Friday, June 29, 2007

The Tipping Point

While in conversation with one of my friends the other night regarding jobs, we touched upon the subject of tipping in the workplace and our conflicting attitudes towards it. My friend was of the opinion that if he provided good service to the customer at the bar, he deserves a tip, simple as that, and that is he didn’t the customer was “rude”.

My own opinion is that tipping is a complete load of nonsense and a totally unfair practice.

My first major qualm with tipping is that it is almost completely industry specific, if you work in the bar or hotel industry, it seems quite acceptable to expect a tip and be rather peeved off about it if you weren’t to get one. However, if you provide great service in another area of business/life you don’t get a tip…because you just don’t. An example that I have witnessed recently springs to mind, in a supermarket where I used to work, a sales assistant brought a rather confused lady around the shop and helped her with her shopping upon request, then proceeded to walk down the road and bring the multitude of bags to her car for her (as opposed to walking from the bar to the table about 12 ft away ohhhh the exertion), did he get a tip, no, did he want or expect one, no.

My second issue is I find the idea that because you provided good service you deserve money on top of your wage slightly socially criminal, it is part of your job to perform to the best level you can, but equally your social responsibility to be as nice and helpful to everyone financial incentive or not. In a way it holds the general public ransom, either give me a tip, or expect crap service next time.

I know people try to defend tipping by saying they are going “above and beyond their job”, the fact remains you have chosen to pursue employment in the SERVICE industry, therefore a requirement of the job is just that…service, and guess what, you are already being paid for it, its called your wages.

I admit that if someone finds that they have received truly admirable service and would like to reward the barman, hotel porter etc they should go right ahead and do it, but to have this unspoken rule and pressure of the norm almost forcing you to do so is just not fair and doesn’t make any sense. And just to make things fair, next time a policeman is particularly nice to you, or a nurse in a hospital gives you great attention, or a fireman decides that he will save your life for his basic wage, or teacher decides to teach you with enthusiasm and a smile on their face(both optional extras)….throw them a few extra euro.


Hugo said...

hey ed guess what? i completely disagree with you! im not gonna leave a long spiel about it as usual though. you're just quite wrong!

ed said...

Yeh..great point. Well if you can tell me how its fair that we tip some who do unimportant things, and then dont for others who perform equal or more important activities then maybe I am wrong

Barra said...

im on your side ed, tipping is ridiculous. i almost feel that im morally obliged to pay this person extra as if it were their only wage.
i dont mind tipping for restaurants, its quite normal. but i hate tipping for a pizza delivery or barmen, and some of them make it really awkward and like wait..

If I have to do a delivery for Obriens, which is actually quite frequent, (old people living on the bray seafront like their alcohol delivered), i dont expect a tip, my job requires that i do it.

jedimasterbooboo said...

"My own opinion is that tipping is a complete load of nonsense and a totally unfair practice."-ED
-This should go on wise words, my friend. THUMBS UP! AMEN! Here in the Philippines (and a whole bunch of other places in the world), there's not a tip culture. It's a breath of fresh air. Some locals here know that Americans tip, so sometimes they watch for one when I'm around, and on the inside I'm going "heh heh heh". My Korean students ask me about 'tip culture' before they visit the US."Teacher! Very confusing!" - Yes, indeed it is, folks.