Last week, I wrote a blog entry on tipping. It was basically about tipping of coffee baristas. I thought it was a really good blog entry, but not a lot of people commented on it. Perhaps not a lot of people enjoyed or saw it. Who knows.
Well, since not a lot of people enjoyed/liked it, I thought I would continue writing about tipping.
First, I am not sure I understand the point of tipping in restaurants. I mean, I understand it is to reward good service, and perhaps encourage the service in the future, but I doubt it really does that. I mean, people generally tip in a certain range, no matter how good or poor the service is. If I have crappy service, I tip 15%. If I have good service, I tip 20%. So the difference between crappy and wonderful service is only about a third more. Plus, let's say I want tipping to benefit me. I have already received the service I will receive, and unless I have that person as a server again (and they remember I tipped well), the odds of me affecting how they treat me are almost nil. This seems terribly inefficient to me. There is no real effort/reward connection, and it doesn't affect how I get my service.
So I really think tipping in this context just shifts costs from the restaurant owner to the patron.
Then there is tipping of my hairdresser. I tip her extremely well. The percentage is higher than tipping in restaurants, and I am fine with the percentage I tip. I actually derive some sort of benefit from the tip. I see the same person each time, and she should know I tip generously. She also has squeezed me in with an appointment time when she really did not have time, and I like to think she spends a bit more time on my hair. Also, I get the impression I am charged a bit less than they can charge. Not all costs are publicly posted, and my costs have not increased in four years. While this may be a coincidence, I think she has discretion on what she charges her customers.
Then there is tipping of the sky caps. I have heard $1 or $2 per bag, but if you think of it, that is a wide range. Also, my tip may vary, as my perception of time saved with normal check-in varies. I don't give this a lot of thought, and I hope that over or under tipping does not flag people to search me before the flight. Oh, and I hope sky caps don't handle bags differently because of the tip given, but I have to admit, I am a bit more generous because I suspect this is the case.
I also don't know about tipping when you drop off a car for a medical appointment. I was escorting my mother a few years ago, to and from some appointments in a hospital, and I could not tell if the valet parking was discouraged from taking tips.
Then there is picking up food from a restaurant. Do you tip when you order take-out and pick it up yourself? I have no idea, so I tip sporadically. I know sporadic tipping is definitely wrong, but I do this because I am confused.
Tip jars are popping up in all sorts of locations. I know they want tips when I see the jar, but in some cases, I just feel like it is extortion if it is in a place where tipping is not customary.
Tipping should not be difficult, but it is to me. I just wish there was a definitive guide.
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