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Jan 13, 2013 06:15 PM

TEDx Talk About Restaurant Tipping

A well-thought out TEDx talk about tipping, which I found via Eater.

Obviously, it's deemed "controversial", as you can see with the Eater post comments, amongst people in the industry, but as an outsider and one interested in economic theory/finance, the talker makes a lot of sense. I wish here in the US that we integrated service charges into the menu prices like most of Europe and Asia. I know Thomas Keller embraces the concept at The French Laundry and Per Se.

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  1. I thought that talk was below mediocre. There wasn't a single issue he raised that hasn't already been debated to death. You'd think that if the guy is doing academic research, he'd come up with some stuff that's not common knowledge. And some of his claims seemed tenuous at best. Like the transient nature of employment in the restaurant business being partly because of tipping. He didn't present any evidence. But then who cares? High-tech workers working for startups in Silicon Valley constitute a highly transient part of the workforce because it's a dynamic environment. So is the restaurant business. Is there a problem with that?

    1. Having attended three TED conferences, I want to share that the video snippets don't come close to a live attendance. Here's what I've learned firsthand.

      1. I had no idea tipping was as large a topic until I started reading food sites.
      2. Having a microphone in your hand, a human research grant in your file or a perspective doesn't mean you've mastered the topic or speak for every miniscule aspect of that topic.
      3. If you believe education forums open greater dialogue, we can all thank THINK tanks like the TED Foundation for kick starting the new norm to thought and action advancement and putting real money in the mix on human conditions that rarely receive funding let alone time.
      4. Caring deeply about a societal topic should be valued. Don't shoot messengers for caring enough to step up when you cannot or have not.
      5. Fans of TED have waited a lifetime to have a voice, value and be of service even if the audience and armchair quarterbacks don't understand the 15 min. time limit given to provide your view.

      Add attending a TED Conference to your bucket list. It's worth the experience.