The Merriam-Webster Disctionary describes a tip as "a gift or small sum given for a service performed or anticipated". One can only assume that these particular employees are feeling somewhat gypped out of what they feel is their rightful 15-25% (depending on so many, many factors) just because they don’t have the formality of putting a plate in front of you on a tablecloth, or schlepping to the back of the parking lot to retrieve your overly-pine-scented-interior car so you don’t have to.
My understanding has always been that this “small sum” is being given in addition to the server’s regular compensation from his or her employer. Correct? So, really…what you are attempting to say when you tip someone is, “You are so strikingly outstanding at doing your job that I simply must acknowledge this with even further compensation, above and beyond whatever you’re receiving from your employer, because…well, they are obviously severely underpaying you for your superb and exemplary abilities and I feel it is my duty as your loyal and appreciative customer to acknowledge this very fact with this mere tidbit…a morsel, if you will…of your actual worth.”
A tad dramatic, I’ll admit…but otherwise basically accurate. Agreed?
Why is it then, that I’m seeing “TIP” jars every-freakin’-where?? I’ve seen everything from Folgers coffee cans with the word “TIPS” written on masking tape on the front of the can to those white plastic trays they serve Chinese take-out in (minus the clear plastic top) with the word “TIPS” written in bold letters on the side (facing the customer, of course).
Tip? For what? For doing your job? For hopefully not spitting in my latte and remembering to add the extra foam I’d requested?
In the past week, I have seen “TIP” containers in the following locations:
Let’s face it: A lot of the people we tip these days is really in hopes that they won’t completely screw us over. That guy parking your car, the guy taking your luggage at the airport, the maitre d who says there’s no tables available…we’re basically bribing these guys into giving us what we want, while it’s silently understood that we don’t want them to hurt our stuff.
We tip the coat check-person (please don’t drip chocolate ice cream on my cashmere), we tip the newspaper boy (made the stoop 5 out of 7 times….good job!) we tip the hairdresser for allowing our locks to look publicly respectably fashionable (knowing full well it could go either way, let's face it), both in color and style. We tip the lady who cleans our hotel room in the hopes that she’ll actually wash the dirty glasses, instead of the “spit and shine” we’ve seen on 20/20.
So. We’re either tipping to say “PLEASE….PLEASE DO THIS FOR ME,” or we’re tipping to say “PLEASE…PLEASE DON’T DO THAT TO ME.”
The way I figure it, either way…we’re probably screwed.
One can only assume that these particular employees are feeling somewhat gypped out of what they feel is their rightful 15-25% (depending on so many, many factors) just because they don’t have the formality of putting a plate in front of you on a tablecloth, or schlepping to the back of the parking lot to retrieve your overly-pine-scented-interior car so you don’t have to.