A country where its people loathe to work in the service industry because of its negative connotations of subservience and low wages. A country where the service industry is being populated by other nationals who don’t mind the long hours and the measly pay. A country where the customers, that is, Singaporeans themselves, treat the service workers like their own Filippino maids or faceless people. A country where tipping is abolished and instead, a service charge is implemented.
For all these reasons above, it can be easily seen why Singaporeans don’t like to work in the service industry. I am in the industry myself, for quite some time already I must add, and it hasn’t been easy. There are easier ways of earning money, why not? Academically, one can give tuition to earn quick bucks. Easy job, easy money. If you have enough students, you might even earn more than me. But technically, counting by hours, you do earn more than me. And what’s more, most of the time, service workers get paid minimum wages. Therefore, tipping is essential to us. It is most important! The extra source of motivation in our work. It motivates waiters or barmen to give the customers a higher degree of service, so that the customer will appreciate it and perhaps tip them. A rule of thumb for tipping is to tip only when they deserve it, no more, no less.
Therefore, I could not for heaven’s sake, think of a godforsaken reason as to why Singapore abolished tipping and put in place a hefty 10percent service charge. It is not as if the 10percent goes back to the staff as bonuses. Rather, most of the time it goes back to paying the salaries of the staff, or the boss wil use it as some upgrading budget. Go ahead and complain why service is poor then. Look at places where tipping is practised. Is the service there poor? Only on occasions when they are understaffed in peak hours.
We stand for long hours, perhaps a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 9. Non-stop, little or no rest. So sometimes, we do appreciate it when customers treat us like bosom buddies instead of the typical Singaporean ordering us here and there, expecting servitude of us. A nice word might just motivate us to serve you even better. And if you are a regular, well, count yourself lucky. Cordial service is guaranteed, because we remember faces the best. But tipping is always the best motivation.
And people still wonder why service in Singapore is bad.
Your servant(how ironic)