Now that restaurants are re-opening across Canada in the wake of the recent wave of the pandemic, there are the expected complaints from hospitality businesses in finding it difficult to hire staff. Surprise, surprise, what did you expect? Especially in an industry relying on the demeaning system of gratuities to earn a living wage? It is time to put an end to gratuities in North America.
I remember the story of a friend visiting Tokyo with his wife. He thought he could defeat the no-tipping rule there by tucking some money under his plate. The restaurant owner ran after them for two blocks to return the money. The tourist did not realize he was insulting the proprietor. He was inferring that the owner did not pay his staff an adequate wage.
And, obviously, here in Ontario and in the rest of North America, we do not pay wait staff a proper wage. We are depriving these people of their dignity. We are paying them minimum wages and counting on the generosity of the customers to compensate for the stinginess of their employers.
And we are not even distributing these honorariums fairly. The system is so unbalanced as to be a disgrace. Is this the food chain in which people who like this type of work have to move up the ladder of life? Do they start as teenagers at fast food shops and work their way up to the expensive and ostentatious bistros with dinner charges, accompanied by just the right wines, that cost hundreds of dollars on the expense account?
And what is the difference between the two environments? It is the same job. It is the same terrible hours. The employees at the low end cannot all be young trainees. The employees at the top end cannot all be old and grey.
And why should all tipping be the same ’recommended’ 15 or even 20 per cent?
This was all confused when we had to pick up from our favourite restaurant or let Uber or others deliver. Why would you tip the driver the same percentage as you would tip for the service in the restaurant? Let’s turn this truck around.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to: