What you see is what you pay

Canada could learn from countries that don’t tip and have taxes included in the price.

“The dark side of tipping your server”, an opinion column in last week’s Leader, says “studies show that tipping promotes age, race and gender bias, and that tips make servers more vulnerable to sexual harassment from customers.”

The history of the practice is even more problematic.

Time magazine has a article ‘‘It’s the legacy of slavery’: here’s the troubling history behind tipping practices in the U.S.’ It says the roots of tipping are in the post-Civil War U.S. At the time, freed slaves had limited work options, so railway companies and restaurants came up with a new system. Under this system, the companies didn’t pay railway porters and restaurant workers. Instead, customers would pay a small tip. Even today in the states, the minimum wage for people who receive tips is much lower than people who don’t receive tips.

Thankfully, this is not the case in Canada. The minimum wage in Alberta for adults is $15 an hour, whether they receive tips or not.

However, many countries in the world don’t have a tipping system. Many of which also include the taxes in the price, so the price on the menu or tag is what you pay. This is extremely helpful. Especially for travellers. There’s no need to calculate the taxes or tip on top of the listed price.

In countries without a tipping culture, restaurants and other service companies pay their workers a better wage than they do in Canada. The menu price is slightly more but the final price is about the same as it would be with a tip, without the hassle. This also means the employees wages are consistent.

Any movement to do away with tipping should probably come from the restaurants, salons, and other service business, not the customers. As it stands now, not tipping looks cheap and not paying GST isn’t allowed.

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