One of the nice things about eating in pubs is that you do not have to worry about the awkward moment at the end when your card is put into the machine to pay. They do not ask for a tip in pubs, do they?
Well, if it is the Plough and Sail at Snape they do now. I went there yesterday and on the card machine up came the dreaded question: “Would you like to add a gratuity?”
These machines all seem to be slightly different, but in this case the waiter was helpful and said, “Press the yellow button if you don’t want to.” Waiters turn their backs as you put in your pin but you know they will see there is no tip when they print the receipt.
For years I have suffered from indecision but solved that a some time ago by deciding I would always answer that I did not want to tip.
I did not remember a tip being suggested when I was last in the Plough and Sail. A web search showed that the pub had changed hands in March.
The whole idea of tipping is bizarre. As a business model it is awful. Adding a 15% service charge is simply a way of misleading customers about the price they will pay, while expecting tips simply suggests the staff are being paid less than they are worth.
You might not expect the Daily Telegraph to be so vehement on the subject of tipping as this:
Tipping is at root a feudal concept: a system of economic carrots and sticks used by people of higher social status to reinforce their authority over people of lower social status. Grovel to me and I will make it worth your while. Get uppity and I will hit you where it hurts. The subtext could hardly be more blatant – or more objectionable.
As another Telegraph article by the same writer reported last month a survey showed 62 per cent of us were fed up with tipping and annoyed be service charges. He suggested tipping was making us act out feudal rituals “like characters in Downton Abbey”.
Will you join me in saying no “No” to the “feudal concept” of adding a gratuity?
It might just bring restaurant owners into the 21st century and make them pay their staff living wages.