Last December we went to Mexico for a wedding. It was absolutely beautiful there and I loved every moment. Great friends, great food, and lots of tanning. I still look pasty white though by the way. However, there were a couple of culture shocks. First, the policemen with machine guns on the side of the road. Second, the expectation of tipping. That got me thinking more about tipping. How did I get from sun and sand to tipping!?!
I have to admit, I have always hated the concept of tipping. However, I give in to the social pressure that it is expected of me. Essentially it is a self-enforced tax. A tax under the honour system you could say. However, I'm not really sure who determines the amounts and what jobs are included. After all no one tips the cashier at Shopper's Drug Mart or Save-on Foods. Aren't they in the service industry too?
In Mexico, it is more than just supplicates income though, in some cases it is their entire income. While this really made me appreciate how good we have it here, it also made me wonder if tipping was part of the problem.
Waitresses have told me I don’t understand how hard it is to work in a restaurant. That they need those tips to survive. They are right; I don’t know what it’s like, because I didn’t want to work in the restaurant business. Well that’s not entirely true, they just didn’t hire me. Regardless, the reason they put up with what they do is for the money in the form of tips. If the tips stopped, they’d look for work elsewhere. Restaurant owners would be forced to pay more money to keep the good employees and they’d pass the cost on to us. The food prices would increase, but the tipping would stop. Essentially we're telling restaurant owners and bars that it is OK that they pay their employees less, because we'll take care of it ourselves.
Maybe it is because we don’t want to see those higher prices and can somehow justify the food tax (tips), but can’t pay a little more for food and drink. You might even pay less. I wouldn’t have fun on a resort in Mexico with no Margaritas, no servers, no cooks, and making my own bed. I’m going to pay for it all anyhow, so you might as well put it in my bill. It was all-inclusive after all.
Those are my thoughts on tipping. Any one care to fire back?