609108_hand_with_clipboard.jpgWe had about ninety responses to the QC Tipping Survey in the last week. Of those who identified themselves by gender and orientation, we had 39% lesbian, 33% gay men, 21% straight women and two guys who were comfortable with their masculinity. The full results are visible here and my deeper analysis follows below.

Tipping Practices

Adequate restaurant service was worth 15%. Good service earned 20%, occasionally more while poor service knocked it down to 10%. But the polls were pretty split on how to handle a bad service situation. The next two big groups paid 15% or something less than 10%.

About half of you don’t tip the barista at Starbucks, which makes me feel much less guilty. Those that do, favor either a fixed dollar amount or less than 10% which I assume might be the change. Lesbians were the most generous with their coffee shop tipping but by contrast, they were 10% more likely than gay men not to tip the bartender. But the majority of everybody male or female tipped the bartender a fixed dollar amount.

We were all over the map with buffet service. Ten percent was the weak consensus but just as many people left nothing. Buffet servers were deemed more worthy of tips than take out counter workers. A resounding 80% of you didn’t tip for being handed your food. But when the pizza guy brought it you paid 15%.

42% of you wouldn’t touch the tipping on expensive wine question with a ten foot pole but for those who did, 15% seemed appropriate.

As for the issue of Paypal tip jars on blogs? About 7% say they’ve tipped at least once while 12% think it’s gauche. The rest either support the practice or haven’t heard of them.

And for the semi-explosive issue of tipping on tax—it’s a dead tie between people who do and don’t, with 15% in the middle: doing so, but grudgingly. The distribution of responses was almost identical across all demographics.

Attitudes about Tipping

The stereotype may be that lesbians are worse tippers, but from what I saw on this survey that wasn’t true (outside of the bars).  Overall, the rest of us were neutral about the whole issue of whether tipping improves service. Lesbians were most likely to agree with the practice.

Most people liked the warm fuzzy of saying thank you through tips, but again Lesbians showed a much more enthusiastic response. Maybe it’s because over half of them felt that they were well educated in tipping protocol. Without the lesbian factor, slightly less than half of us felt we had a clue about what was appropriate.

Half of you supported alternative compensation for servers, be it included gratuity or fixed wages. 75% of straight women taking the survey were in favor of abolishing the current system, a clear majority there.

Gay men were much more likely to think about not tipping, but were less likely to follow through on a regular basis. Only about 25% of the readers claimed to not tip more than once, but even then only rarely.


While the survey may not be the most scientific, it does highlight the diversity in tipping practices. Lesbians felt the most positive about tipping overall and they varied their tips more or less depending on the quality of service received. Gay men didn’t do as generously as our stereotype would predict, but were much more consistent when service was adequate.

As always… if you have any questions about the survey that aren’t covered here or would just like to share your opinion… I live for your comments.

Like surveys and statistics? Mike is currently conducting a survey for his blog, Broken Cupid.