I hate tipping!

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How much do we tip these days anyway? Now the tipping convention is what? 25% or 30% more? Less? I don’t know and servers are getting paid like 3.00$-hr? I hate tipping. I really do. It’s achieved this weird pseudo-capitalistic and obscene moral dimensions that I’m finding actively stressful. I don’t know if tipping has changed over the years or if my Dad was just hopelessly out of touch, but when I was a child being needlessly difficult and poorly behaved like all children at restaurants he told me you tipped 10% to convey to the waitress or waiter your appreciation for good service. It was a really good moral lesson about being generous if you could afford it (and even if you can’t as they continuously demonstrated even to this day). It was also about expressing gratitude. Being the kind of person that appreciates services small and large and recognition the so-called “little people” were important and deserving of respect.

My parents were big fans of moral lessons.

I’m not pining for the “good ol’ days” of easily summarized lessons I just despise the notion that employers would try to disguise the true cost of the meal. Look, I get great service when I go the doctors office but I don’t tip the phlebotomist for a fantastic job getting blood out of my veins because I assume he’s a well paid professional. Same with the receptionist at a corporate office, the check out guy at the grocery store, and all the many many people that make this a well run society (mostly) not because people do not deserve it but because there’s a time and place for gratitude and a time and place to get out of the way so the next ten customers can check out and go home.

I have no idea how to fix labor inequality or the inherent discontinuity of tipping some people and not others.

I’m happy to pay servers what they deserve for their service but I’m flummoxed by this notion that I should sit there and figure out what that should be. My mechanic doesn’t present me with a bill that reads, “you know, whatever you think would be good. Appreciate it”. And hey if you want to go that route for restaurants that’s fine too. Send me an itemized bill for parts, labor and taxes that’s fine. We can even itemize it further so we can see exactly how the employee/employer tax contributions, FICA, Medicare, insurance, and other expenses work, and the overhead can be divided up according to administrative costs, rent/mortgage, debt service, utilities, maintenance. And so on.

Or you can just figure all that yourself and send me a bill so I can pay it and get on with my life knowing I can be generous to another living soul without worrying that I’ve somehow short changed them.

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