What you said about tipping

We invited feedback to our Oct. 23 lead story on the giving of gratuities - and many of you came through. Here's just a small sampling of your replies.

Yea for the Icelanders! Service people should be paid an adequate wage. I'd rather pay higher prices and forget about tipping.

Myrliss Hershey via e-mail

Giving and accepting tips doesn't have much to do with need. It is a matter of establishing a social hierarchy. The giver of a tip is asserting superiority. The receiver of a tip is accepting an inferior status. In egalitarian societies, such as Iceland, Australia, and China, tipping is seldom seen except in places where tourists have made it inevitable by their insistence on tipping.

Your doctor, your airline stewardess, your police, and the members of our Armed Forces are your social equals. You won't get very far by trying to tip these proud professionals.

Francis Mortyn Chicago

I am an ample tipper when it is warranted, but must say that I resent the little tip cups popping up anywhere that any type of food is being served. I'm sorry, but when some 18-year-old pours me a drip coffee to go, I refuse to leave my extra change. I used to do it, until I realized that my extra change usually equated to a 80 to 100 percent tip. On a daily basis, I pick piles of clothing off of fitting room floors. No one ever thinks of tipping me.

Hilary Bramwell Seattle

If you can't afford a decent tip in this day and age, you should just eat at home. I leave 25 to 30 percent for good service. Really bad service will generate a 10 percent tip. After all these people are trying to make a living just like the rest of us.

Pete Nugent via e-mail

My wife and I just returned from a two-week vacation in Iceland, and as you noted, there is no tipping there, not even the expectation. Service certainly didn't suffer. As in the States, some restaurants provided better service than others, but it was generally good to excellent, as were taxi drivers, hotel concierges, and the like.

Tom Gutnick Arlington, Va.

While there are many other reasons I despise tipping, I offer the following:

Those on Social Security or other means of almost invisible income can barely afford to buy or receive services. Tipping is a real hardship, or they are left embarrassed. Waitresses or other employees hire on for an agreed upon wage. They accept the job and should be expected to work to full capacity without expecting a gratuity for doing their job.

D.M.C. via e-mail

I have this question in regard to the fast-food servers: What is the difference between someone standing behind a counter who gathers up what you order, hands it to you ... and takes your money for this order, and ... the clerk in a shoe store who brings out many boxes of shoes, helps you try them on, goes back for more boxes of shoes?

Do we think of tipping them?

Mary Jane Cohoon, Tenn.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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