THE BLOG

Why I Am Giving Up Tipping, Part II

17/09/2014 12:00 BST | Updated 16/11/2014 10:59 GMT

I was under no illusion that my controversial last blog - where I came out to tell the world I had finally seen sense and given up on tipping - was going to leave me open to a lot of stick.

Yet, amazingly, I didn't even get one negative review for a blog that saw me receive more Facebook shares and likes than ever before.

It means I am clearly not alone in my hatred of the ludicrous, out-dated practice - and there is a groundswell of support for scrapping it altogether.

Since my last blog I have done more digging into the subject of tipping practices in other countries than the UK - and, given there are so many people who hold my views, I thought I would share what I found with the world.

The Japanese attitude to the practice says it all. They believe that, not only is tipping disrespectful, but it's akin to giving money to a homeless vagrant.

The Japanese suggest that being on the receiving end of a tip implies the tipper believes the server doesn't get paid much - when that couldn't be further from the truth.

When the bill arrives the presumption is that the owner of the restaurant has automatically included his labour costs - like any sensible business should - so no further payment is due.

And don't think for a moment that this no-tipping policy is limited to Japan. You might be surprised to learn that countries who do tip are very much in the minority.

In countries where tipping is not the norm, the general understanding is that tipping is a reward for those who go above-and-beyond to offer a top-quality service. However, the Japanese, for example, suggest that the employer is paying good money for their staff to do precisely that - and surely that work ethic cannot be faulted.

Of course, attitudes to tipping vary around the world. In China, traditionally nobody tips. In fact many Chinese believe tipping is the first rung on the ladder of corruption.

However, in the Arab world tipping is expected - but there they call it 'baksheesh', which literally translates to 'passed the wealth'.

When I was in Egypt recently, I noticed that if a beggar believes he has a few more coins than someone else he will actually put his hand in his pocket to help. I understand that attitude and commend that practice. That's altruism at its best.

Isn't it mad that, for years in the United States, it has been the norm to stick a $50 bill into the palm of maître d', to ensure that they give you a good table.

The word 'tip' is actually an American acronym for 'to insure prompt service'. It might surprise you to learn that, one upon a time, this was paid before the meal. It's easy to see why this custom is now paid after the meal...

If restaurant waiting staff thought very carefully as to who is really screwing them when they don't receive what they perceive as a decent gratuity from a customer, perhaps they should look no further than the real culprit...their employers.

Nobody is stiffing them more than their employers who are paying them $2.19 per hour in the hope they can rely on their customers to make up the shortfall. If you're looking for slave labour in the First World, then look no further than the restaurant business in the United States.

I know enough people who actually don't even want to go on holiday to the States any more because they find it embarrassing going to restaurants which have even gone to the bother of putting tick-boxes at the bottom of the bill for customers to decide whether they should pay 15%, 18%, 20% or 25% or more to be added to the bill.

And if any server ever believes that I'm going to be suckered into paying them a tip because they went to art school and know how to draw a smiley face on the bottom of the bill, believe me, they'll get it back with a smile heading in the opposite direction.