Since returning from Asia I have thought a lot about our mandatory tipping policies in North America. Everywhere I go I am being accosted by tip jars, tips being added into my check and being outright asked for a tip. Asia has a pretty strict "no tip" policy (although it's definitely catching on, especially in tourist frequented areas) and in fact they will chase after you to return the money if you do leave a tip! Needless to say, it's been difficult to adjust to adding on that extra 10, 15 or 20 percent again. Frankly, I'm getting a little annoyed.
Before I sound too much like a miser, I don't mind tipping if there is something to tip for. If someone has really done an exceptional job or if they have done a good job and are clearly very busy (I am talking about waiters/waitresses here). What I object to is the attitude that tipping is mandatory and expected. Isn't tipping a bonus or a reward? If so, why do so many people feel entitled to receiving one? It's getting worse too. In the past I was only expected to tip my server, my bartender, my pizza deliverer. Now everyone has a jar sitting in front of their cash register! I feel bad for the fast food workers but really, should I be tipping you? How about the people at the cupcake shop- sure you served me my cupcake in a timely fashion but does it really merit a tip? Should I be monetarily thankful to you too? I was under the impression that you were already getting paid to do your job and that it was coming out of the money I paid for the product.
The argument here is that these sorts of jobs have poor salaries and that these workers are depending on their tips in order to make up the difference and survive. Why are consumers picking up the slack for employers who refuse to pay a decent wage? I think that's the real issue here. With inflation rising and wages staying the same, especially for unskilled work, it is getting harder to make ends meet. I can see the appeal of trying to get a few extra bucks but it feels a bit like begging. Also, what about the jobs that deserve tipping and don't get it? When was the last time you tipped the poor furniture delivery person? These guys just carried your new couch up 4 flights of stairs and maneuvered it into your labyrinth of an apartment and all they get is a smile and thank you? How is that fair when you just handed the pizza guy an extra $5? It just doesn't make much sense to me (which is why I often don't tip the pizza guy and I do tip the furniture delivery guy).
I think that we should question tipping. What is it's purpose and is it really helping anything? Maybe if we only tipped when it was really deserved then there would be more pressure on some employers to increase their crappy wages. Possibly I am just really out of touch and cheap and should go back to Asia? What do you think?