I hope this is just another case of skyisfalling journalism and not actually a report on a real-life trend. From the KT:
However, the conventional understanding is slowly inching toward more Western, as more high-end service businesses are spreading the idea that a good tip follows good service.
From hotels, restaurants to beauty shops, tips are no longer a stranger to both service recipients and providers.
``It's now very much understood that our customers will leave a tip after a haircut,'' said Kim Hyang-mi, a senior stylist at Tony & Guy, a posh beauty salon in southern Seoul. ``The question is not `are they going to leave a tip?' but `how much will they give?'''
I absolutely hate the tipping system in the US, and it basically amounts to extortion. I don't have a problem with appreciating and rewarding good service, but I don't like that a tip is expected nowadays, with or without good service. Moreover, I don't like having to pay extra for something that falls within someone's basic job description. Tipping a dollar a drink at a local bar? Isn't pulling a beer from the cooler the bartender's job? Tipping the porter for wheeling a suitcase up to the room? Isn't wheeling suitcases the porter's job? Tipping a taxi driver for going from one place to another? Isn't driving a car his job? And tipping a waitress for pouring coffee and bringing plates? Isn't that her job? Some will argue that, because some in the service industry get paid less than minimum wage---what a ridiculous idea---that they rely on our tips to earn their living. So rather than going above and beyond basic job descriptions to earn tips, instead we are instead guilted into supporting some 21-year-old's three kids, and punished if we don't.
Customer service in Korea is pretty good---except for the cellphone store---and light years beyond what I've experienced back home, and I absolutely love not having to throw money around at people for some shit they supposed to do. The taxi drivers do their job
I don't frequent high-end businesses, so I've never felt obligated to tip in Korea. But it will be a sad day if that trend comes to pass and if tipping filters into other areas. Customer service will suffer, as it has in the US, and people won't be getting the service they deserve, they'll be getting the service they can afford.
* It also sounds elitest to ascribe negative stereotypes to some of the jobs I've mentioned, as if only the downtrodden work service jobs.