Chalk drawing - concept of tip

The GEM Debate:
Gratuity Grabbers: Should Restaurants Pay For THIS?

I tip too much.  Pretty much if someone shows up at my table, they get 15%; give me an extra breadstick or a smile and I have been known to go well over 25%. This is, of course, my choice. But restaurants in some places, namely New York City, are taking that away by adding gratuity to every bill, basically making a tip part of the price of the meal, and that really can’t be right.

There have been times when I can’t pay (or tip) a person to bring me a cold glass of water let alone anything from the bar while I wait for my server to find their way to my table. This usually happens in empty restaurants, thereby adding to my confusion. So you can imagine my indignation upon learning that some places put the tip added to my check automatically. I no longer control any part of the experience since the people serving me know a tip is already factored in.

Ah, but wait!  Here’s the debate.  Should that be the case?  Mandatory gratuity is being added to some bills in New York City (<—–Tweet this) and restaurants are now being sued to the tune of $5.5 million to rectify the practice.

I say, “Yay!”  These eateries should be ashamed! Tipping is a form of incentive; if I don’t do my work I don’t get my bonus.  Period.  In the world of dining experiences the customer becomes the evaluator and based on the service they receive reward that service with a tip. If every transaction is rewarded, why would anyone offer better service?  There’s no incentive and so each successive customer gets a shorter end of the stick.

Another bone?  According to the Fair Labor Standards workers who make tips can have a base salary lower than minimum wage.  Tips are supposed to be gained to supplement that lower income. If they don’t make their tips to get to minimum wage guess who picks up the difference?  Yup.  The employer.  So who does it benefit for automatic tips to be on the bill?  Ah… It would seem that instead of just creating an environment of good customer service whereby tips would flow freely, employers are padding the bill and calling it a “tip.”  Here’s a tip: Better service equals better tips so start there and not in my wallet.

Now, I get that not everyone is an over-tipper or even a tipper. There are some who, no matter how good the service,  aren’t leaving anything for those who waited on them. I don’t really know what to do about those people, but I concede that businesses shouldn’t have to augment the pay.  There must be a middle ground somewhere and I think this is what the restaurant industry is trying to address except the voice of the consumer wasn’t really involved in the process.

So what do you guys think?  Should we have to foot an additional bill or is tipping a courtesy?  Let’s hear ya!

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