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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In response this article:

Is tipping supposed to be like tax? The problem being that we already pay taxes on goods and services so why does it seem expected, nay, required that we tip and why is it that instead of giving those in the service industry what we feel to be appropriate (if anything) does this added bonus need to be 15%?
I am not cheap. I do not go to a restaurant and then short the bill; refusing to pay anything over the absolute minimum required, leaving %5 to cover tip & tax. I'll usually end up dishing out far more than my share of the bill just to cover those who do. If I get a haircut or go to a particularily good esthetician or masseur I also, often leave a small tip, but I feel that my repeated business and good word of mouth is better. I always tip a cab driver, even when I feel that they have overcharged me, but I never think in percentages I just give $2 to $5 over the meter. I do not want to feel pressured into giving something that I do not feel was merited as I often do at some dining establishments.
The above article pisses me off.
Why should every service expect 15% more than what they are already charging me, for what is sometimes a VERY expensive service? Are they giving me 15% better service than anywhere else and are they neglecting to charge me for this by offering a fairly competitive -read: low-original price point? I find that often times this is clearly not the case.
Just because you are in the service industry does not automatically entitle you to a tip. This seems to be a very common misconception. Did your cab driver get out and open the door for you? Did they help you with your bag or boxes if you are carrying any? Did the spa offer you any refreshments, did they make every effort to cater to you and to make your time there comfortable? Were you happy with you hair cut and/or colour? In short did you recieve treatment that exceeded your expectations? If you answer yes to this last question than a tip is absolutely required, if not, than you should be allowed to tip at your leisure.
Even most restaurants fail in this regard to standard. I have been treated with casual indifferent bordering on contempt at some restaurants and have never failed to tip the required %15, even if I loathed to do so, and at these times I seriously question the necessity of tipping. I realize that measuring expectations is a tricky thing and that this is why 15% is given as a standard I just think it's a standard that should be applied only to those deemed exceptional (well 15%-20%); for regular fare %5-10% should be enough. Instead of questioning why consumers don't tip a standard 15% in all service sectors we should be questioning why a %15 tipping standard should be merited.
I believe that if you expect what is essentially a 15% tax free bonus you should be giving me better than mere adequate -read: basic- service; my expectations for the service should be met and far exceeded. If you are paying over $65+ for your haircut and about $110+ for colour, as is standard for most women, being expected to pay an extra 15% may be an actual financial strain. Add to this bill the $45 for a waxing, the $20 for a manicure and $30 for pedicure and $95+ for a facial, $35 for a massage ($70+ if it's from an RMT) not to mention the $10-$15 cab ride and you are looking at an extra $60 at least and all of these prices are before tax!
Those same student hordes, as mentioned in the article may want to treat themselves to a day at the spa (usually priced between $120-$250 for a treat-yourself spa package) and probably view the steep pricings of the offered services as enough of a payout.
Bottom line, there will always be cheap people and there will always be over-generous ones, being in the service industry means you should be gracious to all and since you are getting paid (minimum wage or not) to do your job you should be pleased to recieve any added value that the customer may or may not see fit to give.

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