I tip, in fact I tip very well; where ever I go, to any type of restaurant, including the trendy all the way down to the local diners. But for the life of me I cant figure out, or rather dont really understand, why?
It is expected, by society, that we tip our servers. They work hard to bring us our food after they strained to give us the listed specials - which if they are well trained they will have memorized - and take our orders in turn. But does this service deserve extra moneys on top of what we are already paying towards the restaurant? Why isnt service an included cost?
The leaving of a tip is generally a practice used mainly in the United States. Elsewhere in the world tipping is not nearly as expected as it is here? The practice began as a way to reward exemplary service, but over the years tipping has, unfortunately, become customary. To me this seems to be another process that has become Americanized: where we reward everything, including the substandard as to not "hurt" those that either cant do, or cant take criticism.
Why dont we question this act of giving additional money on top of a service that we already paid for? Instead, we sit there figuring out how much a person should get: move decimal place over one to the left; half that, add it to the whole and there's your tip for 15%, or double it for 20%.... What the hell? If anything, shouldnt I tip the chef or the kitchen staff since they are the ones who are doing the important work?
Im sure some waiter or waitress somewhere will tell me Im being insensitive because they depend on tips since they get paid below minimum wage. However I have a response to that: Go get yourself a new job where you make more than minimum wage and where you wont have to gouge the customers for their hard earned dollars. Hell, if you want to stay in the restaurant business, why not get some further training and become part of the cook staff, I hear they can make a pretty penny.
But this problem extends beyond the wait staff. The owners of restaurants cause this problem in the first place. If I was a restaurant owner I would do a thorough search for the best servers out there and pay them a more than fair salary, complete with great benefits and then insist that my restaurant does not accept tips. No more panning for hand outs necessary. The customer can eat their meal and not have to worry about leaving a monetary reward for the service received, and the server wont have to worry about not getting paid because he will be a salaried employee.
We need to start questioning the necessity of this process. We often pay a lot of money for food; service should not be an extra cost.
No matter how much I question this practice of tipping, the sad fact is that I will continue to tip and tip well. I just wish I didnt have to because I feel that I am already paying enough for the food that my service should be included.