Tipping doesn’t make any sense to me.
That’s probably because I come from Europe, or you could think that it’s because I’m a cheapskate, but US-style tipping is just wrong.
Why would it ever make sense to tip only in the restaurant business? Why don’t we tip the bus driver? And the doctors?
Tipping should be a customer-initiated act that is done when exceptional service is received, in any industry or situation. Tipping as a system has no rational basis. It’s not like I have the choice of not using the services of servers in a restaurant, right? If I had the opportunity to just go in the kitchen tell the chef what I wanted, ask how much it’d take and then go back and grab it, then paying a premium to have a server do that stuff for me actually makes sense, and would gladly pay (a reasonable amount). But I do not have that option, so why in the world should I pay more than what is written in the menu?
- Wage: It makes no sense that the restaurant doesn’t have to pay the servers their full wage. In my business I can’t decide to pay my employees half their salary and tell them to ask tips to customers, so why in the world can or should restaurants do that? On top of that laws in the states of Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington require all employees to be paid at least minimum wage. So the argument that servers get paid less than minimum wage and I should make up for that portion, on top of being non-sense, doesn’t even fucking stand.
- Taxes: It’s just mind boggling that in a country with such focus on taxation, restaurants can get away with not paying payroll taxes and servers can get away with not paying income taxes on their tips (40% of tips are never registered). And, if I understand correctly that servers are taxed on 8% more of their income, for supposed tips, then the IRS is part of the nonsensical show.
- Tipping as a percentage of the total bill: This is so absurd it’s not even funny. Let’s say you go with your spouse to a restaurant: you order 3 appetizers at $8 each, an entree at $16, a dessert at $5 and 2 sodas at $3. In-n-out in 1h you get a $48 bill plus tax, so you leave a very generous 20% tip of $10 (ten bucks!!). The next day my spouse and I go at the same restaurant, we’re celebrate our anniversary so we order 2 lobster plates at $30 each and a bottle of wine at $20. In-n-out in 30 mins because we have a ballet spectacle. $80 and a $16 tip. Do you start seeing the cracks in the system?
You stayed in the restaurant for double our time, required multiple trips and orders from the server to bring you your 7 items and probably a few refills. We stayed a minimum amount of time, ordered 3 things and need to pay 60% more tip. Nuts.
Every time I try to argue with someone about this, the reply tends to be along the lines of “but here it’s like this, live with it”. Well if I had to live with every problem I found I wouldn’t have studied Engineering and gotten into VC and startups. I still have to hear one single valid point to my objections. I can imagine quite a few people coming back at me with the quality level: “well if there were no tips, then service would be just awful”. Well, think a bit more about your point. Do you receive tips in your job? No? Does that mean that you do your job in a shitty way? I sure as hell try to do my best, without expecting to ask my CEO or our customers to “tip” me cause I had a productive day.
Restaurant owners should just fire the servers that don’t provide the quality standard they are demanding, and customers should signal they received low quality service by not going back again or informing the managers, like in every other business in the world. If owners want a higher quality standard, to charge higher prices, then they should expect to get better servers and pay them more.
Please keep in mind that I’m not saying that servers should get paid less. They should be paid way more, but by the restaurant and not the client! I, on the other hand, should know how much I have to pay for every meal. If I want, I’ll then add a small tip to show my appreciation for the service received. Period. I’ll be here waiting to hear reasonable objections at my points.