The other week I went out for a lovely meal with some friends. It was a great occasion. Almost perfect. It was on course to being classed as ‘perfect’ until the waiter realised I had not left him a tip. He gave me a look of sheer, uncontrollable hatred. Pure disgust.
Now, I don’t want to appear ‘tight’ or ‘stingy’, but I feel obliged enlighten you all with my feelings towards tipping.
Tipping is a strange and somewhat illogical concept. It exists in lines of work where a salary is standard. The worker completes his job, then gets paid. Simple. He receives an adequate wage for undertaking a suitably challenging task. No more, no less. His/her employers determine this wage appropriately.
So, why do we (even me) feel the need to throw an extra couple of quid in the direction of waiters, porters, and those complete strangers who we entrust to park our car somewhere for us? Is it that we have so much extra cash overflowing our pockets that it is actually a relief to be able to dispose of it somewhere? Doubtful.
Nowadays, in some restaurants tipping is already included in the bill. Outrageous! Tipping is seen to be the norm; it is socially expected for one to leave a tip regardless.
Regardless of what, though? Regardless of the ‘tipping criteria’.
Google Dictionary defines a tip as ‘a sum of money given to someone as a way of rewarding their services.’ As such, this criteria should exclusively cover quality of performance. For instance, if a waiter goes above and beyond our wildest expectations to ensure a truly phenomenal meal is had by all, then by all means leave a tip. If a car valet parks your car and returns it to your doorstep with brilliant efficiency and a smile on their face, leave a tip. If a prostitute, you know…, leave a tip.
I have no problem at all with the concept of tipping being determined in this way – on a reward for good performance basis. After all, tips should not be expected, but earned.
What my gripe is, is that tips do not seem to be dished out in this way. Instead, rather than assess the performance of the potential tip-receiver, they choose to reward them on other factors. If the waitress is attractive – tip. If the porter laughs at your joke – tip. If the waiter comes from the same town as you – tip. If the valet looks like he could severely harm you with one punch – tip.
Society has gone mad. Tips left, right and centre. I’m not being *that* bitter and tight. I’m just being sensible.