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In 2009, I was approaching the end of my anthropology coursework and was in need of an idea for a post-graduate research project. At the time, my interesting ideas were not practical and my practical ideas were not interesting. It was in this state of discouragement I went to a bar, in Melbournes inner city. After paying for a drink the bartender asked whether I was going to leave a tip. The intonation of her question communicated it to be more of a demand, particularly as she rattled the coins in the tip jar. This shocked me, to say the least. I had not planned on tipping and told her so, a decision she then asked me to justify. After admitting I had not thought much about it before, I awkwardly suggested that I believed the minimum wage in Australia was sufficient, negating any need for tipping. She replied that, in fact, her wage was inadequate. Furthermore, she asserted, my opinion on the matter was
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invalid since I did not have service industry experience. Then, she walked away. This event left me confused but also with the beginnings of a research questionwhy do people tip? The fact that what I took from this interaction was a question relating to why people would voluntarily give money to a service-employeeas opposed to being concerned with some other issue, such as the obvious gendered element of the encounterwas probably due to my previous life in economics. My past, which included an undergraduate degree in economics followed by practicing as an economist, seemed to have been reactivated in the form of questions relating to income, payments, and exchange. Prior to returning to university to study anthropology, I absorbed and applied the tenets of economic theory, only to see

first hand its inadequacies and failures. It was common for the economists I worked with to rationalise the mismatch between predictions of economic modelling and the way people actually behaved; they often suggested such failings were not with the models themselves but everybody elses inability to understand economic reasoning. It was tempting to subscribe to this excuse when everyone I worked with and for was promoting it. Eventually, however, I did leave that world, only to have it re-emerge when constructing an anthropological research question.

That said, my relatively new education in the Arts ensured the question began as something more contextualised than why do people tip? My understanding in 2009, supported by subsequent research, Aus tralians propens ity to was that tipping in As it turns out, tipping tip will likely increase ! Australia was is a phenomenon that reasonably has received much uncommon. Certainly academic attention in in previous generations it was almost recent decades. This attention has unheard of; my parents, and their parents, primarily come from economists, with did not tip and thought it rude to do so. It very little from anthropologists. I do not seemed, however, tipping was becoming use this dissertation to suppose the more common in contemporary Australia superiority of an anthropological (and, apparently, expected by at least one perspective. Instead, I put forth a Melbourne bartender). complementary argument that engages with the efforts of my former colleagues, So, my original question did not just while avoiding some of the shortcomings relate to why people tipped but how it was of their conceptualisations and analyses. that Australia had gone from being a society comprised of vehement nonLikewise, while this dissertation involves, tippers to one where tipping did occur, in part, a comparison of two nations with even if only occasionally and by only distinct systems of compensation for

some people. In that sense, I viewed the question to be more about social change, with tipping practices as the vehicle with which to explore that. As the project progressed, it became apparent that it was difficult (if not impossible) to research tipping without incorporating reference to the United States of America, the widely accepted home of tipping. So, the question expanded to include a comparison of Australia and the United States. It is a comparison that takes place on two broad levelsone socio-historical and the other ethnographic, based on participant observation in a public bar in each country. Ultimately, it seemed Notwiths tan ding the to me, any understanding of repeal of the Work tipping required Choices legislatio n in speaking to so many 2007, if Australia aspects of social life maintains its trend that I present it here as toward a deregulated a social fact, in the Durkheimian sense. labour market

service-workers and associated attitudes and practices, I do not propose that one system is better than the other. Nor do I make a judgement about whether or not people should tip. Whether any particular practice is good or bad is something for readers to decide themselves. Finally, I acknowledge that the issues I magnify, pull apart and put back together are influenced by my own experiences, capacities and dispositions. This, in turn, led to this dissertation taking on its distinct shape with its own particular strengths and limitations. In this dissertation I have sought to explain a particular kind of gifting, known as tipping, and why attitudes/practices towards it vary. Previous research attempting to understand why people tip has failed to produce adequate answers. This is partly because the question why do people tip? is too generic, a problem the supposedly universally applicable methods used by economists has been unable to overcome. These research attempts have also presented tipping as an unambiguous and unhistorical phenomenona commodity traded for service. In contrast, I have shown tipping as capable of comprising ambiguous combinations of gift and commodity, with its practice and meaning contingent upon both the sociohistorical context and the particular relationships between those that give tips and those that receive them. Researchers of gifting usually begin with Marcel Mausss suggestion that it is incumbent upon all people to give, receive, and reciprocate, but tend still to explain gifting in terms of the specific context that

surrounds it. This has been my approach. It has led me to divide the generic question of tipping into the following: Why is the practice of tipping simultaneously so pervasive in America and so uncommon in Australia? Given these different levels of pervasiveness, how did people specifically, Freddys and Franks participantsincorporate tipping into their interactions? Finally, what did tipping mean to people involved in its practice?

Findings and Implications These questions have led to a number of findings, each with their own implications. The key issue relating to the generally different predispositions to tip in America and Australia is the relations of power between employers and employees. The concept of tipping was introduced to both countries in the late-nineteenth century.
In both countries, employers would have benefited from a shift away from a fixed wages system to a tipping system as it reduces their risk of having to pay idle employees. Yet, only in America was this shift to a tipping system realised, afforded by the American labour markets asymmetrical power relations in favour of employers. In Australia, conversely, wage labourers constituted a higher proportion of the population, which supported a stronger union movement and the mandating of liveable wages for all employees, including service-employees who did not need to resort to seeking tips for income. This has implications for the future of Australias tipping custom, which can be currently described as insignificant.

Notwithstanding the repeal of the Work Choices legislation in 2007, if Australia maintains its trend toward a deregulated labour market Australians propensity to tip will likely increase. The more that power shifts toward employers the more they will seek to reduce their risk exposure to lower than expected custom by transferring that risk onto their employees, who will respond by seeking tips. In such an instance, an anti-tipping morality will eventually give way to necessity as it did in late-nineteenth century America. To that extent, tipping customs may prove a useful indicator of power asymmetry in a nations labour market. Divergent political histories between America and Australia led to patrons in each nation being placed in a different relationship with service-employees they encountered. Franks bartenders suspicions were correct insofar as they recognised that if their income source shifted away from wages toward tips their interactions with patrons would shift with it. They tended to suspect, however, that being reliant on tip income would be disempowering in terms of their being made subservient to patrons. Bartenderpatron interaction at Freddys suggests that this would not inevitably follow. Freddys bartenders were empowered in many respects, including greater job security and control over their work activities. That empowerment was grounded in their relationships with patrons, which I argue were directly linked to bartenders being paid in tips. The issue remains, however, as to what extent these observations apply in other settingsfor example, restaurants, hotels, or even other public bars that do not

facilitate personal relationships between bartenders and patrons. The contextual requirements for the validity of these conclusions might mean that they have limited resonance throughout the serviceindustry, but this is something for further research. The irony for Australian serviceemployees may be that the formal power they have collectively accumulated over the twentieth century in terms of protective legislative provisions may have undermined their informal power in the workplace. Protective provisions such as liveable minimum wages have reconfigured the relationship between those involved in the service encounter, enabling a disconnect between Australian service-employees and patrons. Based on the evidence from Freddys Bar, the relationships that may ensue in the absence of those regulations can be a source of power for service-employees. Commensurate with bartender-patron relationships taking on different forms, comparative descriptions of Freddys and Franks reveal that tipping took on different meanings. At Freddys, tips were heavy with meaning for participants, reflecting and reinforcing the various relationships patrons had with bartenders. Such relationships were sometimes abstract, the construct of social institutions. Other times they were personal and deeply held. In all cases, the amount tipped and the way it was done was crucial to the navigation of such relationships. At Franks, tipping held considerably less importanceit constituted a small fraction of Franks bartenders incomesbut was still a medium with which people sought to communicate their relationships with each other and with the venue, and to

develop their own identity. The implication of this finding is that researchers need to move beyond basic characteristics of the service encounter if they wish to understand tipping. Researchers cannot simply appeal to tips as reflections of perceived utility gains susceptible to potential disruption by extraneous factors (such as gender dynamics or the weather). Utility was relevant to varying degrees at Freddys and Franks, and numerous other studies suggest tip levels are indeed influenced by extraneous factors, but peoples decisions to tip were also supported by what the action meant to them. Such meaning was afforded by the context, which extended beyond the bartender-patron relationship (whether that be abstract or personal) to include the owners role in setting work activities, social structures and each persons cultivated economic habitus. Comparing Freddys and Franks prompted my developing the concept of a Product-Price Nexus (PPN). The PPN deconstructs both products and prices and details how they were related, which I then analysed in relation to the sociality between bartenders and patrons. I used the PPN and descriptions of behaviour within Freddys and Franks to argue that there was an inverse relationship between the strength of the connection between products and their respective prices (that is, the PPN) and the extent to which bartenders and patrons interacted with each other. Freddys prices and products were only loosely connected but there was considerable sociality between bartenders and patrons, whereas the reverse was the case at Franks. This demonstrates that the connection between products and prices is not an automatic expression of

universal laws relating to competitive forces, but a construction that seemingly takes place in connection to the level of interaction between those effecting transactions. The PPN may provide part of a future research agenda to ascertain the extent this inverse relationship holds in other settings. Further investigation may also reveal insight into causal directions. Do certain strengths of the PPN lead to particular levels of sociality or is the reverse the case? Or, is it a matter of the PPN and sociality being mutually constituted? In any event, the discovery of this connection brings economic exchange and social interaction into direct and observable contact and posits how they are related. The comparison of Freddys and Franks also led to the identification of different forms of emotional labour. Building upon the emotional labour literature, which suggests that an employers profit motive compels service-employees to present a demeanour inconsistent with their feelings, I described two ways in which that inconsistency may be negotiated. Freddys bartenders engaged patrons, while Franks bartenders endured patrons. This distinction, I noted, was linked to the different income structures in the two venues. The tipping system in Freddys resulted in bartenders having more responsibilities, including for the development of patron relationships, whereas the fixed wages system at Franks enabled (perhaps necessitated) bartenders roles to be directed toward the relatively functional elements of bartending such as producing drinks and managing stock rotation. This insight builds upon the literature regarding work, as it identifies income structure as a link

that converts differences regarding national political institutions into different work outcomes. As with the relationship between the PPN and sociality, it is the task of future research to demonstrate the degree to which, if at all, this finding applies in other settings. To the extent that it does, there are consequences for the field of Human Resource Management. Put simply, income structure (how employees are paid and from where that money is derived) shapes how an employer is able to define an occupation and how employees carry it out. Furthermore, for researchers, the discovery of two forms of emotional labour begs the question of whether there are any other forms used by serviceemployees and what sustains their existence. This comparative project may also prove relevant to understanding the consumption of alcohol. Comparing Freddys and Franks in terms of economic and social interaction, as well as in terms of the types of relationships that eventuate from those processes, was designed to shed light on exchange within each venue (particularly tipping). Production processes were incorporated into this study, as they were found to be relevant to the understanding of typical modes of exchange in the two venues. The consumption of alcohol, however, was not given much consideration. That said, the different modes of typical bartender-patron relationships observed in Freddys and Franks might well have relevance to future investigations of alcohol consumption. Many Freddys patrons socialised directly with bartenders. This, for many, was a main reason for visiting the venue. Alcohol

consumption took place by oneself, with the bartender, and often with other patrons to whom drinkers were introduced in the venue. Many Franks patrons, on the other hand, interacted with bartenders only to the extent needed to acquire alcohol. Consequently, there was a reduced tendency to visit the bar by oneself, consume alcohol while conversing with the bartender, and meet unfamiliar people. Franks patrons, relatively speaking, tended to socialise and consume alcohol in groups formed external to the venue and away from the bartender. In as much as relations with whom one is drinking affects how one drinks, this study thus raises the possibility that differences in tipping practice, and the structural conditions informing those practices, may affect the frequency and intensity of alcohol consumption.

Closing Remarks For most people in Australia tipping is a somewhat peripheral aspect of life (for the moment at least). Nevertheless, as a form of gift exchange inextricably bound with commodity exchange, this examination of tipping reveals social patterns that exist far beyond the immediacy of the practice. Quantitative researchers have been able to demonstrate a range of factors that correlate with tipping behaviours to varying degrees. In the same process they have also shown how little is known about why tipping is practiced in some situations and contexts and not in others, what it means to people involved, and how it reflects and reinforces diverse kinds of relationships. This dissertation has demonstrated that tipping is connected to, and connects, many aspects of social life,

regardless of the extent to which it is practiced. If my examination of tipping in the United States reveals anything it is that social norms can operate as a powerful substitute for institutional enforcement. Comparing this to the Australian case reveals political institutions can have direct and significant influence upon social norms. It seems, then, that political institutions and social norms can only be fully understood in terms of their mutual constitution, or, at least, how they may impact upon each other. An examination of either political institutions or social norms without reference to the other may result in an understanding that is partial and possibly misleading.