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For waitstaff, 20 percent is the new 15

Imagine, for a second, that every job’s salary is determined by a tip. How much would people tip the car mechanic, a child’s teachers, the Red Sox? It’s likely that service (and maybe even games won) would improve. But who would want to put up with that kind of pressure to make a living?

Luckily, most people don’t have to worry about giving perfect service in order to earn a salary. And people only enjoy the privilege of determining someone else’s income on a few occasions: most commonly, when they dine out, like most Americans do an average of nearly five times a week. Fifteen percent has long been considered a healthy tip for waiters, but many now say they expect closer to 20 percent for satisfactory service. Meanwhile diners are trying to cut down on check costs. That makes a tricky situation for servers, who are 9 percent of the state’s workforce.

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