Read the linked article, it covers the basics and its uncomfortable at best.
There is something to be said for aligning ownership goals and employee incentives. On a busy night, the owner wants to maximize throughput in the restaurant (and when waiting for a seat, I want that too). I’m amazed at how hard some waitstaff will bustle to get you everything promptly despite worrying about dozens of other customers. That they’re paid indirectly based on the number of tables they serve certainly doesn’t hurt. If they convince you to get an extra beer or order the special, bigger tip and more revenue.
That said, we’ve already got a system for that: commission. Why not just carve the 20% off for the server directly from the bill and be done with it? In theory nothing has changed for the restaurants (except the marketing trick of showing a lower cost then you’ll pay) and we’ve alleviated the weird entitlement some people get when they control somebody’s pay, plus the opportunity for racial discrimination.
Ha, that’s funny. I think they must only do that to Americans, maybe Europeans, since they’re known to tip. I’ve never heard anything like that going out to restaurants in New Zealand. In fact, it’d be awkward to tip most places since most people use a credit or debit card and a pin, and you’d have to explicitly ask them to add a tip to the total. Since being in the US, I basically just tip 20% no matter what.
I ordered a pair of kick-ass tickets to a Texas Rangers baseball game for my orthopedic surgeon because I was so happy with everything he did for my family and I.
Talk to a doctor and you will find out that patients giving gifts isn’t that unusual.
Back in college when I worked at BIG BOX ELECTRONICS STORE, in the computer section, they made it a priority to push the warranty plans, cables, and bullshit people don’t want that have high profit margins. I normally avoided this pushy used car salesmanship because I felt it degraded the process into dry humping the customers. My manager told me that I had to do it no matter what (mainly because his bonus relied on it), that same day I happened to be helping a customer (under the watchful eye of the manager) that knew exactly what they wanted (a printer). I started on the warranty plan bs when the person stopped me mid sentence by saying “I am not interested, don’t say another word about it or I will take my business to another store.” I explained that it was part of my job to inform them of the services the store offers, they placed the printer in the middle of the isle and walked out of the store, I looked at the manager and shrugged. Personally, I considered it a win-win.
I think tipping is screwed up when it occupies quite that much of the wages of staff – I’d hate to get to a culture where there’s no tipping at all – but I like tipping something. Even where it’s completely alien to the culture, I’ve yet to meet a waiter who wouldn’t take an extra 5% and I do it all the time when overseas.
It’s really very simple. If you have employees who can’t make ends meet, you are stealing from them.
I kind of got that feeling when I was there. My tour leader specifically told us we didn’t need to tip anywhere, but our group was nearly all Americans, so it seemed a bit funny that our servers kept encouraging “a bit more if they did well”. But they did a genuinely good job, so a small tip was no big deal.
When my parents took a recent European guided trip, they were told tip was included everywhere and completely unnecessary. But when they went to a German spot with their group, the owner had an employee stand in front of the door at the end of the meal and he came out and said “I need TIPS! Where are TIPS?? You Americans owe us TIPS or you do not leave!!”. He wouldn’t let them go until they’d all given a few euro.
The Post article makes a half hearted reference to feudal times. A bit of digging found this (from a questionable source) for anyone else who’s interested:
I’m surprised to hear that and I lived in Wellington for almost three years and travelled extensively around NZ and I don’t think I ever got that guilt trip. Of course, my accent is “not from round here” rather than American, so perhaps that explains it.
I always tipped the pizza guys who delivered in Wellington’s notoriously shitty fall and winter weather and they were surprised and pleased and, after it became a fairly regular thing, I got my pizza in half the normal time.
Maybe it has changed recently since I haven’t been in NZ for almost 8 years.
Another major plus for wait staff in NZ is that management had to pay them more for working on Sundays and holidays and so the bill was adjusted by that (was it 20%?) surcharge. Happy for that transparency.
Service is pretty much universally good and friendly in Australia and NZ without the need for tipping.
To be clear, the problem is not tips themselves, the problem is the tipped worker wage which is well below the minimum wage.
The cafe I work at is a worker owned co-op where everyone makes the (untipped) minimum wage and above, and the tip pool gets distributed according to hours worked. We are very much in favor of customers giving us extra money.
I remember you!
I wish I was that charismatic.
Many servers are convinced that tipping is a god send that lets them reap huge rewards.
Many customers are convinced that tipping allows them to rate the service they receive and directly wield the might invisible hand.
Both are totally incorrect.
These aren’t problems with tipping, but with an unenforced minimum wage.
A lot of what you hear is fake lore. To insure prompt service and what have. The explanation you found is probably as close to reality as your going to get, I’m reasonably sure the precise origins are lost. Buts she covers its more modern origins in European practices. Essentially a reinforcement of social status among the gentry. Giving a tip meant you were better than the person receiving, and you only tipped interiors like house hold servents.
I make more money when people tip me and less when people don’t so I’m definitely in favor of tipping. It’s a source of motivation to provide prompt and cordial service.
I tip others because I want people providing me services to have a good experience doing so. I don’t have a problem with paying someone directly for providing me with service and I want them to be paid well.
Leave my tips alone. They raise my standard of living and make it possible for me to have nice things.
Gross. Just despicable.
The worst part about the tipping system here is that it’s entrenched in the tax system—employers are expected to withhold on expected tips. If you tip less than Uncle Sam thinks you will, you are taking money right out of your server’s paycheck. (They may or may not get it back, come tax season…)
The tipped worker exception exists, and persists because of the tips. Not the other way around. And the two are intimately connected. Though as the value of tipped minimum wage hasn’t been increased to match cost of living and inflation; the importance of tipping and the expected rate have gone up. When I first started out in the 90’s 10% was a decent tip and the customary base line. 15% was an excellent tip. Then it was 15% as the baseline and 20% was good. Now 20% is the base line. And noone seems to be interested in a rigid bracket for a good tip. 20% is a good tip, and the tip all right minded people should give. Anything less and your an asshole. Anything more and you might be a show boating asshole, very nice person, or fellow “industry” worker. It’s starting to get very wierd and very out of hand.
It’s done in honor, started sometime around the '80s: