“How much do you tip?” is a question that never ceases to spark a lively debate. But today’s post isn’t about how much you tip…it’s about whether tipping should exist at all.
In a recent Slate article, Brian Palmer argues that tipping and the morass of laws and regulations surrounding it have created a system that neither rewards quality service, nor pays restaurant employees a fair wage. You see, most states allow restaurants and other establishments to pay tipped employees as little as $2.13 per hour, assuming that gratuities will make up the difference. This is called “tip credit.” But in some cases, the employees, particularly busboys and hostesses, aren’t making enough to reach minimum wage.
The author argues that we should abolish “tip credit” at the state and federal levels and require these employees to be paid at least minimum wage. This way our tips will once again be gratuities, and not simply our duty as “co-employers” of the people who serve our food.
I found the article very interesting, especially in light of a conversation I recently had with my friend and former co-worker Virginia. V’s new hair salon doesn’t allow employees to accept tips from customers, and she loves that she doesn’t have to worry about all the mental aggravation that comes with tipping.
Personally, I think a world without tipping wouldn’t be so bad. It seems like everyone from tour bus drivers, to the person who delivers my Seamless orders, to the man who repairs my shoes expects a tip these days. It doesn’t matter whether the service is good, mediocre or subpar, I’m expected to tip, and tip a “fair” amount, to avoid social stigma and keep the employees whose businesses I patronize happy.
In fact, two weeks ago, I went to a dry cleaner and noticed a brand new tip jar sitting on the counter. And even though this isn’t an industry where tipping is the norm, the customers in front of me were dropping their change and their small bills into the jar.
So what do you ladies think: Would you prefer a world without tipping, where everyone from your hairdresser to your bartender makes an hourly or salaried wage sans gratuity? Do you think there are some professions that should have tipping, and others that should not? Or do you see tipping as a reward for good customer service? Leave your thoughts in the comments.