Sunday, May 15, 2016

Troublesome tipping

Many Japanese including me are annoyed to tipping in a foreign country.

Recently, the Guardian published an article about tipping policy. In this article, some waiters were asked about the status in which how much they earned with tipping and how did they feel about it. The answers were various. They rely on tips in their income to some extent, particular in the US. Some of them were confused in judgment whether the tipping policy is fair.

The Guardian: Waiters reveal what they really think about tipping

In the UK, there is no legislation about paying the money to waiters which were gain as tips. Even some restaurants set policy in which waiters have to compensate the money when they missed getting the tip from customers. The government is willing to clarify the system of tipping, let customers know that tipping is voluntary.

In my London life, I was often asked to pay a tip. In most cases, I obeyed the request. I sometimes felt not willing to pay the tip because waiters were rather rude or the service was not satisfactory. I dared not to argue it, but regulatory paying tips are not proper in terms of expressing my feeling about the service quality.

There is another point of discussion. The tip is hardly perceived by the employer. In the UK, many restaurants adopt tip payment using a credit card. But in some restaurants, we pay the tip with coins and notes. In such cases, the waiter need not to report how much they got. In other words, they have no incentive to report it correctly. Unreported tips are not subjected to taxation. I wonder how much is the money having not added up to the income, for this reason, is in the US, where approximately the half of a waiter’s income is from the tip.

In Japan, we seldom pay the tip. Some wealthy people are willing to pay additional money to the waiter or other service providers for improved service. But some people dislike their behavior as causing inequality. Officials are prohibited from receiving tips in any occasion. If revealed, they are to be punished. It is evident that officials are servants for not particular citizens but all. However, some specialists, such as medical doctors in a public hospital, tend to have an opportunity to receive a tip. Most hospitals declare the employees must not take any tips. Some patients attempt to give money to them, nonetheless.

Tipping is originated from an expression of thankfulness, I guess. It is difficult to include it in a stable system. A payment system to employees which estimates the amount of the tip is problematic, in my opinion. I never receive a tip, but you can hold it without reporting.

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