Have you ever waited tables? Worked as a bartender, busboy, dishwasher, cook, or buffet attendant? If you have, you know that there is something about the cross-section of humanity you see in the service industry.

You see people at their best, their worst, their most embarrassed, their most heartbreaking, sometimes bawling their eyes out, blowing snot bubbles while they eat a hot fudge brownie moments. Don't judge on that last one, who hasn't been there at once?

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What makes working in a tipped job so incredible, is how you learn to embrace the fact that most of your tables don't notice you until they need something. Following that logic and a healthy course of learning how to read people, if you can take care of your table without having to say a word or as few as possible, you'll get a good tip. This holds true, with one exception:

When it doesn't.

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Sometimes your table or bar patron is looking for a counselor, a jester, a best buddy, or someone to just listen. The good servers and drink makers know what you need the moment you walk in. That's why if you ever go into a diner near Christmas, you'll always see customers both giving and receiving gifts from tipped employees. They are a part of each other's weekly or even daily lives.

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The good customers know how hard tipped employees work for a very minimal wage, so before you think about stiffing, or even worse, leaving change, remember this: Tipped employees work for $3.84 an hour in Michigan. Some of them are putting in overtime too, for a whopping $8.89 an hour. The good ones love the job and hate the job, but they love it.

And they hate it. So let's respect that. And them.

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.

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