I'm as liberal as the next guy. I enjoy sticking it to the man by watching Keith Olbermann, listening to Pearl Jam, and always taking from the penny tray but never giving back. But there's one societal custom on which I am strongly conservative: tipping.
Just doing our job, rich people.Whenever I start to bitch about how I hate the practice of tipping, my dad always tells me a story about when his father went on strike from his job in the 60's, and his mom had to go to work as a waitress, and how his family survived on tips. And while that's very touching, I call bullshit. Because isn't the first question in an ethics class always, "Would you steal bread to feed your family?" Obviously my grandpa's answer was "No." Instead of going to the supermarket and jacking all the food he could, he relied on my grandma's tips. This family history is a source of great personal embarrassment.
Bartenders aren't doing anything so extravagantly beyond their job description to warrant receiving extra money.Now, don't get the wrong impression. I'm not some cheapskate who takes pride in jewing everyone over. Quite the contrary, when I have money, I'm like De Niro in Goodfellas: taking care of everyone, buying drinks, acting like a true gentleman. It's not giving away the cash that bothers me, it's the principle itself.
Let's take waitresses for example. People always say that waitresses' wages are so low because restaurants account for the fact that they will make a lot of money through gratuity. Well, that's not my problem, is it? If a waitress has a problem with her salary, she should take it up with her employer. I'm not her boss. Don't expect me to compensate her because she has a shitty job.
Another argument is that if a waitress provides good service, she deserves some extra dough. This is patently false. She is doing her job. I'm pretty sure acting in a decent manner is expected of a waitress. If she gets extra money for being nice, why don't I get my meal for free when the waitress is a bitch?
What about the contrast between cab drivers and bus drivers? Cab drivers are usually assholes who put your life at risk by driving like they're Speed Racer. They're abrasive, harsh, and generally have the disposition of a Gringott's goblin (is it exceptionally nerdy to drop in a Harry Potter reference?). Bus drivers, on the other hand, are kind, welcoming people. Usually it's an old man who looks so withered that he could pass for a World War I veteran, or a large black woman whose pants are so tight they look like they've been sprayed on. Regardless of their appearance, bus drivers are the cream of the crop—they can get you where you're going on time, and afterwards you don't feel like you just rode in a Podrace. But in the end, who gets tipped? Motherfucking cab drivers. The entire system is completely out of whack.
Need more evidence? OK. Bartenders. I read somewhere that they expect a dollar tip per drink. Bullshit. You know what I did last night? I drank two forties and watched American Beauty. And had a hell of a time. All for under $4.50. And now you want me to pay $10 to get into a bar, god-knows-how-much on shit drinks, and tip the bartenders a dollar per drink?
Again, bartenders aren't doing anything so extravagantly beyond their job description to warrant receiving extra money. If I go to a convenience store, and the clerk helps me find something, am I slipping him an extra couple of dollars? Fuck no. I used to work at a library. When I had to sit around for fifteen minutes and explain to a 95-year-old woman that the Left Behind books were in fact a fictional series, and the Rapture was not currently under way, did I get tipped? When I would go plead with the homeless people to stop sleeping on the beanbag chairs in the children's area, did I get tipped? When a sweaty, 400-pound man would ask me for the internet porn access code, and I legally had to give it to him, did I get tipped? The answer to all of those questions is a resounding "no." Because I was doing my fucking job.
Like I said, this is a somewhat conservative argument. Maybe I can convince you if I pontificate in the manner of Bill O'Reilly:
TIPPING! Are you insane?! Re-distribution of wealth! You pinko commie bastard! I had sex with three 19-year-old hookers in the back room of a dry cleaners in Thailand, and you know how much I tipped them?! Fucking zippo! This is just another liberal ploy to drive this country to socialism, and re-invigorate the policies of that tyrant, FDR!! You know how much I make every year?! A-fucking-lot! And you know how much of it goes to tipping?! Zero!! THE SPIN STOPS HERE!!
P.S. George Clooney's a douche, NBC News is corrupt, and Barney Franks's a fag. WE'LL DO IT LIVE!!
And if we can't trust Bill O'Reilly, who can we trust? Oh, I know—Dwight Schrute. What are his thoughts on the matter?
Why tip someone for a job I'm capable of doing myself? I can deliver food. I can drive a taxi. I can, and do, cut my own hair. I did, however, tip my urologist, because I am unable to pulverize my own kidney stones.
Indeed, Mr. Schrute. Indeed.