Tipping Point

Tipping in the U.S. for almost any consumer-oriented service is mandatory. In cases where there is any doubt that the patron would pay a gratuity, there is a forcible addition to the bill !

I was surprised (for the first time ever) to find such an estimated addition (some 15% of the bill) at an Indian restaurant recently. It is virtually forcing the patron to pay whether the service is satisfactory or not. I have always paid anywhere between 10% and 15% of the bill for service. 10% is more for average service and 15% for good service – that has been my practice so far, even though I don’t agree with the philosophy of tipping as such (we don’t tip in Singapore and rarely in India).

But forced tipping ? How about tipping at gun point ? That would be next, I guess. Just nothing short of ridiculous, but that is the way it is, and so it is better to adapt oneself to the new practice of inserting a pre-computed tip in the bill at most restaurants very soon.

Let me reiterate that I always tip in the U.S. and also tip for excellent service in India. No problem with that, but I believe that tipping has to come from one’s heart, rather than from just the wallet. Recognition and praise of good service should be part and parcel of everyday life, like we do in corporate life. But it cannot be based only on money only and that too, on a pre-calculated amount all the time at all the places. Good words are also expected.

In India, there is a 10% service charge on top of a 12% VAT, which is increasingly becoming the practice in restaurants. With that, I do not see any reason at all to pay an additional tip. I only can hope that the 10% service charge goes to the right folks in the restaurant !


Vijay Srinivasan
16th April 2011


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