I sit with people after a lovely meal and see the scraps of change that are left as a tip afterwards, crumbs cast down dismissively and faintly contemptuously it seems.
In some countries where labor is cheap and time means little restaurants hire ranks of waitrons (talk about a dehumanizing term) they stand in the back and wait their turn, a bit like the LBJs winging in for a dash at the dropped crusts under the tables.
In other countries waiter are a full profession. They do not live on or for tips, their service and expertise is part of the price.
What is it about our hunger for a bargain — oversized, heaped plates delivered by a person we can see through, and walk out stuffed again clutching our wallets, confident that we weren’t taken for a ride that we got a deal and a good deal more, “and isn’t it shocking what they expect us to pay for a meal these days, why I remember…..”
Though, true story, I got a dirty look and a tongue lashing from a waiter in Boston for only tipping 15%. That seemed excessive the other way. h
Here’s to the middle path, in tipping as in all things.