I just read ‘How to tip properly’ on lifehacker, and was very surprised to read about pre-tipping:
In busy clubs or at crowded bars, it is acceptable to “pre-tip” the bartender. This encourages him to respond promptly to your needs, and it keeps you from waiting at the bar. A pre-tip is always at least 5 dollars (and more often 10 or above, depending on how crowded or upscale the bar is). Despite the amount, it should not comprise the whole of your tipping. One dollar for every 2 drinks afterward is typically sufficient to maintain their interest.
What a huge bullshit!!! Why did we let it go this far?!
First of all, tipping is a way to express my thanks for the delivered services. If I decide to pay a little bit extra, I decide how much I will give. In many places I read tipping rules like “you should always give 10%”, but for me there is only one rule: how do I value the extra service delivered to me. I put emphasis on extra, since I always assume that normal service is already included in the price. I pay for a coffee, and you bring it. If I read in the quote above that I have to pre-tip in order to encourage the waiter to respond promptly to my needs, I’d rather go to another place, since this waiter is simply not doing his job! He should be paid less, not more!
Furthermore, why do we only tip in bars and restaurants? Don’t the hairdresser and the cashier of the supermarket work just as much or even more? And who ever gave a tip to the electric co.? OK, skip that last one, since they will never do something extra for me.
The point is, I see tipping as something general. If you do something extra for me, I pay you extra. If you deliver the basic service, e.g. you bring me my cup of coffee when I order one, I pay only the required amount. A tip is something you need to earn!