Tipping demands sure have gotten out of control.
With every purchase you make — at coffee shops, fast food restaurants, chain stores and more — you are presented with a digital payment screen that asks you to leave a tip.
On one hand you feel guilted into leaving a tip, because the person who just rang up your purchase is staring directly at you.
On the other hand, you wonder how in the world did we get to a place in which workers in so many different roles — even plumbers and mechanics — are suddenly expecting extra money just for doing their jobs?
According to USA Today, the history of tipping has unclear origins, but “likely began as a result of the caste system in Europe in the late Middle Ages.”
Prior to 1840, there was no tipping in the United States, according to the book “Tipping: An American Social History of Gratuities.”
“Wealthy Americans are thought to have brought tipping back to the United States from lavish trips to Europe in the years leading up to the Civil War,” according to the book.
Initially, tipping was considered un-American because it was classist, according to the book “Forked,” which explores tipping practices in the restaurant industry.
After the Civil War, however, “formerly enslaved people were able to find most of their work in food service or as railroad porters, jobs that relied on tips. Many employers who wanted to hire the formerly enslaved also wanted to keep them at a low wage,” says USAToday.
By 1900 every state had passed anti-tipping laws, but by 1926 their governments repealed them or their supreme courts abolished them because they were unconstitutional and difficult to enforce as the practice spread widely, according to Time.
To this day, tipped workers are still not covered by the Federal Minimum Wage because tips are considered part of their hourly income.
Copyright 2023 Tom Purcell, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.