Tipping Should Be Banned

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…according to College Humor.

We’re not sure if it a time of year kind of thing or something to do with the recent minimum wage increases, but people making a living through tipping is once again a topic of conversation. In the video above, “Adam” goes through all the downsides and claims that people in the service industry would be better off if the costs of their labor was (pardon the pun) baked into the price of a restaurant’s food and drinks.

Now, there may be places where this is true, (*COUGH*military bases*COUGH*) but here in Newport, we can’t think of a worse idea for servers than placing the restaurant as a middleman between them and their customer’s cash. As is pointed out in the video, most other industries do toss in the cost of labor into their overall price, but what’s not mentioned is that there’s usually a bit of a difference between what you’re billed for labor and what the person actually doing the labor is paid. When you go to a BMW dealership and you pay $90 per man/hour, that’s not going to the mechanics. So if restaurants were to follow other industries’ example, the price of your entree isn’t simply going up 15-20% in order to maintain the same rate of pay their employees currently enjoy. The prices will go up, because restaurants now have the excuse that they have to pay high wages…but those wages will soon be pushed down because the restaurant faces higher “food costs, energy bills, health insurance, taxes”…so on.

There are plenty of jobs where get to sell things to the public while earning a regular wage and they’re generally referred to as “retail hell”. No matter how busy you are, how maddening the customers are and how much money the business is making, you get your regular wage (or maybe some overtime). Meanwhile, if you’re having a busy shift bartending or serving around here, you’re making several times the regular minimum wage. You’re making bank, the business is making bank, the customers are paying you, voluntarily, for your work…everyone’s happy (except maybe your feet).

Be careful what you wish for

A few weeks ago, a column in the Providence Journal demanded an end to the $2.89 “sub”-minimum wage for tipped jobs, on the grounds that there’s a lot of uncertainty in regards to how much money a server might actually make in a shift and the inability of servers to tell their employers, “I made less than nine dollars an hour so legally you have to make up the difference”.

The problem with this approach is that once the profession has the same wage as the rest of the working stiffs, those tips are going to start falling off, because there’s less of an obligation…and pretty soon, we’re Europe, where “Thank you, that was an amazing meal and you’re the best waitress we’ve ever had” counts as gratuity.

Ultimately, there are a lot of low-wage jobs out there that don’t get tipped and most of them seem to have been created as incentives for the people doing them to start sniffing glue (as they can’t afford any of the good drugs). We’re not sure why anyone would want to do that to a profession that seems quite successful at providing people without specialized educations a living wage.

-Tristan Pinnock, Blast Restaurant Correspondent


Tristan's just this guy, ya know?