February 29th, 2012
Tipping Rant

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it seems like you can’t go anywhere without encountering a ‘Tip Jar’ or a notice saying that gratuities are welcome. This is a strange phenomena that started occurring around ten years ago. It used to be that the only people who received a tip were service industry providers (i.e. Waiters, bartenders, taxi drivers, etc.). The reason these folks received tips was because their per hour wages were so low (i.e. $2.00 an hour for restaurant/bar staff). The idea was to make up the difference in tips or try to.

Nowadays, everyone expects a tip. And I do mean EVERYONE. Go into an ice cream shop/sandwich shop and you’ll find a tip jar on the counter. Am I the only one who wonders why the employees expect to receive a tip for, oh, I don’t know, doing their jobs? Do they need an incentive to stay/do their job beyond receiving a paycheck? This is especially baffling to me when the customer does the bulk of the work (i.e. you pick up your food/drink, nothing is brought to you). It doesn’t stop with food chains either. Maid services, theaters, tow truck drivers all welcome gratuities. It normally comes in the form of ‘If you’re happy with the job they do, show them by tipping’. You’re already paying a premium for those services. Why in the world would you tip them on top of it?

I probably sound like I’m against gratuities. I’m not. I consider myself a good tipper. (I used to wait tables and bartend.) I just don’t appreciate being asked to tip for something that by nature is a set priced service. This is especially true when I know the employees make at the very least minimum wage, but normally more. When I took care of people in their homes, I didn’t expect them to tip me. Nor did I expect tips when I was a flight attendant. After I left bartending, my jobs came with a set hourly wage. Tips were not factored in to supplement the income. If you work at a sandwich shop, you are paid to make sandwiches or work the cash register. That’s what you’re hired to do. There is nothing special, unique, or extraordinary about what you’re doing. You are taught how to make the various sandwiches (or press the buttons on the machine). You are paid for so many hours a day to make those sandwiches. What are you doing that requires a tip?

The same goes for tow truck drivers, cleaners, theater workers, etc. You are hired to do a specific job. You agree to the terms of the employer. If you don’t like their terms, then apply to work somewhere else. I understand that the economy is crap and everyone needs as much money as they can get, but this has been going on long before the economy tanked. It’s not a new phenomena. Just a disappointing one.

4 comments to “Tipping Rant”

  1. Thankful to live in a country where only restaurants require tipping 😉

  2. Tez, That’s the weird thing. It’s not required. It’s just expected. I just don’t get why.

  3. Our 7/11 quick mart has a tip jar. I thought it was pretty funny. When I read your post, it dawned on me how pervasive this has become.

  4. Bernard, This is exactly what I mean. Why in the world would a 7/11 need a tip jar? It’s insane.