Tipped over the edge?

  Stuartli 14:23 17 Nov 2007

With advanced apologies to any forum members who may be engaged in one of the occupations I'm about to mention, I think it really is about time that we ended the archaic practice of tipping.

Now I understand that quite a while back, when certain types of employment were not particularly well paid, it was customary to give a tip for services.

These included hairdressers, taxi drivers, bar staff and those working in, for instance, the eating out and hotel businesses.

Today, particularly with the advent of the minimum wage, employees in these sectors receive much better pay - and rightly so.

However, the expectation is held by many of these employees that they will still be given tips; I regard a tip as a reward, not a right, in contrast to many of said individuals.

I have always been reluctant to tip waiters and waitresses, no matter how well they perform their duties (which I expect), because I believe that the real credit for any meal should go to the chef.

Eating out establishment owners should pay staff a proper wage (if not already doing so) and avoid the need for employees to rely on tips.

The same goes for hairdressers and taxi drivers; the latter charge me £3.50 these days for a journey of just four-fifths of a mile, yet seem surprised if you don't add a tip.

Bar staff too seem to think that even though they are paid to serve customers with drinks, they should receive a substantial personal financial benefit as well.

Saying "Have one yourself" is wide open to abuse by some bar staff, who take it literally with the size of tip they drop into their jar.

I would have been very embarrassed if anyone had offered me a tip during my line of work - in fact I would probably have felt insulted...:-)

Now I've got that off my chest, I'd be interested to hear of any tips (pun intended) you may have to eventually bring the practice of tipping to a timely end.

No doubt I'll be praised or castigated strongly for these views, but I can take it...:-)

  wallbash 14:36 17 Nov 2007

My view is that a 'tip' is always earned !
If the taxi driver helps with bags ( or advice). if the waitress/waiter made the evening more enjoyable,if the barber/hairdresser made the ordeal less painful, etc i would add something extra.

Often wander down to a 'carvery' where it is self service, which I perfer, so NO tip.

But I might be biased, as have never worked in the service industry.

  Bingalau 14:54 17 Nov 2007

I didn't know that you got hurt when you went to the barbers. Mind you because of a lack of the stuff they use to ply their trade on, I haven't been for a goodly number of years. ..I do know some taxi drivers are very helpful whilst others never get out of their seat for love nor money. Maybe that's why so many of them are overweight. As for bar staff etc. Well once again it is years since I managed a pub, I know wages have increased, but they still are amongst the poorest paid. My wife wasn't paid at all when we ran a pub and wasn't allowed to work anywhere else either. But all my bar staff were instructed by me to only accept a certain amount as a tip, at that time it was 10 pence, later upped to twenty pence with inflation of course. Now I notice they expect a whole pound coin. They lose out with this because I am in the habit of giving fifty pence with every round I buy, but once one of them takes the pound coin that is the last of the evening from me.. (Miserable old Git).

  al7478 15:19 17 Nov 2007

Agree entirely with Stuartli. There shouldnt be a need for it.

  Cymro. 15:22 17 Nov 2007

My wife and my two children have in the past worked in jobs where they depended on tips to make up their wages to a decent level. So because of their experience I always make a point of leaving a tip for workers who deserve it and put in that extra bit of effort that can make a difference. But I never tip automatically or if the service is bad.

Stuartly is right to bring this subject up as it is high time that the whole business of tipping was bought to an end. Other countrys manage perfectly well without it.

The only problem is that minimum wage or not there are still many people who have to work for very low wages and so depend on tips to make a living wage.

There are also far too many employers who are only too willing to see their workers slog their guts out for wages that many of us would not get out of bed in the morning for.

So give the workers decent living wages and then there will be no need for them to grovel for tips and the whole system can be bought to an end. Although I am not sure how this can be best done as government legislation such as the minimum wage act has not done so.

  Bingalau 15:30 17 Nov 2007

Surely the country that is the worst at fault with this business is the much vaunted US of A.

  octal 15:40 17 Nov 2007

It's interesting comparing the two cultures between the UK and USA. In the USA the tip is really part of their wages and you tip accordingly, somewhere between 12 and 20% depending on the service you felt you received. The level of service generally in the USA is nearly always superior to that found in the UK and I put it down to the reason they have to work to earn their tip. Some of the restaurants do put a service charge on, this is particularly around Orlando where there is a high concentration of English tourists who generally don't understand the tipping system, it's not been unknown for me to call the waitress over much to my wife's embarrassment and get them to change the standard 12.5% to something like 18% if I think I've received good service or negotiate the charge down if I think the service charge doesn't warrant it, that doesn't happen very often though.

I think tipping does add up to better service if it's understood that is the convention.

  anchor 15:42 17 Nov 2007

Most taxi drivers are self employed, so all the fare is going into their own pockets.

A tip would only be justified IF they did something over and above driving you from A to B. Carrying your bags to your door, would be an example. However, such courtesies are a rarity.

In France service charge in restaurants always used to be added as an extra to the bill. Now, service charge and VAT have to be included & shown on as such on the menu. Thus, you have the option to tip, or, not, depending on the service you receive.

I have read that this is not the case in the high class restaurants in London. You have to pay 10% - 15%, whatever service you receive. Moreover, this is not passed on to the waiting staff.

  Stuartli 15:47 17 Nov 2007

>>Most taxi drivers are self employed, so all the fare is going into their own pockets.>>

That's not the case in my town - the vast majority work - if not all - for taxi firms, all of whom now have the computer based order system (you are given four rings on your phone or mobile when the taxi is about to reach you).

  Quickbeam 15:53 17 Nov 2007

I think you'll find it's much more widespread than a 50p cash tip here or there to a tradesman...

Think bottles of whisky at christmas, a nice business dinner, a corporate weekend break, a round of golf with the manager that matters, a football manager's bung in a brown paper bag. All are expectant of a return favour...

Can you then honestly say you've never had an insulting tip?

  Forum Editor 16:21 17 Nov 2007

if I've had good service - it's a tradition that has been with us for a very long time.

You would have loved the waiter I encountered in New York a couple of weeks ago - he came back to the table after I had paid the bill and said that I hadn't tipped enough, and perhaps I would like to address that error? I addressed it by telling him I thought I had paid too much for the service he provided, and I vowed never to go to that restaurant again.

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