Heney, In fact you are probably correct (as is Peter V.) in underlying premise that the system is "broken", that the sytem is perhaps unreasonably perpetuated. No, you are not cheap. Nor is Peter. But I continue to maintain that a less than usual tip will be interpreted as so (regardless of the reason ) by the "tipee".
My thoughts continue to lean towards most (I agree not all ) tipping (and the expectation thereof) as having some overall and some specific influence on service. Unfortunately there are circumstances,like the sandal story above, where tipping is not an incentive for good service , but rather a "bribe" to prevent bad service. This is where the system is broken. Here I think is where Peter and I disagree. Peter would at least like to believe
that the system is changeable or fixable. An ideal and a good one. I do not believe that in most situations the system should be fixed , can be fixed or needs to be fixed.
Throw the longshoreman off the pier and install a conveyor belt to the loading area.
Everyone will save money. Chances are the longshoremen will then hold up the food and supply deliveries to the ships, and we will be right back to having the porters again.
In conclusion, for me, I say tip as you will , tip as you feel appropriate, tips as you can afford. But, do it with your eyes open to the consequences , good or bad/ right or wrong
of your actions.