Tips help workers who are low paid

"What to do at the tipping point" (Feb. 12) left out the most important aspect to the social compact involved in tipping: the implicit acknowledgment by customers of these establishments that the staff is being paid a low wage.

Tipping has spread throughout our culture because there is a widespread realization that most workers are grossly underemployed and underpaid. Most customers have themselves worked in such establishments at one time or another, or their child has, or they are simply in tune to reality and are thus generous with a buck or two for the tip jar.

Tipping is what allows for some measure of quality of life for many workers in the new "service" economy.

Jeff Softley

Los Angeles

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