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I’ll tip YOU, in a minute

November 14, 2012

What is all this tipping business? No, I know what it is. I just don’t understand it, that’s all. It’s all very well charging people money for a service – you can decide how much you want to charge depending on the service. But I resent the implication that you have free choice as to whether or not to tip, because you don;t, do you?

Tipping is bigger in the States than in Britain. Here, we top waiters and that’s about it. You don’t tip bar staff, because they don’t do anything accept pull a pint – essentially, they just do their job. The whole thing seems a bit arbitrary when you tip some people in the service industry and not others, but I always thought that waiting staff had the added edge of improving your meal experience, and they ought to be tipped for an excellent job.

It doesn’t seem to be like that, though, particularly not in the States where you tip cab drivers and all sorts of people. It’s a country where even the minimum wage is perfectly decent, and without wanting to sound too Tory, I believe wage should be relevant to experience and qualification, so I feel if you are a cab driver, you can’t expect too much. If someone wants to tip you, that’s nice, but it’s more like a social expectation.

If they genuinely aren’t paid enough, then it’s the companies and laws that need to be changed. If they are paid enough (as I suspect) making someone feel like a jerk because they don’t tip is kind of a jerk move in itself. I’m an average consumer, I’m happy to pay the price on the box. I don’t haggle and I don’t know how to tip. I don’t know if it’s down to my digression of if there’s a standard, or what the standard is. If there is a standard, it seems to me that it should be universalised and incorporated into the price, so we don’t have to work it out of fiddle around with loose change.

It is not as if, if you have a low income, you get to choose whether or not you tip. Not really. A heavy social stigma is attached to not tipping and your serviceman will tend to brand you as cheap for not tipping if you’re wearing anything other than torn bin bags. I hate this passive-aggressive phony “you don’t have to pay me more, but if you don’t, you’re an ass” approach. Give me a country where people are paid accurately and consistently what is earned by them doing their job. That’s what people who work in every other sector get.


From → British Culture

  1. Zach permalink

    Well, in my country, as far as I know, it is very uncommon to tip. I have worked as a waiter for a short term before and I have received no tips yet. What restaurants do, is that they charge an extra 10% fee in the bill for Service Charge and that’s it. Or the customers might probably tell you to ‘keep the change’, not in the name of a tip.

  2. Out of interest, where are you from? Ahh, the old service charge; round here, if you get a service charge, that’s how you know you’re in a classy establishment. But people complain, even though they don’t want the burden of thinking about tipping, because they think it’s cheeky to ask for money for a service provided! And, it’s probably cheaper if it’s service because you don’t have to round up with whatever change you happen to have in your pocket. Insanity.

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