• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Tipping point

I have mixed feelings about this, but as long as it was a decision made by restaurant management and not the result of a government edict, it probably wouldn't affect my decision on whether or not to patronize a particular place:

Imagine that the next time you went out for a nice meal, the tip line had disappeared from the bottom of the receipt. Admit it, after some initial puzzlement, you’d probably feel a sense of relief—and that’s exactly what happened to diners at a high-end sushi restaurant in New York City, Sushi Yasuda, which recently eliminated tipping and integrated the cost of the service into the food, in an effort to give diners more of a true Japanese dining experience.

Having dined in Tokyo, I first applauded the idea—eating out in Japan, or paying the bill anyway, is a refreshing experience for an American. The bill is what it is—no math, no guilt about wondering if the waiter has to split his tips, or if he’ll lose a cut to the credit card company. And there are no games, like in Europe, where you think there’s no tipping, but the guide books tell you that you’re supposed to round up and leave your change. Tipping is so unwelcome in Japan, some servers even find it offensive.

So what if more American restaurants followed suit and started to pay waiters and waitresses a salary?

On the negative side of tipping, I'm usually a 20-percent guy, so I'm helping subsidize the cheapskates who leave 5 or 10 percent. On the positive side, if I'm a regular and get a reputation as a good tipper, I'm more likely to get very good service. And I have a way to protest really lousy service by stiffing the really lousy server.