Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Here's a tip!

I hate tipping. I do it, because I’ve done my time as a restaurant server and know what it is like to get jilted out of a tip. After all, when you make below minimum wage, you really count on those tips to bring you up to a descent income. I am pretty sure the idea behind the tipping theory is to increase the quality of service. But there are some serious flaws in this tipping system.

Now, when it comes to restaurants, I really don’t mind tipping for good service. I don’t have to cook, I don’t have to do the dishes and, I can relax in a calm atmosphere with my sweetie. I see no downside. I figure this is definitely worth an extra 20%. The problem lies in the bad servers. Maybe they are undertrained, maybe they are having an off night, who knows. They are still making below minimum and still need to earn a living. I could leave them a small tip, or none at all, but I highly doubt that person will say “Gee, I really should have done a better job.” More than likely, they will be angry and, if they were like some servers I knew, would remember your face and spit in your food next time you went to eat at that restaurant. You could speak with the manager but is it really THAT big of deal to put someone’s job in jeopardy? If they aren’t fired, then you are back to worrying about them spitting in your food. There is a fine balance when tipping poor service. You have to tip just enough for them to know you appreciate the effort, but not enough that they think they did a good job. If my server fills my water, without it getting empty first and checks with me every few minutes, that server will be left with a good tip. Put a little personality into the service and they will get a great tip.

If restaurant tipping were the whole of it, I wouldn’t have any issues with tipping. But think of all the things you are “supposed” to tip for. I certainly don’t tip for all these things – who could afford it, but I sure feel the guilt from not doing it. Maybe if tipping actually made for better service, but it doesn’t. I think people have just come to expect it. Ridiculous.

You are supposed to tip for haircuts, pedicures, manicures, furniture deliveries, curbside service, nannies and or babysitters, tepanyaki cook, massages, spa treatments, restaurant servers, pizza delivery, newspaper carriers, the “water person” at buffets – I am sure I am missing some – please feel free to add.

18.5 percent seems to be the most common amount to tip, but if you add that percentage to your already large bill at a hair dresser or spa – good gravy! You are talking about another $20 for your hair do, another $80 for your spa day. It all is so maddening.

Then there are those stupid tip cups – EVERYWHERE! C’mon, do I really need to tip at Subway just because they made the sandwich in front of me? Dry Cleaners? Convenience stores? Really, doesn’t it just turn into a fancy form of begging? But the real kicker is the ice cream stores. Do they really expect me to tip them for taking 20 seconds to scoop me some Rocky Road. Cold Stone Employees are actually supposed to start singing when someone adds bills to the tip jar. I am sorry, that just isn’t enough to entice me to give you my money when you already overcharged for the ice cream.

Our family has this great place we go for frozen yogurt. It is as close as you can come to a health food treat and still taste like the real stuff. BUT, it is self serve. YOU get your own dish. YOU dispense your own frozen yogurt. YOU add the toppings. YOU place the treat on the scale. The sales person punches some keys on the register. Then YOU hand them YOUR money. YOU remove your treat from the scale. And, once the treat is finished, YOU throw it away. It is completely self serve. So, what do I see on their counter? You guessed it. A TIP JAR! Honestly, who do these people think they are kidding? Who am I going to tip? The register guy?

I think society should do away with tipping entirely. Pay servers minimum and find another way to reward good service. OK – maybe tip the pedicure people because my feet are really gross. But that’s it. Everyone else will just have to get by.


Natalie said...

I hate it when there are restroom attendants that you are supposed to tip. I feel so uncomfortable having people wait on me in the bathroom. I can get my own paper towel, thank you.

Anthony, Valerie & Tate said...

Everytime I read your blog I find myself saying AMEN. :) said...

I soooooo AGREE!! I hate it when I find out I was supposed to tip someone that I had no idea I was supposed to tip and then I feel like a jerk.
It really is ridiculous!