The Tipping Point - Is Tipping Mandatory?

The Tipping Point - Is Tipping Mandatory?

It seems like you read the same story once or twice a month. Person A with some expendable money walks in to a diner. Person A sits, orders a cup of coffee and tips Waiter B a thousand bucks. Waiter B is so enraptured by the random act of kindness that he/she goes to the media. It’s a fluff piece of course and it’s supposed to make your heart melt knowing that there are still good people in this world. It gives hope to wait staff across our nation as they hold out for their Richard Gere and hopefully tonight will be the night that he walks in wearing his white sailor outfit and sweeps them off their feet away from that sweatshop sewing factory. (1) *Cue Up Where We Belong*.

What we learn from that story is that great tippers are heroes and have pulled the poor waiter/waitress from the underbelly of the seedy restaurant industry much like Richard Gere did to Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’. (2) What we didn’t learn from that story though, is that there is another side of the tipping industry. The tip shaming side. If you don’t know what tip shaming is, it’s basically your friendly neighborhood waiter or waitress who has been stiffed one too many times and takes the receipt to the interwebs. They’ll show the total and the tip amount and if they’re feeling really froggy, they’ll sometimes include your name and even your phone number. If you don’t believe me, there’s a website that isn’t too hard to find with a couple of key words that I would link to, but I refuse to give them the traffic.

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You may have seen the above story, Everything You Need To Know About Tipping, floating around on your Facebook feed. If you haven’t, it’s right here. It’s actually a pretty good read in terms of raw statistics but in my opinion the author gets something wrong: You shouldn’t have to tip anyone if you don’t want to.

I am tired of hearing that tipping should be mandatory. When I walk into a restaurant, I of course know that whatever my bill is, I should be tipping at least 20 percent. You plan for that when you are doing your finances. However, if I go to a restaurant and the service is horrible much like the Richard Gere movie ‘The Mothman Prophecies’ (3), I am not tipping the server shit. I don’t walk into a bar and order a beer and feel guilty that I don’t tip the bartender every single time. He/she opened my beer bottle. Congratulations you have opposable thumbs, here’s a dollar? No, that is ridiculous. If you are a worker in the service industry, you have to realize that you can train a dog to do your job. In fact, I would tip the dog more because they are probably more friendly. There are restaurants that literally have toy choo-choo trains deliver your food. You don’t see me tipping Thomas and his buddies do you?

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Servers have an obligation to keep the customer happy. I don’t give a fuck if the customer is bipolar and is the second coming of Edward Norton from the Richard Gere vehicled ‘Primal Fear’(4), you have to be nice, engage in conversation if applicable, and keep a cup filled. You are not allowed to stereotype anyone and give them shittier service just because they are black and you know they’re not going to tip well. (That comes straight from the article above, don’t point the finger at me black friends. But seriously, it’s a stereotype for a reason, knock it off.) You can’t sit around texting your boyfriend in eyeshot of me when I’m clearly ready for another drink as it has been Jenga-ing on the edge of the table for 14 minutes. I’m not going to tip you, and you shouldn’t be mad about it.

Maybe I’m in the minority in my way of thinking but if you are simply doing your job you don’t deserve a great tip for it. You deserve a great tip for extraordinary service. And in no way am I mandated to do so. We go out to restaurants for three reasons 1. It’s a special occasion. 2. We don’t feel like cooking. 3. We’re hungry and it just so happens Hooters was on the way home and it was the only thing that was open because the electricity was out everywhere else honey I swear. That’s it. If we are at your fine establishment and are being treated like shit, then here’s a tip for you: Get a better job.

Richard Gere. (5)

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