The parable of the vineyard workers

“The kingdom of heaven can be compared to the story of a landowner who went out early one morning to find people to work in his vineyard. After agreeing with them about the wage for the day, he sent them off to work. A few hours later he saw more men standing idle in the marketplace. He told them to go to his vineyard as well and he would pay them a fair wage. Around noon and again at 3 PM he hired more men. Around 5 o’clock he saw yet more people and asked them ‘Why are you standing around here doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us’, they said. ‘Go to my vineyard’, he told them, ‘and you will get a fair wage.’

When the work was over for the day, the owner told the foreman, “Call the workers in and pay them, starting with the last who were hired and ending with the first.” When the ones who were hired around 5 o’clock came, they were each paid a full day’s wage. When the first who were hired came, they were sure that they would get more, but they received the same amount as those who were hired last. The complained, saying ‘The guys you hired last only worked for one hour, and you gave them the same amount as us, who worked all day in the burning heat!’
‘Friend,’ he replied to one of them, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong to you! Didn’t you agree to work all day for this wage? Take it and leave. I want to give the last people who were hired the same as I give the first. Don’t I have the right to run my business the way I want? Are you upset because I am kind?’

In the same way, the last will be first and the first will be last.”

MT 20:1-16

Tipping is not a city in China.

I don’t get the purpose of tips. I think that servers should get paid a fair wage and tips should not be mandatory.

I was at a buffet recently and the server was telling a couple that the federal minimum wage for servers has not gone up in over ten years. She said it is $2.13 an hour. This is unreasonable. But, she knew this when she took the job.

Why do we, the customer, have to make up the salary of the worker with a tip? We don’t really tip for good service. We are expected to tip, period. If we don’t tip, the person makes less than minimum wage. So tip isn’t a gratuity. It really isn’t a bonus. It is to make up a shortage. We don’t tip to say “good job.”

What is the point of tipping someone for just doing their job? We don’t tip police officers or gas station employees or teachers.

What is the point of giving a tip to servers who work at a buffet? We get our own food. They take away the plates and get more drinks. Sometimes. Even when they don’t, we are still expected to tip. The price of the buffet may be low, but when you add in the tip it goes up. The tip may not officially be mandatory, but it sure is expected.

When I was in England I asked my cousin what was the expected tip amount. She was surprised. Tips aren’t expected. They are for exceptional service.

I’ve heard that the expected tip now starts at 20%. When I was growing up, that was the high end for really great service. So we are expected to pay more, but we aren’t getting more. The server still takes the order, brings the food, and refills the drinks. Sometimes. I just don’t get how we are supposed to pay extra for baseline service. Nothing has changed from when the tip base was 10%.

I say pay servers a fair wage, and make tips open for all customer service workers, not just restaurant workers. Make tips as a reward for exceptional service. Let’s not encourage mediocrity, or businesses underpaying their workers.