Why it is ABSOLUTELY wrong for Filipino workers to expect tips

Tipping is a sad relic of American culture that Filipinos have embraced. Indeed, Filipino workers have gone further and perverted the concept by seeing tips as an entitlement rather than a mere pleasant surprise bonus from happy customers.

Most disturbing of all is how “activists” encouraged people to tip workers on, of all occasions, labour day. Labour day, after all, is a celebration of the dignity of the worker. Dignity of labour is premised on one taking pride in a job well-done. Unfortunately, labour “activists” have turned the occasion into one focused on compensation. Thus the whole point behind celebrating labour has turned away from the underlying honour in doing an honest day’s work into one about entitlement beyond the worth of one’s work.

Filipino labour activists have completely lost the plot.

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Filipino leftists and hipsters have made “low wages” a primary issue of labour. This is, however, not the case. The low value of wages in the Third World is not the issue. It is more a symptom of issues to do with worker productivity and the quality of their output. The low quality of Philippine products, for example, is legendary. Indeed, the biggest irony of all is in the way the very hipsters who issue cliché Labour Day slogans on Twitter are the very ones who shun Philippine products and embrace Western brands like lemmings running off a cliff.

The Philippine economy of course runs on the back of a free market. There is an indisputably strong case for consumers preferring foreign products and brands over their local counterparts. Philippine industry quite simply lacks the level of innovation and standards of quality applied to the production and marketing of its products and services evident in the world’s top brands. Thus where there is weak demand, there is less leverage to command higher prices in a free market.

Then there is the enormous numbers of Filipino workers competing for employment. An enormous supply crushes the value of that supply. One labour “activist” laments how employers can “afford” to pay their workers more but prefer not to. That attitude is so wrong on many levels. A worker is not entitled to wages any higher than what an employer opts to legally pay her. A worker can only earn a raise — not demand it.

It’s simple, really.

If you do not get that salary raise you’ve been asking for, it means your employer does not consider you worth the additional expense and regards you as an easily replaceable commodity.

Deal with it. We signed up to the free market, and we should live by the free market. The only way Filipino workers will get better wages is if they become better more productive, and more competitive workers. Yet, instead, we see workers who find no shame in asking for tips and demanding that cash be enclosed in those obnoxious “Merry Christmas” envelopes they give out every year. It’s because labour “activists” encourage that distasteful behaviour.

Filipino activists need to face the truth: their traditional Labour Day rhetoric is unhealthy to the national work ethic and, worst of all, intellectually dishonest.

[Photo courtesy Inquirer.net.]

12 Replies to “Why it is ABSOLUTELY wrong for Filipino workers to expect tips”

  1. “Tipping is a sad relic of American culture that Filipinos have embraced.” — couldn’t have said it better myself. In my case, if I see that the establishment is already charging me 10% service charge, I don’t leave any tips anymore. If not, I leave whatever or whenever I can.

  2. Tipping is a manifestation of your appreciation of a good service done…I sometimes tip. It depends, if I get a good service or not.

    This gratuity is not a right, but a privilege, for those, who are in the service sector. To include it as part of the pay, is ridiculous.

    Some service business, includes this gratuity in their bill. Say, 5% to 10% of the bill…if this is included in the bill : you don’t have to tip.

    Those in the service sectors are receiving low pay. So, if you are able, share what you have to them. It will come back a hundredfold to you in cash or in kind !

  3. As a westerner living in Manila it gets extremely tiring having to deal with people shamelessly asking for ‘tips’ or ‘extra’ for each and every shoddy service they provide. I dread mentioning i have travelled even to the end of the street as people you barely know will shamelessly ask for a gift, Christmas is a period of punishment indeed. I have zero respect for people who act without shame and usually my response shows such contempt. Pinoys would cry blue murder if they were targeted like this when they traveled abroad. Here is a tip for you, if you want visitors to respect you then behave in a manner that earns respect?!

    One needs to ask how service in restaurants can be so poor when alot of the service staff have completed a degree in something like HRM and cant get the basics right such as entree before main and serving everyone’s main meal at the same time. And this is at restaurants around Makati where lunch costs about P500 per head. Then on top they wack a ‘service charge’ and hover around when you pay your bill to try and pressure for tips, if they dont just come out and ask for it adding a ‘joke lang’. Western prices and third world quality describes just about everything from restos to utility companies. Business makes a mistake? Customer pays!

    With such low productivity/efficiency, poor service standards, woeful quality and a culture of avoiding issue resolution/continuous improvement is it any wonder a higher price cant be commanded for services including labour?

    Nice article Benigno !

    1. Yup.
      First, tipping is voluntary, you don’t ask for tips, it’s not how it works. If someone asks for a tip that means I definitely won’t give anything.
      Secondly, it’s a stupid American tradition that comes from offering SPECIAL service. Tipping wasn’t just performed for providing just the normal service.
      Right now a plumber/maintenance guy asked for a tip, despite leaving a mess behind. Attitude changed immediately after I did not tip. Pretty typical.

  4. THEY SHOULD HAVE THEIR SALARIES TRIPLED AND STOP WORKING FOR $10/DAY for the USA Banks that are such scumbags that they will not pay an American citizen $10/hour with medical benefits and pay Filipino’s $10/day when the banks are posting record breaking billions of USDollars in profits, JUST STOP ALREADY, EE-GAD MON HAVE YOU NO SHAME ?

  5. The whole idea that a worker gets low pay because s/he is payed what the employer thinks s/he is worth is not black and white. It sounds nice in theory – but isn’t necessarily the case. According to that logic, humans are sold and bought for whatever the buyer thinks the human is worth. The commodification of life and everything else is often based on making profits/ getting a good deal. Should a child who is trafficked be bought for 1,000 pesos? Whether one is “worth” what is payed is subjective. According to capitalist theory, if one buys a human slave for 100 pesos, then that is his/her worth. The people with money are in the position to make the decision. Is a human worth 100 pesos? What about 10 pesos?

    Take the case of the top earners in the corporate world. They pay themselves millions in bonuses – even when their performance is abysmal. The people at the economic top pay themselves and others whatever their inflated egos think is appropriate. In the U.S. the top 1-5% wealthiest made 95% of all income gains since 2009. Are ball-busting middle-class people not worthy of pay raises despite high productivity? They are sometimes doing twice the work for the same pay. So, raises are not necessarily based on performance.

    That said, do lazy people, who do incompetent work, deserve a significant raise? I don’t think so.

  6. “The low quality of Philippine products, for example, is legendary.”
    This is so typically colonial. Typically Filipino.

  7. Pride is pride not because it hates being wrong, but because it loves being wrong: To hate being wrong is to change your opinion when you are proven wrong; whereas pride, even when proven wrong, decides to go on being wrong.

    The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is the pretense of intelligent ignorance. The former is teachable; the latter is not.

  8. The idea of what is “good” and “bad” is based on the moral law based on the idea of hero-martyr-saint.
    Two friends walks along the sidewalk, suddenly a beggar approaches them and beg for alms, one guy dip in his pocket gives the beggar a change, the other guy did not do anything, so in the eyes of the beggar, one guy look “good” and the other guy looks “bad”.

    1. Here is how I view that scenario in real life. I see beggars in the block of my office which happens to be block abundant with workers. The workers flock to this block for the simple reason that this is where they are fulfilling their role of being productive and an employer in return fulfills their role of paying them what is usually an agreed upon sum of money. That is a 2 way transaction. Beggars invade this block even on Sundays. I will not dip into my pocket because I would be rewarding that person for their entitlement and even encouraging more invaders.

      Still when it comes to tipping. I have been on the other side. My SOP in taxis is usually 20 pesos in addition. Unless there is an unmistakable stench of that pinoy air freshener “eau de yosi” or if at anytime I doubted my mortality during the ride. In restaurants where I am a regular I usually leave something . Personal choice. Oh Jim Rohn has a very interesting and original philosophy on tipping. I will leave you guys to discover his thoughts.

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