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Moving towards a ‘no tipping’ society

I have written before that I find the practice of tipping to be distasteful, since it seems to encourage servile behavior and has overtones of the master-servant relationship. Of course, I still tip 20% because the people doing those jobs are almost never paid a decent salary and need the tips to survive. But I wish that they were paid decent wages and benefits so that they were not dependent on tips to make a living.

I am told that in Japan tipping is non-existent so it can be done. So I was pleased to see that a restaurant in New York City (that serves Japanese cuisine) has done away with tipping altogether. The owners pay the staff a salary and expressly request customers to not tip.

In lieu of gratuity, Sushi Yasuda has increased the price of its (already pretty pricey) rolls, tacking on an additional 15% service charge.

“What our customers find is that they’re essentially paying the same,” Rosenberg told Bloomberg food critic Ryan Sutton, “maybe a touch less, because we’re a little more conservative about how we adjusted our prices.”

Though the move seems in-line with the longstanding European tradition of reducing the reliance on tips in order to provide the waitstaff with a living wage, Rosenberg says the servers at his restaurant have been “salaried from day one,” and even have a generous benefits package that includes vacation and paid sick days.

I hope everyone begins to do this.

The supermarket where I shop provides a service where you can leave the grocery cart with them and drive your car up to a door where someone will then load your bags into your car, saving you from carrying them to the car yourself or taking shopping carts out of the store and littering up the parking lot. There is a sign that says that tipping is neither required nor expected for this service

I must admit that it feels a little odd to not tip those employees because that kind of job is like that of a porter, that traditionally are tipped jobs in the US. But if everyone were paid a decent salary and benefits, it would stop feeling so strange.

Comments

  1. says

    As a lifelong service industry employee I would have balked at this idea until a few years ago. Then I began understanding how women are disproportionately affected-negatively-by service industry work. It is horrifying to think restaurants can get away with paying employees less than minimum wage or give them benefits.

  2. Mano Singham says

    Apart from the gender disparity issue, why did you feel earlier that the tipping system was better than getting a salary and benefits?

  3. Chiroptera says

    My baseline tip is 20% (more if the service is really very good and enjoyable), so if the employer is paying an extra amount based on a 15% gratuity, then that is less money the wait staff is getting from me. But, I suppose, if overall the employee is getting more money then this would be a good thing.

    I would prefer, though, that rather than raising prices, the menu noted that an extra 15% gratuity will be added to the meal. Assuming that the restaurant is honest, then I would know that the money is going to the wait staff. If the extra money isn’t earmarked or segragated in this manner, then I would be afraid that under the typical economic pressures that a business would be under — rising costs and all that — eventually the employees would end up making the same crummy wages that do now but now with no tip.

  4. MarkF says

    In Canada, the servers at restaurants typically get a salary AND tips. Why do Americans make everything as horrible and nasty as possible? It’s not as though you have to choose between working for tips and working for a salary. People can have both, a salary for doing their job and tips to show appreciation for personal service.

  5. One Day Soon I Shall Invent A Funny Login says

    That was one of the pleasures of touring in New Zealand and Australia: no tipping. Also in France, where the service charge is clear on the bill. There it is good form to leave any fractional-euro change you get, if you pay cash.

  6. Seeker says

    When I was in Holland on business, my Dutch colleagues informed me that there’s no tipping there because the servers are paid a living wage and serving is an actual career. Based on the professionalism of the staff in the restaurants I visited, I suspect this is true.

  7. sundoga says

    Australia basically has a no tipping society. If you work, you work for your wage, and by law that’s enough to live on. Occasionally you’ll see a tip jar at a restaurant, but actually doing so is voluntary, not expected.

  8. sosw says

    I’m not sure if there is any consistent “European tradition” with regard to tipping, since conventions vary country-to-country.

    However, the US is the only place I’m aware of where it’s pretty much essential due to horrible wages. Are there other places where this is the case?

    Personally, I’m happy that I live in a no-tipping society for many reasons, including how it colors the relationship between the customer and the employee and simple convenience (e.g. I don’t need to carry cash for tips because credit/debit -card readers don’t always have “add extra” options etc.).

  9. Sili says

    taking shopping carts out of the store and littering up the parking lot

    Leaving your trolley in the parking lot? I don’t understand. Why would you do that? How do you get your deposit back?

  10. moarscienceplz says

    I would prefer, though, that rather than raising prices, the menu noted that an extra 15% gratuity will be added to the meal.

    This I don’t understand. ISTM that all this accomplishes is to make it more difficult for the customer to estimate what the final bill will be. I would prefer all tips, taxes and other charges be factored into each item’s price.

    it seems to encourage servile behavior and has overtones of the master-servant relationship.

    I am a frequent customer at a few neighborhood spots and so I know a fair number of servers pretty well. I have never considered myself their “master”. Part of the point of going to a restaurant is to feel welcomed and comfortable and having a servile waiter would be the antithesis of that for me. I have worked in retail myself, so maybe I am more attuned to the challenges of their jobs. For example, if I am getting slow service because the bar is very busy, I will often tip more to compensate for others who tip less.

  11. moarscienceplz says

    Sili #8

    Leaving your trolley in the parking lot? I don’t understand. Why would you do that? How do you get your deposit back?

    In the U.S., it is common to provide free shopping carts which the customer takes to her car. After it is unloaded, the polite thing to do is to move the cart to the designated return area but most people are too lazy to do that so they leave the carts anywhere, often blocking other parking spaces. Also, people w/o cars will often take the carts all the way home and then leave them in front of their neighbor’s home or push them into creek beds, etc. This is illegal, but the police almost never arrest anyone for it. Many stores now use wheel-locking technology to stop this.

  12. Gareth says

    “but most people are too lazy to do that so they leave the carts anywhere, often blocking other parking spaces.”

    People do this in the UK and there is usualy a 1 pound deposit. I guess throwing away a quid is preferable to pushing a trolley an extra 10 metres.
    And then there are the ones who deliberately park in 2 bays, park in the pick-up/drop-off area (to save themselves the 50 metre walk), or just sit right outside the entrance with the engine running while their partner does the shopping.
    I suppose the its reassuring to know that the UK isn’t alone in hosting some of the world’s worst supermarket shoppers.

  13. andrewkiener says

    Servers get wages + tips in the US too. No one has to risk working for nothing. Server positions are exempt from minimum wage laws as long as the “total income”, including tips, can be shown to average above minimum wage. Employers hold out the possibility of tips, and the idea that if you’re any good your tips will be the bulk of your income, in order to justify very low wages.

  14. henry gale says

    Just to note -the Midwest where I live is known for their obsession in returning carts. People from other parts of the country marvel when they visit and see it in action.

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