Dave Candland’s little “Tip Jarring” rant in the June 25 Second Helping column of City Weekly bothers me.
Candland takes offense at what he calls a recent cropping up of ubiquitous tip jars and suggests that the only service-industry people who warrant tips are waitstaff and bartenders. On first read, his beef seems to be clear: You’re tipping for the effort involved—hence Candland’s acceptance of tipping waiters. He’s clearly confusing the issue, however, since he also supports tipping bartenders, who often do no more than pour a beer.
The issue isn’t that there are too many tip jars in too many places, but rather that service workers have come to expect a tip, and customers come to feel obligated to give one. We tip to ensure good service— of any kind. It’s not a matter of how much time goes into that service.
If you don’t tip your bartender, good luck getting another drink on a busy night. The same thing goes for coffee-shop baristas (whom Candland suggests not tipping)—you tip for a drink well-made and promptly served. So, if you feel ignored, rudely treated or underserved then, by all means, take Candland’s advice and “puff that chest out and walk by said tip container with pride.”
Moreover, service workers (in particular, waitstaff and bartenders) get paid below minimum wage for their labor, and tips make up the difference in their wages. While other service jobs may pay minimum wage, or perhaps slightly more, tips are still a significant part of their income. Without tips, a coffee-shop owner would have to double the price on that morning mocha in order to afford the needed wage for a skilled, competent barista.
If Candland doesn’t want to tip his barista, he should probably start brewing Folgers at home—but he clearly likes being served and not having to steam his own milk.
On a side note, I would like to also say I am pleasantly surprised that City Weekly published something that clearly criticizes the business practices of what I’m guessing makes up at least 25 percent of its advertisers. Way to not kowtow to the almighty dollar, guys!
Salt Lake City