‘Tis the holyday season which means that it is the season of giving, or so the saying goes. Last week I came across a meme on Facebook that had the picture of a bill, with the words “happy holydays” written on it to which the customer replied with “you mean merry Christmas.” Obviously, the customer did not care about the political correct words that the employee chose, but to me the surprising gesture was the tip that the customer provided. I have been debating as of late the idea of tipping for the service. While it is customary for a customer to tip, this has become the norm and I would go as far as to say that it has become an expectation.
According to the U.S Department of Labor Statistics the mean hourly wage for waiters and waitresses as of May 2015 was of $11.07 for tipped wages. This is not necessarily bad, but the way that waiters and waitresses are paid means that the customer is directly paying these wages on top of what was already paid for the food. There seems to be a notion that if the customer failed to tip accordingly, the food that the customer may receive could be cold or even spat on by the waitress. This notion made me arise at the following conclusion: why should I have to pay the wages of the employees when I’m there for food? Is this not the responsibility of the employer to pay his/her employees accordingly?
For example, when you buy plane tickets, you don’t pay the flight attendants extra money for their cervices nor do you offer them tips; or when the mail arrives at your door you don’t offer the UPS/Fedex/USPS employee any tips for their service, you just take your package sign and go on with your day. However, in the food industry the custom of tipping for good service has become an expectation. One now is expected to tip for minimal service. Far too often I’ve gone to restaurants in which the waiter takes the order and is never seen again until the food arrives, then the employee once more disappears and comes to bring the bill. This type of service is not worth tipping 10 or even 15 percent of the meal as the service did not grant such a high tip.
I think that customers and employees alike should fight for the people in these profession to receive the minimum wage as other professions do, and that the tips that the employees receive be taken out of the equation. It is a restaurant’s responsibility to pay its employees and provide good service to its customers so that the customer can come back and spend his/her capital at the establishment. Expecting the customer to tip is putting the burden of the salary of the employee directly onto the hands of the customer even more so than it should be. With this said, what do you think about tipping at restaurants?