Yes why? Do we do that because we received Exceptional Service or did someone go the extra mile or just because it is expected? It’s a strange habit, supposedly voluntary as a reward for good service and generally reserved for the Hospitality Industry. I mean you’re not going to tip your Doctor, are you? Or the Plumber, Electrician, the Banker, of course not. So what do we expect from our Waitron, that horrible word, who ever thought of it? Swift and accurate service? What if the steak is overdone but the Waitron put in the right order, do we tip the chefs too? If so what about the cleaners and the candle stick makers, you get the picture. And this voluntary thing, if it isn’t what’s the point. It should be a reward for exceptional service at your discretion, not so? Ever noticed on some restaurant menus, the wording, “For parties of 6 or more we will add 10%” or some such statement. Where’s the choice? Just gone out of the window, it’s compulsory, isn’t it? Why only for large parties and not for just the two of you, who knows. Some demand it for any number of guests anyway. Actually I find it a degrading habit, carried through the ages, having to virtually beg for your wages for the work you do but being dependant on others to do theirs properly. Look at the other side, don’t assume that your Tip will necessarily reach the person you choose to reward. Some places do but most throw it into a pot to be shared out with others, taking away the purpose of the tip. If we tell the Waitron that we will Tip big, would that be bribery? Imagine saying, “Well Doc, if you give me a good diagnoses, I’ll give you a big tip”. One reason why we still tip in this country, unlike Europe, is that that money generally bypasses the Income Tax. Our Chief Honcho, Gordhan, hasn’t closed that loophole yet but watch this space. Also most restaurants etc. take the tips into account when working out the wages, including the minimum wage rules. So in my opinion it’s an obsolete part of tradition and lets just build it into the price. If the Waitrons don’t perform, fire them or just don’t go back there again, same as with your Plumber or any other service provider you use. The catch is of course, every restaurant would have to do it at the same time or there would be all sorts of confusion about prices. I’ll bet there’s some sort of authority, there always is, who could.
A bit the same with discounts. Certain industries have developed with highly discounted pricing, regularly offering 50% off and so on but of course all their competitors do the same, they have to or they wouldn’t be competitive. It’s all just how things develop but it’s confusing just the same and you’ve got to have your wits about you not to get caught paying more than you should. The Europeans seemed to have sorted themselves out and what you see is what you pay, no haggling, price is fixed and inclusive. The American haven’t and are the leaders in this game of extras, taxes, tips and any other way they can add something to the price you pay. Which would you prefer?