The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

Forget about tipping AFTER a service, start tipping BEFORE!

by J. Money on Tuesday, September 2, 2008

That’s right buster, what do ya think will happen if you tip FIRST? My man Baily over at the Change Race is trying to re-write the rules, and I think he’s got it right!

“…But one of my things in life, is I think we should tip BEFORE we get the service. After the service is done, it isn’t going to get any better. Why not tip BEFORE dinner, the thinking being you are probably going to get a bit better service. Make your tip worthwhile.”

Interesting concept! I really think he’s on to something here. At first i was like, “Oh $hit, that would totally work!” but the more i thought about it, and the more Mrs. Budgetsaresexy started playing devil’s advocate, the more diluted our suggested outcomes became. I mean, there are a TON of variables here. I decided to list a handful of them just for fun :)

The “Servicer’s” mood.
For example, what if the “servicer” is in a fantastic mood already when you tipped first? Wouldn’t that person had served you well no matter when you gave him/her the money, and no matter the size? I suppose giving a more substantial amount might alter it a bit, but that’s not really the point here. We’re talking about the simple fact of tipping up front rather than later.

Their general work ethic, and overall nice-ness.
This could greatly affect a person’s service to you regardless of tipping up front (and sometimes even afterward). Say the servicer is an overall good, and honest, person. In this case, wouldn’t the personal already have carried out an excellent service because it’s already in their nature? I mean, maybe they’d now feel a little less stressed about how much they’d be getting, but i feel like unless you’re dropping incredibly low or high amounts for them, you wouldn’t really see a difference.

Now let’s say the servicer sucks at his job, and doesn’t really give a crap. More often than not he’ll serve you the same way every time because his overall mood is horrible. While he’d enjoy getting larger tips, he’d never alter his service…but maybe tipping him first would shock him into reality and subconsciously do the trick? Would be interesting to try, that’s for sure.

Using the same servicers.
It would also be irrelevant if you routinely used the same servicers, as they would already understand your tipping habits. If you use the same guy to park your car every day at work, for example, they’ll already expect a certain size tip based on all previous encounters with him. So unless you’re gonna start paying BIGGER tips up front, i doubt you’d notice any change.

The actual service being requested.
It also depends on WHAT the service actually is. If it’s a mere taxi/bus ride, like in Baily’s example, the service is pretty clean cut- You drive me from point A to B. Now let’s say you’re ordering a meal. This changes everything, as you wouldn’t even know how much to tip because you haven’t ordered your meal & drinks yet. (i guess you could always drop it right after you ordered…that would at least cut the extra variable)

But there’s another more obvious downfall that could occur here – you could very well eliminate the servicers motivation!

Think about it. If you’ve already paid for the “service” you haven’t even got yet, why should they go out of their way to help you? They’ve already gotten what they wanted – a decent tip. Unless you’re ballsy enough to ask for part of the tip back (making the experiment even more interesting), you could have very well paid to receive crappy service. Of course, this goes back to the original variables of the person’s work ethic & morality.

On the other hand, your initial tip may also suggest that more tips are on their way! I doubt anyone will think to themselves, “Hey, this guy is tipping me BEFORE the service”. Thus, increasing the level of service assuming they will get even more tips to come ;) In this case, however, you may come out as a potential a-hole.

As you can see, there are a plethora of different responses you might get by doing this, and i’ve certainly wasted some time trying to come up with them all! haha…But after all is said and done, I’m willing to bet that you WOULD, in fact, get treated better by tipping first. Perhaps i’m a bit naive, but I’d like to think that the world is a little more “good” than bad when it comes down to it.

I’d like to say i had more factual-based evidence here, but unfortunately Baily’s been a bit slacking on showing his results ;) Ya hear that buster? We all wanna know! Shoot us a comment when you get a chance. And in the meantime, I encourage you to give it a shot too. If my goldfish-brain allows me to remember it, I sure as hell am gonna try it!

Update: Baily posted his findings! Check it out…


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: