#tipthebillchallenge starts a dialogue about the secret world of tipping

Bad tips usually happen in secret, when no one looks at the quick decisions taken at an ATM, or to calculate what percentage a round tip actually is. Good tips can be done with a hashtag.

The recent "#tipthebillchallenge" circulating on social media encourages guests to tip 100 percent of the cost of their meal, rather than 15, which is the target for some people, and the absolute minimum for others. Eighteen to 20 percent feel normal to me. More if someone cycles Thai food to your house in a whiteout.

Although it seems likely and logical that people with more money give more tips, especially given the star stories that have superstars with a floating hunger on their coffee tabs, I have noticed that older people – perhaps remembering a time when 15 percent was fine – tend to to leave marginal tips, while 30 and 40-year-olds, who may be more aware of or influenced by the social impulse to tip well, will go higher.

The #tipthebillchallenge dates from before a recent story on food website Eater about bad tippers, who seem to know that they have to tip, but not, that generated an unusual consensus on Twitter (especially among people who have worked in the service sector, where a low reimbursement is justified by the tips they are supposed to receive) that tipping is a good requirement for eating out. (The same article described Reddit correctly, as a site where "[a]nti-tipping sentiment has naturally found a home. ")

Just like other good representatives who hold the collective imagination for a minute, the wrong people can benefit from the generosity of other people – the "#tipthebillchallenge" encourages restaurant owners to tip the entire cost of the bill, which is great for the staff of the restaurant, but perhaps suggest to all the bad tippers that because others tip 100 percent, they somehow hit the hook. If someone else tips for 100 percent, it seems sensible to tip over in one way or another.

The problems and privileges of tipping accumulate: it is a random practice and provides an optional and unpredictable compensation that employees have to rely on, and is a natural forum for intimidation and discrimination. And while it undermines professionalism and more typical hourly wages, it can reward better efforts from someone in a service position, some people who are optimistic about the generally exploitative gig economy & # 39; crowds & # 39; to mention.

One of my favorite rules about human behavior comes true Revolutionary way, the Richard Yates classic about boredom in the suburbs: "Money is always a good reason", says the truthful character that has just emerged from a psychiatric institution. "But it is almost never the real reason."

Tipping, very good or very bad, has nothing to do with money. Tipping scenarios are usually grafted on – restaurants with table service; hotels; cabins; manicures; deliveries – to offer something ease or convenience a nicer, faster, smoother way through the sand of life in a city. Dollars are not the difference between 10 and 20 percent, but they are a valve.

Money in itself is only paper and theory; it is only made meaningful and powerful when it is used to reward or punish – sincerely, or performatively, or both. Withholding, a tip is just a source and as a value that is kept by someone and a relationship, deduction is a dark one. It captures a dynamism of the tipper that exercises a minimal ephemeral power over the tipee, while it is a tip to give appreciation and confirm our social graces, which are essential for living together, in restaurants or otherwise.

Social graces are how we should treat each other. Grace is how we treat each other when we choose who we want to be. Tips for both.

Kate Carraway is a Toronto writer and a freelance columnist for the star. Follow her on Twitter: @KateCarraway

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