Tipping your waiter may be in your genes
It's not just social pressure that makes people tip at restaurants but also human nature, a study suggests.
July 27th, 2011
08:29 AM ET

Tipping your waiter may be in your genes

Generosity may be evolutionary.

That's the finding of a team of scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who used a series of computer simulations to test whether it is true that humans have become more naturally generous over time, and whether people would commit acts of generosity in situations where there is no foreseeable personal gain.

Their findings, published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that generosity is built into human nature and isn't solely a result of social pressure.

"Our simulations explain that the reason people are more generous than economic and biological theory would predict is due to the inherent uncertainty of social life," the paper's co-author Andrew Delton,  a postdoctoral scholar at the university's Center for Evolutionary Psychology, said in a statement.

"Specifically, you can never know for certain whether an interaction you are having right now will be one-time only, like interacting with a server in a distant city," he said. "Or continue on indefinitely, like interacting with a server at your favorite hometown diner."

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Filed under: Science
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Is it the heat in SC?
    CS is becoming more outspoken about things these days, from burgers to third-party politics.
    It's all good.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mr SandyK

    Joey doing ok, last week was a bad one guess the sky fell. it was tough. our children kept saying its ok daddy you dont have to keep it in. must have struck a chord last week. enjoy the day

    July 27, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. CSnSC

    Wait staff make well below min wage. They rely on tips to make up for this. Proffesional waiters often earn 60k per yr. But usualy they ARE kids paying for school. But im sure Sarah is happier sharing boxed mac n cheese with her 11 cats.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Mr. Sandyk:
    You're doing well. You have to go through it.
    You know that. Keep up the good work.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. CSnSC

    Hey JIF, yep its hot all right, enjoy your down time. MrSandyk, good to hear from you, your family is in my prayers every day.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mr SandyK

    CSnSC Thank you I am always blown away by the thoughtfulness here. my wife started this because of time alone when I worked. now I am alone wow God is working when we dont know it

    July 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy

    Mr SandyK:
    Good to see you, sir. I hope you and your family are doing well. You are in my thoughts.

    @JIF:
    Rhapsody and I have a lot in common...much as you and Sheryl have much in common...
    Hello.

    CSinSC:
    Hi! I agree with JIF: you are getting more outspoken, and I personally adore that.

    July 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CSnSC

    That remark from Sarah hit close to home. My oldest is on scholarship at a private college. She waits tables weekends and summers for cash to get by.

    July 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • poor

      She got as she gave.

      July 27, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mark L.

    I've always considered myself a generous tipper. I think the going rate for waiters / waitresses is 15-to-20% of your total tab; however, I'll normally go anywhere between 20-to-30% of the tab. As CSnSC had mentioned previously, waiters / waitresses make well below minimum wage and highly rely on tips to make up for it.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    What a name..."Rhapsody"...it's–breathtaking.
    Sheryl says it's the prettiest name she's ever heard.

    July 27, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rhapsody

    Why, thank you, JIF.
    And tell Sheryl thank you for me, please?

    July 27, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. erin

    my husband is a waiter at Red Lobster, he served our country in the Marine Corp. which left him little to work with once he was once again a civlillian, we have 3 children and I work fulltime to cover the majority of our bills. He maybe gets 10 to 15% per tip, sometimes he gets nothing. He is a fantastic waiter, get complimented all the time, these days people arent so giving. These people arent just kids, these days a job is a job and every dollar counts! For the non tippes out there, maybe you'd be helping out a family by tipping $10- $20 after fantastic service at a decently nice restaraunt, with a server that busts his ass to make you satisfied.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Andreas Moser

    So it's not my fault that I am stingy.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
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