DH—One of the few times I’ve disagreed with your opinion, but I guess all cultures are different. Here on the coast of NC, waitressing, esp if you are polite, efficient, friendly, and quick, has gotten many a young girl or guy spending money or money for college. In a terminally depressed area—our main sources of income are tourism and commercial fishing—you simply can’t make any money at a convenience store or clerking at a grocery store.
I don’t ever mind tipping well for good service, and I’ll leave a little something even if the service was lousy. But I see your point as well. I just don’t agree with it. :)
(Grin!) Fair enough too. Cultures are different — here a tip is considered an insult by many.
It was explained to me this way, when I emigrated 15 years ago: New Zealand was settled originally by people leaving England from the servant class to make a better life for themselves, with nobody as their “master”. This is probably why New Zealand has an egalitarian feel to it, with a really blurry line between our classes.
Tipping reinforces the servant/master relationship, in many ways. It’s one thing to pay a fair price for something, and quite another to pay for servitude — which is something that our settlers left back in England.
We still get excellent service, but that’s because it is an expectation of the job rather than something driven by the tip. Waiters (in fact everyone in NZ) receive a minimum wage, which is currently sitting at $12.50 before tax per hour. That’s not a huge wage, but one can live on it by being careful.