I went through an experience I went through before, and didn’t want to repeat. But it happened, and now I’m actually kind of annoyed. So here’s my two cents on something I don’t want to spend even that much on – tipping.
The first time I got called out on tipping, or a lack thereof, was in a Korean restaurant with a friend. He paid by debit, I by cash, and neither of us bothered tipping. The waitress called us out in broken English, and elicited an excessively large tip brought upon by surprise and slight shame. We both thought it was a joke afterwards; after all, we had not forgotten to tip – it was a conscious choice. Still, we both agreed that it was more graceful to tip after being called out on it than to refuse outright, and forgot about the incident.
Until yesterday, when it happened again. As I was returning from the airport, I was once again called out on my lack of a tip. This time, it was slightly humiliating (or would be, if I actually cared about what the taxi driver thought of me). The charge was $49, which, to begin with, I thought was ludicrously high for approximately twenty minutes of smooth driving. The driver had struck up some friendly conversation, and asked if I would pay with cash or credit. I chose the former, and waited for one dollar of change. Instead of change, he took it upon himself to bestow some advice upon me. I’m not joking, he actually said this:
“You’re a young man, so let me give you some advice. In Canada especially, tipping is considered a normal practice. You may not know it. But people talk, you don’t know what they say behind your back, that these people are cheap, from this community. So you should always tip.”
I actually couldn’t believe it. I apologized unheartedly, considered tipping him out of spite or asking for my change, and instead thanked him for his service, and left. Still, I never thought that would happen to me. This driver had been nice to talk to – he knew I was a univeristy student. I’m assuming he was smart enough to understand that meant I wasn’t exactly making fat stacks, and wouldn’t bring it up. Besides, since when the hell do taxi drivers get tipped? No wonder no one ever wants to take a taxi. Ridiculous.
Forgive me if I’m incorrect, but when did tipping become obligatory instead of a token of gratitude? I thought tipping was what you did, or earned, after receiving or giving excellent service, after going above and beyond, after exceeding all expectations. And after the appalling behavior I’ve witnessed recently, that shouldn’t even be all to difficult to do. At this rate, in order to get tipped, maybe all you need to do is not ask for (or demand) a tip – that’s something most people don’t have the courtesy to do anymore these days, it seems.
Why does society put so much emphasis on tipping? Is it just Toronto where people are absurdly rude if you neglect to give them a couple extra bucks, or is this another part of adulthood which I’ve learned the hard way? In my opinion, if you need to ask for a tip, you don’t deserve it. That alone undoes any good you may have just done. Another thing that irks me is when you have to tip out of obligation, instead of of genuine gratitude. Or maybe that’s what tipping actually is in this society. Regardless, I’m not happy if I need to pay you extra just for doing your job. And contrary to what that taxi driver thought, I couldn’t care less what people who I’ll never see again think of me. Especially when they’re the ones resorting to asking for money – let’s call it what it is, disgaurd the thin veil – begging for money. No, I actually don’t give a damn what you think about me.
Also, if the rules don’t explicitly state that tipping is normal or expected, how can you be upset that some “young man” is unaware of said rules? Not that it would change anything – I’m still refusing to tip anyone anything unless they’re extraordinary, and the next person who asks for a tip from me is going to find out exactly that. It’s your job, for God’s sake – take the standard rate and do it with peace. If you’re poor, I’m poorer, and I’m not being fleeced another dime by this city.