Tipping Point

I visited my grandparents earlier this week, and as is customary for my trips to theirs I flicked through their copy of the Daily M**l. I do this because I kinda like some of the cartoons they have, and also because I like to work myself up a bit with rage at some of the drivel that paper puts out.

Anyway, while flicking through I saw a story about how David Cameron, our Prime Minister, had left a £50 tip for a £45 meal. Now, that’s frankly barmy. I mean, that’s a tip of over 100%.


Cameron- Big tipper.

The story was clearly intended to cause shock and irritation rather than respect for the PM’s generosity. It does seem a little bit excessive unless the service at that restaurant was unbelievably good.

Of course, the real reason for the excessive tipping might be to do with the fact that back in 2011, Dave caught a fair bit of flak because he didn’t tip an Italian waitress. He did go back and tip her extra shortly after, probably at the urging of his public relations team.

But I gotta say, I don’t think Dave was in the wrong for not tipping.

The story goes like this- he orders some coffees and asks if they can be brought out to his table outside, she says no due to being busy and he’ll have to collect them from the counter. Dave does this, has his coffee and leaves.

Why should he tip? What exactly did the waitress do?

I don’t always tip. In Costa they have a pot and if I get given a bit of change I’ll throw it in, but I don’t leave a tip on the table when I’m done. That’s not to say their not doing a great job down there, the staff are always friendly, on the ball and charming, but they’re just doing their job, and getting paid for it.

I’ve always seen tipping as being something you should do when the service is particularly good. When they’ve been especially accommodating, or prompt, or friendly.

When I was a kid we went on holidays one time and were having a meal out. My youngest sister was still a toddler and so my Mum was feeding her, meaning she couldn’t eat her own food, one of the staff at the restaurant saw this, pulled up a chair and fed my kid sister so Mum could enjoy her own meal. That deserved a big tip.

It’s a reward for good service, positive reinforcement for doing well in a way.

Tipping automatically is just dumb, adding a service charge to a bill doesn’t encourage good feeling or give any indicator of how well your waiting staff are actually doing. It means all your staff get the same tip, even if some are far better than the others.

Apparently tipping is a big deal over the pond, and in America you can be left waiting longer if you’re known to be a bad tipper. Well, that’s smart. Because being left sitting around longer is going to encourage you to tip more, isn’t it?

That pisses me off too, that they set a kind of standard for how much you should tip like this notice someone made:


Hey, buddy, I’ll decide when I think someone’s earned a tip, and when I do I’ll decide how much I leave, okay? (And don’t even get me started on the subject of American tourists and their conforming with local customs).

I don’t see why tipping is seen as something you have to do and that not doing it is a bad quality to have, it’s a personal choice. Tips are something extra, not the standard or the norm. That’s the point of them. Making them almost mandatory is against the whole idea.

Cameron shouldn’t have been forced to go back and tip a few days later, because he hadn’t done anything wrong.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


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