Here in the USA, I've long been irritated at the prevalence of tipping, and the ever-growing rate (at my last check 20% is considered the default). The tradition has been creeping more and more into everyday life in Canada too -- notice the tip jar at your local Starbucks.
Well, it's gotten to a really crazy level here. I was in the shopping mall the other day and I bought a water at a little convenience kiosk (the type of place that sells snacks, lotto tickets, and cigarettes). And, to my surprise, there was a "Tips appreciated" jar. Tips? For taking my money for the water I got for myself? What's the going rate for that? 20%? What then does the grocery cashier deserve, after handling so many products and packing them up carefully? It just makes no sense.
I can't imagine that the amount of tip money generated by this can make up for the shame of begging for tips when you actually offer no discernible level of customer service.
Macleans has a nice article about this, that I think is right on. Maybe I should send the author a tip.