I’ve Got A Tip For You

What’s the thing with tipping? I realize I am definitely in the minority here, and I’m certainly not trying to be rude or insensitive or a smart-ass. I just don’t get it.

You walk into a coffee shop and they charge you $4 or whatever for your drink. In my opinion, that price should cover not just the material costs of your beverage, but also pay for the assembling of said beverage. That is, after all, why you are shelling out money to Starbucks rather than making your own drink at home. You are paying for the convenience and service, and thus it also costs more than making a drink at home. So why are we expected to tip extra for someone who just did what they get paid to do? To me, that’s like tipping your dentist for filling your cavity.

Hair salons are another example. I am paying someone a set price for the act of cutting my hair. So why am I expected to tip extra on top of that? Having them wash or style my hair costs extra, so it’s not like they have any material cost to cover. The price is purely what they deem their service to be worth plus the overhead cost for renting a place to do it in.

I’m not against the idea of tipping someone who goes above and beyond what is expected. The babysitter who always shows up early, sometimes with gifts for your children, and leaves the house cleaner than when you left certainly deserves to have you round up when you write her check (and also likely a nice gift at Christmas). It is the socially accepted and somewhat expected norm of tipping for doing your job description – for which you already get paid – that I have a problem with.

Am I alone in this? I hate that I’m made to feel guilty when I don’t tip, but I dislike even more being expected to pay 20% more than the set price for a service without questioning it. Is there some aspect of this I’m missing? I promise I’m not some frugal, miserly shrew. I just don’t get it.

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