Geek Musing: Tipping

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Yesterday was Jacob’s special day, it included a trip to out for lunch, as we were settling up the bill Melissa asked Jacob what tipping was. He said “It’s when you give extra money.” I thought it wasn’t a bad explanation, but of course misses the point. Of course Melissa explained that tipping is a way to reward good service and that 15% is customary. This got me thinking about the system of tipping. It’s been on my mind a lot since my vacation, as you were supposed to tip the waiters at the resort but how much do you tip when you aren’t paying for anything? There was also the expectation of tip. Our excursions guide and our airport shuttle bus attendant both explicitly asked for tips. As I write this I realize I have no answers just questions, but I feel like sharing and we’ll that’s why I have a blog.   So here are the thoughts and questions that have been bouncing around my head..

We tip are taught to tip our waiters as a percentage of the total bill, so does that mean waiters who work in expensive restaurants are more deserving of a larger tip? Say you go to a nice little dinner where the average dinner prices is $15 on a date night you sit for  an hour having an appetizer, two entrées and share a dessert. With drinks your meal would be around $75 so you would tip say $11.50. Compare that to a dinner at a fancier place where entrée cost an average of $50 . The same dinner for 2 might cost you $150 or more. Does the waiter in the more expensive restaurant really deserve double the tip? It seems wrong, that they should do the same work but because I have to pay more for my food at one restaurant then the other they get more tip.

Why do we tip waiters? I’ve always heard that wait staff get paid less and they make up for it with tips. That seems just sounds wrong to me. We’ve created a system where the restaurant puts the burden on the customers to pay there staff. It’s not to say I’m against tipping, I like to reward good service, but when the tip is expected it’s feels like when I don’t tip I’m not making a statement about the service, I’m just being cheap and that’s just not right.  I’ve never worked in an industry with tips, so I really don’t know what it’s like from the prospective of someone getting tips, these are just things I’ve been thinking about and thought I’d share.

One comment

  1. Tom says:

    I believe tipping started as way of insuring better service but has come to be expected. In Ontario, workers who serve liquor are only required to be paid $8.90 an hour compared to $10.25 an hour for other adults. So tips are definitely part of the salary. Some high end restaurants pay their waitstaff more, I would think that if you are eating in a more expensive restaurant the service is going to be better than in a place like Sneaky Dees. I’ve worked for tips before and it really sucks on slow nights or when you get stiffed by a few people. I’d say you need to accept the tip as part of the cost of dining out, if the service sucks, don’t go back.

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