The custom of tipping has been raging among food critics and the restaurant industry for at least a year now (with pieces at Esquire , The New York Times , The Guardian , and the Wall Street Journal all weighing in on the debate). Adam Platt at Grubstreet is the latest writer to partake in the dispute in a long-ish piece titled “Is It Time to Topple Tipping? Adam Platt Tries (and Fails) to Go Gratuity-Free.”
In the essay, Platt discusses the excellent service he received in Singapore, where tipping is unnecessary and in fact, actively discouraged. Platt decides to return to “the tipping capital of the USA,” New York City, and decline to automatically tip, instead “dispens[ing] cash based on merit rather than obligation.” It doesn’t last for long, though—at a “cramped little table” in a restaurant where “the noise level rose, [and] time dragged between courses,” Platt submits to what he describes at “a geniune tipping mania” and “meekly sign[s] the check.” Platt then inspects the origins of gratuities (Elizabethan England), the psychological work which waiters employ to ensure better tips, and only briefly mentions the catastrophically low wages paid to tipped workers (nationally, that’s $2.13; in New York, where the state minimum wage is $7.25, tipped employees are only required to be paid $5 an hour).
It’s a thought-provoking essay on the unfortunate custom of tipping and the arduous path ahead if we’re to abolish it, but unfortunately focuses primarily on the effect on the customer rather than those who are really victimized—service employees.
Boots: he’s a super dog. Boots popped up on Reddit a couple weeks ago, and now BuzzFeed has written a post about him and his valuable work. Boots is a Hurricane Katrina survivor and now resides in Arizona; he was hired to work with kittens age five to eight weeks old. Said the Humane Society on their blog, “By socializing kittens with dogs like Boots early in life, we are able to open up an entirely new world of potential home environments to that kitten.” They’re also acclimated to such terrifying noise-makers such as vacuums and laundry machines.
Boots, essentially, is a hero.
Something that needs heroes and has few of them: drug addiction treatment facilities. At Vice, Wilbert L. Cooper has written Part II of a two-part series on drug treatment in America titled “Dying for Treatment.” The story focuses on Brandon Jacques, a young alcoholic and victim of eating disorders, who died in 2011 of a heart attack caused by a potassium deficiency while at a treatment facility. “Dying for Treatment” is a bold and necessary addition to Vice’s recent portfolio of perceptive pieces on just about everything that seems to plague American society.
Did you vote today? You did, I know you did. Hang out with your friends tonight as the results come in and play this drinking game from The Daily Dot. There’s never a better excuse to take shots of whiskey than politics.