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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Here's A Tip - Don't Tip

There's a big hubbub in the United States about a New York restaurant that has banned tipping.

TIPS: To ensure prompt service.

Even a few of my friends Yankee-Doodle dandy friends have gone all radical calling for the immediate abolition or reinstatement of tips at restaurants all over their fine country.

But here's the thing… the restaurant at the forefront of this brouhaha is a sushi restaurant… a Manhattan-based joint called Sushi Yasuda that provides diners with an excellent and pricey meal.

Why would they do something like that? We suspect the answer is more than two-fold… probably involves a billfold (wallet!).

In Japan, tipping is simply not done. Ever.

I did it a couple of times… the first time I took a taxi on day two in Japan with a very sexy 'hot and heavy' Ashley from the party area of Roppongi to our hotel at the Keio Plaza… and again my first week in at a restaurant.

The taxi driver refused to accept my tip. I had given him ¥10,000 ($100Cdn/US) for a ¥800 (Cdn/US $80) fare. To be honest, I thought it was a ¥1,000 ($100) bill - and I didn't care because I was drunk and horny and horny. I was that horny. Or maybe I was so drunk I thought I was that horny. I know that rather than being allowed to tip or over tip, I did tip over.

The restaurant… I was again with Ashley, this time in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken where we were celebrating our one-month anniversary of getting to third-base with each other or maybe our one week anniversary of me finally losing my virginity! :)- plus the fact that we seemed perfect for each other and have not had a single disagreement in all that time. Anyhow… after a fine meal at a local restaurant, I left a customary 15% tip, based on the meal's total of ¥8,500 ($85).

Without awaiting my change, we left. Believe it or not, a young woman came barreling down the steps of the restaurant, and out into the street, to bow and hold at arms length the money I had obviously forgotten on the table.

"Tip-u" I said.

She knew what I meant, even though I just used an English wood and added an 'u' to the end of it to make a nonsensical word not even close to real Japanese. She shook her head in the negative, said "No tipu", smiled, bowed and walked quickly back up the stairs to the restaurant so she wouldn't have to speak more English.

Despite my social faux pas (pronounced 'fox pass'), I still got laid - and I saved money. What a great day that was! Could it have been the best day ever? It was at that point in my life! Any time you get laid, it's the best day ever. I could use a new best day ever.

Anyhow… the point is that Japan does not tip. They hide such banal things into the price tag… that way the correct tip can be distributed and no one is bothered with having to leave a little something for the (shudder) food staff.

And so it is at the 14-year-old Sushi Yasuda in New York. The place has increased its already pricey prices to compensate workers with salaries, including benefits and vacation time.

(See photo at the very top, for an example of a bill at Sushi Yasuda!)

Bills at Sushi Yasuda include an explanation as to why tips are not accepted (the increase in the cost of making sushi for you ungrateful gaijin!). The revolutionary move is relatively unheard of in North America, though common in Japan.

"I’ve always dreamed... wouldn’t it be great not to have to worry about tipping?" claims owner Scott Rosenberg. "You won’t have to think and calculate and do math at the table."

Rosenberg? He's not Japanese, is he? No wait… I seem to recall a family of traveling Jewish ninja assassins who were all the rage at diner parties in 17th century Edo…

"Big-gu boy! No double dipping!" and of course, the incredibly famous line that has been repeated by the Japanese ever since:

"Hora! Gaijin! Konoyaro! Use fork or I shall make you sing Hava Nagila a thousand times!"

Annnnnnd… scene!

Rosenberg claims there has been no decline in service since the new policy, and in fact, the customers are paying in total around the same amount - unless of course you were like that prick Mr. Pink in the movie Reservoir Dogs who questions the role of the waiter/waitress.

Aside from creating a better dinning experience for his customers, the change in policy also stems from a desire to be fair to all employees.

But is it fair to the customer?

What if your meal and dining experience sucks? What if it took an hour to get your meal - and it was wrong, or you had to utter the dreaded but still funny set-up line: "Waiter, there's a fly in my soup! What is it doing there?" (The answer could be: "The backstroke.")

Anyhow… what if no tip is deserved? How do you send a message to the staff?

Also what if you were horny and wanted to impress your date with your generosity (IE stupidity)? How can you over-tip? And forget about trying ti impress your date - what if you are trying to impress the waitress at Hooters? While I have never actually visited a Hooters, I did actually get to press on a few waitresses at various adult men's clubs… "Hey big tipper! Spend a little time with me..."

I know it should be 'big spender', by the way.

And, if I may offer you all a tip at the end of this riveting blog, I would say: "stay horny my friends."

Andrew Joseph
PS: Personally, I love Hava Nagila! I used to play it on my accordion at a breakneck speed for my Jewish nana who had come over from India for a vacation - the only time I got to met her! Great woman. She was no JAP (Jewish American Princess).

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