to wear a mask in Starbucks; $93,000 for the server who stood up to defend customers on the receiving end of drunkenly spewed racist comments from another customer; the $3,000 tip on a $124 tab for a New Orleans bartender. There’s the $1,600 tip on a $99 tab in Ottawa; $1,000 on a $43 tab at a New Jersey restaurant; and $330 from one server to another for a single pub dinner. A pizza delivery worker welcomed $100 on a less-than-$30 tab. 

If you’ve got tips about tips, or ideas for improving the underlying labor conditions and pay structure more sustainably, send solutions to.

Venu Gupta is TKTKTK. Reach her at recharge@motherjones.com.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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