We’ve all felt the pinch that has turned into a massive financial hit. I know if I hear the phrase “supply chain issues” one more time, I might lose control of my already limited patience. Everything from food to gas to cars is limited and expensive, and now we’re expected to tip everyone under the sun on top of it all.
Have you noticed? Everyone performing every duty is now expecting a tip. And not a small token of thanks. No, the expectation now BEGINS at 20%, with some suggested tips reaching 30%. That’s almost one-third of the cost of the meal, service, or experience you just had, tacked on to massively increasing prices.
To add insult to injury, customer service is worse than it has ever been. I don’t blame workers for that – I blame everyone who isn’t working, therefore leaving those who are to do twice the work in the same amount of time. Even we, the consumers, are taking on the work formerly belonging to others, and we are paying more for the privilege.
Witness grocery stores. They have doubled their self-checkout aisles and kiosks and cut back to a couple employees working registers. Do I get a discount for checking myself out, thereby saving them on salary payouts? Absolutely not. I get frustration when the bar code won’t scan, or I lift my groceries off the bagging platform too soon, and on and on. And the groceries I’m buying are half the size and twice the cost, so there’s that, as well.
In my job, I travel every other week. That means airfare (which no longer includes anything other than a Coke and a cookie), hotels (which no longer maintain housekeeping staff, charge you extra for Wi-Fi, and somehow get away with up to $50 a day for parking), and restaurants. I’d like to focus on that last one.
If you’ve eaten out, you know that menu prices are high. Chicken wings, my husband’s favorite treat, and since the dawn of time regarded as the cheapest part of the chicken, are now ringing up at $2 a wing. Coffee is $5. Pasta meals, which cost pennies to a few dollars to make, are $20. And forget about meat of any sort – it’s all exorbitant.
But then comes the check. Only in America are we expected to pay the restaurant staff for serving us. Only in America are we given “suggested tips” that have reached almost one-third of the cost of our meal. So the ridiculous price we see on the menu is only the beginning – wait for the taxes and get ready for the tip. Tack on another $30 for those burgers and fries.
I feel the need to say that I have worked as a server and know exactly what the job entails. I’ve held multiple low-wage jobs. And it doesn’t change my opinion in the least. We have to start balking at tipping expectations and quit letting businesses get away with passing their expenses on to us. They raise the prices and still expect us to pay their employees. Even as a former waitress, I know that’s not right.
Here’s a history reminder: Tips originated as a way to acknowledge exceptional service, someone who goes above and beyond to create a good experience for you. The minute tips became an expectation, they lost their value. If I have to tip 20% or more to every server, I’m no longer rewarding their hard work; I’m paying their salary. That’s not my job. Never was.
I’ve tipped 20% for years. I value hardworking people and I appreciate the contribution they make to my experience. But now I’m expected to tip literally anyone who does anything. My Uber driver for getting me from point A to point B – in other words, doing exactly what I’ve already paid for. The person who hands me a coffee, and for what? Handing me the coffee I paid for? The waiter who was so bad, I refilled my own beverage and got my own saltshaker when he was nowhere to be found. I shouldn’t tip him at all, but society tells me I need to, and even suggests how much.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been on the other side and I never expected a tip when I provided less than great service. Nor did I expect the people I was serving to pay my wages. This tipping madness has got to stop, and businesses need to step up and take care of their employees, so the rest of us don’t have to.
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