Gee Scott of KIRO Newsradio said we had to start over when it came to tipping.
Currently, Washington state law dictates that all tips belong to the employees, but management decides which employees receive the money. Some restaurants have ditched tipping, while others have added mandatory surcharges.
“How about a fresh start?” Gee said on The Gee & Ursula Show.
“All shops, restaurants with seats, there is no tipping,” Gee suggested. “Now the food has to go up by 20%? So where do I get that extra 20% to pay the surcharge? Of the 20% I wanted to tip.”
“But I think it’s gotten out of hand,” said Ursula, who believes tipping should change. “And I think we need to leverage it or maybe not start at 20%.”
She believes people should be paid a living wage before the discussion even moves to tipping.
“For people who depend on the service industry and the generous generosity of customers, the idea of not tipping could be problematic,” Ursula continued.
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Gee also said he had trouble with the concept of automatic tips, or a mandatory service charge. He doesn’t go back to stores that ask for tips.
“If you turn on automatic tipping for me, you won’t get a tip. If I see a service charge on my bill, you don’t get a tip,” Gee said. “I don’t like it when you spend my money. I’m a very good typist. I want to make that clear. I mean, very good typist. Let me give you a tip. You don’t tell me what I tip.”
The crew spoke about the origins of tipping and how the anti-tipping movement begins to take place.
“Some of the pioneers of that were spearheaded here in Seattle by companies like Tom Douglas. Virtually every restaurant that has tried to eliminate tipping has failed utterly,” said Andrew “Chef” Lanier, the show’s producer. “The whole reason many restaurants tried to get rid of tips in the first place isn’t necessarily because of the customers. That’s because they couldn’t keep kitchen staff and try to pay their kitchen staff fairly. So you might have a waiter who makes $75,000 a year who works six hours a day and a chef who makes $32,000 a year and works 8 to 10 hours a day.”
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“Where does the tipping culture in the United States of America come from, ladies and gentlemen?” Ge said. “The tipping culture came about because there were businesses that didn’t want to pay black employees. So, in order to get paid, black employees had to work for tips. And the reason the tipping culture became popular, hence why it’s problematic for business owners to pay their employees less and get us, the customers, to subsidize their income. I just want to get to the point where I go and I get my burger and I pay for my burger.”
Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin on weekday mornings from 9am to 12pm on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM.