Tipping: Minimum Wage and Good Service

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Tipping or Not Tipping?

Going to a restaurant or taking a taxi is a reason for me to ask myself “Should I leave a tip?” or “How much should I give?” The origin of the tipping customs is lost in past times. Over the years this customs has become more formal, although there are not written rules about it. Tipping customs shouldn’t be abolished because it helps workers to increase their salaries, it reflects the country’s culture, and it expresses the satisfaction for a good service received.

First, tipping customs helps workers to increase their salaries. Most of the waiters are students working part-time and being paid with minimum wage. For example, in Canada the student minimum wage is $9.60 per hour. Often, people working in restaurants or hotels, even if they are not students, are paid with lower wages, usually the minimum wage. Sometimes, people working in restaurants are people who lost their job, and they are on their way to another job more appropriate for their qualifications.

Secondly, tipping customs reflects the country’s culture. In some tourist destinations, for example Cuba, there is a “tips jar” in places like coffee shops, ice cream shops, cafeterias, even in retail stores. In Canada, when you pay at the restaurant with a card, you are asked about the amount for the tip. In addition, workers receiving tips must to report the income and pay income tax on it.

Finally, tipping customs expresses the satisfaction for a good service. Providing a good service increases the chances to gain a tip. Even there are not written rules, it is customary to tip approximately 15% on the total bill for the services provided by a waiter in a restaurant. Usually, in a hotel you tip the person that carries your baggage to the room, the valet service, or the room attendant, giving them $1 or $2 coins. Tipping is also customary for other service providers such as hairdressers, manicurists, and taxi drivers. In these cases the percentage of tip is really up...
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