Here’s a topic most couples will argue over. I discussed this with a few beloved family members the other night. We all noticed that there are many more people to tip these days (like counter clerks) (thinking about that Seinfeld episode with George and the calzone maker) and that there are less familiar rules for those situations.
But at the core of the tipping conversation is the internal debate over whether or not the receiver deserves the tip.
TIPS used to mean “To insure proper service” and they were rendered at the beginning of a meal. Customs have changed and now they are rendered at the end of the service engagement, leaving the potential recipient hoping and leaving the payor debating.
Some tipping situations are easier than others. For instance, in a nice restaurant where you receive excellent service, 20% is the norm. For a cab ride that took you all over hell’s half-acre on your dime (as a friend recounted), what tip is appropriate, if any?
The internal debate about the recipient’s worthiness is not to be minimized. We are making a value judgment, usually quickly. We evaluate how good the service was, but we think about much more, don’t we? Some of us tip generously for reasons that include both the feeling of abundance and the desire to share. Some people do not tip much -or at all – because they feel they were somehow wronged, that the tip is taking money from them that they themselves need, or that the recipient is not deserving.
Anyone who makes their living on tips has both my respect and my sympathy. You can’t please everyone all of the time. But you can please some people some of the time. I would bet the non-tippers enjoy their financial security and challenge them to base their livlihood on other’s judgments of them.
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