Written by
Molly Campbell
September 2011
Written by
Molly Campbell
September 2011

In this era of joblessness, recession, predatory lending, sky high gasoline prices, and a volatile stock market, I have issues. I want to support our economy and be a good consumer. But this tipping business has got me all in a swivet. 


I used to think that tipping was an indicator of good service. If you did a good job for me, your customer, then you would get a reward. That reward would be entirely up to my generosity, socio-economic bracket, and my mood that day. I never used to feel guilty about what would happen to the children of my server if I decided that her hair in my salad was intolerable. I just gave her a tiny tip and left the restaurant.


But good grief, now I read horror stories about the underpaid workers who have to have multiple jobs just to pay their bills. So now tipping seems to be obligatory, and those people who don’t tip well may just deserve having the servers spit on their hamburgers before they serve them. It’s just a terrible time to be a consumer right now. What is a person to do?


In a restaurant, it depends on your companion. If two ladies are having lunch, and they only get two small salads and iced tea, what is the big deal for the server? All he/she has to do is grab a couple of the “ready mades” off the counter in the kitchen and bring them out. Ok, there might be a little thinking involved in choosing which “house” dressing to put on the side. And sticking a lemon slice in the iced tea might take a sec. But any server who expects two women on Weight Watchers to leave a big tip is delusional.


However, when dining out with your spouse and friends, the waiter will have to do a lot of work. Those women who just wanted a small salad at lunch now want something like this: “I would like a wine spritzer, but just put in a little wine, because if I have too much, I get a headache. No appetizers, but I would just LOVE some bread with extra virgin olive oil for dipping. Do you have any of that flatbread? That would be nice.  And then I would like to have the salmon, but I don’t want the lemon sauce. Instead of the rice, can I get a baked sweet potato? No brown sugar, please. Are the asparagus grilled or roasted? I can’t eat them unless they are grilled. And I would like a glass of cold water also. No ice.” These servers not only deserve a large tip, but I think they should also retain the right to spit in EVERYTHING. 


I also get confused at the hair salon. Do I tip the girl who washes my hair? What about the colorist? The stylist? Here’s my rule: if you aren’t allowed to use scissors, then you aren’t tipping material yet. And then there is the person who blow dries. Good grief, there are way too many people getting their fingers in my hair in that place. I’m sticking with the scissors rule.  


I also resent having to tip people I never even see. Those maids who clean your room in the hotel? The people who throw your newspaper out of their car at four in the morning and always manage to hit your foundation plantings? These people need tips? 


Really, I think tips should just be outlawed.  Wouldn’t hiking prices a bit overall solve a lot of trouble? Everyone could relax! The workers would be covered--wouldn’t it be nice if that guy just showed us where the light switch was out of the goodness of his heart and fifty cents more an hour? Wouldn’t we all feel more confident in restaurants, knowing that nobody is going to spit in our entrees, no matter how complicated the order is? The mail carrier might start giving me my own mail!


There must be a bill in Congress that we can just add an addendum to. I am going to tweet my Congressman this minute.

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  • Nicki Johnson

    I agree with you, obligatory tipping needs to go. But I think tipping based on service standards should not - I live in China where there is no tipping and none of the waitresses or service staff here care even the tiniest bit when things go wrong. They'll bring you the completely wrong order or simply forget to put your order in for an hour and then decide to argue that it's YOUR fault somehow. If they knew they might get a tip if the customer was happy I think things might be a whole lot better...