An End To Tipping


These days, it seems to me, that generally speaking only three types of people received (and/or demand) gratuities: restaurant staff (including delivery people), taxi drivers, and hairdressers. Why are they treated differently from others who give us service?

When I was a lad, we also used to give a Christmas “bonus” to the postman, the milkman, and the newspaper delivery boy: I don’t know that anyone does that anymore.

Once there may have been a good reason to give cash tips to those who gave service over and above what one might expect. However, in my seventy-plus years, I have noticed three glaring issues with that generous policy.

  • One: tips are generally limited to restaurant servers, taxi drivers, and hairdressers, whereas the best service I ever get is from my pharmacy and from my supermarket, employees at which never expect or get tips.
  • Second: servers, taxi drivers, and barbers now expect a tip even if their level of service is nothing special, and some get quite belligerent if they don’t get one.
  • Three: their employers treat the fact their employees get gratuities as a way to pay them less as a regular wage.

It is also worth mentioning that the amount to tip a server, say, after a group meal often becomes the subject of heated and sometimes acrimonious debate.

I propose that gratuities (as a standard way of doing business) be prohibited, and I make the case that this will be better for the employees, can save customers money, and still cost the employer nothing.

Let us suggest that a nice meal out for two or three people carries a charge of $100. Under the current arrangement, most customers will then add a tip, say 20%, and the actual cost becomes $120. However, if under a no-tip policy, the servers are given a 15% wage increase and the business adds, say, 12.5% to its menu prices to cover the increase, then the customer will pay $112.50.

The employee benefits because their regular wage goes up. The customer benefits because their costs go down. The employer comes out even.

A win-win-win solution.

One Response to An End To Tipping

  1. Marial Shea says:

    You’re right on about tipping. My son is a hairdresser with a studio on Venables, just a few blocks from you, Jak. He did away with tips about two years ago and adjusted his rates so he could earn a living wage. As I recall, the last straw for him was learning about the racist history of tipping. Like you, I value my pharmacist greatly, but I suspect my son’s services are also valued, as he is now doing hair for the children and grandchildren of many of his original clients.

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