Typically when someone tips their bartender or barista they tip $1 per drink. It’s been like that since probably the 1980’s. The average inflation rate since 1985 is 2.56% making a dollar then worth $1.30 now but the average American still tips just $1 to the same servers. That’s about a 23% reduction over that span in their income from tips. In Stockton and Modesto that’s massive considering the cost of living here in the valley has nearly doubled since then. Considering the amount of commuter traffic between here and the Bay Area it’s probably even higher than that because of how it’s affected housing costs.
I have the solution… the U.S. government should add a new type of currency that I call “tipping dollars”. You could get them at any bank as they’d be issued by the Federal Reserve and would be tied to the cost of living index. Chances of recouping all that these service industry workers have lost over the years are nil but we could at least start by making the tipping dollar worth $1.30 to restore the typical drink tip to what it would have been had tipping dollars existed the whole time.
Obviously this is just a pipe dream so remember this article and the next time you get your breve latte with two pumps of hazelnut or a frosty Cuba Libre tip your server and extra quarter. They’ll appreciate it, you’ll feel good about yourself and maybe you’ll help stimulate the economy since food and drink service industry worker generally spend 100% of their income.