Critique of Tipping System

The most insane of all Western customs that exists today is that stupid little practice known as “tipping”. Whoever first came up with this asinine idea should be paid minimum wage and then should be tied up and have unimaginable things happen to him as everybody passes by, bribing him for better service by waving dollar bills in his face.

Depending on the circumstance, the idea of tipping is either:
a) to bribe a service provider to give you with superior service
b) to reward a service provider for providing such service.

At least, that’s what they’d have you believe.

Okay, so why do I have to tip the doorman at a hotel for carrying my bags? Isn’t that his job? If I don’t tip him, what’s he gonna do? Drop them down the elevator shaft? Maybe the idea of the tip is so he provides service genteelly. Is that what I’m doing? Paying a buck a bag for a smile?

And why am I supposed to tip the skycap if he takes my bag at the curb, but not the ticket agent if he takes my bag at the gate? And what about the poor guy who’s actually in the hot sun or blizzard-like cold throwing my bag on that conveyor belt that leads to the belly of the plane? He probably works harder than all of us, but he doesn’t deserve a tip because he doesn’t get a chance to smile at me? That’s ridiculous.

Since I have a hard time figuring out tipping of bell staff and baggage handlers, I’ve taken to always giving them their tip as wadded up dollar bills. They always smile and cram their reward in their pocket, feigning humility as they salute me with a tip their hat. Hopefully, my dollar bill will get mixed up with everybody else’s and they won’t know if I tipped them one dollar a bag or five dollars a bag or twenty-five cents a bag.

See? The tipping system is so out of whack that I have resorted to crumpling George. I should be ashamed.

I never have to tip the front desk people at a hotel. They smile without it. They’re polite. Heck, they usually even speak English intelligibly, unlike any taxi driver I have ever met. But they don’t need a tip. They just do their job. Duh. Like they’re supposed to.

What about casino dealers? I win a big hand so they think they deserve part of it? Like they had something to do with my luck? Did they put their money at risk? No, they just happened to be there.

But the silliest of all is waiters and waitresses. I know, they’re in a strictly service job. You’re totally at their mercy. Or they’re totally at your mercy. Or something like that. But they’re supposed to provide good service. They’re supposed to smile. It’s part of their job. Why should they have to be bribed to do it?

The room service menu on a hotel I recently stayed at says that a 20% gratuity is added to every bill. 16.57% of that goes to the delivery person and the remainder goes to the kitchen and support staff. Where in the world they came up with that formula, I have no idea. But that doesn’t stop them from having their hand out when they deliver my meal, begging for more. It’s insane.

Why can’t the restaurant owners just pay the wait staff what they’re worth? Makes sense to me. What? That would increase the price of the meal? Would that put anybody out of business? The price of a $5.00 hamburger would go up to $6.00. Would anybody notice? Probably not. But I’d be so happy at the prospect of not having to figure out a tip that I might just eat there every day.

So here’s the punch line. Workers: Do your job. I don’t get tips for my job; why should you? Employers: Pay people what they’re worth; let the economics level the playing field for all.

It just makes sense.