The History of Tipping

Tipping may have begun in the late Middle Ages. Masters would give a few coins to show appreciation to the serfs living on their lands. In the 16th Century, guests at English mansions were expected to give “vail”, or a small amount of money at the end of a stay to compensate the owner’s servants for additional work above and beyond their ordinary duties. By 1760, the gentry and aristocracy began to complain. in 1764, and attempt to abolish vails led to a riot. By the 1800s, tipping had spread to commercial establishments in Britain. Tradition has it that the term tipping comes from T.I.P. To Insure Promptitude and originated in British pubs and coffee shops.


Although Americans considered tipping the norm by the 1900s, many considered it to be antithetical to democracy and American ideals of equality. Six states attempted unsuccessfully to abolish tipping. in the 1960s, Congress agreed that workers could receive a lower minimum wage if a portion of their salary came from tips. The amount was set at $2.13 per hour if they received at least $30. per month in tips. This amount has remained today.

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