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Letter: To tip or not is within control of paying customers
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In his recent letter, Tom Day suggested when restaurants implement a no-tipping policy, he loses his freedom to reward good service or withhold reward for poor service.

Someone should remind him it’s still a free country. He doesn’t have to eat at an establishment that calculates tips automatically if he disagrees with that. However, restaurants have traditionally calculated tips for parties of six or more, so it’s really nothing new.

If Day receives poor service, he can discuss the bill with the manager. On the other hand, if he appreciates the quality of service he receives, he can choose to tip anyway. It’s not a crime. It’s advisable to check the menu and posted signage for a tip policy and related information before ordering. As they say, forewarned is forearmed.

It’s true most customers will tip based on service quality, and that’s as far as Day goes. However, its not the end of the story. Other patrons may refuse to tip their server based on the customer’s perception of the server’s race, color, religion, sex, nationality, age, politics, lifestyle, sexual orientation or marital status. When it comes to tipping habits, some people are cheap, dishonorable and even caddish. All these things Day misses or intentionally overlooks. The good news is a no-tipping model resolves most of these issues with one uniform standard for all.

Day claims tips increase income inequality, which constitutes the proverbial “carrot on a string” that causes a society to progress economically. In that regard, I’d like to ask Mr. Day if he tips his doctor, his dentist, his pharmacist, his weatherman, his auto mechanic, his child’s teacher or his insurance agent. These are all service-based businesses, and they typically lack the service quality feedback Day thinks is so critically important in restaurants. I wouldn’t want those good people to miss out on the wonderful educational opportunity provided by Day’s tip-based economic theories.

Day apparently prefers to see the no-tipping policy of some restaurants as creeping socialism, which he is clearly against. Of course, if anti-socialism is Day’s philosophy, he might prefer to demand elimination of Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps and progressive income tax instead of focusing on his server’s tip. He might also wish to demand elimination of most forms of insurance, because insurance is effectively a form of voluntary socialism designed to cover each enrollee according to their need, and spread that cost against the capital means or ability of all.

Therefore I should ask: How pure is Day’s political ideology? Where has he drawn the line? Why single out the waitress and give a pass to the rest?

The best rule is if the world changes in ways you don’t like, vote with your feet. It’s more effective than writing a letter to the editor, but it probably wouldn’t offer an opportunity to make political inferences and engage in campaign propaganda, which I think is the real agenda here.

My advice: Say grace, eat well, tip wisely, and vote your conscience.

Bruce Vandiver

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