WaPo: You need to tip 20% even if the service sucks

WaPo: You need to tip 20% even if the service sucks

If you’re the sort of person who enjoys going out to eat from time to time, you’ve probably got your own set of rules about tipping. It’s an American tradition that goes back a long way, though Europeans seem largely puzzled by it. How much you tip and what considerations go into your decision-making process when calculating the tip are a personal matter, though most of us probably take most of the same factors into account.

Well, you can forget about everything I just said, at least according to Michelle Singletary at the Washington Post. You’re supposed to tip 20% every time, no matter what. And the reason he provides for this new rule is rather startling. You see, you’re not tipping based on the service you receive. You’re making up for the wait staff’s evil employer failing to pay them a living wage.

Tipping is not about you.

When eating out at a restaurant, many diners believe that they should tip on a sliding scale based on the service they receive — good or bad…

Employers — either to increase their profit margins or out of concern they will lose business because of higher prices — force customers to supplement their employees’ wages with tips.

But the price of my meal should include what it takes for the company to make a fair profit and pay its workers a living wage.

So all of you insufficiently woke people need to toe the line here. Until the day when all wait staff workers are earning a living wage, you need to just plan to cough up an extra 20 percent for every meal you have.

Pardon my saying, but this is an insane proposition and a product of someone who’s been left soaking in the socialist waters for a bit too long.

First and most obviously, tipping has always been about service. It’s the basis for the practice. The waiter or waitress provides a big part of the entire “experience” of eating out, and it’s an experience that involves much more than just the quality of the food. In fact, I make a point of never downgrading the tip even if the food was less than satisfactory. That’s not the waiter’s fault. They don’t cook the food.

As long as the person was pleasant, presented a clean appearance, took the orders correctly, kept the water glasses full and checked to see if you needed anything else, they will get a good tip from me. If the food is excellent on top of that it’s just a happy bonus. (And unless you’re in a new place, you probably know which restaurants and diners serve the sort of food you like anyway.) But a grouchy waiter who ignores your table or messes up the orders isn’t going to do as well, and probably won’t last long at one of the higher-end restaurants.

As far as the economics go, we’ve been through all of this here before. Good waiters and waitresses can make far above minimum wage, even at busy breakfast or lunch diners, to say nothing of really upscale eateries. And the people who go into (and stay in) that line of work understand how the pay system works. So do their employers. As a customer, it is not your job to “make up for” what you deem to be an insufficient wage arrangement. That’s between the employer and the boss.

Great wait staff workers make great tips. Good waiters get good tips. Bad waiters don’t last in the business very long. It’s really not that complicated.

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