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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Anti-Tipping Manifesto

I don't tip ... and neither should you!

My opposition to tipping, and hence my refusal to tip, is something I worked out 25 to 30 years ago. I've just never yet written up an "anti-tipping manifesto."

First, the immediate background on what prompts me to write up and post this "manifesto" --

Recently, on Facebook, a friend from college (to date us, that was nigh-on 35 years ago) said, joking:
[Concerning] my new haircut and beard trim. The barber said I was starting look like Trotsky. There went his tip...

After some back-and-forth, I said:
You could just do like I do and decline to tip *anyone* -- tipping is a degrading and anti-American custom ... and a scam

Nancy Hartley said:
I don't know you Troy, but if you were a waiter/waitress working for far less than minimum wage and tips were considered part of your salary you might rethink your attitude.

To which I replied:
No, I wouldn't
And, in fact, I have worked those sorts of jobs (and also the fast-food types where no one ever thinks to tip, because there isn't someone telling them they're "supposed" to), both when I was in college and afterward because I wanted more money (for a while, but the added stress wasn't worth the money to me). I've received exactly one tip in my life -- $5 on the very first pizza I delivered as a freshman, ant the pizza itself didn't cost much more than the $5 -- and I *tried* to turn it down, but the guy was drunk, so rather than anger him I finally kept it. The point here is that even before I'd worked out what is wrong with tipping, the whole concept made me uncomfortable.

Come to think of it, I suppose one could say I did receive a few other "tips" -- some women (and a man or two) flashing a bit too much skin, and under-garments, at me when I made the delivery. What? I'm gonna give you a discount (paid for out of my pocket!) because you show me your tits? Which I never even asked to see!

I also recall hearing, and being disgusted by, my sister-in-law ranting because "some guy shafted her," meaning that he didn't give her as much extra (and potentially unreported) income as she figured was her due.

Anyway, Bill (the old friend) said:
you don't tip Troy???? Degrading?? I have a very dear and close friend who works for Otterbein, put herself thru school there it took 11 yrs and she used to be a full time waitress at Bob Evans and now works there part time. Sometimes to help her husband out he's in construction, she'll work 7 days a week all winter. She would give you the shirt off her back and is one of the funniest people i know. She loved my mom too. I can not ever ever think of not tipping her and in cash because BE will take taxes out. She has worked for BE for over 25 yrs and is just now making more then any wait staff at $3.15 an hour, most make a dollar less then that. I always tip at least 20% to anyone even if they are rude to me or I get bad service, you don't what kind of day they're having. I think it's totall unchristain not to tip and inhuman as well.

Nancy Hartley said:
Well said Bill. There are many, many people out there, especially in today's economy, that appreciate our Christian attitude.

Nancy Hartley said:
Troy, my apoligies to you. I did not mean to offend you, if I did, with my message. It is so easy to say things in this format without even knowing the person. One of the few dangers of this advancing technological age.
I have no idea how she turned a terse "No, I wouldn't" into that I took insult. *sigh* I'm a man; men tend to be terse; I am frequently very terse -- the alternative being very verbose, as here.

I said (to Nancy Hartley):
Actually, Bill's near-tirade wasn't "well-said," it was emotive and apropos of nothing I'd said. Tipping is not "Christian." It's degrading, demeaning, insulting ... and it's also a racket

Bill said:
why would paying someone a living wage be degrading troy and it's up to me to believe what is christian or not, that is between me and my higher power. i believe you get out of this life what you give, not tipping comes across as being cheap and selfish. you work for tips every time you service the public, i feel sorry for your wait staff. but I love you no matter what you think or feel Troy and you have the right to your opinion even if I don't agree.

I said:
Bill, if you thought I was coldly logical 30 years ago, I can assure you that I am even more myself now than I was then.
To explain a bit more -- back in those days, some of my friends (including Bill) would express the opinion that I was sometimes "too logical." As though such a thing is possible! Also, in those days, out of friendship, I would bite my tongue when some silly-minded liberal (I'm looking at you, Bill) would accuse me of being "closed-minded" for sticking with the opinions I'd started with ... you know, same as they were doing. I don't bite my tongue any more.

=====
Now, for that "manifesto," for the explanation of why you, too, should decline to tip: "Because I'm always right, of couse!"

OK, if you really need more, let's examine the issue, point by point -- combining the two statements I quoted above, I said that "Tipping is an anti-American custom; it is not "Christian." It's degrading, demeaning, insulting ... and it's also a racket/scam."

And, by the way, I am not saying that these points are exhaustive, only that they examine what I said previously:

1a) Demeaning -- it is demeaning to live off charity. It may be that this or that person cannot avoid reliance upon charity, but it is always demeaning to one's dignity as an adult human being to be reliant upon it. Trying to put tipping into its most positive light, it is charity.

1b) Demeaning -- the second aspect of being demeaning hhich follows from the custom of tipping is reflected in Bill's joke. Now, of course, Bill was just making a joke, and his joke is not the point here. The point is that there are *are* people who use the expectation of a tip to humiliate their waiter or waitress to whatever limit they can push (and, by the way, I expect that considerably more than 50% of such jerks are women).

2) Degrading -- it is also personally degrading to live off charity and hand-outs, but the specific degradation I have in mind is of a different sort than point 1). Here, I have in mind the sort of moral-and-rational degradation which seems always to follow from believing/asserting that others owe one something which they do not, in fact, owe one:
a) such as I mentioned with my former sister-in-law ranting because a customer didn't give her the free income as she just knew was her due (and, by the way, that was reflective of her attitude toward her ex-husband's relatives);
b) or such as we are presently seeing in Europe, for instance, in Greece, where the so-called citizens are rioting to demand that the tax-payers of Germany are obligated to support the Greeks' indolent government-subsidized lifestyles;
c) or such as we are presently seeing in the US, where "public service" union thugs intimidate -- and injure -- taxpayers who object to the gravy-train.

3) Insulting -- Tipping is insulting on multiple levels (such as touched upon above); but it's also insulting that:
a) some customers imagine it is their right and/or duty to second-guess the employment agreement between an employer and his employees -- in truth, it is none of your damned business what they have mutually agreed that her work is worth to her and to his business;
b) some employers are willing to place on their customers the expectation that it is the customers' job to pay his employees some imaginary "fair living wage."

4) Racket/scam -- Tipping is racket or scam as touched upon in point 3b -- the employers and the employees are in on the scam and the marks are their customers. Do you, O Big Spender, tip everyone with whom you come in contact? No, you tip only certain ones whom someone has told you you're "supposed" to tip. Do you, O Big Spender, enquire of your prospective tipee how much she pulled down last week -- you know, does she really "deserve" that big tip because she's so "underpaid?" No, you don't.

Then, there is the temptation to tax-cheating and/or unfairness of it all -- there is the temptation (and the ease of doing so) to not declare all one's tips ... and there is the tax-law assumption that the waiters pull down x% in tips, such that even if he or she doesn't, their employer is still required to tax them on the assumption that they did.

5) Anti-American -- is it really necessary to explain the above is anti-American?

6) not Christian -- is it really necessary to explain the above is not Christian?


Perhaps, later, I'll add some more touching upon the things Bill and Nancy Hartley said; and perhaps explain the labels under which I've categorized this post.

35 comments:

Crude said...

Would you have the same attitude towards someone you hired to do a job, on the agreement that their wage would be determined by your estimation of their work?

Where's said...

what's insulting is that the minimum wage and other labor practices are demeaning, degrading, insulting, a racket/scam, anti-american and not-christian (if that matters to you).

Ilíon said...

I don't understand you question, Crude, nor how it applies to what I've said.

Moreover, I can't imagine offering (or accepting) a job with those terms.

Ilíon said...

Yes, foolish Waldo, the very existence of the minimum wage law is an insult to all Americans -- especially those who want to work but cannot yet offer prospective employers labor that is worth the level of the minimum wage.

The US probably wouldn't be flooded with illegals if the minimum wage law didn't exist.

Where's said...

I find your response to be both short sighted and draconian Ilion.

People need a minimum level of income for food and shelter. If people aren't capable of earning a reasonable hourly rate due to their stupidity, incompetence or some sort of disability, then the social welfare of what you would call a 'christian' society will provide.

The illegal immigrant issue should not be used as a bat with which to hit american citizens who are unfortunate for one reason or another. Illegal immigrants also use the schools and health system, should we shut these down?

Crude said...

It seems pretty straightforward to me. Let's say someone comes to me and offers to create a billboard for my business (or a website, for that matter.) I ask for the price, they tell me they'll let me decide that upon seeing the finished product. They're willing to leave payment to my discretion.

Is it demeaning of me to pay them for this transaction? Degrading? Insulting? A Racket? Anti-American? Not Christian?

Keep in mind, I agree that 'tips' can be a racket. For instance, the idea that tipping 15% minimum is absolutely mandatory regardless of quality of service, etc, on the grounds that "That's their livelihood!" or "She's a single mother!" or words to that effect.

But I don't consider it charity to pay someone temporarily in my employ at my own discretion. There's more employee/employer relationships available than straight-up per hour and/or salaried.

Ilíon said...

Ah, I wondered if that is where you were going.

The waiters and waitresses are not *your* employeees, they are the employees of the business establishment ... did I not, at least by implication, cover this in the original post?

Ilíon said...

And I find your response to be something I'm not going to waste my time on past that first sentence.

Where's said...

why, because you couldn't understand it or because you can't rebut it because to do so would betray your 'christianity'?

Crude said...

I think you lightly touched on it in points 3 and 4, but I already threw out the "fair living wage" rationale. Also the idea of tipping someone because I'm "supposed to". So I agree that both rationales are bankrupt anyway.

But having rejected those rationales, I don't see why the waitress (for example) being paid an hourly wage by her employer means that she can't also be in my employ, and therefore for my tipping to not be charity. Admittedly, it's a different form of employment than a strict hourly wage or a salaried position. But again, I think there's more employer/employee relationships than that anyway.

But maybe I'm wrong. I'm just giving my own view here, while agreeing with a fair chunk of what you say. (And as a quick aside, I also agree that the whole idea of 'It's a christian duty for the state to supply things to the downtrodden!' is a mistake. People seem to fall into this view that if it's a Christian duty to do X, that X should be imposed by the state. Oddly, some of these people seem to be the very same who rattle off the 'You can't legislate morality!' canard.)

cathy said...

Well, I think I know what Crude is getting at. Granted, the waitress is an employee of the restaurant, and was offered, and accepted, an hourly wage. However, it is a well-established and widely recognized convention that, while restaurants charge set prices for menu items, it is up to the customers to determine (within equally well-established guidelines), and provide directly, the major portion of the wages for waitstaff. It is with that understanding -- the expectation of additional remuneration from the customers in the form of tips -- that the waitress provides the time, attention, efforts, etc. to serving the customer.

As you mentioned, the restaurant is responsible for withholding from the waitress' salary an amount equal to a set percentage of the value of her sales -- an estimate of what she will have received in tips (less the amount she shares among any other members of the restaurant staff who are not tipped directly by the customer, but who provide "support services" to the waitress). (I believe the percentage varies with different types/tiers of restaurants. And, obviously, doesn't apply to the types of restaurants where tipping is not the norm.)

And the customers are expected to be familiar with, and comply with, their part in this implied contract.

As far as I know, the only time a restaurant can require a tip is when the restaurant states (ie, on their menu) that a particular percentage gratuity will be added to the bill for parties of a certain number or more. The rest of the time, it is up to the customer to follow the convention of leaving a tip -- as long as the service provided was appropriate and sufficient. This is one of the few transactions where the buyer may determine the value of a service after it has been provided. If the customer does not receive "good service" he can make his dissatisfaction known to the provider of the "bad service" -- the waitress -- by leaving a lesser/no tip. And, he can signal his appreciation of extra efforts made on his behalf by tipping more generously that the standard guideline. Even the "required" gratuity for large parties can become a matter for discussion with the manager if the service was not up to standards.

The fact that this arrangement may be abused by cretins with borderline personality disorder who like to make servers run, jump and fetch just for the jollies* -- while being an argument for the overhauling of the system -- does not invalidate the implied contract when a customer accepts the services of a waitress. Nor does the possibility that the waitress might not report all of her tip earnings -- although another argument for just going to straight salaries, and menu prices that reflect the cost of all labor.

* Why, yes, I was a waitress at one time -- how could you tell? :)

(I don't think the Minimum Wage discussion even comes in here -- in many cases, the restaurant's salary for the server is just enough to cover the required withholding. But I may be wrong -- I haven't been involved with any restaurant folks for a long time. I have no idea how Christian Duty got pulled into this!)

Hmm. Not terse.

Where's said...

'For instance, we can conclude that the presupposition “God is” is sound/true and that the presupposition “God is not” is unsound/false because treating “God is not” as true generates absurdity.'

You are actually right! Mind you, no-one would ever have come along and sais 'god is not' until someone first said 'god is'.

Therefore 'god is' must be a presupposition and 'god is not' is factual knowledge.

Where's said...

yes your spelling, and your grammar, does leave a little to be desired.

But then again, I'm not perfect!

Crude said...

As an aside, I want to tell a story that would probably validate some of Ilion's complaint.

I was at a bar in New York once, with my brother. Trendy place. Now, the waitress there didn't serve us drinks per se - she'd come, bring the bottle of wine we asked for, open it, and leave. We'd pour for ourselves, etc. The bill ended up totalling ~200. (We were three people, the bottles were expensive.)

So my brother decided, you know, she's not really a waitress - he left a tip of 10 dollars.

Well, while we're leaving, up comes the waitress demanding to know whether her service was horrible, because 10 dollars is NOT 15%, and she lives off tips, etc, etc. My brother, lacking some backbone, apologized and pulled out 20 dollars - which she snatched out of his hand before storming off.

That got to me once I realized what had happened. I wish I was cognizant at the time, because I'd love to have chewed her out then and there, flicked a bunched-up dollar to the floor for her to grab, and taken off. I think that's an over the top example of some of what Ilion is complaining about here.

MK said...

I never really thought of tipping in that light, you certainly have a point, when i go to the grocery store and get good service at the check out, i don't tip and there's no expectation to. Same at every other place.

The convention of tipping a waiter certainly does give the owner/employer a convenient excuse to underpay their staff.

Having said this, when i go to a regular place and i can't see the food being prepared, i think i'll just tip cos i want my chicken to really be chicken and only chicken. :)

Crude said...

Here's a fun question for those people who do think tipping is justified (myself included).

Party 1 orders dinner X.
Party 2 orders dinner Y.
Dinners X and Y involve the same amount of activity on the server's part (bring this to the table).
Servers for 1 and 2 spend the same amount of time attending to the party (refilling glasses, asking if everything is okay, etc.)

Dinner X costs 10 dollars.
Dinner Y costs 100 dollars.

What should the server be tipped, and why?

Ilíon said...

Crude: "Here's a fun question for those people who do think tipping is justified (myself included).
...
What should the server be tipped, and why?
"

That question is, in fact, part of the background reasoning of my objection to the whole concept of tipping. As I implied in the OP, there is so much more I could have said there.


Crude: "As an aside, I want to tell a story that would probably validate some of Ilion's complaint."

I'm not merely making a complaint, as though an incident such as you relate or as I did about my former sister-in-law is but an example of an abuse of a good social custom. I am saying that, given human hature, the attitude which leads to such incidents is an inescapable result of the custom; the attitude might as well be an intentional feature of the custom.


Crude: "So my brother decided, you know, she's not really a waitress - he left a tip of 10 dollars."

This was your brother unconsciously recognizing and trying to negotiate the issue at play in your "fun question."


Crude: "But having rejected those rationales, I don't see why the waitress (for example) being paid an hourly wage by her employer means that she can't also be in my employ, and therefore for my tipping to not be charity."

Is the waiter or waitress free to leave "your employ?" Of course not! Not without resigning his or her actual employment.

BB said...

i hopw you don't return to the same restaurant, Troy and not tip your wait staff person, because they are spitting in your food....

no permission was given to you to use Nancy or my name on this blog.

Ilíon said...

Presumably, 'BB' is Bill.

Do I look like I give a damn about unreasonable demands for "permission?" I will do what is right, and if you don’t like it, I just don’t give a damn.

"i hopw you don't return to the same restaurant, Troy and not tip your wait staff person, because they are spitting in your food...."

And, thank you for so succinctly stating one of the inescapable corruptions at the root of the tipping culture: threat and bribery.

Crude said...

I will admit that "Tip, or they'll spit on your food" is about as reasonable a stance to take as "Spit in my food and I'll knock your teeth out".

In fact, strike that. The second is far more defensible.

Ilíon said...

Yes, the second is far more defensible.

Ilíon said...

Another thing that turned me against the tipping culture was my observation that it seeks to elevate a mere social convention -- which convention is pushed by those who directly benefit from it -- to the status of absolute moral obligation.

We see that in this thread.

But, something that is interesting about this phenomenon is that in most cases, those who most vociferously (and emotionally) condemn anti-tipping, will as quickly, and with both feet, jump down one’s throat if one voices the smallest condemnation of fornication.

Ilíon said...

By the way, Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, is against the tipping culture. Here is just one column in which she argues against it. I've read others in which she is even more forceful.

Ilíon said...

"… 15 to 18 percent …"

You know, I recall that when I was a kid, the typical assertion and expectation for tipping was 10%. Then, at some point when I was in my young teens, I recall Dear Abby and/or Ann Landers asserting that the “proper” tip was 15%. Now, apparently, by 2004 (the date of the Miss Manners piece) the “proper” tip is "15 to 18 percent."

It just never stops, does it?

Well, moral wickedness has no real stopping point, either. So, I wonder, might there be some point of immorality at the heart of the tipping culture?

Where's said...

'...those who most vociferously (and emotionally) condemn anti-tipping, will as quickly, and with both feet, jump down one’s throat if one voices the smallest condemnation of fornication.'

- what's the relevance of this statement? Is there any data on which to base this claim? I've always thought that most anti-choice people are also anti gun-control but I don't know so I don't go around sprouting it.

What is your definition of fornication, and do you condemn it?

Drew said...

There are definitely some problems with the tipping culture. Ultimately, though, I'm not altogether sure whether the problems outweight the benefits -- which are an incentive to provide greater service and an incentive for the server to increase the amount of sales. (And I couldn't really care less whether the government gets all its "rightful" tax revenue.)

But ultimately if you're unwilling to tip, that means you should not go to restaurants at all. If you go to the restaurant and do not tip, you are basically defrauding the servers. It's fine to say that you disapprove of the system, but it's not okay to leech off of it.

At the very least, you have a moral obligation to state to the server right when you first sit down, "I will not tip you at all." Then you can get the service you are paying for. If you go in the restaurant you are communicating your willingness to obey the general rules. If you then reject the customs after remaining silent, that is dishonest.

Ilíon said...

"Ultimately, though, I'm not altogether sure whether the problems outweight the benefits -- which are an incentive to provide greater service and an incentive for the server to increase the amount of sales."

Those "benefits" are among the serious flaws of the custom, as covered above.


"But ultimately if you're unwilling to tip, that means you should not go to restaurants at all. If you go to the restaurant and do not tip, you are basically defrauding the servers."

Whence comes this (asserted) moral obligation? Who has the authority to place this obligation upon us? The restaurateurs and waiters? The very persons who seek to perpetuate and profit from the general acceptance of the disgusting custom?


"It's fine to say that you disapprove of the system, but it's not okay to leech off of it."

And that attitude may explain, at least in part, why of all businesses restaurants have the highest rate of failure.


"At the very least, you have a moral obligation to state to the server right when you first sit down, "I will not tip you at all." Then you can get the service you are paying for. If you go in the restaurant you are communicating your willingness to obey the general rules. If you then reject the customs after remaining silent, that is dishonest."

With all due respect: Bullshit.

Drew said...

I was making those general statements above while trying not to condemn, because it wasn't totally clear whether you were actually visiting restaurants and not tipping. But your response makes it rather clear that you are doing that.

From whence does the obligation come? It comes from God. You are taking a service from people that you know they expect payment for, but you are not paying them. That's acting in bad faith. And when I suggested that you at least tell the waiters up-front, you called that "bullshit." Where do you get this idea that an oral contract must be explicitly and affirmatively spoken before any moral obligation arises in a business? If a paramedic rendered you medical aid, would you refuse to pay later because you never explicitly agreed to his service?

Theoretically, a waiter could probably sue you under quantum meruit (wikipedia it) for the amount of a reasonable tip -- although obviously they wouldn't sue because it's a tiny amount anyway.

But if you feel the way you do, the moral and upstanding thing to do would be to stay away from restaurants altogether. I don't particularly like tipping, and so I usually get orders to-go or else just make my own food. It takes essentially no courage to rip off waiters; the courageous thing is to boycott. Or alternatively, if you think tipping is detrimental to the restaurant industry (and I'm tempted to agree), you could make your own restaurant, pay the waiters a decent hourly wage, raise the menu prices an appropriate amount, and then forbid tipping.

Ilíon said...

Drew: "[comments]"

Again, will all appropriate respect: bullshit.

Ilíon said...

"Or alternatively, if you think tipping is detrimental to the restaurant industry (and I'm tempted to agree), you could make your own restaurant, pay the waiters a decent hourly wage, raise the menu prices an appropriate amount, and then forbid tipping."

In college, I patronized just such a restaurant. It was a large place, the prices were no higher than anywhere else, and they never lacked for either employees or customers. And the place is still in business all these decades later.

But, once again, your answer/solution is bullshit ... for you are reasoning (may Socrates forgive my misuse of the word) in a manner very analogous to that of Darwinists: you are asserting that I must continue to do, and to help other to do, what is wrong unless I can offer a global solution to the wrong-doing which also includes an escape-hatch to allow those who currently advocate for and profit from the wrong-doing to evade all admission.

It ain’t gonna happen, dude.

Tipping is wrong, on many levels, including morally. That is the point under discussion here; your willingness to condemn me for refusing to go along with a custom which is foreign to American culture (and is immoral on top of that!) is at best a distraction.

Drew said...

Have you ever explained your reasoning on this matter to anyone and had him actually agree with you? I appreciate your overall views and your general toughness, but there's a difference between toughness and obstinance. I'm not some crazy leftist by any stretch of the imagination.

Your original post didn't make any serious argument that tipping was actually immoral. All you showed was that tipping can be distasteful, annoying, and perhaps uneconomical as a business model.

You did compare tipping to living off charity, but the waiter is actually working for a living. In my mind, entering a restaurant and accepting free service without paying is more like living off charity. And lest you argue that this waiting service is valueless, you've already implied that you yourself dine at restaurants and that you take advantage of the service rather than getting food to-go.

Also, I would argue that the hourly wage actually contributes more to fraud than tipping does. With the hourly wage, you get paid to stand around. With tipping, you get paid depending on how happy you make the customers. There are flaws with both models, but that doesn't make either one inherently immoral -- just arguably foolish.

Ilíon said...

Drew: "Have you ever explained your reasoning on this matter to anyone and had him actually agree with you?"

China. Tea. Price thereof.

Drew: "I appreciate your overall views and your general toughness, but there's a difference between toughness and obstinance. I'm not some crazy leftist by any stretch of the imagination."

Yet you are declining even to follow the reasoning I've offered, while asserting that to patronize a restaurant without tipping is immoral (and then asserting that you're attempting to not be condemnatory).

Drew: "Your original post didn't make any serious argument that tipping was actually immoral. All you showed was that tipping can be distasteful, annoying, and perhaps uneconomical as a business model."

You're not really paying attention, are you? What is it about "bribery and/or extortion is immoral" that you do not get? What is it about "to excuse bribery and/or extortion as being customary is immoral" that you do not get?

Drew: "You did compare tipping to living off charity, but the waiter is actually working for a living. In my mind, entering a restaurant and accepting free service without paying is more like living off charity."

You're not really paying attention, are you? The waiters are not the employees of the establishment's customers, but rather of the establishment. The customers are not conducting business with the employees of the establishment, but rather with the establishment.

What can we generally expect to happen when the owner of a restaurant discovers that his best waitress (as objectively measured by the gratuities she pulls down) is billing "her" customers for hamburger while serving them filet mignon? If they are indeed her customers, what business of his are the terms of the business agreement she and they have worked out?

But, of course, they are not her customers, they are his customers ... as witness that short of quitting her job (or convincing him to decline to deal with a specific potential customer) she is not free to decline to serve his customers. And she is not selling her services to his customers, he is paying her to represent his business interests. She has agreed to represent him, and it is really no business of mine (as his customer) what dollar figure that agreement entails.

Drew: "And lest you argue that this waiting service is valueless, you've already implied that you yourself dine at restaurants and that you take advantage of the service rather than getting food to-go."

You're not really paying attention, are you? Everything I've already said denies that waiting is valueless.

Drew said...

//You're not really paying attention, are you? The waiters are not the employees of the establishment's customers, but rather of the establishment. The customers are not conducting business with the employees of the establishment, but rather with the establishment.//

This is an arbitrary distinction that you're drawing because it suits your purpose. Who says the customers are not the waiter's customers? You.


//But, of course, they are not her customers, they are his customers ... as witness that short of quitting her job (or convincing him to decline to deal with a specific potential customer) she is not free to decline to serve his customers.//

This obligation to serve customers is CONDITIONED on the assumption that customers will tip.

If the owner knows for a fact that a potential customer will not tip, in most cases he will either decline to make the waitress deal with the customer. Or at the very least, he will fail to punish the waitress for rendering poor service. So even if we assumed that poor service were the waitress's obligation to the customer, ACCEPTABLE service would not be an obligation.

Of course, this situation hardly ever arises because the customers are almost never honest up front about their stiff the waitress. They wait until they've left to make their intentions clear, when they don't have to face anyone.

Drew said...

And if you don't believe what I'm saying, I would challenge you to do what I've suggested -- be up front about your intentions (thereby satisfying the premises of my hypothetical) and see what happens.

Davoid said...

Ilion,

This way late but I was wondering... since you don't tip and by your own admission you haven't done so in 25-30 years, and since this is the first time you have written out this manifesto... what have you been doing for the past 25-30 years to declare your non-tipping policy?

It seems to me that it would only be fair and consistent of you if you were to print out your "manifesto" and hand it to the host, manager, or server as soon as you sit down.

Naturally, if I was waiting on your table and was handed such a "manifesto" I would excuse myself and immediately hand it to my manager.

What do you suppose the managers reaction should be to your manifesto?

Do you think that the manager should tell you to take your business elsewhere? What if it is only place open for miles around and you are really hungry?

Do you think they should make a prorated adjustment to your bill adding in your portion of a fair hourly wage to the server? Should they declare this just after you order or should they just add it in once you have finished your meal?