Thursday, May 08, 2008

Wednesday Poll: Global Warming And Tipping

The votes are in.

Our last poll asked what you thought of global warming and, in particular, humankind's ability to solve it. Did you think that (a) the problems of collective action, free-riding, and short term costs vs. long term benefits make it next to impossible to deal with, or (b) that we're an intelligent species that has solved a number of grave issues in our time on this planet, and will therefore figure something out about climate change too? In a relative landslide, (a) beat (b) 72% to 28%. So our readers basically think we're doomed. I, by the way, am inclined to agree.

This week we want to know about the practice of tipping. Specifically, should it be outlawed? I ask because I consider tipping to be an extremely annoying practice that often causes confusion (for everyone), resentment (for those being tipped) and guilt (for those doing the tipping). Given different cultural and social contexts, different amounts or percentages are considered appropriate. Why not scrap the whole deal and simply include the price of service in the cost of the product (I never once tipped in Paris restaurants because they include the gratuity in the bill)? This will ensure simplicity and preclude the possibility of hard feelings.

On the other hand, many consider tipping to be perfectly fine, and a valuable way to incentivize good service. With the promise of a tip at the end of a service provided, the thinking goes, you are more likely to receive good service. In addition, it is considered a nice way to show appreciation for those invariably making less money than you (waiters, the people who carry your bags in hotels, cabbies).

So what say you, loyal readers? Should tipping be banned or is it fine the way it is?


adeel said...

Can you change it to "and it is a nice way to show appreciation for those who put in the extra effort to make whatever service it is a very pleasant experience"?

I'd go for the second but don't agree with the less money than you part.

naqiya said...

i think there needs to be a third option: tipping to show your gratitude for good service, but revising the old system for a newer one that does not cause as much confusion, resentment etc.? Maybe having a suggested tipping%, so people can give less or more accordingly?

Anonymous said...

Speak for yourself but I know that most NY cabbies make more than I do. Should they be tipping me?

Ahsan said...

Adeel and Naqiya:

As Don Rumsfeld might say, you go to the polls with the question you have, not the question you want.


The point about "suggested" tipping is that in different countries, hell for different contexts in the same countries, the amount you're supposed to tip wildly differs. Why not do away with the concept altogether, like slavery?


Hahahaha I don't want this to become a race to the bottom, but I can promise you that I make less than you (grad student). All I'll say is: there is a reason no one thinks of tipping lawyers or personal finance people, even though they provide a service just as much as waiters or barbers do. Yes, individual cases may vary, but in general, people who are broadly considered to make less than the patron get tipped. That's my view, anyway.

ralam said...

Written like a man who has never worked for a living.
If you put the tip into the cost of the meal, restaurants will start taking a cut of it. The tip is meant to be for the poor sod who brings you your food. Spare him Rs. 20, you kanjoos.