Gratuitous Gratuities

This might cause some trouble

Don’t take any wooden nickels

The origins and historical reasons for what we call Tipping vary and are a debate for another time. The question is, should Tipping be an integral part of the service industry (and perhaps other) workers’ wage, or is there a better way?

Low Pay, No Benefits, Rude Customers: Restaurant Workers Quit At Record Rate ( 20 July 2021)

If an employee depends on a fraction of their wage to come from a customer who may choose to contribute, or to do otherwise, that employee may become frustrated, disenchanted, and perhaps disgusted. Resorting to social media posts and intra-workplace grumbles to shame “bad tippers” and perhaps retaliation at the time of or the next are a form of recourse, perhaps, but what does this truly accomplish?

If the customer determines the pay, and has no insight into the work, and has the option to balk, well, this simply doesn’t bode well for a positive work experience, unless the employer can simply draft a new employee to take the place of those who expire due to lack of appreciation and funding.

This Episode

Gratuituous Gratuities via

Host: Dan Hugo

Recorded 27 July 2021, Published 28 July 2021

FFS Talk podcast via

Episode Artwork

Photo by Sam Dan Truong on Unsplash

The FFS Talk solution?

Employees work with an employee-funded commission on top of a base wage. No more augmentation of the employee wage, minimum or otherwise, with an optional gratutity or tip from customers, and no more concerns about tip pooling, tipping out, front-vs-back tip splitting, tip reporting… employees should be paid by their employers, full stop. Tips and gratuities, if any, go toward the commission pool. All employees participate in the commission pool.

For non-employees (some arrangements wherein a free agent rents a station at a salon or similar, with any proceeds from their clients going to the agent, less a base fee and some percentage, sometimes called a “rev share” or “revenue share.” Tips are likely not included in the revenue total.

We talked about how this works, enjoy this episode!

The Tip Pooling Case

By the way, the Starbucks Tip Pooling case(s) from 2009 and 2013 (in California, there are other items to look at for New York, Massachusetts, maybe elsewhere) are a can of worms to ponder, a search exercise left to the listener (or the reader, if you will). The take-home is still the same, that tipping in America (or, in any particular state, since the laws vary) is a problem that involves the tipper (the customer) too involved in the dispursement of hard-earned monies to the people working at a place of business. Often they have no idea that the percentage they leave is going into multiple pockets to make up for a lower hourly wage amount than they might understand… commission sales, it’s a worthy discussion.

Support the Show!

As the FFS Talk podcast continues to grow and reach out to more audience, we hope more and more people subscribe to our podcast feed, newsletters, and perhaps other such things, not to mention joining in the conversation as a guest for an episode, or in other ways. You are of course welcome to share links with your friends and colleagues, the more the merrier!

FFS Talk podcast via

FFS Talk podcast Show Notes Newsletter via Substack

FFS Talk Weekend Edition Newsletter via Revue

Join the Show as a Guest! (

You are also invited to check out the Buy Me a Coffee profile page for Dan Hugo (your solo host at the moment) with links to these and other podcasts and newsletters and whatnot. Do not feel obligated in any way, but if you would like to add to the caffeine supply that powers these efforts, any actual coffee buying is literally that!

Buy Dan a Coffee