Josh Freed: Finally, a problem to unite our fractured world – unnecessary tips

So many of you responded in agreement with last week’s column that it seems tipping frustration is now the one issue that brings all Canadians together.

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I discovered a huge but little-known problem that enrages and unites all of Canada.

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Inflation? Gas shortage? Climate change? Bill 96?

No. It’s our recent frustration with the spread of 15-30% tip requests on smartphone-linked credit card machines almost everywhere we go.

More than 10,000 of you here and across Canada responded to last week’s column, which asked if we’ve reached a tipping point for tips.

From Tofino, BC, to Saskatoon, Toronto and Montreal, we are united in frustration. Not a single writer attacked or even criticized the column – the first time I’ve written anything where so many people agreed and no one really disagreed.

Based on this not-so-random sample, I would argue that tipping frustration is now the single issue that binds all Canadians together, perhaps the very glue that holds our nation together.

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O Canada,
Our home and native land,
Against untimely tips,
It’s time to take a stand.

Despite the general agreement, after going through over 2,000 posts, I see several different tipping tribes with views on the new tipping fad.

Reluctant tips: This group has always been unhappy with tips and will only tip reasonably if the service is “exceptional”, “amazing”, “amazing” or “super friendly”.

Alternatively, if you’re asked to tip, as Montreal’s SL says, “Just say no!”

This is even more the case lately, as Jay from London, Ont.So, what service did you provide, for which you are not paid by your employer, that deserves a tip? » Then enter $0…and suggest all range members do the same.

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Just a few weeks ago, no one was talking to anyone online for fear of contracting COVID. Now they’re ready to bond in an in-store tipping rebellion.

No tax on tips: Countless other people are distracted because card machines always ask you to tip the bill taxes included — “an indescribable injustice,” says Phillip, from British Columbia

The tax vexation is so great that I can imagine hordes of irate shoppers everywhere grabbing card terminals and throwing them into the nearest river, imitating American revolutionaries throwing away tea.

Then shouting, “Give me freedom from the GST, or give me death!”

Guilty tips: Most of the time, people like me – long-time happy tippers that give 18-20% at any restaurant, even if the waiter spills soup on us.

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But even we are confused and disturbed by the fact that we are asked for large tips everywhere, from the grocer to the baker and the candlestick maker.

Many readers have recently been asked for advice by machines from dry cleaners, self-service garages, BC liquor stores and yogurt pot shops.

“It won’t be long before supermarket self-service checkouts are asking for tips after we have does the bagging,” says a Montrealer.

Simply said by Toronto reader Robin B.: “I think a walk has to be involved. Serve, not just distribute.

Another adds: “You have to do something, not just give me a tipping machine.

Some, like Barbara from Saskatoon, have been asked to tip expensive online orders, with bills suggesting a minimum tip of 15%.

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They would actually tip the robot taking their order. Or more likely, by donating to multibillion-dollar online companies like Amazon, asking customers to subsidize low wages for workers they could easily afford to raise.

Cartoonist Bado, of Ottawa’s Le Droit, sent in a recent cartoon he wrote featuring people looking at 10-20% tip options accompanying their Rogers breakdown reimbursement.

Many members of all groups believe that service workers deserve better wages, especially restaurant staff, who are often paid less than minimum wage assuming they will be tipped.

Carol says: “They work long hours on their feet, with little recognition except when people tip them. But let’s hope they won’t be too greedy.

I expected to be lambasted by socialists, idealists or a new league of waiters, bakers and grocers for much higher tips.

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Yet while many servers described how hard they work to get tips, almost all added, like Montrealer TG, that store clerks asking for 15% “when they haven’t done anything” is a step too far.

There were messages from Sweden, Italy, England, Brazil and Korean expats saying that service people are paid better in their countries, where 10% tips are the norm, often added to the bill .

According to Vanessa from Stockholm: “We don’t tip in most of Europe and that’s wonderful. Instead, people earn a living wage.

“The North American tipping culture is uncomfortable and unpleasant. Pay more staff, charge more customers. Period!”

In the next Canadian election, if a party promises a royal commission on tipping protocol or an appeal to the UN, I think they will sweep the field.

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Many Americans have written along the same lines. When I’m complimented by US Democrats, I’m usually roasted by Republicans, but this issue has crossed party lines. Perhaps this tip could be a middle ground bringing the Trumpers and the Bidenites together?

In a world plagued by huge problems like extreme weather, war, and inequality, we need a small, new, inconsequential glitch to distract us.

What a luxury to talk about tips.

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  1. And then ?  Asking for tips at self-service gas stations, where should they tip us?

    Josh Freed: We’ve reached a tipping point with ‘tip creep’

  2. My first thought, Josh Freed writes:

    Josh Freed: Rogers outage brings back memories of phone booths and answering machines

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