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RE: 'I've got a tip for you' [Opinion, 7/26/07]

 

Last updated 8/9/2007 at Noon



That was a well-presented editorial on the culture of tipping. Most old geezers like me grew up in an era (post-Depression) where having a job was a certain blessing and people in the food service business were more concerned about serving you properly than about what the tip would be. In a way, it was self-preservation. There were lots of people anxious to take that job.

I see what’s happening today with tip jars popping up everywhere and concern for the customer fading on the list of priorities. It seems to me that no matter what the experience for the customer, a 15- or 20-percent tip is an absolute expectation on the part of the server. I get a bit annoyed when some “whatever” attitude teenager throws my food at me and quickly retreats to the sanctity of his fellow servers to discuss the critical issues of the day on campus. And that kid will never understand why he got a small tip.

My wife and I took a tour of New Zealand a few months back and we saw an entirely different restaurant scene there. Tipping is culturally unacceptable in that country; plus, there is no tax on food. So when you visit a restaurant, whatever price is listed on the menu is the final cash-out price. What a relief! No need to handicap the service, the kitchen or the experience. The owner of the establishment must, by virtue of the system, provide a satisfactory living wage to the service crew without relying on the generosity of the customer. How about that for a revolutionary idea?

Tom Conley

 

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