Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tipping tyrants

INOBLIGALITY (noun): Quality of not being obligatory

Service staff, ready your pitchforks!

I don't understand why I have to tip you.

Oh, the fury! I can feel you screaming and frothing at the mouth from here. But I don't get it. Who decided a sub-set of jobs should be exempt from minimum wage legislation, forcing hapless customers to bribe people to do those jobs properly? If I sulked and did everything half-assed unless my co-workers slipped me a $20 along with their requests, I would get fired. What's the difference?

I guess it's a not-very-subtle consumption tax, but why? Perhaps it's to encourage us well-fed, well-groomed folks to start cooking our own food, cutting our own hair and sleeping in our own beds, instead of gallivanting about town dining and boozing it up before smushing our well-coiffed heads into fluffy hotel pillows. Why the government objects to the little people enjoying ourselves and stimulating the economy at the same time is a mystery to me.

The expectation that I tip on the after-tax amount is especially effective in making me think twice about doing anything I have to tip for. Ontario recently took another huge swipe out of our wallets by introducing the HST (neutral, my ASS! BWAHAHAHA!!). I love my hair stylist, but when my $150 haircut turned into a $203 haircut ($150*13% tax*20% tip), I started stretching those root touch-ups out as long as possible before abusing my credit card again.

What I find fascinating is how angry people who receive tips get when customers complain about tipping. All the anger is directed at the cheap, miserly customer instead of their low-paying employer or the government who lets the employer get away with it. But again, why is it the customer's responsibility to directly subsidize an employer's payroll costs? Yes, poor you that without my tip you don't make enough money to survive and would have to live in a box on the street. Isn't that your employer's fault? Shouldn't you be out lobbying your local politician to ensure you're paid a living wage? Why is it my problem?

There also seems to be no logic at all to who gets tips and who doesn't:
  • Taxi driver, but not bus driver
  • Bartender, but not fast food worker
  • Wedding planner,but not garbage man
  • Hotel maid, but not front desk staff
  • Hair stylist, but not registered massage therapist
  • Coat check person, but not drycleaner
  • Manicurist, but not gynecologist
What the hell?

You can untie me from the stake: I tip 18-20% where expected. I just don't understand why.


  1. Did you ever work in a restaurant? i am always confused about which countries tip and which do not.

    1. Nope, but I worked in fast food and retail when I was younger. Neither have tips.


Lend me some sugar!