In my opinion, tipping has gotten WAY out of control in Michigan. While picking up lunch in the Taco Bell drive-thru, I was asked if I'd like to "round up your total to contribute to our team's college fund"? I declined, pulled up to the second window, was handed my receipt, and noticed there was a place for a tip. Was I really just asked to tip...at Taco Bell?

Related: Michigan's Gratuity Guide: Who, When, Where and How Much to Tip

In case you were unaware, people who work for tips also work for Michigan's hourly 'tipped wage.' The hourly rate for a tipped employee in Michigan is $3.93 an hour, or 38% of the state's minimum wage. Taco Bell employees, at last check, ARE NOT receiving a 'tipped wage,' but the Michigan minimum wage is $10.33 an hour, and yet they are asking for a tip? Why is this happening?

How Michigan's Minimum Wage Earners Are Ruining Gratuity Rates in the State

Tipping at Taco Bell? Why Tips Are Out of Control in Michigan
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I waited tables for over a decade and strongly recommended that my kids do the same before entering the workforce. Why? Because it's hard work that demands attention to detail and hones your ability to read a situation quickly. Waiting tables is genuinely an art form. That's why minimum wage earners need to stop soliciting tips in Michigan; it's downright rude and disrespectful to tipped wage earners.

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The men and women who have chosen to serve as their profession, who are paid tipped wages, depend on tips to make ends meet. As more and more retailers allow their fully waged employees to solicit tips, it will eventually weed away at the gratuity amounts for waiters and waitresses, making these already difficult jobs even less appealing.

Tipping at Taco Bell? Why Tips Are Out of Control in Michigan
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This isn't about not wanting to tip. Frankly, I enjoy tipping, particularly someone who excels at their job and goes out of their way to provide a great experience. The difference is, these professionals don't have to ask for a tip, it's implied, it's part of the contract we have as customers when going to a 'sit down' restaurant.

Related: ENOUGH! Walmart Eliminates These in Select Stores: Michigan Next?

When contracts are verbally changed, a la Taco Bell asking me to tip for tacos, a service that I am paying for without the expectation of being asked to give a little something extra for a person who is already earning a fair wage for their job is likely to result in my business going to a place that isn't creating new price and wage structures.

Michigan's Guide to Tipping: Who, When, Where, How Much?

The University of Michigan's International Center held a discussion about gratuity in Michigan. Here are the insights the U of M International Center offered and some tips from service industry insiders that may bet you better service in the Mitten State.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

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