A Friendly Tip

Okay, I realize that the timing of this post is going to make it sound a little bah-humbug-ish, but it still needs to be said. I have a personal rule about tipping: if you don't provide the service, you don't get the tips.

No, no, I mean, I'll leave a tip regardless (of service), but the question is how much. And I definitely don't tip 15% as a "just because" standard: I tip 10%, and it can go either way from there based on the experience of the event.

I can hear a lot of you (certainly if you've had a job before in a service industry) who are screaming bloody murder, going,

"Waiters/waitresses/service people rely on tips to survive, since their wages are low."

Well, guess what? I don't give a sh!t if the wages suck -- they took the job and they knew how much they were going to be paid, and they knew very well that part of they livelihood relied on that tip income. So, logically, instead of just expecting a fat tip at the end, isn't really just all the more reason for them to do a good job at whatever it is they're doing??
Consider it a performance bonus: you perform (or exceed expectations*) and you get a nice bonus; if you don't, you'll know that you deserved it.

I've been in a position like that before, and no tipping was allowed, but we still did a good job.

Look, I don't mind tipping handsomely if I'm pleased with the experience, but they need something to show for it. I once spotted a cab driver an extra $20 for racing me to the airport because I was late for a flight. I've paid extra when I found service staff extremely attentive, elevating the experience of our stay at a hotel or all those kinds of things. I think that's fair.

In Taiwan, there's no tip. And taxes are included in the price: it's WYSIWYG. One might expect service in Taiwan to be fairly crappy, but the culture has been educated to a point where the service is courteous and polite (albeit it sometimes difficult to get a point across). That said, some restaurants are getting into the (horrible) habit of tacking on a 10% "service charge" for basically no reason -- the service staff don't see any of it, and the restaurant pretty much uses it to cover their basic wages instead.

Alright, let the flaming begin.
* Don't forget that the quality of service is directly measured against the customer/client expectations.

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