I had this impression that waiters make plenty of money, and that a tip is earned by their giving me good service and impressing me. It thus follows that not tipping is an appropriate communication that I wasn't impressed. Gang...let's shift that paradigm now.
Quick restaurant math – Let's sat 10 tables per waiter, average 3 people per table, say $50 spent per person, tables flip once a day, they all tip 15%.... that’s $225 in tips a day. But not everyone tips 15%, some people only have coffee, and the tables aren’t always full. So let’s say they earn $100 in tips a day on average. People who make $100 in tips a day are only making $26,000 in tips per year. You can’t live on that.
But what about when the tip is included in their wage? Say maybe they get $18 an hour? That’s like $38,000 a year. I’ve seen the rents available – that’s still not a great wage. Better? Sure. Will it help them pay their rent AND expenses AND college debt AND their unexpected child? Hardly.
Can we just agree that if you have a job that has the component of tips, there’s a good chance you wanted to do something else, and it didn’t work out (quickly). THUS while you chase that dream you need to support yourself so you wait tables….or clean rooms…or whatever you can find…and you find the cheapest place you can so you can save money…but how much is left when you aren’t making much in the first place? And how much time do you have because the places that hire people (who need tips) are taking advantage of the fact that the workers are desperate for the job, so the employers are paying absurdly little, asking for a great deal, including overtime that often isn’t recognized, and then threatening the employee who makes waves with that system.
I just read a GREAT book (VERY well written, and so compelling) called “A Waiter In Paris….Adventures in the Dark Heart of the City” (by Edward Chisholm) which describes the life in one of those restaurants with a gazillion seats. Gang….it will change how you eat when traveling (in short, if you can’t see where your food comes from, go elsewhere). But more so, it shows that even in a country like France (which has all sorts of laws), restaurant owners, and their employees, take HUGE advantage of the working class. And ps – there is racism on top of that.
Tipping is what we can do to help people. Sure, it’s about rewarding service…but is it really? A waiter, a housekeeper, they are doing their job for people who won’t give them a (truly) fair wage, and because they could not find something better. So instead of rewarding them for how well they did it, can we please see how hard their lives are, and reward them for trying so hard? Can we please BE that light for them? Can we help them save money by giving them a little more TO save?
We need to tip. Always. And when the employee is a bastard…and they’re having a hard day…maybe we need to tip MORE, and not less. Just saying.