I’m broadly in favour of tipping. If someone performs a service and does it really well they should be rewarded. If it’s an awesome haircut, or a really well cleaned car, a particularly tender blowjob, or some exceptional table service, then by George they deserve a little something extra in their wallets or purses.
But they have to earn it in some way – either going above and beyond their usual job description or doing something really well. This is why I feel slightly aggrieved at the expectation to tip taxi drivers or waiting staff who are merely competent – I mean it’s what they’re paid to do, I don’t see why they should get a bonus just for doing their job. If a taxi driver provides some decent chat, and a waiter is particularly attentive, then that’s a different story, but often you end up automatically adding 10-15% for grumpy, indifferent service (don’t fall off your chairs American readers; that’s pretty average for these parts and our minimum wage is higher).
Anyhoo, I’m getting side-tracked, because while I find all of this annoying, it’s not something I particularly hate. No, what I hate is the presence of a tip jar on the bar of a pub.
Like a badly-designed videogame, this pisses me off on so many different levels.
For starters, at least waiting staff take your order, fetch your drinks, bring you your food and clean up after you. Even if they do it begrudgingly there’s at least some argument for tipping them. But a bloke pulling a few pints behind a bar? That I’ve had to walk up to and stand behind for 10 minutes waiting to be served because he didn’t serve people in the order they arrived? Who didn’t offer me a tray despite seeing me almost fail in accommodating four full glasses between my fingers? Who watched as I then had to precariously make my way back to my mates, trying desperately to avoid spilling anything with a packet of crisps clenched between my teeth? ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE?? YOU SHOULD BE TIPPING ME!
From the moment I decided to get in a round though to my eventual return back to my table of friends with the booze, it has been an arduous multi-step journey, of which your contribution was probably the most simple and straightforward. Why in the name of arse would I financially reward you for that?!
And then there’s the way the jar just kind of sits there, with a tattered piece of lined paper taped to it to indicate its ire-inducing purpose. Like they couldn’t really be bothered to do it properly; like they know it’s a bit of a punt, but what the hell, some gullible twats will probably fill it with change. Especially if we scribble a smiley face on it. Or attempt to be funny (yes, I know Tipping isn’t a city in China. That was funny in 1982. It’s wearing a little thin now).
Of course your posher drinking establishments will give you your change on a small silver tray, hoping you’ll be dazzled enough by a receptacle of such class that you’ll feel compelled to leave some of your coinage. If you’ve paid by card, they’ll even have a little space on the bill for you to add your gratuity. FOR POURING A FUCKING DRINK!
No, no, no, no, NO! I am not paying people extra for doing fuck all. If this becomes acceptable, what’s next? Giving the cashier at Tesco 10% of my shopping bill for adding up my groceries? Slipping the guard a fiver for checking my ticket on the train?? In fact, I might start putting a tip glass on my desk at work and see if I earn a little extra for that awesome PowerPoint I prepared for the last meeting.