As an sex worker, you’d expect me to support tipping. I enjoy extra money to spend (or invest!) as much as the next person. And when the people who tip me are wealthy, the tips are usually more than chump change.
In theory, tipping is okay. But in practice (at least in the United States) it’s not.
My theory of tipping is this: reserve tips for service that is above and beyond what was expected. Because we have minimum wage in the US, service-based jobs (most commonly waiting/serving) should make a livable wage from their base salary without tips.
Unfortunately, that’s not what tipping is for.
Tipping is expected. It’s not a choice— it’s obligatory, especially in New York City. Tipping is a way for employers to legally pay their staff less than minimum wage. Thus, patrons feel pressured to pay more than their bill to cover the wage that the employers are supposed to be paying in the first place.
I shouldn’t have to pay extra so an employee is kind, considerate or helpful to me. I shouldn’t need to tip so an employee does their job. They perform their job because they’re paid by their employer, whom I’m paying for a service or good. Prices at establishments should reflect the total amount the service needs to cost to cover employee’s time, tools, rent, etc. All the gritty details should be what I’m paying for when I go to the hairdresser or eat at a restaurant.
Why beat around the bush? I’d rather the prices factor in necessary costs. It seems odd to name a price but then expect patrons to pay more… without even saying how much more they’re expected to pay.
The tipping culture in the US is a feedback loop. Restaurants employ wait staff at less than minimum wage. The staff then solicit tips from customers to cover the wage that their employer doesn’t. The customer’s compliance with the practice solidifies the employers stance. They now know they can get away with paying their workers less than minimum wage.
In other countries, only above-average service merits a tip. Or worse, tipping is rude (like Australia).
If everybody stopped tipping, employers would need to pay their workers the established minimum wage. One reason I like California is because the tipping culture isn’t as harsh as other places (e.g. New York). Why? Because employers cannot pay less than the minimum wage, even if employees earn tips. Tips are on top of what the employee earns per hour.
I don’t expect tips because I factor costs into my rates. I’m genuinely surprised and delighted when a client buys me a treat or gives me an extra bill. When I set my rate at one that covers my needs, I don’t require tips. The extras tell me I’m pleasing my clients above and beyond what they expected, which is far more satisfying to me.
Even so, the best compliment isn’t a tip at all. It’s booking another date with me.
You may be thinking: Why do you have a wishlist if you don’t expect tips?
I have a wishlist. And yes, I like it when clients buy me things. It’s never expected, though. My wishlist helps my clients get to know me better by seeing what my interests are.
It also provides inspiration for those who wish to get me something. In this industry, gifts now and then are inevitable. A wishlist is a guide to help my clients get me something that’ll be used and loved. While the thought of a gift is always appreciated, it’s more meaningful to the gift-giver if the recipient can use the gift.
To all the men who don’t tip: thank you for giving me your patronage. Your donation is enough.
And to all men who have tipped me: it was a pleasure exceeding your expectations for our time together.