In the Tea Gardens of London in the 1800’s, locked boxes with a slot on the top were left on the tables inscribed with the letters T.I.P.S.

If customers were in a hurry for their refreshment, they dropped a coin or two in the slot

TO INSURE PROMPT SERVICE

Obviously the originator didn’t have a great command of the English language – “insure” rather than “ensure” – or maybe this was just the old English spelling?

No matter, because the habit certainly took on and to this day it’s tips rather than teps and, in the States in particular, a lack of some will result in little or no service. And, in other parts of the world, a reputation as a ‘bad tipper’ will at the very least get you that dreaded table next to the kitchen or toilet door.
“I gave the waiter a tip – I told him not to step off a moving bus.” – Groucho Marx

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