Blondes get bigger tips

If you decide to become a waitress, you might consider dying your hair blonde. So says researcher Michael Lynn, a professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Management. Professor Lynn has spent the last thirty years trying to understand the very interesting, ubiquitous and slightly bizarre practice of tipping.

Why do you tip the hotel doorman but not the person behind the reception desk? Are smokers better tippers? Is there a tipping paradox - when you run into someone who is supposed to get tipped for their job, like a baggage person at the airport, do you refuse to let them carry your bag and insist on carrying it yourself? 
Do someone’s shoes tell whether or not they’ll be generous with a tip?

Lynn is fascinated by an economic activity so common in the United States and yet completely voluntary. Oh, and tipping accounts for $40 billion in annual spending, which is roughly twice the budget for NASA.

His research has led him to some very interesting observations. Here are some of his findings ...

  • Attractive waitresses get better tips than unattractive waitresses, generally speaking. For men, appearance plays less of a role. 
  • Women tend to give better tips to waiters than to waitresses, whereas men tend to give better tips to waitresses.
  • Blondes get better tips than brunettes or redheads.
  • Large breasted women tend to get better tips than smaller breasted women.
  • Women in their 30s get better tips than either younger or older women.
  • Blacks tend to tip less than whites.
  • Both blacks and whites tip white servers more than they tip black servers. 
  • Actual perception of the dining experience plays only a very small role in the size of the tip.
  • Touching customers tends to increase the tip amount.
  • Bending down at the table also tends to increase the amount of the tip.

Why take my word for it? Just listen to Stephen Dubner and the Freakonomics radio show where I got all this information:

https://www.wnyc.org/radio/#/ondemand/301181


And while you're at it, listen to this Freakonomics story about New York restauranteur Danny Meyer, who is trying to reset the table when it comes to his waitstaff and their pay ...


https://www.wbez.org/shows/freakonomics/the-notipping-point/bb361408-ac02-436d-91af-2cd39588efe1



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