Originally Posted by Truck Cruiser
A tip is not a right, just to be expected but rather for a job well done.
Yes, and no. The word "tip" has a couple of different meanings, depending on the "job" being performed and the wages of those who receive tips.
The sense of the word tip
as Truck Cruiser has just used it is the sense most commonly understood by those who purchase services (e.g. the taxi cab driver; the hairdresser or barber). The service rendered has a published price and it is delivered by the service person. The purchaser tips when the service person has done a job good enough to merit a financial "thank you" from the consumer. I think this is how almost everyone understands tips and tipping.
But, there's another side to tipping -- and it arises from the perspective of the employer of the service person. Waiters are usually in this category. When I worked as a waiter, my salary from the restaurant was one-half minimum wage; and, income-tax withholding, FICA, and Medicare were deducted from that. You can imagine what my salary check amounted to!
So, how do waiters make any living at all? By tips, obviously. For these service people (unlike the cab driver or the barber or hairdresser), a tip is identical to part of their wages.
Now, this doesn't mean a waiter earns very little. Depending on the restaurant, a waiter might easily make 50K or more a year. One of my fellow grad students routinely made $200 to $300 between 5 PM and midnight, four nights a week. However, I don't think the very tired looking working mother at the IHOP who served me breakfast the other morning is pulling down that kind of money. Even if I tip her 15%, it's a pittance. My food bill is less than $10.
I don't know squat about the economics of service personnel on a cruise ship; but, I wouldn't be surprised if they're paid similarly to me when I worked as a waiter -- some minimal (and, by itself insufficient to live on) wage plus "tips."
I'm not looking for extraordinary service before I tip these kinds of people. I give an ordinary tip, counting is as part of the price of the service I'm purchasing (i.e. the cruise and its services). I will reduce a tip if a service person is rude or negligent. And, I will increase the tip (actually, it's the genuine tip!) for service beyond what a customer normally expects.