Is It Considered Greedy if a Millionaire Doesn’t Leave a Tip?

On Quora someone asked:

My parents owned/own a decent sized company, so I grew up as a “privileged” young woman in the US, as some would put it. On top of that, both of my parents are heirs to each of their family’s fortunes. Growing up, my parents raised me with a strict set of values that may seem controversial. I will list a few examples here:

  • My parents always told me to never leave a tip for waiters/waitresses at restaurants because they are just fishing for tips.
  • If you are by chance out dining with someone from a lower class, do not pick up the whole tab; you shouldn’t spend money on the less fortunate.
  • If a clothing salesperson tells you something looks great on you, don’t buy it because they are manipulating you to buy it.
  • They also taught me that people will go out of their way to get more money. For an example, if a car isn’t functioning properly and my dad or his friends can’t fix it, I need to just buy a new car because mechanics will do more damage to a car so they can get more money.
  • They also taught me to look down on anyone below the “middle class”. Even “upper-middle class” people should be approached with some disdain.

I want your opinion: would you consider this all greed, or is it thriftiness?

This was my response:


What country are you in?  America?  If you’re in America and you’re not leaving a tip, then that’s just outright wrong.  These restaurant industry workers are paid less than minimum wage by their employers and need tips to survive, because they aren’t given livable wages.  Other service industry workers are paid minimum wage, but the minimum wage in the US is not currently a livable wage. Not tipping in America is technically like stealingfrom that employee.

If you’re in another country like England, then the employees make a fair wage.  Not tipping is standard.

At a clothing store, there will be people who say things look good on you just to get you to buy more things.  However, that is not the norm.  Most people in retail don’t work on commission, so they will be downright honest if something looks good or bad on you.  I worked in retail on commission about a decade ago, but if something looked bad on someone, I would tell them.

There are mechanics out there that would purposely break something in your vehicle to make sure something else goes wrong.  This was common practice maybe 20-30 years ago, but not now.  There is something called workmanship where consumer protection agencies like the BBB Auto Line will drill down on the business to handle.  If you’re in America, the attorney general may even get involved.  In some regions, these attorney generals will go all out on your behalf.  In others, not so much.

I think the most important thing to address is the look down on others who are below you.  I earned $33,000 last year.  In California, I’m considered to be on the high end borderline of the Federal Poverty Level (I think.  I was for sure the year before when I only made $29,000, and most definitely the year prior when I only made $13,000.).  I’m friends with a handful of millionaires, some even being multi millionaires.  Yet, I’m also friends with a lot of people who are poor.  The reason we are friends is because when we talk to each other, we see eye to eye.  We talk as equals.  I don’t see anyone as better than me, nor do I see myself as better than anyone else.

Let’s get a little technical here.

Let’s use an example where we see each person as a computer who is contributing to a site like Quora.  We’re all just terminals in the world, transmitting data between each other.  One may be equipped with a 466 mhz Intel Celeron processor.  Another may have a dual core whatever new processor there is in their computer.  Yet, we are all functioning to do the same thing.  Whether it be by 56k, cable modem, ethernet line, wireless access at Starbucks, on Verizon Fios, or a t3 line.  Sure, it may be harder for one group of terminals to properly transmit their data, while the others will do it with little to no struggle.  Yet, we’re just here to connect to the world wide web, so we can transmit data between each other and contribute it all to the site, with various perspectives.

The key word here is connect.

Originally posted on Quora.

Leonard Kim consults startups and writes books like The Etiquette of Social Media: How to Connect and Respond to Others in the World of Social Media

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