What’s the difference between a Canadian and a canoe? Answer. A canoe tips. Hardee harhar!

Fact is when I was a broadcaster and still to this day I was and am against tipping. Somewhat illogically that does not mean that I never tip. There are exceptions e.g. my paper boy.

My case against tipping is clear and simple. By tipping we are subsidizing various business people who apparently can’t make it on their own. If their business is not viable without enforced tips, then they shouldn’t be in it in the first place. By tipping we are just enablers – enabling business people to avoid paying a just wage.

Besides, the whole tipping industry is so incoherent and inconsistent. I expect you tip your waitress – handsomely – in an upscale restaurant like La Chronique. Do you also tip the waitress on an aircraft who serves your meal? Why not? I expect you tip your barber or hairdresser. Do you tip your gas station attendant? Why not? Do you tip your minister, rabbi or priest after the weekly service? What about the young woman who takes your cash and wraps your groceries in a supermarket? I thought not.

What really bugs me is the enforced tip where the establishment automatically adds 15 or 18 per cent to your bill, no matter how bad the food or the service is.

I refuse to subsidize a restaurant where the owner tools around town in a Mercedes and goes south for part of the winter. Why in hell should I help pay for his car and his vacation? Let him pay a just wage and there will be no need of tips.

Do you always tip?

If so, how do you compute the size of your tip?

It’s my experience that even when the food is lousy and the service sloppy, most diners are too embarrassed not to leave a tip?

Are there times when you don’t give a tip?



  1. 1
    SUZANNE Says:

    I tip because that’s how the workers make their money.

    Although I’m very sympathetic to your arguments.

    I think restaurant owners should just pay their employees properly. I think tipping should be completely optional. It should only be for *outstanding* service, or to get an extra service or extra promptness. It shouldn’t be standard.

    I also tend to go to the same establishments. I don’t want the waiters getting so mad at me that they do something like spit in my soup.

  2. 2
    John Says:

    In theory, I know where you’re coming from, Neil, and quite agree, however with a daughter who works in the industry and knowing how much she depends on those tips, I almost always tip (15% or thereabouts depending on the service).

    On a somewhat related note, here’s something that really ticks me off. I don’t know if this happens everywhere or it’s just a smalltown thing, but every Labour Day weekend in our town the local Fire Dept. sets itself up on a variety of streets leading in and out of town and stops traffic. In order to move on, one must donate to MS by putting money in the large boot. A good cause and I commend the folks who are volunteering their time to help, but I’m really opposed to forcing people to give money in this mannner.

    At least in terms of tipping, I have an option, whether I choose to exercise it or not.

  3. 3
    Barbara Says:

    Until the system changes, those folks in minimum wage jobs actually need those tips to get by. I leave a larger tip than 15% if the food/service was better than average.
    What I do not understand are those canisters at coffee houses and sushi shops, etc. where you stand in line to be served. They attempt to solicit a tip, often in some kind of coy manner. I am not sure what to do in such cases and only rarely leave a few coins, if I am a regular there.
    I prefer the mandatory tip that is the custom in Europe. If you don’t like the service, don’t come back.
    Mind you, I am not Canadian.

  4. 4
    SUZANNE Says:

    I don’t like the « standards » for tipping. Who invented those?

    I usually give around 10-15%– according to an easy calculation and what’s in my wallet.

    One thing I wonder: why do we tip pizza delivery guys? Handing a box of pizza is not that delivery. Maybe on a large order it could make sense.

  5. 5
    jeremy Says:


    I almost always tip, having been a server before, I know what it is like to have to live on ones tips. We usually haunt the same eateries and the tip is adjustable based on service.

    Like the other day, I went to lunch with one of my profs, and the waiter was more than chatty, almost in your face helpful. I had to remind him that he didn’t need to work that hard…

    I think it is a courtesy some delivery and waiter people take for granted some times.


  6. 6

    Jeremy – Having been a waiter yourself I expect you know what you’re talking about. I am coming at the subject from theory, you from practice. Thanks

  7. 7
    bernie12 Says:

    Neil , I agree with you that a just wage shoulad be paid in every industry . However , I know that waiters and waitresses depend on tips so my sympathy is with them and i usually tip them for good service, You raise an interesting point with gas attendants ,etc. I don’t tip in these cases … but then they may also be the owner ,

  8. I always tip back home in America, but never here in Korea where I live. The custom simply does not exist here. The result is that service as we know it is non-existent. If you want something, you have to shout across the room. This does not bother Koreans, but it makes for a noisy and uncomfortable dining experience compared to the ones I grew up with.

    This doesn’t bother me–vive la différence and all that–but it has made me aware of an advantage to our custom of tipping.

  9. 9

    The Western Confucian – Thank you for sharing with us your interesting take on tipping from your vantage point in Korea. Some of our French restaurants here in Montreal are, I suspect just as noisy as yours and French-Canadians are generous tippers.

  10. 10
    RichRich Says:

    Sure, we can have restraunts and pizza joints pay a fair wage, but do you want to pay $30 for a large pizza? That nice cut of prime rib is going to run you about $45 at you favorite local eatery. Use common sense folks. Also, do any of you know what T.I.P.S.ctually means? To Insure Proper Service. So you non tippers who frequent particular restaurants and continually get lousy service and just know it’s because you don’t tip.

  11. 11


    On the flip side of that, if I get lousy service at a restaurant, I don’t tip. Why should I?
    Thanks for your comment.

  12. 12
    Mary Says:

    While I understand your argument, perhaps you should take a second to think about who you are actually hurting by not tipping. I’m not sure how it is in Canada, but in the U.S., the server minimum wage is 1/2 the normal minimum wage. I am a server and make $3.25 an hour. Once I claim my tips (and servers actually do claim most of their tips. It’s unavoidable since most people use credit/debit cards these days), all my taxes come out of my base pay, so my paychecks say « void » and « this is not a check » generally. Last week it was for $0.16.

    You are right that you shouldn’t have to keep a restaurant afloat by paying their servers’ salaries. But if you feel that strongly about it, then you should advocate changing the law. Not tipping only hurts the server, not the business. And the server doesn’t deserve to be punished for the system’s failures.

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