A Real Tipping Point

If I May

Tipping is a blight on the landscape of the service economy. Seriously, who decided that the perfect way to end a meal was with mathematics and a nonsensical performance review – two activities made even more cumbersome after a drink or two.

Let’s face it. The idea that I’m somehow rating the service level is laughable. Tipping is not a reflection of the employee. It’s a reflection of the customer. Unless a waiter intentionally fork-stabs you in the thigh after spilling red wine on your white shirt, social norms demand a 20% tip. Anything less and you look cheap.

Companies can avoid this awkward social two-step, by simply charging more and paying their employees accordingly. This would ensure no one, including the tax man, gets stiffed.

But will they assume accountability for their business operations? Of course not. It’s much easier to pass the risk to the employee and the burden to the customer. 

Now this horrid concept has bled into the self-service aisle. Buy a $6 bottle of water from an unmanned airport kiosk and you’re asked for 20% donation. But who exactly are you tipping, the machine? And for what, taking a job? The audacity is unreal.  

As an HR professional I’m an advocate of performance-based pay. But tipping has little to do with performance and now, it seems, nothing to do with people.

Want a tip? Fine. Take word problems off the menu.   

Tim Toterhi is a husband and dad based in North Carolina. He writes write philosophical fiction and snarky humor. Read more at www.TimToterhi.com

Photo by cottonbro studio

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