When Did Hospitality Get So Hostile?

Wide ranging missive on the rise in aggressive encounters in the hospitality industry. I was intrigued by the origins of tipping culture in US:

“Requests for tips — a tradition that took root in the United States only after the Civil War, in part as an excuse for white bosses to underpay Black employees, as the Pullman Company did on its rail cars with Black porters, who as late as 1934 were officially paid an average of $16.92 a week for more than 73 hours of work”


Maybe this is a NY/LA issue? Because I did not see it in the DC, Colorado or Montana areas.
In some ways, it may be a case of mirroring. The reporter and their colleagues see more hostility because they feel more hostile and aggrieved? The author mentions Corden as a case in point, but Corden may be the outlier rather than an indicator of what is typical behavior.
I am in Greece this month and it is a tipping culture too. Service here is not fast or professional but it is friendly and fun, which is pretty good in its own way. I have spent a week each in Athens, Naxos, Santorini and now Crete and I have run into scores of very good people in waitstaff positions. Nearly every one of them has been an enjoyable person to work with. It doesn’t hurt that most of them seemed to share my love of food! LOL!

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Interesting article. My view is that much of the “aggression”, such as there might be, stems from the sense of entitlement on the part of the customer that we see in other aspects of society. In a restaurant context, it comes from the generally false concept that “the customer is always right”. Now, if you take that background attitude and add in the fact that, in some countries such as the States, customers make a direct and significant contribution to a server’s income by way of large tips, you can see how a particular attitude might become evident.

It’d be interesting to see if there were different attitudes towards serving staff in countries that are low/no tip


I can only speak for Germany, but you’ll never find the kind of servility and fake enthusiasm that’s on display at US restaurants. In fact, you may often wait several minutes to get a server’s attention to replenish drinks, order more stuff, or just pay your bill.

I prefer the German way, TBH. I’d rather someone’s genuinely nice, or simply efficient.


Me too. It’s a broadly European way, including here in the UK. There’s a very different “style” in North America but I suppose much is down to what you are used to. As I’ve said before, even though we share the same language, I find the States to be the most “foreign” place I regularly visit.


I guess I only eat out about once or twice a month, but I haven’t seen any hostility in hospitality.