The Advent of Riding a Bus - Economic Reflection on Tipping

Commuting through a bus is a great place for me to reflect upon myself. I grab my phone, read an article, reflect, and argue with myself the whole trip. I love how it keeps me engaged making the topic more interesting to question. I am a huge fan of thought-provoking ideas like the ones you see in TED and on my last bus ride, I was listening to Freakonomics, a podcast that explores the hidden side of everything. I was listening to the episode "The No-Tipping Point" and it got me interested in what if we remove tipping as a norm. In the United States, tipping is an unspoken rule whenever you avail of any service-related work. 15% is the ideal range though it varies depending on your generosity. If you eat in a resto for $20, you give in $3 which gives you a precedent total of $23. Insane right? I'm not a fan of tipping since it's an additional expense to my budget but I hope that someday there would be a call to action to this norm. I get it that people receive tips that are low-wage workers but I think its best to increase the price and distribute the money.

Now with the podcast, it explained the opposite. I loved how the restaurant (in the podcast) introduced the idea of not welcoming tips and followed the idea I mentioned. First of all, tipping is optional and people have to be aware of that. I know this is a no-brainer but if you left a restaurant without leaving a tip (at least in the United States), it feels like you're a douchebag and your conscience will just force you to leave a bill. Since it's not mandatory, there's discrimination involved. What if the person is black or unattractive? Would you give a good tip compared to the latter? Over time, this could discourage workers from their work once they figure out they are given lower tips than their counterparts. Tipping provides a wage discrepancy and it's quite unfair that people may receive different pays from another.


Second, this encourages restaurants not to pay below the minimum. Tipping may involve corruption and knowing that employees are paid from another income, employers could lower down the salary cap. They could potentially take advantage of tipping resulting in the employee suffering the consequence.

Third, customers can confidently budget their expenses. This is the reason why I avoid eating in restaurants (despite expensive food). I'd rather walk or take the subway than ride a taxi. I'd rather eat in fast-food chains than eating at this all-hyped restaurant. Sometimes we can't predict what to buy and much can we eat during our course of stay. I know we can do pre-calculations beforehand but having the confidence of paying the exact amount written on the receipt will not make you feel bad.

Lastly, it doesn't contribute to the economy. Tips aren't taxed and only go directly to the pockets of the worker. By having increased price without encouraging tips, part of the money you pay will go to the economy and it kinda makes you a contributor to whatever the money is used for projects or some causes for welfare.

These are some thoughts that trickled me and your views might differ. Who knows what other thought-provoking topics I might run into but I hope it becomes more interesting and something I could write on my blog.

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