Server Wages and Tip Ethics?

I was wondering what your opinion is of tipping in restaurants. Many servers make as little as $2.13 an hour and consider patrons that do not tip extremely rude. How has capitalism contributed to this phenomenon? I've read that restaurant owners claim that it allows them to charge less for food on the menu, etc. It seems to me that the restaurant industry has managed to exploit a social norm (adding gratuity to a check) to absolve from themselves any complaints concerning wage by their employees. What do you think?

Official response from submitted

In my view, workers should be paid for the work they do and not be made dependent on a buyer of the restaurant meal who can choose, for whatever reason including reasons unconnected with the waiter's service, to not tip and thereby not pay for the service. If the waiter goes an extra distance to provide services beyond the norm and if the recipient of such extra service wishes to recognize that extra via a tip, fine. But the extra service and the tip strike me as a separate transaction from the basic service and its payment. By the way, the buyer of the basic service of waiting is the restaurant employer who then sells the entire meal experience to the dining client. That should be paid and no tip involved. The tip refers to a payment for something exchanged directly between diner and waiter, a separate transaction covered by a separate payment (tip).

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  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2016-12-08 22:08:45 -0500
  • Keenan Ray
    tagged this with Important 2016-12-05 18:24:11 -0500
  • Keenan Ray
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2016-12-05 18:23:21 -0500