Historically “tipping” was the act of “giving gratuity”, or more literally “a free gift” for services rendered. It was used in English taverns as encouragement — more or less a bribe — for expedited service. Makes sense to me. You want a beer, you want it cold, you want it fast. But then came the wealthy Americans tourists in the 1800s to shit all over a great idea. While visiting Americans took note of the practice of “tipping” and saw it as an opportunity to “show off their wealth”, sort of a “I have so much money it’s falling out of my pockets” type of deal.
Now this sort of activity is not well received by most cultures of the world as it is seen quite clearly for what it really is: a very blatant stratification of classes.
I have so much money it’s falling out of my pockets
Now we consumers tip because we HAVE TO. Because it is expected as a societal norm. Lest we be scorned as social outcasts, we must tip 15% of the bill, or higher, regardless of what was ordered. I could order a $150 bottle of wine, and if I don’t tip $30 I am seen as the societal equivalent of a scorching case of herpes. This cycle starts with the business owner who has been enabled to pay his employees below living wages with the understanding that the customer will make them whole.
Now it has become culturally accepted that customers must make up the difference for servers’ lack of pay
I. Don’t. Buy. It.
So now that this has been fully accepted as the customer’s responsibility to supplement employee salaries, and the employer is out of the crosshairs because we somehow forgot that they are helping cause the problem, all the expectation has been put on the customer. Regardless of quality of service. So now, employees feel entitled to a 15% tip, minimum. Now, I am fully appreciative of the situation and how fucked it is, and am MORE than willing, and frequently tip 25-50% for a meal, because I truly, TRULY admire hard work and excellent service. But I don’t OWE you a damn thing. Because in my mind, a tip, any tip, is meant for outstanding service.
That’s why we call it a “tip”, and not “cost of the meal.” BUT. BUT, I am not going to feel responsible for making your wages whole just be virtue of you SHOWING UP to work.
Our ass-backwards tipping culture is by no means an excuse to do a shitty job and expect me to be grateful. How Millennial of you. I WILL pay you because I realize how absurd this system is, but you WILL earn it, and at least act like you give a damn. I don’t care if you really don’t, but if you convince me that you do, and don’t act like an entitled little asshole, I will tip you very well.
So here we are, customers shouldering the cost of business owners under the veil of American customs. It’s genius, they don’t have any of the blame, because WE made it that way. So based on this understanding, I understand why servers hold so much animosity towards patrons. With that being said, I STILL hold true to the concept of a tip, and what it means. A tip is for excellent service. If you do the bare minimum, I am going to give you the bare minimum. Your tip will be reflected in the quality of your service. Period. When I see waiters complaining on Tip Shaming websites for 15% tips, I think, “Who do you think you are, you entitled fuck?” Talk about a Millennial brat.