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Old 21 July 2014, 10:43 PM
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United States The Gratuitous Injustice of American Tipping Culture

"Unless a waiter can be a gentleman, democracy is a failure. If any form of service is menial, democracy is a failure. Those Americans who dislike self-respect in servants are undesirable citizens; they belong in an aristocracy."

No matter where you go and who you talk to, it seems like everyone hates America's tipping culture. Finding someone who thinks our current system is just fine and dandy is more difficult than keeping track of which Kardashian is which. The fact that the above quote is now nearly 100 years old proves that opposition to America's tipping culture isn't something new, but no matter how much people claim to hate it, no one seems to want to do anything about it.

http://kitchenette.jezebel.com/the-g...ure-1608009017
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Old 21 July 2014, 10:50 PM
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The article is well worth reading in general, but I was drawn to it by a bitingly sarcastic quote from it a friend posted to Facebook, that seems to reflect the view of many conservatives in this country:

Give a man a fish and he'll become an unending burden on the limited resources of the state. Teach a man to fish and you've placed the burden for his education on those who have no responsibility to help him — he should be able to figure out for himself how to fish, and if he can't, well, that's not our problem.
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Old 21 July 2014, 11:00 PM
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I'd like to see more of the no-tipping restaurants opening. I think that would help. But it wouldn't alleviate all the other tipping one has to do, for non-food things.
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Old 21 July 2014, 11:30 PM
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What non-food related things are people expected to tip for?
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Old 21 July 2014, 11:35 PM
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Suitcase handling, hair cutting or styling, cab driving, for some.

ETA: But not spanking.
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Old 21 July 2014, 11:35 PM
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Hairdressers, masseuses, bellhops, luggage handlers at the airport, cab drivers, dog groomers, hotel maids, furniture movers...

Some of these things I didn't know I was "supposed" to tip until only recently.
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Old 21 July 2014, 11:44 PM
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True, but (I think) most of the people in those 'other' positions are being paid at least the real minimum wage. When I used to drive an airport shuttle, I actually worked on a system similar to that proposed - we got a commission on the fares, guaranteed to be at least minimum wage (which turned out to be most of the time, unless you worked the early-morning shift, which I couldn't), plus tips. The tips were what made the job worth doing, but I was being paid enough that I didn't feel like I was being screwed if a particular customer happened not to tip, or tipped poorly. With food servers, it's pretty much 'mandatory' in a social sense; the service has to be not only bad but the server actually unpleasant or rude before I would consider not tipping at all. But I think a lot of people neglect to tip other folks who work in 'tipped' positions.
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Old 22 July 2014, 12:18 AM
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Bollocks! I would not tip most of those, unless there was extraordinary service above usual demands. I also don;t tip fast food, generally - although I did recently when one worker seemed to be the only one hustling. I handed her the money and told her exactly why.

I am ambivalent about tipping food/drink service. I am concerned too often, the service would be like the rest of the employees at that restaurant, doing next to nothing and slowly at that. OTOH, most do not act like that, and once the manager finds out what the situation is, they are instructed to get it in gear or get out. So probably the service would not change. OTOH, every tipped server I have ever known has said that s/he would hate going to a no-tip arrangement with higher base pay, because the money earned by tips is so much higher than would be paid on hourly without tips. In fact, several tipped services are so lucrative that the workers compete for the slots and get no wages (strippers, at least, according to the stripper I took testimony from). The drive to eliminate tips seems like it is hurtful to tipped workers.
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Old 22 July 2014, 12:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
I also don;t tip fast food, generally - although I did recently when one worker seemed to be the only one hustling. I handed her the money and told her exactly why.
You're not supposed to tip fast-food workers. They don't bring the food to your table, thus in our culture, it is not deemed a tipped job.
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Old 22 July 2014, 12:47 AM
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Pizza delivery is another thing that is often tipped.

One advantage to the tipping structure is that the employee shares both the risks and benefits of the number of customers. If a waiter is paid a living wage and not tipped then the number of customers has no effect on their pay. A slow night or a busy night is the same in terms of the pay of the waiter.

With tipping the waiter makes less (and works less) on a slow night and gets paid more (and works harder) on a busy night. There is a logic to that system.
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Old 22 July 2014, 01:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
You're not supposed to tip fast-food workers. They don't bring the food to your table, thus in our culture, it is not deemed a tipped job.
A number of fast food chains (e.g., Carl's Jr.) work on the model of having runners bring customers' food to their tables.
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Old 22 July 2014, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
With tipping the waiter makes less (and works less) on a slow night and gets paid more (and works harder) on a busy night. There is a logic to that system.
Would that work for police? Quiet nights get paid less? Firefighters?

Dropbear
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Old 22 July 2014, 01:29 AM
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The "tipping culture" and the fact that minimum wage for tipped jobs is lower are not the same thing.

He mentions that 7 states have tipped-employees paid the same minimum wage as everybody else, and as far as I know people still tip in those states (haven't been to any but California myself, but tipping culture didn't seem to have disappeared over there). Yet he is still incredulous about the idea that customers will continue to tip if servers are paid the same minimum wage.

The tipping culture does have upsides. It increases servers' income and provides an incentive for them to work harder and better. I certainly agree with him that it is problematic that servers are paid less than the minimum wage and that servers should be paid the same minimum wage as everyone else. But the benefits of "tipping culture" exist independently of that.
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Old 22 July 2014, 04:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
A number of fast food chains (e.g., Carl's Jr.) work on the model of having runners bring customers' food to their tables.
Yesterday I had a chili dog on the patio at Sonic and tipped my server generously - though she was wearing roller skates and was having no trouble tipping on her own.

But seriously - I did tip the server at Sonic. But as you said, many fast food chains will bring your food to your table if there is a long wait for your item. I've seen this at McDonald's with their breakfasts or the infamous Filet-O-Fish - and I've also seen runners bring drive-through orders to cars who have had to move out of the way and park. I haven't seen anyone tip them.
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Old 22 July 2014, 04:36 AM
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I think your first point is a probably a good one. However, you might consider the same argument against your second point. Do people in tipped jobs or tipping countries work harder and better? Are there any benefits that we can actually observe? Not in my experience. I've never heard of anyone traveling to a tipping country and remarking how much better tipping made the service or increased the wages so I find it hard to believe it really has any such effect.
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Old 22 July 2014, 04:37 AM
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We also don't say that about non-tipped jobs. Do we believe a secretary will work more efficiently if we tip?
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Old 22 July 2014, 05:18 AM
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Well how that even work? Tipping only really makes sense for jobs when one person is providing a service for a variety of other people. Perhaps a holiday bonus for good work over the year?
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Old 22 July 2014, 05:24 AM
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As to whether tips provide incentives for servers, there is no doubt it provides an incentive for servers to work harder, because the more people they serve, the more tips they will get. It could also provide an incentive to provide better service if people do in fact tip better for better service. This study, for one, found such a correlation. This review reports that the evidence overall suggests there is indeed a correlation, although it is not as strong as you might expect.

It seems to me like the incentives do pretty clearly exist. Whether they are strong enough to actually movitave servers to improve service is another question. The abstract of this paper (which I have only briefly skimmed) suggests that according to their mathematical model, the relationship between service quality and tipping has to be fairly strong to improve service, and that the evidence suggest that the actual relationship, although present, is not strong enough to do so.

So whether tipping actually provides an incentive to provide better service is debatable. But from the restaurant's point of view, it provides a pretty nice incentive for a server to work harder and serve more guests, as that will clearly lead to an increase in their tip income (as long as their service quality doesn't drop enough that their tip per customer starts to seriously decline).

Last edited by Jahungo; 22 July 2014 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 22 July 2014, 05:24 AM
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Sorry, my post got out of order without a quote. I meant that as a comment to your two points, Jahungo.
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  #20  
Old 22 July 2014, 05:26 AM
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My co-workers have repeatedly commented on the poor service they have received in Australia - a country without a tipping culture. This group is not exclusively American (as there is that stereotype that Americans traveling abroad are loud, rude, belligerent, and demanding), but includes Canadians, South Africans, and other Australians. For experienced servers - those who have "tenure" with their employer - there is little incentive for them to do their best for every group of patrons. Of course, repeatedly poor performance would be noticed and acted upon, but if they simply treat one table - especially on a slow night - poorly then there are probably no immediate or permanent negative effects.
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