What I’ve noticed after taking many orders and transactions at the restaurant today is that the tipping is not solely based on the experience that customer receives, but also the kind gesture that is developed overtime which can become a habit.

I will be perfectly honest, for my delivery orders and sit in at restaurants, I’m not huge on tipping although I wish I can give more. A large part is due to the fact that I’m a poor college student who values every dollar I spent, with the amount of loan I have in the back of my head whenever I take out my credit card.

Another habit that I created is not giving tips since I use more money when I travel to China for vacation once a year. During my time in China, the norm is that tips are not necessary and would be even considered strange and taken for other meanings if you tip at restaurants, haircuts, nail services, and other cases that would normally have a tip in the U.S. I’ve just gotten so used to the fact that the total written on the bill is the total that needs to paid. I don’t have to think about how many percentage out of total or how generous I feel at the time. If it’s typical to give tips in China, I’d probably give more generous tips too since Chinese Yuan is worth less than the U.S dollar ($1= 6.15 yuan as of today).

Transitioning from my vacation to the states, I feel that my total asset is now much less than what I had during my vacation abroad in Asia. IPhone cases have less choices and designs but costs much more in the states (no wonder I bought 5-10 for myself and friends). Food are more tailored towards my taste buds and more exotic and exciting and are made readily available whenever you’re hungry as you walk down the street with only a few bucks left in your pocket in China. I won’t get into a pro and con about China, but just to mention a few to put the currency in perspective.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knOhLrXcxhc

I’ve conducted a mini experiment to amuse myself at work today. To test out to see if the customer actually gave a tip because of my superb customer service or just out of “habit” and generosity. To point out, I would not be surprised if nobody gave a tip because the restaurant is popular for it’s lunch buffet and take out or to go orders. Out of all the transactions, approximately 20% gave tips. From my experience, some gave $5 tips from for an $30 which I thought was very high considering the amount of services is performed compared to for a waiter in a restaurant. From the experiment, my super nice customer services skills (greeting customers as they walk in, patiently waiting and giving them time while they’re deciding, fast transaction with no mistakes, and walking up to them to give them the food rather than calling it for them to pick up) did not always pay off without a tip but other times when I it was mediocre customer service, some resulted in larger tips. 

This got me wondering on whether I will grow up and still be a cheapo and give minimum 15% tip at restaurants. At the age of 20, I know that the only reason that I don’t give too much tip is that I think of how much I can save if I gave less tip and that I need to save money since I don’t have a stable income like a full time working adult does. I wonder if I am developing a bad habit of not giving tips, even though I don’t realize it; after all, that’s what a habit is (developed unconsciously). Similar to educating your children to be philanthropic in donating to causes or encouraging them for volunteer work, I want to be a kind person in contributing to those that are less fortunate than I am and to help others who are in need. The more I am writing, the more I am coming to a conclusion regarding this issue.

I need to start now. To prevent my future self to be a cheapo who gives low tips, I need to break the potential habit now by being more generous. Isn’t it even more touching if you see a hungry person with little food to give that little bit of his to someone else who’s even hungrier? That is even more powerful and meaningful than a rich elite family with all the infinite food supply in the world to give a portion to the impoverished.

I will begin who I want to become now. If not now, when? If you want to become a CEO, act like one. If you want to be taking seriously, take yourself seriously. Who you want to be and who you become, starts here.


“The mind is everything. What you think, you become” ~ Budda

“Try not to become a man of success, but try to become a man of value.” ~Albert Einstine

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