The Instigator
scriptcoder
Pro (for)
Winning
57 Points
The Contender
mongoose
Con (against)
Losing
41 Points

The Practice of Tipping should be Stopped immediately.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/27/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,332 times Debate No: 11564
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (23)
Votes (23)

 

scriptcoder

Pro

Tipping: The practice of giving an expected gratuity to a member of the service trade.

The practice of tipping is one of the most illogical and crazy behaviors in our society. As a consumer you are expected to tip certain people- but not others, and to always tip- but don't give too little! Frankly the social rules of tipping can be a little confusing and arbitrary.

People who advocate tipping usually put forth the argument that the people working in the jobs where tipping is deemed acceptable are usually not payed enough. My full sympathies are with the worker. However the practice of tipping simply allows the employer to shirk on the responsibility of paying the worker a living wage. Tipping is the practice of playing the worker and the consumer against each other to the benefit of the employer. This is what the employer gets: he gets to advertise an artificially low price, and he gets to pay his workers a low wage, keeping more profit for himself, because the consumers will pay the worker for him.

This is a flawed system. In an ideal system we would simply have one price where all services and employees wages are built into that price. In fact we do have that "one price" in 99% of the services and products sold in our society. It is only in a specific few that the "one price" method becomes unworkable.

The practice of tipping is the sly maneuvering of business to have the consumer pay for the labour of the worker while business benefits. There are certain people that you are expected to tip, these include (but are certainly not limited to): the waiter, the delivery man, and the barkeep. But why do we tip these people and not others? Why doesn't the kid in McDonald's deserve a tip? Why doesn't the mechanic working on your car deserve a tip?

You might argue that the mechanic gets paid a pretty good wage already while the waiter relies on tips in order to feed her family. But whose fault is this? It is not that of the consumers. Instead the blame should be placed on the business that does not pay enough and the worker who does not leave for greener pastures and more gainful employment. Once everyone stops tipping one of two things will occur:

1) The business will be forced to pick up the slack and increase wages for their employees. Prices will go up but they will be lower (perhaps) then the price of the food now + tip. Everyone wins!
2) The employee can leave the job for another where minimum wage is honored. The employee gets a (somewhat barely) livable wage and the business is forced to do (1) in order to attract more employees. Everyone wins!

Please note that when I speak of tipping I do not mean tipping as a form of reward for good service. When an employee (of any field including highly paid ones) excels in their service it is appropriate to reward them. However tipping for the sake of tipping or tipping because a worker does not get paid enough doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

By tipping one may think that they are elevating the pain that the system places on the lower-class, however they are merely licensing it.
mongoose

Con

I thank my opponent for this debate.

My opponent's arguments are generally that the businesses that hire the people these people don't pay them enough, and that they keep the extra profits. This is extremely flawed. First of all, my opponent acknowledges that the practice of paying the workers less allows for the service, usually food, to be cheaper that it otherwise would be. This actually lowers the profit. There is no real way that the business can create an extra profit through this system.

Tipping also gives incentive for the waiter or waitress to be polite in serving the consumers. It relieves the burden of checking how well the staff is behaved to the people, who would be the best judges of quality for themselves. This creates overall efficiency in the system.

My opponent lists things that would happen if people stopped tipping. The first includes a "perhaps." This would not be the case. Quality would go down, as there is less incentive for the waiter to do an exceptional job. Number two supports the minimum wage, which should be abolished. It is just an extention of the same failed policy in number one.

Tipping does not cause pain.
Debate Round No. 1
scriptcoder

Pro

I thank my opponent for the well worded response. I would like to counter each paragraph separately.

"My opponent's arguments are generally that the businesses that hire the people these people don't pay them enough, and that they keep the extra profits. This is extremely flawed. First of all, my opponent acknowledges that the practice of paying the workers less allows for the service, usually food, to be cheaper that it otherwise would be. This actually lowers the profit. There is no real way that the business can create an extra profit through this system."

I never claimed that food prices were low because tipping subsidized them. I merely said that food prices would go up if employers were to grant a greater share of their profit to their employees. Businesses are accustomed to a certain amount of profit from the sale of their products. If they were suddenly forced to take on a new burden (such as providing a living wage to their employees) they would raise prices not because tipping subsidized them but because they would strive to maintain the profit margin they had become accustomed to. In other words they would pass on the new costs to the consumer instead of absorbing them themselves (this is not a bad thing).

"Tipping also gives incentive for the waiter or waitress to be polite in serving the consumers. It relieves the burden of checking how well the staff is behaved to the people, who would be the best judges of quality for themselves. This creates overall efficiency in the system."

This is an unreasonable assumption. I worked at a fast food establishment for many years. Metrics other then the amount of tipping were used to judge the quality of my work. I was encouraged to be polite, to serve food quickly, and to reduce mistakes and I accomplished these tasks not because I was expecting a doggy treat in the form of a tip but because that was my job and I was getting paid a fair price in return for performing those duties.

Most businesses judge their employees using metrics such as length of time cars wait in the drive-thru, and the amount of customer complaints. In addition performance reviews are conducted regularily to ensure that the quality of the work does not drop.

My opponent assumes that if tipping were done away with a waiter would cease to be helpful or polite to his patrons because he would have no expectation of a tip to reward decent (not even exceptional!) service. I would maintain that a well-paid waiter would want to be helpful. This "want" to be helpful could be because of a variety of reasons:

1) He is being paid a living-wage and doesn't want to loose his decent paying job because of poor performance.
2) Since the employer now treats him well the waiter has developed a sense of loyalty to the business and now makes a point of not disappointing the employer.

If tipping were required as an incentive to encourage performance to rise above unacceptable then people such as technicians, doctors, mechanics, janitors, fast food workers, writers, assembly line workers, etc.... would be performing appallingly. However if tipping is not required for good performance (as it obviously is not) then why tip a certain segment of the population? Why not use the same methods of metrics to judge their performance as we do to every other profession?
mongoose

Con

If the absense of tips would raise the price of the food, then logically the tips lower the price of food. You can't get around this. You also can't deny that the tip provides incentive to be good. If the service is poor, the customer has the power to leave no tip at all. I never said that it was in only incentive. Only that it is a good incentive.

My opponent acknowleges that he was getting paid a fair price. I do not assume that waiters would cease to be helpful. I just believe that there would be less incentive to do so. It is harder to for the business to judge the quality of the waiter's work than for the customer to do so. The slight increase in pay and absense of tips would not increase loyalty.

The reason that the listed profesions do not have tips is because they can easily be judged in performance. It would be insane to tip writers for their work, as they already have all of the incentive needed to write well and attract readers. It only works for jobs in which the person is providing a service that may or may not be of good quality and would be easily judged by the consumer. Mechanics are already payed fully by the consumer, so a tip would be redundant. I have seen many fast food workers with tip jars. Assembly line workers never come into contact with the buyer, so the buyer would have no way to know the quality of the individual's contribution. They would see a finished product and buy it from the company that pays the worker's full wage. It is easy for the company to judge the quality of a worker's finished work, as they must look at it once, not monitor them over a period of time. Tipping a janitor would be strange. Would some people walking down the hallway randomly give the janitor money? No. They are payed only by the people who own the hallway or area where the janitor works.

The reason that tips are only used in such professions is because they come in direct contact with the consumer, who then judges the quality of the performance.
Debate Round No. 2
scriptcoder

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for continuing the debate and raising several good points.

My opponent claims that "if the absence of tips would raise the price of the food, then logically the tips lower the price of food". This statement does not respond in any way to my explanation in round 2 so I assume that my opponent cannot counter it.

I do not deny that a customer has the power to decline leaving a tip. That is obvious. However the customer would still be looked down upon by the employee, the business, and society. A tip is no longer meant to reward good service but is expected for merely passable service.

My opponent says that an increase of pay to a livable wage would not increase loyalty. What proof does he have to support this statement? If a person is getting paid a wage that allows them to live comfortably they will tend to be at least more careful to not provide horrible service. They will not want to risk their job because it is a decent one.

The use of tips to reward good performance seems to be a central argument for my opponent. He maintains that if tips are not used workers such as waiters would not have the "incentive" needed to perform well. I maintain that a hourly wage is all the incentive necessary. If an incentive such as a tip was needed to motivate those who interact directly with the buyer or customer to work well, as my opponent claims, then why don't we tip non-commissioned salespeople? Why don't we tip mechanics that are not self-employed but work as part of a larger dealer? Why don't we tip the mailman? Or a fast food employee? All of those jobs require direct interaction with the buyer and buyers can easily "know the quality of the individual's contribution".

My argument is that tipping is done completely arbitrarily. Some people say we should tip some and not tip others. However there is no clear separation to determine who we should tip.

An aside here in case a weary argument is put forth as a last resort by my opponent. Some people argue that we need to tip waiters and delivery guys because they are not paid minimum wage. That is utter fabrication. There are both Federal and State (or Provincial) minimum wages. The employers must ensure the worker is paid at least that much. However some employers can use customer tips as a credit against the minimum wage. In other words, if the minimum wage is 8 dollars an hour and the employee received a dollar in tips then the employer can say that he doesn't need to pay that dollar to the worker since the worker has already been "paid" it. Then the employer only needs to pay 7 dollars. However if no tips are received then the employer cannot claim a credit and must pay the full 8 dollars.

Perhaps that will clear up the "tipping reduces prices" misconception. The employer builds into the price of the product (such as a dinner) a minimum wage for his employees. He expects to pay 8 dollars an hour. However if you tip a dollar then suddenly he doesn't have to pay that dollar. Do you expect him to pass on those savings to you? Absolutely not! He will pocket that dollar as extra profit.

There is no evidence that tipping reduces prices (since the employer needs to expect to pay a minimum wage anyways), there is no evidence that tipping is required as a service metric (otherwise the Customer Service reps at your local retails store would perform appallingly), and there is no explanation why tipping is seen to be required for some customer service positions and not others.

Thank-You.
mongoose

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for finishing this great debate.

My opponent's explanation in round two was as follows: "I merely said that food prices would go up if employers were to grant a greater share of their profit to their employees." This means that under the current system, including tips, food prices are lower than they otherwise would be. Otherwise, the absense of tips wouldn't be able to raise the price.

A tip is supposed to be greater for greater service. If service is excellent, it is higher than passable. For poor service, it is socially acceptable to leave no tip. In fact, it is better to leave no tip than just quarter.

My opponent claims that these people do not get payed a livable wage. Actually, including the tips, they tend to get a higher wage than many minimum wage workers. http://answers.yahoo.com... Here you find accounts of many people who say that as waiters and waitresses, they earned over the minimum wage when the salary is included. In this case, their loyalty is to the customers. This is a great incentive to not provide horrible service. This is enough to give the food servers incentive to give good service.

My opponent again claims that my argument is that tips are a required incentive. I am not making that point. I am saying that it is a good, added incentive to help increase the quality of service. As I have said before, fast food employees often do take tips. In these cases, the individual can give a tip. For the mechanic, the payment already has a direct correlation with the quality of the work. In the case of restaurants, the customer would have already paid for the food and not paid for the service. This is the only opportunity to pay for such.

The argument is not that "they don't earn minimum wage so we should tip them." The argument for why they receive less than the minimum wage is because they earn tips. Not the other way around. My opponet shows a clear misunderstanding of economics. The employer wouldn't build the minimum wage into the price of the products. He would lower the product's price to be competetive. The extra dollar would remain in the hands of the consumer, who would then use it for the tip.

In conclusion, tipping is not required for good performance, but it is a boost. There is no reason for it to be stopped immediately. Such would only be confusing. Vote CON

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by jeunine 3 years ago
jeunine
It can also be about hours. Restaurants need a certain amount of people but only for a few hours.
So you have to cut people when a rush is over, they might only get 3-4 hours, they cant afford
to pay them alot for only a few hours. Tipping can compensate.
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
The practice of tipping lowers the supply curve in affected industries.
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
Severely? Each side received two vote bombs.
Posted by mongoose 6 years ago
mongoose
Your point?
Posted by Atheism 6 years ago
Atheism
...Mongoose, you voted for yourself. Script did as well, but he didn't apply points. Also, you got votebombed severely.
Posted by mongoose 6 years ago
mongoose
"How can anyone give you sources points for Yahoo Answers?"

Because it was perfectly relevant and included statements by people who have received tips and their input.
Posted by Ninja_Tru 6 years ago
Ninja_Tru
This was a good debate. Scriptcoder, I think you made an interesting note in Round 3 when you said, "I do not deny that a customer has the power to decline leaving a tip. That is obvious. However the customer would still be looked down upon by the employee, the business, and society. A tip is no longer meant to reward good service but is expected for merely passable service."

Although I really enjoyed Mongoose's point about a tip being an incentive for the waiter to behave, I think that this argument you made would take this out. The incentive arg is a big part of the Con's strategy, and if you argue that tips no longer work like a rating system but more like a "Tips are expected" system, then the incentive thing is gone.
Posted by scriptcoder 6 years ago
scriptcoder
It appears that billbobjoesmithjr23 is vote-bombing all of my debates negatively against me. I urge all others in this community to report this unjust personal attack.
Posted by scriptcoder 6 years ago
scriptcoder
How can anyone give you sources points for Yahoo Answers?
Posted by mongoose 6 years ago
mongoose
How can anyone give scriptcoder the sources points?
23 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
scriptcodermongooseTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro adequately answers the question that there are greater incentives than tips for the workers such as evals from their employers. Con never answers the artificial lowering of price contention from Pro. Con however does make a good point about consumer choice, a point he should have greatly elaborated on.
Vote Placed by Tigs 6 years ago
Tigs
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