Tips versus service charges

Which would you rather pay, a tip you determine, or a mandatory flat service charge? That's what the latest Fast Company poll is asking.

I'd rather tip for a number of reasons:

1. I don't want to reward lousy service, or under-reward excellence.

2. A service charge is mandatory, and I believe subject to sales tax in most states. Tips aren't.

3. Service charges may or may not actually go to the person who serviced you. They often go, at least in part, to offset some other costs not related to the service.

For more on meetings-specific tipping, check out Service Not Included, an article I wrote a few years ago for Association Meetings.

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