Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

‘Waiting tables is hard work, many times unappreciated.’ (The Associated Press)
‘Waiting tables is hard work, many times unappreciated.’ (The Associated Press)

May 17: This week’s Talking Point – ban tipping? – plus letters to the editor Add to ...

Keep tipping? ‘If you applied this system to other industries, Amazon would want an extra $20 when your package is actually delivered on time.’ Ban tipping? ‘The cost of eating out would rise dramatically. I would bet most people wouldn’t like them apples.’ Readers, print and digital, bring their views to the table

................................................................................................................................................................

Elizabeth Renzetti asks us if we are tired of tipping (Are We At A Non-tipping Point? – May 12). We may be, but we are nevertheless accepting of the custom, even as a once “normal” 10 per cent has morphed into 20 per cent.

But what earns the tip is not the service, it is the pitch. It is the restaurateur who creates the menu, the ambience and the locale that determine the value of the pitch in pulling in tip money. So it is the restaurateur who should collect that income.

In tip-free restaurants, he or she does. In tipping restaurants, the server intercepts the tips and the owner can only get some of that money back by lowering the server’s wage.

That’s why, in the U.S., you see “working wage” protests in the (usually tip-free) fast-food sector, while some states have $2- or $3-an-hour minimum wage laws for tipping establishments.

Michael Poulton, Halifax

.........

Almost every restaurant we’ve been to in Europe and the Caribbean has included the gratuity in the bill and put on the menu that it was included, so there was no second-guessing. This should be done in Canada, too.

L.D. Hall, Hamilton

.........

So, restaurants are going to increase food prices, pay a higher salary and keep what would rightfully belong to the servers?

I would want to see some numbers before I stopped giving a tip to a working mother.

Brenda McNeill Johnson, Toronto

.........

I tip 20 per cent. Waiting tables is hard work, many times unappreciated, and we never know the whole story of why a waiter is having a down day which may influence our tip. She may have a sick child or parent at home. Are we at our best every day? No!

Waiting tables is a low-paying job, and that’s where I choose to “donate.” Someone else can donate to organizations that spend a significant percentage in administrative costs, or to disasters in other countries, where often the money never gets to the needy. I’ll make my contribution here in my community.

JoAnn Downey, Ashburn, Va.

.........

Whenever I’m travelling in India, I tip before I’m served. Works wonders. I’d do it here, too, but my wife says it would be demeaning to the servers. I fail to see why, since tipping for a better table is accepted practice.

If you tip up front, it’s a vote of confidence. Very few people want to let someone down who has shown trust in them – particularly if it’s a stranger.

Mike Martin, London, England

.........

If you can afford to overpay drastically for food and wine by eating out over cooking at home, you can afford to pay someone 15 per cent of that price to tend to you hand and foot.

Granted, there are bad servers, so that’s not a rebuttal, just don’t tip the bad servers. The rest are essentially making your night out go smoothly so you don’t have to. Most do it well.

Paul Durdle, Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland, Australia

.........

Restaurants charge obnoxious prices for served meals, and then they want us to subsidize their “non-living wages.” Tired of it.

Debra Smith, Fernie, B.C.

.........

If the restaurants had to pay a “fair wage” to us servers to compensate for the loss of tips, it would have to be $15-$20 more an hour than the measly $8.90 we make. The cost of eating out would rise dramatically. I would bet most people wouldn’t like them apples.

Emily Lebeck, Thornbury, Ont.

.........

Service staff deal with all kinds of people – friendly, respectful, rude, sloppy, intoxicated etc. They have no control over those variables and are expected to provide top-notch service and attitude all the time. I believe a high wage would eliminate server incentive.

At the same time, Canada’s minimum wage isn’t enough for a single adult to afford living basics – utilities, food, rent. Let’s not forget servers who have families.

Perhaps different cultures have different beliefs about gratuities. In Canada, it’s part of our culture.

Francine Kurk, Regina

.........

Tipping was designed to say thanks for good service. Now you want a tip for pouring my coffee, while I have to add the sugar and cream myself. Sorry, that does not work for me.

And yes, I was a waiter, I know how hard it can be to deal with the public, so I earned my tip, but with that said, the world has gone mad with tipping for everything. At the end of the day, it’s your job.

Creig Stearne, Toronto

.........

Tipping is a system entirely set up to mask the cost of going out, because the tip part doesn’t appear anywhere until the very end after the bill is tallied. If they charged the actual cost on the menu, it would cost the same amount, but it would look higher.

If you applied this system to other industries, Amazon would want an extra $20 when your package is actually delivered on time, and Air Canada would be fuelling planes based on how much tip money they get at the gate.

We should just do something crazy – charge up front what it actually costs, and pay the staff a proper wage.

Chris Eaton, Fredericton

.....................................................................................................................................................................

ON REFLECTION Letters to the editor

Images in an eco-mirror

Re Harper Unveils Conservation Plan For Lands And Waters (May 16): While pushing for pipelines to zigzag across parts of Canada carrying oil, the Prime Minister is publicly grooming a patch of green space to show how caring he is toward the environment.

This is like the hospital patient who stands in front of a mirror concerned about his appearance, while wearing an open hospital gown that exposes his backside.

Bill Bousada, Carleton Place, Ont.

.........

Anti-pipeline contagion: 1

Re Trans Mountain Plan Snared In Anti-Pipeline Contagion (Report on Business, May 15): Tens of thousands of kilometres of oil and gas pipelines crisscross North America; they have proven to be the safest and cleanest method of transporting huge amounts of petroleum products to our markets.

Do these protesters want the products we all consume delivered by train or truck?

It’s time to be more constructive in discussing the energy products we all consume and how we acquire them.

W.C.P. Baldwin, Toronto

.........

Anti-pipeline contagion: 2

While other nations are working hard to cut emissions 30 to 40 per cent by 2030, Canada’s are estimated to increase 38 per cent by 2030, compared to 1990. And it’s mainly from tar sands projects.

Canadians are rightly ashamed, even outraged that we are not doing our bit.

So when yet another scientific study documents something like the collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet, more and more of us will oppose pipelines.

We can’t help solve a global problem like climate change by making it worse.

Stephen Leahy, Uxbridge, Ont.

.........

We spy with our little eyes

Re Police Want Surveillance Hike (May 16): If Toronto police want greater access to CCTV cameras, how about making public the feed from cameras in police stations? “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear,” right?

Surveillance images of public areas should be publicly broadcast on the Internet for all of us to keep an eye on, just the way the pictures from traffic cameras are seen. It’s not really different from looking down the street.

Now, about that police station footage …

Ted Syperek, Toronto

Follow us on Twitter: @GlobeDebate

 

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories