Am I the only one who feels intimidated by the whole tipping thing? When? Where? How much? To whom? And especially, why?
Maybe it stems from an uncomfortable experience I had many years ago. I was newly married, and agreed to order a meal-for-two for my husband and myself; he was on his way home. Ding-dong – up the stairs came the BBQ-chicken delivery guy, hot bag in hand, he hands me the bill – it’s $10. (This was during the 60s.) I know I have to tip him, but I’m a tipping virgin, I really have no idea how much. For some reason, the figure of 10% floats into my mind. Being mathematically challenged, I give him the princely sum of: ten cents. This was not good. He looked at it like it was some new species of insect, decisively handed it back to me, and stomped back down the stairs.
Okay, so that was clearly a mistake. But I’ve found the notion of gratuities daunting ever since. For instance, if tipping is supposed to ensure good service, why don’t we do it before a meal? Like a bribe? And if it is meant to reward good service, why do we still tip lousy wait staff?
I once had a boyfriend who had a sensible rule: he started off with a 15% figure maximum in mind. If service was good to the end, that figure would hold, and that’s what the server would be tipped. But if there were problems, he would dock a certain amount for each problem. As in: ah, our bread took fifteen minutes to arrive, she’s down to 12%. Oops, my steak was medium instead of well done. Down to 10% now. And so on. A good idea – but he was better at math than I…
But why? Why tip my hairdresser, but not my cleaning lady? Why tip the waiter, but not the chef? The rules don’t seem logical to me. IMHO, I should be tipped. Yes. Just for the show of confidence, in the act of choosing your restaurant, for example, the owner or maître d’ should tip me. And for ordering a nice meal, the waiter should tip me. This could appear as a discount near the bottom of the bill, like so: -15%. What do you think?
Tippers, unite! You have nothing to lose but 15%!