I am writing this from the perspective of someone who lives in a country where tipping is not usual or expected. I have been to the US on a number of occasions, and feel I have some understanding of what is expected there, and I do not like the tipping system at all.
As I understand it, in the US people in service industries such as cab drivers or waiters/waitresses are paid such low wages that tips are essential for them to make enough money to survive. Here in Australia people in service industries are not paid exorbitantly, but they are paid enough to survive without tips. Tips are appreciated here, but are not expected and are certainly never mandatory. They tend to be given only for exceptional service.
When I am in the US I feel compelled to tip anybody who does anything for me, and frankly, I resent it. I understand that the people serving me are paid such low salaries that they depend on my tips to survive, but I resent it because I think they should be paid decent wages in the first place, and any tips I give should be for service over and above the normal. It is not my fault they get such lousy wages, and so I resent being virtually forced to subsidise them, not because I have anything against the people serving me, but because I resent the fact that they are being cheated by their employers.
I think the tipping system is demeaning to the people working in the industries where tipping is expected in the USA. At times the service in Australia is bad, and service in the US is almost always good, but this is because those in Australia are paid decent wages and can afford to have bad days, while those in the US don’t eat unless they give good service and get their tips, even if that means they have to grovel for them.
When in the USA I also resent the hidden charges. If a meal is shown on the menu as costing $15, then that is what I should have to pay. I resent having to work out whether I should be adding 15% or 20%, and leaving the appropriate tip. I would much rather have the workers paid a decent wage in the first place and have the bill reflect the additional cost, rather than me having to calculate it. It means that the prices in the US are deceptive.
Speaking from a country where tipping is not usual or expected, and when tips are given only for exceptional service, I think the tipping system in the USA is a bad system that deceives customers and demeans those who serve them. It is one of the things that discourages me from wanting to visit the US again.