Saturday, February 2, 2013

Of Tips and Tithing: Part 1

  You may have read about the waitress who posted her customer's receipt online after getting a cheeky note instead of a tip. Here's what's wrong with the whole situation.

The Thing about Tithing

  "I give God 10%," Bell wrote on the receipt, scratching out the automatic tip and scribbling in an emphatic "0" where the additional tip would be. "Why do you get 18?" (Yahoo News)
    First of all, I was unaware that tithing was still so prominent. Traditionally, dating all the way back to the Old Testament, good Jews and later Catholics, then Christians, were required to pay a tenth of their yearly income to God, aka the church. Over the years, since the Church split into so many denominations, I was under the impression that this was primarily a Catholic thing, but that might have just been my microcosmic worldview prejudice because I went to Catholic school for so many years.
    Apparently, it still lives on.
    The problem here is: who are you to be eating out and refusing to tip, calling on God as your excuse? Let me hash this out: a pastor doesn't make a ton of money that would go against the whole "worldly possessions" thing. But they apparently donate 10% of that income back to the church every year. AND they can afford to eat out with party of more than 8 people? I don't buy it. If you can afford to eat out, you can afford to tip. Simple as that. If you can't afford that extra 18-20% on your bill, stay home and eat Ramen. Period.
    Secondly, 10% of your yearly income is a LOT more than 18% on a bill at Applebee's. Not knowing anything about what pastors make, I have to assume they at least earn a salary that puts them at or above the poverty level in this country. They have to live somewhere. They have to drive to work. They have to eat. And, if the church doesn't pay taxes, I don't think their ministers and pastors would pay incomes taxes either. So, that's a goodly sum, presumably outright, of which 10% goes back to the church.
    Waitresses do not make minimum wage to put them at or above the poverty level for their yearly income. They need those tips to even things out and put their income at the appropriate level. The guys at Starbucks and Subway and those little fast food places that leave tip jars out--those guys make minimum wage. Most of them are part-time, so they appreciate the extra tips when they get them, but they don't rely on them. They're like a bonus.
    It doesn't work that way at a "sit-down" restaurant. The reason the 18% gratuity gets tacked onto large party bills is people tend to forget about the tip when the bill is so large to start. It's to protect the interests of the servers who are the ones who suffer if the tip is forgotten.
    Tithing is an outdated practice. There are far too many people in need of food, shelter and healthcare in this world to be giving 10% of your money to a church to build a new wing, erect a new statue, or pay for all those fancy robes the Pope wears. 
    If that money were going directly to build a soup kitchen, support a literacy program, or buy cots for a homeless shelter, that would be one thing. But it doesn't, and parishioners aren't always told where it does go.
    Check in soon for the follow-up and conclusion of why this whole thing is ridiculous.
He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.
-Sigmund Freud

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