18. November 2022
A friend of mine posted a meme in Social Media with the following text:
"The year is 2024.
You walk into your local coffee shop.
A latte coasts $12.
You have the choice of tipping 75%, 95%, or 125%.
You sheepishly tip 75% and feel bad about yourself.
The barista shakes his head in disgust."
This meme was designed to address the combined issues of soaring inflation and tipping expectations within our society, though it made me want to weigh in on the subject from an observational point of view.
Tipping has been an interesting subject for me as I've traveled around the planet. I've been to some cities and countries where tipping is considered an insult, because the implication to the staff is that you think they aren't being paid enough and you pity them. That being said, in the USA, some people AREN'T paid enough, because their employers figure that the employees will make up the rest of their wages in tips, which is why these employees are justifiably angry when they get stiffed.
Personally, I find it reprehensible that an employer expects me to cover their wage shortages. I'd rather that restaurants set realistic prices for their patrons and pay their employees a reasonable wage, where patrons are still welcome to leave a tip if they feel that they had great service. Although I must admit, despite societal expectations, I still tip based on service. Even though I leave a tip 99.9% of the time, I do not feel obligated to always leave more than my bill.
Occasionally I've dealt with an exceptionally underwhelming server, and in those one or two situations I've had no problems saying to them, "Your service was terrible," and I didn't care if those specific employees came up a little short in their wages that evening. If their employer can dock their pay for gross ineptitude, so can I; and in the future, perhaps they'll do try to do a better job.