Why Are We Tipping People Anyway? For Flirting With Us!

In case you thought you were tipping your waiter for quality of service, you were wrong! Really, you’re just a good tipper when someone flirts with you. At least, that’s what a few studies indicate.

SmartMoney reports on the origins of tipping for services like cab rides, food service, salon treatments, etc., a tradition that started way back in the days of yore, after the Civil War. And no, it doesn’t really come from a sign reading “To Insure Promptness.”

The idea that bigger tips are cued by better service isn’t much of a theory, as field studies in restaurants found that better service just resulted in a small increase, perhaps from the norm of 15% up to 15%.

So why are you dropping 20% at a meal? Maybe if your female waitress has um, nice assets, says a 2009 study publish in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, or is wearing makeup, or flirted a little bit with you says a 2010 study in the International Journal of Hospitality Management, or you had a waiter who stooped down to table level and introduced himself.

Complimenting a customer not heir choice of dish or even a haircut at a salon also works to boost the financial rewards for a service worker.

Basically, if you work in the service industry, be nice,introduce yourself add smiley faces on checks (if you’re female only, for some reason), give out candy, wear a flower in your hair and you’ll be raking in the big bucks — even if the meal takes 30 minutes to arrive.

Tipping Doesn’t Reward Good Behavior [SmartMoney]