Stream of Consciousness

Friday, September 24, 2004

Mr. Pink was wrong

I was chatting yesterday in a thread about delivery drivers and the subject of tipping became the main issue. A few people confessed that they did not believe in tipping, and I responded referring to the first of them as Mr. Pink, the character in Reservoir Dogs who in the first scene revealed a great deal about his character by explaining his debate against the custom of tipping. The poster responds:
Yes I do love Mr. Pink's monologue... I totally agree with him. When/if people do a good job, I tip them well. But I simply don't agree with the idea of needing to automatically tip someone even if he didn't provide good services at all.

During the discussion in the movie the fact that is left out however, is that the people rendering these services are paid less than minimum wage. Some occupations (including one I had for several years) are even based on a type of commission, so if there are no sales, you don't get paid (even though you may not have any control over if sales are made or not). I think anyone who agreed with and applauded his rant is either ignorant of this or a selfish weasel like Mr. Pink's character. Another poster says:
I say f'k the tipping tradition. Rather, just add a little more to the price of the item. Saves me the trouble of deciding how much to tip. This way, waiters and deliverers get the same as what they're getting now -- plus, when the tips come along, they now resume their original meaning as reward for a job well done, instead of extortion money so they don't piss in my food.

Tipping is hardly extortion, the ones who consider it this are the ones that mistreat the server, and are later given bad service because the servers remember the abuse and/or lack of tip. On the contrary, tips should be considered bidding for better service for those who genuinely appreciate it. The highest bidder receives the best service. For example, in my ex-profession (delivery driver), those who tipped the best got their order first, regardless of who called first. This is a capitalist society, after all. This was my response to the people who scoffed at tipping:
Tipping is for personal services rendered. No, it is not required, but it's consideration and appreciation for someone giving personal attention beyond simply trading something for your money.

Employers are not assholes for how they pay waiters. Some establishments are 'non-tipping' but the customer pays for it, anyway. This way the prices can stay low and the amount of tip can depend on and ensure good service. Otherwise, the waiters can slack off and not care about your service since they know they're getting paid anyway (The American Way, sadly).

To flat out not tip out of personal beliefs is ignorant, don't have anyone do anything for you if this is the case. Don't ride in a taxi, get a haircut, valet your car, have your bags checked at the airport curb, ask for anything to be delivered to your door or have someone wait on your table if you and your party aren't willing to drop a couple extra dollars. Otherwise, take the bus, buy a flobee, park your own car, wait in line and check your own bags, drive out and pick your order up yourself or go to McDonald's.

I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was to realize there are still people around ignorant enough to "not believe in tipping." Some people even think that we should do away with tipping altogether and just pay a little more in the price of the food. Is this really logical? What's to ensure good service? How would such a change be organized? It would be as effective as the US adopting the metric system, and even after the national switch is made, who's to know for sure what employers actually agreed to change? Some people just have reservations about tipping. What's the big deal? Nobody is forcing them to take advantage of these services.


  • It's not an either or thing. It would be possible for employers to pay a real living wage to people AND tip for good service rendered. In a way, people who receive less than a living wage subsidize our lifestyle by artificially lowering costs.

    By Blogger fourworlds, at 10:13 AM  

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