Stingy millennials strike again

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As a millennial, I’ll admit: My generation is bad at a lot of things. We’re bad at saving money, settling down, and knowing when to shut up. And it turns out we’re also really bad at tipping.

A new study conducted by CreditCard.com found that young people are still the worst tippers in the country. Even throughout the coronavirus pandemic, when restaurants and their workers were struggling to stay afloat, millennials (ages 25-40) and Generation Zers (ages 18-24) chose to be stingy. Only 58% of millennials said they regularly tipped at sit-down restaurants this past year, compared to 88% of baby boomers. About 44% of young people said they tipped food delivery employees, and only 17% tipped coffee shop baristas.

This has been a problem for years. Back in 2018, another study found that 1 in 10 millennials did not tip restaurant workers at all, and 1 in 5 did not tip cabs, coffee shops, or food trucks.

But one thing has improved: The millennials who do tip are tipping much better than they used to. A few years ago, young people tipped a median 15% at restaurants, and only 36% of millennials said they regularly left a 20% gratuity for their waiter. Now, however, the vast majority of millennials who do tip leave a 20% gratuity at a sit-down restaurant — perhaps making up for the bulk of their age cohort.

Maybe this just goes to show that the younger generations deserve the bad rap we’ve received, that we really are the spoiled and entitled children their parents raised us to be. And while there is some truth to this, there are also other factors at play. The recent study found a strong correlation between income and how much and how often people tip. Nearly 85% of higher-income households making more than $80,000 per year said they always tipped, while 65% of lower-income households making less than $40,000 per year said the same. A lot of millennials fall into that second category.

But if you can afford to order out, you can afford to tip your server a few dollars more. The problem is not money; it’s a lack of generosity and appreciation for the value of hard work.

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