We're all sitting in a café. As usual, our conversation has somehow drifted to the topics of marriage and money, both of which inevitably drive me to misery.
Her: "I just want to marry someone who does something, you know, respectable. Lawyer, accountant--"
I'm waiting to ask the question. My teeth are setting on edge.
Me: "What would you say is not respectable?"
"Well ... garbage man ... waiter--"
I cut in faster than a knife. "My dad's a waiter."
There's a moment of silence. Across from me, someone laughs in slight disbelief.
The preceding anecdote was given in the interests of full disclosure.
I always tip.
Save for the rare, complete service meltdown, I always tip 15% on a restaurant bill, which is the industry standard in Canada. My father works at a restaurant inside a busy four-star hotel, so I consider him a reliable source on these things.
I started dining at restaurants (low- and higher-end) once I got into my late teens. Part of it was seeing it as part of my newfound adultness; another part was finding more venues for socializing with good friends. The last part was initiating myself into a social ritual, and discovering the enjoyment that can be gleaned from a good, skilfully presented meal. I feel that tipping as an integral aspect to that social ritual, but I see it abused very often, in many creative ways.
I see people insist on meticulously calculating what is really a simple percentage (lest they tip a dime or nickel too much, le gasp), deciding it is a legitimate "comment" by paying anywhere from 12.3% to 13.8%, or, in quite magnificently ballsy form, excuse their pitiful offering because they're "poor students." If you're so damn poor, nothing stops you from staying home; if you're too poor to pay a decent tip on your meal, you're too poor to eat out.
People inform me that they refuse to pay a tip on the post-tax bill, usually in rather moral wording. The difference is so miniscule to me that I see it as nitpicky meanness that takes away from the server, the person it means the most to. On, say, a pre-tax bill of fifty dollars, the tip is $7.50; on the same post-tax amount, the tip is $8.63. The difference is little more than a dollar. For a bill split between two people, this is negligible. For a bill of a solitary diner, this is also negligible, as they can apparently afford a fifty-dollar meal.
Sometimes I hear that somebody doesn't tip because they don't want to be complicit in a system that places an undue social burden on the customers by denying its workers a living wage.
(At this juncture, I have to wonder whether they, a Paragon of Righteousness, have in the past decade ever eaten at any corporate fast food outlet, since most have waged fierce wars against the unionization of their workers, and some battles continue. Mmm, McHypocrisy.)
If you cannot bring yourself to submit to the apparatus of tyranny that the food service industry evidently is, don't eat at a restaurant. Refrain from arriving, partaking of the food and hospitality, and then refusing to submit to the terms of service (of which you had full prior knowledge), because this is alternately known as being a jackass.
posted at 4:14:42 pm
2. As "Americana" defines itself as artefacts of American culture, "Gloriana" consists of the artefacts of my culture.
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