Why voluntary tipping doesn’t make sense
You’ve finished your meal, gotten the bill, and are just about to put your old John Hancock on the credit card receipt. And then you’re faced with the most confusing, argued-over aspects of dining out: the tip line.
How much is enough? 15%? 18%? 20%? If the food was bad, should you tip less? What qualifies as “good” service? Does it matter how fancy the restaurant is? What if you order at the counter? The etiquette surrounding tipping can be annoying at best, and can cause full-blown table side fights at its worst.
I once ate out with a friend who refused to leave anything for a waitress who forgot to tell us about a special promotion we subsequently found out about. Was this fair? I’m not sure, but I know that if voluntary tipping was taken out of the equation, this kind of thing (and the argument that followed) wouldn’t happen.
Consider dining out in Italy or other European countries in which tax is calculated when determining the price of menu items. When the bill comes, you simply pay it. Servers get a little extra compensation for their service, and diners are spared the awkward struggle of determining what an “appropriate” tip amount would be.
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that this would be a better system. In fact, when we asked our voters to weigh in on tipping, 53% said that tipping should be abolished. Considering we are talking about something as commonplace and taken for granted as tipping, these results were surprising.
Maybe we need to take another look at tipping practices, in restaurants as well as other businesses in the service industry. Perhaps a standard percentage of a consumer’s purchase should be devoted to tip, and prices should reflect this. Meanwhile, additional tipping should be highly discouraged, lest the whole cycle begins again.
What do you think? Should tipping be banned? Vote on our poll below.
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