I have a two year degree in culinary arts. I also worked in restaurants for years. I don’t anymore.

When people meet me and learn this the two questions I get are:

  1. What is your favorite thing to cook?
  2. Why aren’t you cooking professionally now?

The first one is an impossible question to answer. Ask an astronomer which planet, other than this one, is their favorite.

The second one is a bit more tricky. There are several reasons. But the primary one is the answer most people would give when asked why the don’t work at their last job: money.

Freakonomics aired an episode called The No-Tipping Point which drifts past this one scenario that happened several times while I worked at different restaurants. That situation would be at the end of a busy weekend night, I’d be burnt, bleeding, exhausted and in front of me is a smiling server counting his or her tips which totaled up to more than I would make the entire week.

I went to school for two years for this, you followed another server around for a week. That’s how I felt.

I cannot recommend listening to that episode enough to you. Freakonomics also had another episode, which was referenced in this one, titled Should Tipping Be Banned?. And I think the answer to that is yes.

Roberto A. Ferdman writing for The Washington Post recently published an article titled I dare you to read this and still feel good about tipping. It’s a terrible system.