The problem with tipping is that, whenever the subject is brought up, everybody thinks in terms of hotel waitresses. It would appear that to many, tipping is an activity that one undertakes after having been served good food or drinks. But even if this was the case, why then do we never go out of our way to find the chef that prepared our food to tip them, than tip the waitress? I mean, who contributes more to the tastiness of your meal, of the two?
Tipping also loses some of its essence when we have to consult a third party on if, and how much to tip a waiter. Tipping is supposed to be spontaneous, a gesture straight out of your heart, in appreciation of good service. One of the most comical scenarios to behold in a restaurant is that of a seemingly well-heeled gentleman leaning forward to inquire from his date how much he should tip the waiter. In a way, what this man is saying is that he is indecisive in nature, and therefore needs advice on whether or not they enjoyed a particular meal or drink.
And good service has been known to transcend merely being served your Primus beer cold to specification, or your brochette hot off the grill. Good service transcends the needs of the stomach as we also need it when we go to our barber, shoe shine, cab driver, house keeper, night watchman –anybody whose services we utilize on a routine basis.
Just as you feel the need to tip a waiter upon good service, so should you for your hair stylist, shoe shine or baby sitter.
One of the most disturbing aspects about tipping is that we have been led to think of it in terms of fixed percentages. We have been told that a decent tip is that which ranges between 15-20 percent of the bill you picked up. This reminds me of the story of the street beggars who want to dictate how much you can hand out to them; The ones that will smile at you as you carefully stick your coin into their proffered fingers, only to make scathing remarks about your meanness as you turn your back.
If it comes from the heart, then why should it matter how much I give? Like bride price, I think that tipping becomes a command when a specific figure has to be attached to it.
In fact, if I had my way, I would get rid of this tipping business altogether. For one, tipping is the chief reason why we are discriminated against when we visit restaurants and bars. Tipping perpetuates not only racism, but also sexism.
If there is one thing that experience should have taught us, it is that the size of a tip is usually dictated by things such as race and gender.
It is a known fact that female wait staff generally get larger tips than male waiters; even the sexy women earn more than their less attractive colleagues, so just being a woman is not enough.
Imagine that whenever you went to the doctor, you decided how much to pay him based on how happy you were with the diagnosis.