Critique of Tipping System

Tipping is a system that just doesn’t work. I don’t know if it started ages ago when service people did jobs for free and were sometimes rewarded for their work, or if tipping doormen or skycaps originated from homeless or out-of-work people doing this jobs in hopes of earning some cash, or if it’s just another way for businesses to screw over the little guy. Either way, it is inherently flawed.

In restaurants, the standard tipping percentage is 15 percent, but some people say it’s really 20 percent, now, although I definitely know people who only tip 10 percent. Then there are those people that double the tax, which results in anywhere from 12 to 16 percent depending on the state, but of course then you are tipping based on a percentage of the food itself, not of the total bill.

Anyway, this system leads to too much individual variation and puts the poor waiter’s paychecks at the whimsy of the customer. It’s horrible that waiters can be paid two dollars an hour and be forced to hope for good tips to make minimum wage. These days, a lot of waiters are required to pay the kitchen staff and bus boys from their tips, so if they are under-tipped they can actually lose money.

In my opinion, the whole system is a way for restaurants to save money. If U.S. restaurants can’t afford to directly pay their staff a living wage, then they should adopt the practice of European restaurants, where the service is included in the cost of the food. That way, the waiters get paid what they deserve every time and they aren’t at the mercy of the customers. No one notices the slight price difference and the waiters don’t get stiffed. Most patrons will always pay their bill, but if they are short on cash at the end, it’s the waiters who will feel the burden.

Other industry has customers pay the workers wagers if you go to an electronics store and a salesperson helps you find your item, you don’t pay them directly maybe they earn commission off of their sales, but that’s up to the company to decide. Why are restaurants any different? I say restaurants should pay the waiters what they are worth and leave their salary out of my hands.

I’ve encountered taxi drivers and delivery men who have outright criticized my tip, which were skimpy either a) because I didn’t have any more cash b) miscalculated c) or was a poor college student. If it comes to me holding on to my money or giving it to you, I’ll choose myself every time.

To summarize, I say charge me what the product, service or food is worth, but don’t expect me to willingly pay you more than you asked for at the end. You set your price, did your job (half the time with a smarmy attitude), I already paid you, and I don’t have extra money to be throwing at you.