Tipping: a hidden cost

In response to the subject of Eric Nelson's article Utahn's eat, sip, don't tip (Page D10, June 12), I can only say that tipping seems to me an abuse of the employees, and an unethical business practice.

The problem is tipping is not a requirement, but a social custom. The custom has encouraged employers to think they don't have to pay their employees. Why is it that minimum wage does not apply to restaurants?

Who's really the cheapskate: the customer who doesn't pay or the employer?

[Note:] I was mistaken about minimum wage. In Utah, state law requires employers to pay minimum wage if the employee was unable to obtain that wage from tips. However, therein lies a problem: the employer has passed a hidden cost (the wage) to the customer. The risk of the employee not making a living wage, if tips are insufficient, is still very real, because employers are not required to pay more than minimum wage. The customer is blamed for being a cheapskate, when it is really the employer who is pocketing the money.

©2003 David Egan Evans.
Published in the 15 June 2003 Deseret News (Section AA2).