I read several blogs devoted to food and cooking and little is more contentious than the custom of tipping in the U.S. One side claims it is a system designed to allow restaurants to justify grossly underpaying their employees. The other side says it allows the customer to be empowered in a fashion the promotes good service. My reply is, "can't it be both?" I am also only too aware that there are wait staff in some restaurants who make a good deal more in wages due to tipping than they would if they were paid minimum wage or even above it. It is a complex situation which has room for both abuse of and benefits to employees. There is nothing out there which does not have a good and a bad side, as this blog has endeavored to show for the years it has been in existence.
All arguments aside, the bottom line is that tipping is a pain. While the math doesn't trouble me, the need to calculate a tip after paying the bill adds this layer of hassle at the end of a meal which detracts from the overall experience of dining. It causes you to reflect not on the experience, but on the quality of service and how much you will want to "reward" the server for a job done well or poorly. It's simply not the way to finish a special evening in which you're not cooking and cleaning. I miss the fact that there is no tipping in Japan.