Monday, April 26, 2010

It's For the Birds

This clip fairly accurately describes my philosophy on tipping, although like Mr. Pink I don't follow it in the end. HOWEVA,we know that waitresses generally do not actually make minimum wage. This is a major caveot. Mr.Pink is right. It is not his fault that they choose this profession or that the system is set up poorly. Honestly I hate tipping but feel that I am fairly generous with it. I won't sit and crunch numbers on my Wizard though. I can't even say that I will really tip on performance too much unless the service is awful. Do waiteress in fancy restaurants deserve 20% on a $200 bill when small town Susy busted her ass to serve you a $20 meal at Denny's? There should be more balance across the board.

The problem with tipping in our society in general is that it goes beyond waitresses. Most people that don't work behind a desk believe they deserve a tip. It doesn't matter is they make better than minimum wage already. Does the bartender who took 5 minutes to look at me deserve a tip for cracking open a beer? Probably not. If I am getting an oil change do I tip him? How about the cable guy? Mailman? Taxi Driver? Bellhop? If any of these people really went out of their way fine, go ahead. Chances are they didn't and neither did your waitress or waiter. Tipping really should be reserved for doing a little extra.

I know I continue to bring up European culture in this space but they have this tipping thing down pat. The waiter and waitress fess are included in the price of your meal. This way you know exactly what your meal will cost. In my experiences the service is comparabale. You see they are already making an hourly wage so they are not surprised day in an day out. They know they can afford to pay their bills on their wages. Go to the pubs, no tipping. We asked the bartenders about this and they said only Americans that don't know any better will tip. We will even say you don't have to but some just can't fathom it and tip anyways. This philosophy makes sense to make because it allows for everyone to know the deal up front. I'm speculating but it probably cuts down on tax fraud that occurs in restaurants. The owners have to report the actual salary of the employees and the waiters can't hide tips. Small victories, Small victories.

My proposal is simple adopt a real hourly wage, jack up restaurant prices accordingly and stop the charade of pretendind the service is 300 times better at classy restaurants. Tip only if you feel the waitress has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Hopefully this eliminate a sense of entitlement to tips in other professions.

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