Tip What?

Table of contents for Tip What?

  1. Tip What?
  2. Tip What, Pt 2
  3. Tip What? pt.4: When to tip

The cultural norm of tipping

This is just a funny story that I thought I would share:

The other day I was with my sister and my nephew in a popular Chinese buffet restaurant; the food was mediocre (what else can one expect at a buffet?), but the selection was vast in quantity. A perky waitress brought us to our seats and asked us if we had any additional orders (i.e. beverages, alcohol, etc.). We place a couple of orders and then proceeded to attack the buffet table to feed our appetite.

Now, to the extent of what the waitress performed, which was pretty much just cleaning the table of dishes that were dirty, a debate ensued whether what the appropriate tip should be for the waitress. I was baffled, because the question in my head was if there should be a tip at all.

Now, I’m not one that is really in favour of tipping; I don’t feel that it is rational to ‘tip’ someone for the job function’s that they are supposed to perform. Especially, in a buffet environment where the waitress does half of the duties than a waitress at a regular restaurant. Tipping has seemed to evolve into a cultural norm, but it is a cultural norm that I wish not to subscribe too. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have tipped in the past, but I’m strongly against the notion of deriving a mathematical percentage formula to determine how much one should tip (i.e. 10% of the order). That is foolishness. Tipping should only be done if you feel that the waitress went beyond her specific job duties: lets say, by providing excellent repertoire or customer service. Don’t just tip someone for performing their basic job duties.

Tipping has become expected and is embedded into our cultural, so much so, that has almost become a cultural norm – waitresses expect to be tipped no matter how much/well they perform their duties. Another factor is that because tipping is a cultural norm; any deviation from such actions will make one ostracised – stigmatized as ‘cheap’, ‘mean’ or ‘petty’.

In summation, I still contributed to a tip (much to my dismay) because I felt a desire to conform, rather than be true to thyself ….

Think about that.


One thought on “Tip What?”

  1. Hey,

    Just came across your blog this afternoon – good stuff, man.

    Yeah, this tipping stuff is frustrating. I live in Toronto, where at some restaurants, they *actually* automatically build the tip into your final bill, so there’s NO way around it, even if the service is the shittiest ever.

    That’s being said, I’m not exactly anti-tip, since at some places, the waitresses make below minimum wage anyway.

    My philosophy’s this: if it’s someplace where you basically serve yourself, you shouldn’t have to tip. If you go somewhere where you’re being served and the service is decent, then maybe consider leaving something. If it’s shitty, they shouldn’t get anything.

    Keep up the good blogging!

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