Paul Dawson


Ever been caught in the sticky situation of having no money left in your bank account but felt required to leave a tip? Paul Dawson considers the stigma around student tipping.

Life as a student in any university around the world is notoriously difficult, particularly in regards to dealing with finances. Students have the huge costs of books they need for their lectures, paying university digs, and of course, money for going out. Who doesn't love a wee Saturday night out in the town? But it’s fair to say that most students suffer from financial struggles. This leaves a large majority of students, mostly those who are in their first two years, often relying significantly on their monthly SAAS payments, especially those who live away from home in university accommodation. This results in most students having mental debates on what to put their money towards. 

Now, this is where the controversial topic of tipping comes in. As for people of any age the subject of tipping is subjective, people have a wide variety of opinions regarding the subject and it’s often the topic of many tableside debates in restaurants around the country. However, the topic of tipping amongst students is a much more divisive subject due to struggling students being reluctant to part with their pennies. 

Some stand on the side that students shouldn't tip. Now on the surface level, this may feel like a questionable statement to make. This could be due to the stigma surrounding tipping, as it is seen as a rite of passage and is an obligation by every customer to tip their server. However, when it comes to the skintness of a student, things can change. Students are the ultimate penny pinchers and hold on to every single copper they can, but a majority don’t do this due to want, but because of need. Therefore, this has left many with the belief that students shouldn’t tip, and even if a student were to tip due to their financial struggles the tip they would leave may not be substantial enough to warrant even leaving a tip in the first place. Also, there is always the chance that the service you receive is rubbish.

Others stand on the side that students should tip. This is where I stand. Tipping is vital for a large majority of people who work in the service and food industry, as it can make a substantial difference in what your salary is for the month. Especially if your tips are shared amongst everyone else. Also, most students work in these industries and know the pain you feel when you see someone leave a crappy tip or no tip at all. A tip is showing someone that you appreciate all the effort and work they are putting into their job. So think how crap you would feel if you were a student and you work in a restaurant all the while juggling assignments, bills, and a social life, and then you don’t receive a tip even though you’ve put your maximum effort in. It would feel pretty bad. 

So, in conclusion, it doesn't matter how much you tip but the fact you do. It’s a sign of appreciation and support for the workers. However, if you don’t tip as a student I don’t judge, it’s totally understandable. You should just do as you feel right.

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