To tip or not? Reply

According to Wikipedia  Japan and Australia are completely zero tipping countries. It could be anywhere from offensive, illegal to prohibited. But almost all other countries out of 50-60 I read in that linked article, they take tips in some form or other, some service or other, some pretext or other. Belgium is a slight exception where only next round figure is taken. Thats not tip but convenience. But that convenience is taken for next level of tipping in some countries which is anyway tipping eg only a few more bucks is not a convenience but demand for tips.

So is tip a good culture or bad? Is dowry a good culture or bad? A tip is an everyday dowry. A dowry is only for marriage, but a tip is an everyday dowry. Its a bribe in a small scale. Its a specialized form of economic exploitation.

Here is what Wikipedia says regarding tipping in United States.

Tipping is a widely practiced social custom in the United States. Standards vary, but generally it is given for services provided in table dining, golf course, casino, hotels, food delivery, taxi cab and salons.[10] For most of the 20th century it was considered inappropriate for the owner of an establishment to accept any tips, and while this is still considered the standard etiquette rule, the practice has mostly vanished as tipping has become ubiquitous for certain types of services.[11] This etiquette applies to bar service at weddings and any other event where one is a guest as well.

Tips are taxable incomes and for US/Canada “Research by tax authorities finds that consistent tax evasion by waitstaff due to fraudulent declaration is a concern in US and Canada“. A restaurant in San Francisco forged tax documents to at-least a level of 40% of actual tips from being reported but IRS found such out by matching credit card bills which shows payment to the level of 15/16% of total bill as tips. This would run into millions of dollars for that single restaurant  in San Francisco if inflation to this date is applied? Here is what they cheated 20 years ago: Fior D’Italia case, IRS estimated the total tip for FY1991 as $403,726 and unreported portions as $156,545.

In other words the culture of tipping customer heavily and by force and then not reporting them to taxation departments runs into huge financial scandals. At-least one could see the implication for 100s of retails and other business doing this. That would be an Enron. Thats the amount of corruption from simple transactions like tips.

This gains significance in the view of  how a spurious promotion is done over social media. I just read today a poster that calls for customers to be generous with waitstaff and pay large tips or not go for eat outs. Here is what it says: 1. Federal Government rules have meant the staff get 2/3 dollars for their serving and due to loopholes the managers do not pay the workers reasonable payment. So its customer’s concern. You can read offensive attention seeking posts actually that depicts customers without ability to pay large tip unwilling to do so as an excuse and what not. (It says if you come here it definitely means you can pay large tip cos if you don’t then you wouldn’t eat out .. something like that) Here is what it takes it to: its a trick to force the consumers to pay tips OR get insulted in the process.

While its really a pity such low wage can be paid and no more to the hardworking waitstaff its not really the consumer’s fault that there is a nexus between managers and whoever ensures legalities for such business. I mean if the Government does not ensure  payment of reasonable servicing wage to these staff that means the same is helping the managers and business owners make huge margins of profit because this is very very cheap human resources working towards the business owner’s profit. So its the Government which should pass good legislation which is obviously not happening as the profiteering of the business owners are to be risked. That means the customer after paying the bill, service charge if any has to pay 15-30 % tips on the total of the rest. That would mean if I eat up a meal of 15 $ I end up paying 45-50 $ simply because there is a nexus between Government and business owners.

It does not end there.

As you read from what Wikipedia has compiled countries like Japan and Australia prohibit such. Many countries are very low tip expecting countries. But there are many not just the USA which demand or expect large tips in many different kind of services. I don’t have experience in many countries, but I have lived for 7 years in US and Japan and have been to close to 500 cities in US/India and Japan. SO I really have first hand experience of what tip means in these 3 countries.

India is mostly like USA although to most places I have been, is not as insulting to its consumers in the restaurant business. I mean in India they certainly expect large tips or take their chances with such. Sometimes in India as I had recently posted on social media they can try to swindle some more than is actually by law, eg by asking you to pay over and above payment+VAT+service+tips. It does not make sense actually to demand tips after one has paid service, mind it the VAT is what 12%? So they just leave it to take a chance with your generosity or indecisiveness. So if you happen not to know what to do like me, who likes to get rid of any untoward social insulting practices, would pay a better generous tip amount. Most times I would pay because I would feel very uncomfortable paying say 2 or 3 % so I would go 7-8 %. (And this after service 8-10 and vat 12 % etc, service tax is not applicable everywhere though, also remember India its not compulsory to pay large tips, people can usually go low, but service + vat already making it 20-25 % in many cases, so 8 % tip makes it 30% already)

As I just said, this after payment+service/vat whatever is applicable which already swells by about 25-30% the original payment. And mind it the original payment is already not a low-end amount. So if you are 2 or more people you end up paying good deal of money for your outings. That means the whole week would be spent in spending as much as you could and that could be a large headache for you or someone else. This may not be one related to the tip or not question but it is for most people, hence most people would not end up going out for eating out. If that goes to 40% of the customers automatically its a economic fallacy. For a mere 7-10% increase you lose out 130% of bill for 40-50 % of customers. Thats a 60% damage to your business lets say, all because you want to suck up their hard earned money and no one tips them when they earned it, remember this. And people know which shop is being unreasonable so you really lose out in the long run and run out of your business. Bad economic practices do not run any business longer just like bad energy practices washes away your energy and finance.

Anyway back to the kind of experience in US the only word that comes to mind is shameless.

In 2003/4 I was in a particular Chinese restaurant in Cincinnati where after the lunch/dinner I paid a good 8-10 % tip to the bill of perhaps a few people (or was it just two , don’t recall) It turns out that they wanted a much larger tip. The Chinese lady started screaming as I signed the bill and was about to rush out saying it should be at-least 30% of the bill. I paid heed. But felt that this is too unfair, you can’t demand tip, it must come as a pleasant willingness to pay you some more for your good service, quality of food and over all good manners. But you just did a huge bad manner which put me in a  socially awkward and insulting position. As these tip mongers have been promoting on social media , no you do not deserve it, especially if your manner is so bad, unless thats the only service for which you demand a payment. And its BAD MANNER, the only time when sane people like me would like to type in CAPS-LOCK. But perhaps such demanding adherence to my money is to be expected only in a few places in US but definitely rigidly and insultingly. On top of that I am not one who is not tipping you because I want to save money but because I do not get basic manners and etiquette exactly which is supposed to be the basis of a tip. The only other time such an insulting attempt was to be faced by me was in perhaps 2005 or 6 when in small taxi ride of a 8 miles or so after I paid my cab bill by card, the cab driver helped the luggage off the cab but very rudely said “Tips are expected”. I was pleasantly surprised because this was not mentioned on the slip which I signed so I offered to swipe my card again. he refused and left. Despite of traveling in as many as 15 states in the east coast it never was known by me that tips are to be paid, thats perhaps because I always drove by myself and in another state that was simply never expected. So these things change drastically, so much so that when you take your cab from airport they might wanna instruct about a prevailing tips practice. Perhaps it just goes without saying. I always liked in the US what goes with saying. (although thats also flaunted at times) It was never a problem of paying more, it was always the situation and it so occurs in the USA in plenty of places including hotels there is always a good deal of chance that you will be charged unreasonably or surreptitiously. But its not all about complaint. I liked the US a great deal.

Things change and in India there are many stories of hotels and cabs and restaurants that can be recounted. Some other time.

All in all tips should never be demanded or forced to pay or promoted although the better example is what Japan does, do not accept tips even after fantastic service and remarkable politeness. Somethings US and India should learn from others.

As my friend from Australia Amanda Back feeds-back  “The minimum wage is quoted as being around $19 per hour. It goes on to say that tipping in gaming situations is illegal as it could be seen as a bribe – which I would quite agree. In other industry sectors it mentions nothing however I can tell you the above applies.”

She is saying on credit card bills tip options are there and people do pay tip. Thats fairly clear then Australia is to be excluded, only country is Japan which does not like at all to be tipped as my 5 yrs experience also confirms to. ZERO tip.

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