Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tipping / チップ

Japanese is written after the English. 英語の後に少し日本語がある。

English:
There was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on Tipping. It talks about how some are trying to get restaurants to automatically add a 20% tip on to bills. I think this if going too far.

Actually I don't like tipping at all. Back when tipping was more of something you do to show appreciation for excellent service, it probably did a lot to motive the staff. But now that tips are something that is expected, it does nothing to motive workers to provide better service. So what are we paying a tip for?

Instead, it just hides the price of what you are buying. If you order $100 worth of food and drink, it actually costs about $130 after tax and tip are added.

I like Asia better, where tipping is not the norm. You know the price you will have to pay right up front without having to calculate anything. And the service provided is always very high anyway.

I did give a tip to a taxi driver in Korea once. It was a nominal amount, as compared to the States - maybe a dollar or two. This taxi driver was working on a national holiday, so I wanted to show my appreciation. I used my rudimentary Korean language skills to explain this.

日本語:
今随意は随意だ、けどこのサンフランシスコ・クロニクル(新聞)の記事によると人は自動的に20パーセントの相場のチップを勘定に加えるそうだ。馬鹿だろう。実は今のアメリカのチップの事も馬鹿だろう。チップの事が嫌い。

アジアのチップのほうがいいと思う。アメリカにレストランのコストは食べ物と飲み物とタックスとチップだ。もし食べ物と飲み物は$100だったら、$130ぐらいを払う。嫌だよ。アジアには$100ものを注文したら、$100を払う。

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7 Comments:

At 5:39 AM, Anonymous 香梨 said...

This is a tricky issue. As someone who supported myself through undergrad and before grad school waiting tables, let me explain some of the economics behind it: Servers make minimum wage (less in some states like AZ) and are taxed not on their wages but their sales. If a server works at an expensive restaurant and gets bad tips, s/he ends up actually losing money. In Japan, those who work in restaurants are either paid a wage they can live off of, still live with their families and thus have lower living costs, or simply live in a state of debt. Remember also they probably have health insurance too (it's possible to get health insurance if you work at a chain restaurant, but not all non-chains offer it). It's true that the service there is consistently of a better standard (and of course this blanket statement is debatable), but you're comparing apples and oranges. Not only is there a cultural imperative to act as politely as possible to the 客様、but also you have only been able to enjoy restaurant service as an exalted foreign guest, probably with a lot of high powered Japanese businesspeople as your company. I can't speak for all servers in the US, but I know that I always worked hard every shift. I also was a full time student or a full time office worker, so there were times when I was working 17-hour days to make ends meet, plus I was training for triathlons, so I may have appeared a little tired from time to time. All I know is that I did my best and guests were generally quite fair with me, and for that I am grateful. Their paying me 20% of their bills was the reason I was able to improve my life. If minimum wage adjusted with inflation, it would be nearly $19/hour now, and that is not adjusting for costs of living in places like SF. I don't see legislation to realistically increase minimum wage happening anytime soon, so the tipping custom is here to stay. It's rough to think about tipping a server who seems apathetic, inept, or just plain rude. I would recommend that a server who is cordial and professional always receive at least 20% of the bill though. It's a silly system, but it's what we have for the time being, so ちょっとしょがない。

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger PeterD said...

香梨さん - thanks for the comment. I definitely wouldn't want the servers to not get paid what they deserve.

I am more suggesting that if a tip will be automatically added to my bill, it should instead be added to the price of the food and I should be a told that the service charge has already been added. This way I see the true price of what I will have to pay right up front.

Whether this is done or not, I will pay the same amount. But this allows me to more easily understand how much I will be paying.

 
At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree - I think adding 20% to every menu item and noting that the gratuity has already been figured into the food costs is a classy way of doing it. I know Chef Keller (same one as the SFC article you tagged) includes the gratuity at French Laundry in Napa http://www.frenchlaundry.com/tfl/tflmenu.htm.

 
At 7:03 AM, Anonymous princessruby said...

Tipping is not a compulsory custom here in Australia. If you like services you have received and feel like, you may give some tips. Nobody would complain if you do not give a tip to a wait person. Maybe because all workers used to be protected by laws that are rapidly changing under the Howard government.

If you do not like tipping as compulsory, why don't you come over here? ;) You cannot expect great services, but at leaste, you have freedom to choose whether you tip or not.

 
At 8:18 PM, Blogger PeterD said...

Australia is one of the places I would consider moving to. I liked it a lot the one time I visited.

 
At 9:54 AM, Anonymous gck said...

Tip is one of the things that bug me as well. Right when I came back from Japan, I was most disappointed with the service I get at a restaurant and the tips just add to the disappointment. (And since I am Chinese and not with any high power businessman, the "exalted foreign guest" did not explain the excellent service I received.) I guess you don't pay tip in Korea as well. But you do pay tip on regular and higher-end restaurants in Hong Kong.

 
At 9:55 AM, Anonymous gck said...

Tip is one of the things that bug me as well. Right when I came back from Japan, I was most disappointed with the service I get at a restaurant and the tips just add to the disappointment. (And since I am Chinese and not with any high power businessman, the "exalted foreign guest" did not explain the excellent service I received.) I guess you don't pay tip in Korea as well. But you do pay tip on regular and higher-end restaurants in Hong Kong.

 

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