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Service economy: Who deserves tips?

Re: “What is a good tip?” [Sept. 4, The Mix]:

The article validated our generous tipping and had a revelation. In a chart, it suggested tips for service employees.

In the past, tipping was essential to create a livable wage. Today, all Washington employers must pay the minimum hourly wage (RCW 49.46), $14.49 per hour. In Seattle, depending on the size of the employer, it’s $15.75 to $17.27.

Two personal examples question the current need for tipping:

My granddaughter, in college, worked a garden-center job she loved. She lifted concrete blocks and bags of soil onto carts, wheeled them outside and loaded customers’ vehicles. She received more than $17 per hour. For her hard, labor-intensive work, she received no tips. Doing a good job was expected. Yet, the suggested barista tip is “$1 per drink.” Fair?

My daughter, a highly skilled 20-year Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse works 12-hour shifts, inserting intravenous lines into tiny veins and scalps plus so much more to save lives. No tips or gifts are allowed. At most salons, a haircut equals our daughter’s hourly wage. The suggested tip for “hair salon/barber shop” is “15-20%.”

Who deserves the tip?

Glenda Tecklenburg, Mill Creek

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