Those of you who regularly read my columns know that my brain is very special. The craziest thoughts get stuck in my blonde head and the longer that thought is running around in my brain, the more likely it is to go haywire in a variety of directions before I am done with it. These thoughts eventually turn into words and get sent to you to read over the weekend with morning coffee. This weekend will be no different, my dear readers, because I totally got hung up on practice of tipping and what it all means and how it got started.
The practice of tipping the waitstaff in an eating establishment started in England and made its way to Colonial America. The term "tip" is thought to have originally been an acronym meaning "To Insure Promptness". Tipping servers in restaurants has long been customary in the United States, but how much to tip seems to confound some people. I recently went away for a few days with a group of friends. We ate in restaurants at every meal and it was very relaxing and quite fun to spend that time dining together. When the check came, we divided up the total by the number of people at the table. That's the easy part. My friends would never start taking inventory of who ate what because they simply are not like that. They also know that my head would explode. They wouldn't be my fiends if they were worried about who had what. The check was divided by six and that was it. Then came the discussion about the TIP and what the percentage should be, what kind of job the server did, and so on. Do we add on 15%, 20% or more because we were a party of 6? Was the fact that we had to ask for more butter twice a reason to subtract percentage points from what we leave our waiter? I listened carefully to what everyone was saying and kept quiet. I can't expect the rest of the world to embrace my philosophy on tipping in restaurants, so I just join in with what everyone else decides and if I don't think it's enough I add to it when nobody notices or slip extra to my server on the way out. I am a big tipper because I am so damn grateful that I never had to be a waitress and I appreciate what they do. I even tip well when they suck because I figure that they may not have a job for long. It's kind of my own little personal charity.
So, now I was curious about tipping in general. There's been a lot written about it so I looked it up. We tip in the U.S., but there are lots of places in the world where they don't. If you are not a fan of tipping, then a move a move to Austrialia, Croatia or Greece might be an option. They don't expect it in those places. Countries like France and Italy add it to your bill before you get it. There are also countries that find a gratuity to be an insult.
The fact that we tip our waiters and waitresses in America is a necessary custom. Did you know that waitstaff in this country depend heavily on gratuities to survive? The Wall Street Journal reported that 15% of waitstaff in this country live below the poverty level as compared to other hourly workers where only 7% fall into that category. When reading up on this subject I also learned that waitresses who are pretty earn more tips and strangely enough studies show that female servers who wear a barrette or flower in their hair make better tips. I was delighted to learn that a 20% tip is closer to the standard in restaurants these days, so people are paying up to be served. I read that tipping cab drivers 20% is considered the going rate, but here's where I get tough. If they don't willingly handle my luggage, or if they smoke in the car or talk on the cell phone instead of paying attention to the road, their tip dwindles with every infraction. I can deal with a disgruntled cab driver, but the people who handle my food and my dining experience are well taken care of.
Tip of the Iceberg
The words "tip" and "tipping" just wouldn't leave my head. Maybe because they are both pretty cut words. Whatever it is, my brain skipped around and landed on "tip of the iceberg". This refers to a small, noticeable part of a problem, the total size of which is really much greater.
How about tipping your hat? Where did that come from? When men wore hats as part of everyday dress, lifting the brim of the hat from the head for a moment was considered a polite, non-verbal way to show recognition, gratitude, or a simple greeting to another person. How adorable is that? My brain was still going and I thought about something being on the tip of my tongue or how mischievous it felt to be tip-toeing for some reason. Yep, I got hung up on tip/tipping and I dragged you along with me! I know I have to stop this madness, but not just yet. Stick with me through just one more!
Is it a real thing or just legend? Before I get off my journey on The Tipping Express, I have to know.
ow tipping is purportedly the activity of sneaking up on an unsuspecting upright sleeping cow and pushing it over for entertainment. I was relieved to find out that it's just an urban legend and does not really exist. Good to know. I like cows.
Well, I'm done for now and my mind is now empty for the time being. Whew! That was exhausting...
Talk to you next week. Love you. Mean it.