The Itching Palm

The Itching Palm
A Study of the Habit of Tipping in America

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The Itching Palm by William R. Scott

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1916

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The Itching Palm
A Study of the Habit of Tipping in America

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Book Excerpt

restaurant where the employer has thus shifted the cost of waiter hire to the shoulders of the public, the patron who conscientiously objects to tipping has not the slightest chance in the world of a square deal in competition with the patron who pays tribute, although he pays as much for the food.

A waiter, knowing that his compensation depends upon what he can work out of his patron, employs every art to stimulate the tipping propensity, from subtle flattery to out-right bull-dozing. He weaves a spell of obligation around a patron as tangible, if invisible, as the web a spider weaves around a fly. He plays as consciously upon the patron's fear of social usage as the musician in the alcove plays upon his violin.

This is a particularly bad ethical and economic situation from any viewpoint. The patron, getting only one service, pays two persons for it--the employer and the employee. The payment to the employer is fixed, but to the employee it is dependent upon the whim of the patron. To make this

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