Griping about Tipping

“The customer is always right, as long as he pays and leaves a tip.” Gerard Bessette

OK, no argument about this, but lately, I have noticed that practically everywhere you go, you will be prodded about adding a tip to the bill. The question is, who really deserves a tip? Or should everybody get one?

A tip or “pourboire” is traditionally a sum of money given to someone as a reward for providing good service. It is awarded for certain types of employment such as waiters but also to workers such as hairdressers, taxi drivers, delivery people, hotel staff, etc.

This is understood but does a “barista” for instance or anybody standing behind a counter deserve a tip? They all provide a service, but they don’t do anything special. Why would they deserve a tip unless they do something above and beyond what they are paid for?

Should all the people who provide a service be tipped? Should I tip my plumber, the mail carrier, the doctor, the butcher, or the garbage collector? They all provide a service, don’t they? Personally, I think that in many cases, it should be the customer who should get a tip. For offering the service provider a cup of coffee, a clean bathroom facility, and paying promptly. That’s good service, isn’t it?

Tipping first made its first appearance in the 18th century in a restaurant in Britain. The owner of this restaurant has installed a pot on his counter with the inscription To Insure Promptness (TIP) which means to ensure speed. Customers wanting to be served quickly had to put a few coins in this pot so the server would serve it before the others.”

 In France, the tip is automatically added to the bill, but most customers now add a tip to the tip. Unless the customer gets extra service, does it make sense? I don’t think so.

“In Japan, it was frowned upon to leave a tip, even insulting, since the server thought his income was sufficient and he saw the tip as an unnecessary favor. This habit is still maintained to this day.”

Since many employees take the tip for granted, they have no incentive anymore to provide “extra good service.” I am not against tipping, and I will gladly leave a good tip, but there has got to be a good reason for it.

In my opinion, (despite a glaring container appealing for it) handing a cup of coffee or a sandwich to a customer does not deserve a tip.

What do you think?


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