In a front page article Monday and in the lead editorial Tuesday, the New York Times addressed the broad issue of tipping and gratuities, though in different contexts.
Monday’s article, The Tipping Equation, addressed how servers, usually but not always female, face sexual harassment and innuendo by restaurant customers who threaten to withhold or reduce a gratuity to justify lewd comments or actions. It isn’t the first incidence of sexual harassment in the restaurant culture since the beginning of the #metoo movement — see “Batali, Mario” —but it does bring to light the issues of one’s salary being affected by how she addresses the unwanted advances. (Still to come: the issue of the overall culture found in many restaurants where women are expected to dress seductively and the groping and inappropriate behavior among male and female staff workers.)
Tuesday’s editorial, Wage Theft in Restaurants, pinpoints just how paltry those tips are — nothing new there, either — and addresses the issue of paying servers less than minimum wage with the expectation that the difference will be made up in gratuities.
They’re both important issues. But in reference to a tip, there’s a very large iceberg beneath this surface.