Some years back, I did an article about my thoughts on tipping. Well, my opinion has not changed much, however the line of people who expect tips is growing and so are the conniving approaches on how to get those extra funds out of you.
Tipping is supposed to be the “voluntary demonstration of gratitude in exchange for a service.” OK, let’s dissect that definition a bit more.
First, “voluntary” – that means “freely” or “I elect to do so.” So then why did you automatically, without my permission, charge me an extra 15 percent for my hamburger and beer? That’s not “freely” – that’s “obligatory.”
Secondly, there’s “in exchange for a service”; well, how else do I get my hamburger if you don’t serve me my hamburger? Should I go into the kitchen and fix it myself so you can deduct the 15 percent for service that never should have been added in the first place? Is the 15 percent because you smiled and told me how nice my hair looked? Isn’t that part of your job – to be nice, friendly and courteous? Why charge me for what you’re expected to do in the first place? If you were rude, is it possible you wouldn’t have a job? If your boss didn’t terminate rude employees, your boss wouldn’t have a business. Just saying.
Some of my friends in the hospitality business may be ticked off at me after reading this article, and I could easily go on and on about why the compulsory (like it or not) 15 percent tip is discriminatory and larceny. However, on the other side of the tipping coin, I must admit I do tip, and I’m a good tipper at that – as long as it’s an intended extra not a pinched extra. In my case, more often than not, it’s the demon rum rather than the clear-headed diner that is doing the tipping.
The line of people we do tip seems to be growing. It’s not just wait staff anymore. We tip bartenders, the pizza delivery person, hotel maids, bellhops, taxicab drivers, hairdressers, manicurist/pedicurists, parking attendants, tour guides, cashiers at the supermarket, musicians, school teachers, receptionists and coaches. I’ve even seen Stingray City boat captains place a tip jar near the helm of their boat. But do all of these professions really require a tip? Of course not; they have a job and they get paid for it. Just because their boss does not pay them enough, why should it come out of my pocket?
When I go to the doctor, I have to pay for his services. Now, if I expect my doctor will pay closer attention to my health needs if I tip him, it’s time for a new doctor.
These days, there is lots of trickery involved to get those extra gratuity charges on your credit card. The latest sham is the mind-boggling, premeditated totaling of your bottom line before you have a chance to intervene in the outcome.
Obligatory tipping. I hate it because it’s an obligation camouflaged as an option, and a singling-out of one person’s bonus outside the cost of my meal. And I hate it for the sober math it requires of me.
Yes, I practice what I preach; as a professional musician, I have never had a tip jar in front of me. I make a respectable salary and if I should feel underpaid I’ll deal with my boss, but I do not expect a customer to tip me for the birthday song.