Tips for Unnecessary Services: What Happened to Tipping?
What Tipping Once Was
Once upon a time ago (in a decade I certainly don’t remember) tipping wasn’t a required part of daily life. If a waiter performed extremely well, a maitre d led you to an exceptional table, the delivery guy stacked the firewood instead of simply dumping it in a pile in your yard, or the garbage man took the extra can of refuse they received a tip for going above and beyond the normal call of duty.
Why The United States is Stupid
Nowadays in the United States, tipping has lost its true meaning. It is customary (no matter the service) to leave a tip for the waitstaff in a restaurant of approximately 15%, leaving more for exceptional service, or less for sub-par attention. This is stupid, while it allows restaurants pay the waitstaff a below minimum-wage, it defeats the whole purpose behind the “tip”. In most European countries, there is no expectation of a tip, rather it is awarded by choice as a way of saying “thank you” for a waitstaff that goes above and beyond the call of duty…you know, the way it should be!
Tipping Becomes a Shitshow
The other day I arrived downtown via train while it was raining outside. I walked through the outdoor station to the main entrance to get a taxi so that I could reach my final destination. The second I exited the door, I was bombarded by a series of presumably homeless people asking if I needed a cab. Caught off guard I replied yes and seconds later was led to the first cab in the taxi line (where there had been 15+ cabs waiting).
The cab was there, I knew it was there, and I certainly didn’t need this guy’s help to get into a waiting cab. Then of course the inevitable came. I knew I would have to tip the guy for his unwanted, unneeded, and unappreciated “service”; but then became further annoyed when he said “come on man, make my new year” as if I was going to get into the cab without slipping him some cash.
Please don’t misunderstand, I have absolutely no issue with giving money to homeless people. In fact, I do it all the time. My issue lies in the fact that this gentleman acted like he did me a favor, when in fact he did me a disservice by delaying my departure from the train station thereby keeping me outside longer…in the rain.
This is just one example. In Europe and the USA alike, homless people often point you towards a parking space expecing compensation in return. Although I have seen this be helpful once or twice, 95% of the time it’s been useless. You’re traveling down the street looking for parking, you’ll find the spaces on the street with or without the homeless guy.
While I conceptually admire the fact that they are doing something for money rather than sitting on their asses with a cup begging for it, I would prefer they actually focused their energy on doing something potentially useful like selling newspapers or cleaning windshields, rather than essentially extorting money by making me fear for the well-being of my car while inside the restaurant if I don’t tip them.