For my foreign friends in enlightened countries where tipping or gratuity is not required, here is a biased definition.
Let’s say you are a waiter. Your job description is to take my order, retrieve said order, and tell me how much it was. You are paid to do this by the restaurant. However, I must also pay you extra for not killing me or ravaging my wife while you did your job. That extra is called a tip.
I know that many work in fields were tipping is customary, if not expected, so let me make one thing clear.
I am an incredible tipper. If you bring me my food and give me my drink, you’re getting 15% after tax. If you smile and don’t put a knife in front of my 1-year-old daughter, you’ll get 20%. As I said, incredible.
Only once have I not provided a tip of at least 10%. I had a close-to-maxed-out credit card, my wife had some change. Between the two of us and a trip to my car for some coin scrounging, we managed to pay the bill. They repeatedly charged my credit card for decreasing amounts until it finally was approved. I considered leaving the unneeded pennies and nickels but felt like that could be worse. After an embarrassing explanation and heartfelt apology to our server, we left with tails between legs.
This preface should serve to tell you two things. One, that I am a hypocrite but most importantly, that I am a good person, so don’t hate me.
Let’s explore a scenario that occurred recently.
Cashier: Hello sir.
I hand her the car wash receipt
Cashier: Okay.. so one Deluxe wash. That will be… $24.45. Would you like to tip the guys working on your car?
Me: *blank stare*
Me: I’m sorry. Did you ask if I wanted to tip the car wash workers?
Cashier: Yes. We can add that onto your bill here.
Me: Did they do a good job?
Cashier: Um…. I don’t think they’ve started yet.
Me: Then why would I tip them?
Cashier: *blank stare*
Me: What if they dookie in my cup holder? What if they fill up my car with water? Do you think those things deserve a tip?
Cashier: No… but I don’t think–
Me: Me neither. But it makes a lot of sense to wait until services are rendered before I start slapping butts and saying “Good game!”
Me: In fact, wouldn’t tipping beforehand eliminate all incentive to actually do a good job? Regardless of whether they smear excrement on my windows or spend 5 extra minutes scrubbing wheels, I’ve rewarded them the same.
Cashier: *slowly backs away from the counter*
Me: Are you not already paying them? If I come in for a car wash, aren’t the expectations that my car gets washed? Isn’t that why they are here?! Why would I pay extra for them to do their job?!
A moment of silence
Me: No, I don’t think I’ll be adding a tip to my bill. Thank you.
The what-really-happened-train derailed somewhere above but I think I’ve made my point: I have no qualms over scoffing at the tip jar and your face if you’ve provided me nothing more than your job description. Don’t expect gratuity, earn it.
*steps off soap box*
13 thoughts on “A Tip? For What?!”
And then there are the countries where a VAT (value added tax for service) is already included in the bill, but the servers have gotten used to ignorant Americans paying an additional 15-20% because they don’t know any better. You can always research the tipping and etiquette of your country on that country’s national website, which you can get from your travel agency or airline or train or bus co. or etc. Otherwise, you may spend a lot more than you reckon on.
I think that’s what irks me. VAT for service? Am I not paying for the service? How is their “value added” for a service when the value is the service itself? I am likely over thinking it but man it hurts my brains.
Not only are they paid less because they’re getting tipped, I think the IRS taxes them assuming they get 15% tips. That must hurt too. I understand tipping in restaurants where one goes regularly, but tipping cab-drivers, car-washers, and the barista at Starbucks sounds ludicrous to me!
Yeah, the IRS assumes 8% automagically, which is another stupid idea. Man, if only I were President… Vote for me.
A program aired in South Africa saying that most Americans tip 20% and the waiters expect 30% tips. Any truth in it?
I’d say its way off track. I would say most Americans tip 15% and waiters WANT 30%, just like I want a 100% raise in my salary. If they expect it, they better be providing massages.
I am laughing so hard. I discovered the tip jar at the car wash place too. I actually snuck out but only bc I had no money to tip!!
Good on you, even if it was unintentional.
I’m reminded of the round-table discussion that opened Reservoir Dogs, where Steve Buschemi (I think?) explains why exactly he does not tip.
Then again, nothing ended well for anyone in that movie.
But you make a wonderful point.
Best Stick Figure Comic Ever! Even my dogs expect a tip. Every trip outside to “water the grass” is followed by two furry faces that say “teep?” and they get a cookie…
Im from Denmark. We dont automatically tip here. You get a good…well…decent wages here from the place you work, if you’re in the costumer service business. You CAN tip if you reeeeally want to and just cant control yourself. The tipping rule we go by is that you tip if you are very impressed with the given service. Why the heck would I tip a taxidriver who did nothing more than bring me from point A to point B as he is paid to do here? Had he however stopped me from exiting the car without my bag and scarf, told me which way to go after my exit from the cab in order for me get to my appointment on time and offered me a piece of gym, I would’ve tipped like nobodies business! …And I have done so before quite a few times! But why would I tip people for just doing their darn job?
The sad part is what you’ve described is common sense. And good sense. Score 1 for Denmark, -100 for America.
I have to say the tip jar on the counter is like a silent gun to my head. I feel compelled to throw something in there, and make a lot of noise doing it so they’ll notice. I’m a weak, weak man…