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Daily Archives: December 11, 2009

Another perspective on tipping – this time from a snotty Canadian columnist

He trots out every anti-tipping cliché. I won’t comment too specifically on the article because the economics of restaurants in Canada are different. Canadian waiters get paid more of a living wage than we do in the States, but it’s my understanding that they still derive a good portion of their income from tips. And I’m not sure what the “standard tip” is in Canada. I’ve heard conflicting things about it.

Needless to say, it’s hard for me to determine how much of the menu price already helps cover the waiter’s wage in Canada. However, here in the States, the menu price covers virtually nothing of the wage (even in those three states on the West coast that pay $8.00 an hour, the cost of living eats most of that up).

So I hope that if Mr. Thompsett visits the US, he throws out all of that claptrap about charity and sweatshops and the like. Here in the States, we simply pay our service charges separately and with the ability to modify it according to the level of service that we receive. It’s actually a pretty logical system if you think about it, but it only works if the vast majority of people “play fair”.

Check out a “point/counterpoint of this article at Tip20!:

PS, if I were a Canadian waiter, I’d probably pay a night’s tips to watch the author of this piece set himself on fire.

PPS, perhaps our friend Steve over at Waiter Extraordinaire (see my blog role for a link to his nice blog) could talk about the history and custom of tipping in Canadian restaurants. And perhaps give us some insights on the economics that underpin the concept of tipping over there. Here’s, it’s fairly cut and dried – it’s pretty easy to tell that tipping really isn’t “optional” because waiters get paid so little. It seems that the waters might be a little muddied when the waiter makes well over what would be considered a “minimum wage” but not as much as the market would bear. Also, it seems like it would be a little confusing based on whether or not the GST and provincial taxes were or weren’t bundled in the price.