According to Geri Trotta, editor of the travel section of New York-based Harper's Bazaar, the popular belief links the origin of the word "tip" to a practice found in the British restaurant Samuel Johnson's London in the 18th century. This establishment provided clients who wanted faster service with a coin box. That box was inscribed with the words "To Insure Promptness." Keeping only the initials of the expression, clients who were in a hurry soon began to call it "tip."
When tipping began, it was used as a way to thank an employee for the quality of service; a sign of courtesy and kindness. But the situation changed over time. For instance, in some sectors, the employer was no longer able to offer a decent salary to his employees. This small surplus progressively became a salary compensation, without any direct link to the quality of the service."
As for the official definition of the word tip, it still designates an amount freely granted to thank an employee for a rendered service. Yet, the etiquette rules and social pressures somewhat limit the freedom of choice for consumers. The Green Book on the situation of tip employees, published by the Quebec Government in 1982 makes it clear: according to the Ministry of Revenue, tips are a form of remuneration coming from the relationship between the client and the employee, as well as an essential part of the revenue of the worker who receives them. Therefore, onus is on the consumer to determine the reward given, which depends on his or her generosity and on the quality of the service obtained...
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