The Moneyist: If you can’t afford to tip 20%, should you go to a different restaurant?

Dear Moneyist,

Tipping is supposed to be a “gratuity” not an obligation. Now it is perceived by many, if not most, as stealing from the employee if you do not leave a tip.

I was recently told that not leaving a tip is taking food from their children’s plate. In many establishments the tip is compulsory. The house adds it to the bill and collects it even if the service is lacking.

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In some establishments the wages plus tips means the waiter/waitress takes home more per week than I do. Here is my question: Should I consider an establishment beyond my means if I consider the meal affordable, but consider the meal plus 15% too pricey?

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