I recently ate at one of those all singing and dancing hamburger restaurants. One that charges more because the bun is brioche. Where
chips, fries are a ‘side order’ so cost extra. I paid and declined to tip on my card. The lovely waitress asked why. I was uncomfortable with the question, after all, a tip is discretionary. There should not be an inquiry into why I didn’t want to give my money away! I use to tip and generously. Now I don’t. Here are five reasons why tipping should be abolished.
1 Tipping Subsidises Business
Restaurants are a business. Many belong to hugely successful chains. A company should factor in paying a living wage. Instead, restauranteurs calculate servers wages with tips in mind. That is unfair to them and the customer. A server’s standard of living should not depend on a customer’s gratuity and patrons should not be expected to leave a tip.
The only winner is the restaurant. While we tip, restaurants have no incentive to change their wage policy.
2 Tipping Is Unfair
When we tip, we are encouraging income inequality. Other members of the restaurant contribute to our dining experience. Including the kitchen hands and dishwashers who earn less than the servers. Nonetheless, they do not usually receive a tip.
3 Tipping Is Discriminatory
Not all hard working servers receive tips. If a customer does not like the look of the server, irrespective of good service, they may not get a tip at all. Professor Michael Lynn’s study found that customers of all races tipped black servers less. Although the service is of the same quality.
In a separate study, Professor Lynn found that waitresses with larger breasts, smaller body sizes and blond hair received more tips than servers without.
On the other hand, 80% of waitresses experienced sexual harassment at some point in their careers. So tipping, which seems like a ‘nice practise’, can be another guise for sexual harassment.
As the customer, I also feel harassed. Servers expect customers to tip them. In other words, the patron is guilt-tripped into tipping to prop up a weak business model. If tipping was the right thing why are we not tipping the cleaners and other low paid workers? Rather, only some jobs are singled out.
We dine out for convenience or pleasure. However, we become embroiled in poor economic practices. The Reservoir Dogs excerpt below makes a compelling case.
5 Tipping Is Arbitrary and Undignified
There is no rationale for why customers only tip some low paid workers. Nor why we tip at all. According to research customers leave a larger tip for servers who squat at the table, waitresses in red, or when a smiley face is on the bill. So customers also tip because they are being manipulated!
Tipping was a European aristocratic practise. They tipped those who sufficiently pleased. It was undignified then, and it is now. Restaurants should pay their servers a living wage. They should not have to depend on a customer’s largesse.
Everybody Looses But Business
Research has shown tipping has little to do with the service we have received. Tipping was once a reward for the exceptional. It has become a reward for the humdrum. We tip for approval and to avoid guilt. We tip, because it is custom, although it is unfair and inconsistent.
However, customers should not be responsible for the economic welfare of the serving staff. That is the job of the employer. Tipping encourages poor business practise. Until the custom of tipping is abolished, restaurant businesses are laughing all the way to the bank.
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