I’m coming out of the closet here and now. No, I’m not gay, I’m not a Democrat. But it’s almost as drastic.
I hate tipping. HATE it.
When did it become my job, as a customer, to bear the responsibility of directly paying someone’s salary? And now I walk into nearly every establishment that serves any kind of food, and there’s a Tip Jar sitting there. In Dunkin’ Donuts? Really? What am I tipping for? Turning around and taking a donut off the shelf? You didn’t even move your feet!!!
Legend says that tipping started off long ago, “To Insure Promptness”… T.I.P. get it? But then, I also read that back when tipping started, acronyms weren’t commonly used, and “tipping” was actually taken from the criminal slang of the day. Regardless how it started, it’s now pervasive. Everyone expects a tip. Consider this partial list, from Tipping.org (yes, tipping has its own website!)
- Baggers – $1 or more per bag, $1-5 for bringing it to your car (this would NOT fly in my town)
- Barber/hair stylist – 15% of cost, more if you’re not there much
- Casino Workers (including security officers, repair personnel, and cashiers) – $1-2, 5%-10% of a big win
- Catering – $10 per server. $20 if it’s just one server
- Clown – $15-25, depending on the length of the performance and how hot it is outside.
- Contractors – $50 to the foreman, $30 to each worker
- Electric cart transport (airport) – $1-$2, more if driver is nice
- Pizza Delivery – $1-5 depending upon distance and size of order
- Rental car shuttle driver – $1 per bag… more if they help you with the bags
- Ushers – like at a football stadium. 50¢ – $1 per party when they show you to your seat
- Wait staff in a BUFFET restaurant – 5% – 10% of the bill, because they just clear dishes and replace linen
- Wait staff in a regular restaurant – 15% – 20% of the bill. Minimum 20% for a large party
I have problems with many of these.
My first and biggest problem is with waitstaff at restaurants. The way I see it, restaurant owners are obligated to pay the staff at least minimum wage, and then if the service is exceptional, the server may deserve an extra couple of bucks. None of this “two bucks an hour and split the tips amongst the busboys and management” or however that works. I pay $10 for my plate of food. It’s up to YOU to see that your staff is properly paid. If you can’t make budget on $10 per patron, then raise prices, cut spending, or whatever. Don’t guilt ME into making it up because I feel sorry for the less-than-attentive waitress with the shaggy fingernails and the popping gum, who called me “sweetie” and made eyes at my blind husband.
So now I scan down the list. The first one to really get me was the clown. Mind you, this is a clown hired for a kid’s party – something I wouldn’t do in the first place, but that’s another post. You’re supposed to tip according to the weather, since those costumes are hot. Really? If the uniform is too hot, choose another profession. It’s not MY job to make you more comfy. I’ll happily provide a glass of ice water, even an ice-cold Mountain Dew, if that’s preferred, because I’m nice. But I’m already paying for the service, I shouldn’t be expected to pay extra just because the guy shows up.
Contractors. An extra $50-80, minimum, just to have you walk on my property, take off your shirt, and swear at my siding? Ok, I’ll give you the extra if the shirt removal provides an excellent view, but otherwise? No. I hired you to do a job for a set fee. Accept the fee gracefully. If it’s not enough, raise your prices. If the market can bear it, great. If not, you think too much of yourselves.
I know this little rant isn’t going to change anything. I’m not trying to ‘dis’ the service industry, either. I get that being a waitress is hard work, that they have to put up with surly customers and rotten pay. Honestly? As a customer, I’ll work on the surliness, and I am a pretty generous tipper. But i shouldn’t have to be. Their the pay isn’t my problem. That should be between the wait staff and the employers. And everyone else shouldn’t be expecting a tip, either… if you make my hair look good, if you get me a donut or a cup of coffee, or give me the right number of chips for the $20 I give you at the casino, that’s what your paycheck is for.
Although, if you come and fix my roof, and you have rock-hard abs, I just might consider an extra fiver.