New York restaurateur eliminates bad tippers in his restaurants with a smart new pricing strategy.

Tipping has been standard practice in the United States for over a century.

But why don't we just pay it all in one bill? Let's start at the beginning.


Photo by Nan Palmero/Flickr.

Tipping was started in the 17th century by British aristocrats as what journalist Paul Watcher describes as "a sprinkle of change for social inferiors." It was brought to the U.S. by rich Americans who vacationed in Europe after the Civil War.

When the practice arrived, people weren't that into it — it was viewed as un-American. Despite that, it stuck with us, and today about 4.3 million people make a living mostly on tips.

How did tipping go from being just a little something extra to a full-on means to an end?

The big change came in 1966, when the Fair Labor Standards Act was amended with a subminimum wage for tipped workers and a tip credit for employers.

Through tip credits, employers of tipped workers are being subsidized by consumers at record levels. Chart by Economic Policy Institute.

That change allowed employers of tipped workers to offload the responsibility of paying the legal federal minimum wage onto their customers.

The current federal minimum for tipped workers (those earning more than $30 per month in tips) of $2.13 an hour hasn't budged since 1991, when the inflation-adjusted value of the dollar was 75% higher than it is today. By comparison, the federal minimum wage has been increased six times in the same period.

There's a growing trend in the service industry to toss the tipping system.

One of the latest to join is famed New York restaurateur Danny Meyer, who you may know better as the founder of Shake Shack.

Shake Shack gained national fame after creating burger and fries recipes that turned everyone within a three block radius of their exhaust fan into a beef-craving zombie. This is the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, New York City. Photo by Lucius Kwak/Flickr.

Meyer is eliminating the traditional tipping system by building a service charge (and then some) into the prices at all of his full-service restaurants. He wrote on his company website that tipping was getting in the way of their ability to provide "meaningful career opportunities and advancement" for their 1,800 employees.

According to New York Eater, Meyer has been talking about it for decades. In a 1994 newsletter, he explained his qualms with the practice of tipping:

"The American system of tipping is awkward for all parties involved: restaurant patrons are expected to have the expertise to motivate and properly remunerate service professionals; servers are expected to please up to 1,000 different employers (for most of us, one boss is enough!); and restaurateurs surrender their use of compensation as an appropriate tool to reward merit and promote excellence."

All-inclusive pricing could make tipping a thing of the past.

Not all tipped workers struggle under the current system, but most of them aren't servers in fancy restaurants with the guarantee of 20% commissions on every sale. Meyer wants the shift away from tipping to "right what has been a labor of wrong."

"Tipping is awkward," says Danny Meyer. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

The restaurants will not only take responsibility for fairly compensating their servers, but the price hikes are also going to lift the bottomed-out wages of non-tipped employees, like front-of-the-house staff, cooks, and even entry-level managers.

Photo via iStock.

This could be the start of a new era of humane hospitality.

Meyer is giving the no-tips model some important visibility and traction, but small businesses around the country beat him to implementing all-inclusive pricing.

One of those businesses is Lanesplitter, my go-to pizza joint here in Oakland. They call it a "sustainably served" model. Their employees earn living wages and have access to paid time off, health care, and overtime pay — things all workers deserve.

Sure, ditching the tip might feel like a big change, but when you consider all the downsides, it's hard to argue against it. Thankfully, it looks like more people are beginning to recognize that.

Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

When Donato Di Camillo was a kid, his family couldn't afford film for their Polaroid camera.

So instead, he ran around the house with a film-less camera pretending to be a hotshot photographer on an African safari, mimicking the heroes behind iconic photos he saw in the discarded National Geographic magazines his dad grabbed for him out of the garbage.

Years later, when Di Camillo found himself in prison after collecting a lengthy rap sheet of thefts, he discovered a library full of those same magazines.

While other inmates were working out or getting into trouble, he pored over old issues of National Geographic, Life, and Time.

Keep Reading Show less

There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

Keep Reading Show less