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Despite how much I agree with you, this is never going to happen, because the real purpose of tips these days is to allow for variable pricing - the "base" price stays low, while people who can afford to tip more often do.

I've seen lots of restaurants implement "no tipping" policies, only to revert back to tipping within a year or two. The reasons:

1. The higher base prices do have a negative impact on sales. 2. The best servers usually want tips, because they can make more at a tipping establishment.

In the past 10/15 years I've changed my attitude around tipping now that pretty much every place I go to "flips around the iPad", asking for a tip. I no longer really think of it as a reward for good service. At the end of the day, I can't imagine trying to survive in a major city on barista wages, and I can afford it, so I tip.

2. The best servers usually want tips, because they can make more at a tipping establishment.

It’s not the “best” servers according to studies, it’s often the most attractive and non minority servers.

I don’t have any opinion either way about his conclusion/opinion but this is the first article I could find. I first heard about this on Freakonomics



It’s not about self maintenance == attractive. It’s about that pretty 25 year old blond girl vs the overweight 55 year old Black Guy - I’m just trying to go to the opposite ends of what society finds attractive.

I'm not saying self-maintenance == attractiveness, I'm saying that no matter what industry you're in there's some minimum level of something you need to maintain to be acceptable for work.

For me as a syseng that's getting enough sleep, staying ahead of my field and basic hygiene. I'm not in the best health but I'm also not in a position where I can get a lot of people sick.

I'm overweight and as a result my skin is terrible. Not so much that people notice but I certainly don't think that I should have my hands in anyone's food.

Unless you're giving each customer's meals a nice massage before serving them, your skin condition means nothing from a hygiene POV if you're acting as a server or a host.

That is only true to a point.

I'm reminded of the time I waited 90 minutes on line for Shake Shack (original location, when it first opened) and as I got closer to the front saw that the cashier had a visible and severe herpes outbreak that looked like it wasn't being treated. She kept scratching at her face and then touching peoples' money.

I noped on out of there. No thank you.

Evidentally, I am a hypocrite.

I think there has to be a cultural shift. There are many past behaviors that were once normal, that are now considered rude or socially unacceptable.

It starts with minimum wage laws changing so that waiters and bartenders are not exempt from normal minimum wages. Start there.

[1] https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standa...

Seattle increased the minimum wage to $15 and didn't exempt wait staff.

There was some talk about if people would stop tipping. Nope, people still tip!

This is not exactly accurate.

Most places in the US require businesses to "make up" the delta between minimum wage and what the employee receives through wage+tips. Seattle just codified this more clearly by having a "minimum wage" and a separate (higher) "minimum compensation". So while wait staff have a minimum compensation of $15/hr, that number is inclusive of tips they receive. Their minimum wage (what the business has to pay regardless of tip) is lower at $12/hr.

People may have considered no longer tipping because of the publicity behind the new-to-them-but-not-actually-new concept of minimum compensation but it's effectively the same system at a higher number.

I have lived in countries where there is no tipping and it works just fine. Better yet, there's no stress around general tip etiquette or simply "did I tip enough".

I find it frustrating to read time and time again "but it will never work". Having lived the reality, where employees are paid a decent living wage with no tipping, I say to you that such a response is simply untrue.

I'm not saying it's impossible in the cosmological sense, but I'd easily bet it will never happen, broadly, in the US in my lifetime.

If anything, the US has moved 180 degrees in the opposite direction in the past 15 years. This is largely a result of the growing inequality and huge increase in expense in major US cities. Up until about 20-25 years ago, 15% was the "standard" tip amount at restaurants, now it's more like 20%. Virtually every place I go asks for a tip now (even places like a bodega where the person behind the counter does practically nothing - I pick out my food myself, I don't need a bag, and I pay with my phone) as a result of the Square/iPad tip phenomenon, and tipping in many of these places was unheard of just 10 years ago.

I see tipping as a form of profit sharing. If a server or barista gets more volume for the restaurant, they get a cut. Often times, servers leave at the end of the night with $200+. I used to be a valet and was paid $5/hour but would make easily over $100 in tips.

I see it as a way for business owners and successful tipped employees to get away with tax evasion at the expense of customers who overpay on their share of the purchase and the rest of society which loses taxes. Unsuccessful tipped employees who don't get a fair share of tips are also losers.

The issue is the solution needs to be all or nothing. Either everyone abolishes tipping or nobody can, because appearing to have higher prices isn’t good business. Just like we dont include taxes in prices here either. Who in their right mind would chose to do that and deal with explaining how the taxes are included to every new customer.

Flipping to fair wages will only happen after a massive publicity campaign and coordinated change.

In Europe, tipping is not necessary to make a living wage. Yet tipping is still quite common. But it's more in the nature of rounding up than the US' approach.

those parts that I've been to or lived in.

This approach makes no sense to me. It seems the "base" prices are fiction, just like the airline fares have become recently. They do not correspond to reality and do not allow for a sustainable business.

Choosing where you will buy based on those fictional "base" prices and then tipping just supports that world which is detached from reality.

If people stopped tipping, eventually things would right themselves: workers would stop working for establishments that do not pay enough, businesses would need to raise prices, people would need to start accepting the realistic pricing.

Maybe the solution is a truth in advertising law: the headline price always has to be the complete total, unless you intentionally add unusual extras.

Restaurants are in one physical place, taxes aren't a mystery, there's no real excuse for the price printed on the menu not to be the actual price. Encouraging your employees to make side-deals with customers for cash... maybe we should start treating that as tax-evasion on the part of the restaurant. Putting a guess down in the books isn't OK for any other transaction.

This is why you need to change it across the board, all at once. If joe the asshole can keep charging his customers "less" by hiding the real cost of labor in his tip column, then bill the coolguy looks like he's being an asshole by including that cost in the price of the food.

Don't even get me started on the idea that FOH employees are often making 2 or 3X what the kitchen staff is bringing home. Sure the servers want the tips, but why wouldn't cooks want that money to be in the pool of money that can be allocated to them as well (since most servers aren't required to tip the back of house, and any money that isn't guaranteed can't be counted as part of your pay rate).

Eliminate the tipped employee rate entirely. Give the culture 10 years, and everything will be fine. It will be a long painful 10 years, but fixing omelettes and breaking eggs.

This is just naive thinking, that there is some grand purpose behind the laws of the USA. Step back, we all know it's because money is power in this country. Restaurant industries will kill any change that forces them to pay their employees a living wage.

You think this is based on logic and sensibility? That's not how government works in the USA. The null hypothesis is that capitalism rules; all else, democracy and logic and truth, come a distant second.

Its funny because other countries manage to pay staff a living wage, and not need tips.

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