What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
I dislike tipping. I have never understood its necessity, nor comprehended why some industries implement (and encourage) it, and others do not.
When I arrived in Las Vegas and boarded a shuttle at the airport, the driver was visibly upset with me, because rather than allowing him to put my bag in the back of the truck, I carried it into the shuttle with me and put it in front of my seat, not blocking anybody. The bag is a small sports bag with a few pairs of clothes, so I didn’t need to load it in the back. The driver was upset, of course, because by not allowing him to put my bag in the back, this meant that he didn’t need to unload anything for me upon arriving at the hotel, and therefore would have no opportunity to expect a tip.
According to the wikipedia page for tipping, the federal minimum wage for a tipped employee is $2.13. Companies save money by paying employees this lower rate, hoping (and expecting) that the rest of their paycheck is earned by friendly service to their customers, thus bringing them in nice, hefty tips.
Why is it this way? I am a web designer by trade, and I don’t expect my clients to tip me. They pay me for my services, and there is a fair exchange. They pay me, I create their web site. End of story. When I go to a restaurant and pay a high price for their food, there is another exchange taking place. I pay $25 to the restaurant, for example, and receive a meal in return. Why do I need to pay even more money for a tip? You’d have a hard time convincing me that the restaurants could not easily afford to pay a standard wage to their workers, when they’re making high profits on the food I am purchasing.
All that being said, I will note that at restaurants I do tip (usually), simply because it isn’t the server’s fault that the system is broken. But I am much, much less willing to tip somebody when the tip becomes not a reward for good service, but an expectation. If I’m going to pay anything more out of pocket than I already am in exchange for the service or goods, then it will be out of the goodness of my heart. When such an action becomes an outright expectation in exchange for friendly service, then I refuse. This is not what tipping is for.
For example, last night I went to a hotel’s buffet for dinner. The meal was paid for beforehand, and as part of the payment, the receipt had a section for the tip. Why in the world would somebody pay a tip before the service is even rendered? This seems completely backwards to me. What’s worse is that once the receipt was filled out and a tip specified, the cashier stamped the receipt with the word “TIP”, and that receipt was showed to our server. Does this mean, perhaps, that our server was just a little more friendly, since she knew we had pre-tipped her? Had a tip not been given, would my drink have been filled a little less often?
Why do some industries encourage (and nearly demand) tipping, and others do not? Shall I start expecting a tip every time I design a logo for a company? Hey, I responded promptly to emails and was extra courteous! C’mon! If classy restaurants with sky-high prices implement tipping, why doesn’t the fast-food industry? Does anybody have an argument for tipping being a good thing? To me, there is an exchange taking place whenever I am paying for an item or a service, and I see no reason to fork out extra money for somebody to be nice and provide a service to me for which I have already paid.
Am I misguided?