Very strong article. I tried hard to poke a hole in your numbers — as hard as I could in a couple of minutes, but usually I succeed — but they seem solid.
Overall, I’m still somewhat on the fence about tipping as a whole. As someone who tips generously, I do see it as a cash transfer from decent people such as myself to non-tipping sociopaths, and I resent that. Clearly the US system is massively broken.
Before I spent a summer in Berlin, I was completely against tipping. But there’s no almost tipping in Berlin, and man, you get the worst service there! I honestly don’t need New York City levels of service, but the difficulties of simply attempting to get a second beer with a meal are insuperable. I remember one meal where we were done, we waited ten minutes without seeing anyone, and I went walking around the restaurant and even around the block, trying to find anyone working there and failing! (Yes, eventually the waiters reappeared and took my money… :-D)
So now I wonder if there’s a happy medium in there somehow. For example, in the Netherlands, there’s limited tipping, but I feel more than in Berlin, and the service is relaxed compared to New York City, perfectly in the ballpark for me.
I subscribed to your subreddit though. Just because I don’t think we should go 100% of the way there, doesn’t mean I don’t think we should go 90% of the way there…