Tipping has become a somewhat testy issue in recent years. The vast majority of writings I see on the internet are only from the server’s point-of-view. Why is that? What about the customer? No one ever talks about whether or not it’s unfair to the customer. You know, the person who is the one actually paying the money. Yeah, that person.
It’s supremely unfair to the customer…
- It shouldn’t be the customer’s responsibility to directly pay wages. You don’t do it for a cashier at a store, nor even a cook in a restaurant, you shouldn’t be expected to do it here.
- Everybody benefits in this scenario… except the customer. The employer gets to skate by by not paying wages. Most servers actually make far more than minimum wage. That leaves the customer out.
- As such, tips are actually a private tax of sorts. You do have the option to not pay, sure, but societal peer pressure is strong, and by paying tips you are actually subsidizing what any other business would/should be paying.
- To make it worse, it puts the customer in an awkward position because the customer never knows how much is appropriate. 10%? 15%? 20%? 35%? It’s a moving target. You never really know what is appropriate, and you will be judged.
- It is NOT unreasonable that a customer be able to expect to go out, have a nice dining experience, and just leave it at that without anything like the moving target of a tip to dampen the experience.
There are seven states that mandate employers pay either state or federal minimum wage (MW) even for tipped employees. Those states are Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. I lived most of my life in one of those states and now live in another. I can attest from first-hand experience in both scenarios, that the wages an employee makes has absolutely no effect whatsoever on tips. People all over the country tip pretty much the same, percentage-wise, regardless any other factors. And, strangely enough,when the debate over how much a tip should be no one ever allows for a discount in those seven states. But anyway, it’s become so ingrained into our culture that what the server actually makes isn’t even a factor anymore, and I bet most of you who justify tipping by the lower wages don’t even know what the server makes when you travel. You just blindly and ignorantly tip what you would normally.
Oh, and I can also attest that menu prices are not affected, either. That argument is simply false.
So, what is it exactly that I am railing against? I DO feel that the current status where states even allow servers to be paid less than MW is flat-out wrong and unfair to the server, as well as the customer. The mere premise flies in the face against what the purpose of MW is supposed to be about (spare me the free contract clap-trap), and it also perverts the intent of what a tip is supposed to be. A person should be paid a minimum wage at their job, and if I decide to leave a tip it should be because I want to, not because I feel guilt-tripped into it. If I were the Wage Czar, this practice would not be allowed.
As Lt Columbo would say, “One more thing…” Let’s be honest, even if we did pay MW as a minimum, people would still tip. It’s become that ingrained into our collective psyche. And that’s ok, but maybe it’d revert back to what it should be… a gift/reward for good service, instead of an almost bullying intimidation way to push off paying wages onto someone else.