Critique of Tipping System

Tipping knowledge is like many aspects of personal finance not taught to youth. One usually becomes aware of tipping as an adult. There are however, situations where socially expected tipping is rarely experienced by a young person, or young adult. An example would be the case of eating out in a restaurant. Individuals in this age group are usually taken out by an adult such as their parents or grandparents who “pick-up” the check and leave the tip. There may be some awareness what had just happened the leaving of money at the table for the meal service, As there is not a teen that cash does not catch their awareness even for a second when it’s flashed before their eyes.

How much to tip and who to tip? This seems as if the question is “what is the meaning of life?” Likely not so profound, but it seems in situations just so important the question. There is and has been some ground rules. I don’t know… from the Tipping Guru high upon the mountain top. These rules are 15% of the meal total charge and 20% for “outstanding” service. The 15% is very close to mandatory in the rules, just so as your meal was served to you in some form. I’ve heard about leaving a penny for “bad” service, as a wordless non-confrontational statement of your perceived or actual bad service experience you had just struggled through.

I had an experience where it was breakfast; I had ordered, and the breakfast came with one slice of toast. That in itself I don’t get; didn’t breakfast orders always come with two slices of toast buttered for you? The toast was obviously burned, it was charcoaled. I brought this to the attention of the “server” who without a word took the plate with the toast and I had thought went to the kitchen to inform the cook and get another slice of buttered toast. She returned with what looked like the same slice of burned toast…. it was a burned slice of toast.

No climax here as I was with company and the rest of my breakfast was getting cold. The service otherwise was good, not so friendly but who knows what was going on, and the breakfast was served. I left between the 15-20% of the bill. I have a habit, and for simplicity, I’ll round out the amount of the tip to the server’s advantage. But beyond restaurant tipping, there is tipping the baggage handlers at the airport a dollar per bag, a haircut which I don’t do very often, and the groomer for the dogs, $5 is the standard. I’m sure there are other everyday standards to tipping such as at a nice hotel, a few dollars for extra towels or another pillow.

What has occurred in the last few years. Now there is the “tipping jar” it seems everywhere. I’m talking about such as at a fast food restaurant. Now the big franchises may have rules against this such as McDonalds, but sometimes I’ve seen a jar or cup labeled “tips” at all fast food restaurants, hot pretzel and ice cream stands. Usually it’s primed early in the day with a dollar or two by the employees so that us, the big hearted customer gets the idea. Not to just put in some change, but a dollar plus.

The issue is who sets the standard as to who gets tipped? I’ve heard it stated, will such and such as with a server that only gets the minimum wage so as there “actual” pay comes from the tips. If that’s how it is, I accepted that years ago and tipped the 15-20% without issue. But it seems now the rule is such and such does not get paid much, so to make up for their low compensation the social norm rule makers, state we the consumer must make up for that perceived low compensation. To not would be heartless and mean. It seems anyone doing something for you, a service that you are already paying the stated price for, that is not a socially accepted “well-to-do” occupation warrants additional compensation by you…. with a tip.