In addition to the arguments against it in Freaknomics - essentially, why would you tip at a restaurant that you rarely visit or, worse yet, at a restaurant out of town, where you will likely never visit again - I was thinking in the larger sense of the tour company I work at now.
First, there's no real frame of reference between guides. Even if a coworker gives a better, higher energy, more informative tour, how does the customer have any clue how good or bad my tour is? It's a hard thing to quantify.
Second is the idea that many other countries and cultures don't tip at all. The answer for those tours where you walk away empty-handed is a shoulder shrug and a comforting, "Well, in Country X, people don't tip," from someone else in the shop.
Great. That's why we provide a gentle reminder at the end of the tour that tips are acceptable in the States and specifically in our shop. I don't intend to go around Europe in a cowboy hat, dumping ketchup on every meal I'm served - when in Rome, right?
Still, despite that potential post kicking around, I was thinking of the service industry and the story that "tips" is an acronym for "To Insure Prompt Service." Only, isn't that the wrong homophone?
Here's where Dictionary.com comes in handy:
Insure: 1. to guarantee against loss or harm. 2. to secure indemnity to or on, in case of loss, damage, or death. 3. to issue or procure an insurance policy on or for.
Ensure: 1. to secure or guarantee: This letter will ensure you a hearing. 2. to make sure or certain: measures to ensure the success of an undertaking. 3. to make secure or safe, as from harm.
Yup. Thought so. Though I might pull in more cash if I did make threats of loss or harm.
Regardless of the situation, don't forget to
(Image from: Social-Marketing.com)