Is it just me, or has the “tip jar” custom developed into a practice that is completely out of control? It seems to be that no matter where I turn there is someone there with a tip jar waiting for me to give them extra money for doing a job for which I just paid them.
Please don’t get me wrong. It is not that I am cheap (contrary to what W.E. may think). I often tip waiters at least 20 percent if there service is above and beyond and they are attentive to my needs. I just don’t understand why I should tip the little asian girl who spoons in my two items along with my fried rice and lo-mein noodles into the little styrofoam tray. I think I actually take more steps than her as i walk back and forth in front of the glass covered steam table trying to decide what my two items will be. We then walk together to the register where I pay and she puts the container in a plastic bag with a big red smiley face on it. If I beg and smile she will put two soy sauce packets in the bag with a napkin and plastic fork but I don’t think she is really happy about it. What can I say? One packet is not enough to bring the fried rice back to life. But I digress. There, in front of the register, is a tip jar. I just don’t see what service has been rendered that warrants a tip.
Now I am not a coffee drinker, but I hear that a similar situation crops up at Starbucks. People pay four dollars for a cup of coffee, one that they must first wait in line to order at a counter, pay for at the counter and pick up at the counter. Perhaps the tip is to ensure that you get a paper sleeve on your cup so you don’t burn your hand? If you don’t tip, then the next time you don’t get one and you run the risk of a first degree burn.
Now there are people I will always tip. For example I would never dream of not tipping a sky cap. I definitely want my luggage getting checked in on the plane. That is worth the price of a nice tip.
Second I will gladly reward any server who makes sure my food is brought promptly while it is still hot and made properly as I ordered it. I am a heavy beverage drinker when I eat so it is not unusual for my water glass to be refilled 5 to 14 times during a meal. If they skimp on keeping me well hydrated, the tip starts to dry out. I also always tip my barber. Yes I go to a barber and not a hair stylist. There is a difference. This is someone I plan on having a long term relationship, and I want him to know of the appreciation I have for him taking the time to make me look just so. He also goes the extra mile to trim my eyebrows, which I have discovered that after you hit middle age start to take on a mind of their own and need regular attention to keep them from taking over your face. Once again I digress.
Lastly there are some people out there who take tips that I never knew expected them. A few months ago I went the the massage therapist and was waiting for my appointment when the therapist came out with her last client. I saw this client tip the therapist. I thought “Am I supposed to tip a massage therapist now?” Massage therapists describe themselves as health care providers. I think that is why they believe they can charge 65 dollars for 50 minutes of work after completing a 6 month course at a drive by school in a strip mall. Do you tip your doctor? Do you tip your dentist? Do you tip the phlebotimist after they draw your blood? (I may want to consider this so they use a smaller needle.) So why would you tip your massage therapist? I say you can not have it both ways. Either you are a health care provider or you are a pleasure provider. As a health care provider myself, I would never expect a tip – let alone accept one.
I appreciate this is a long read. I congratulate you for making it this far. Does anyone know what the proper etiquette is for tipping? Who am I not tipping that I should? The illegal alien who delivers my paper but can’t seem to keep it out of the sprinkler? What about the sanitation worker who empties my trash can with out leaving the truck. Should I tip the person who checks me out at Home Depot? Oh wait that is me since I have to do that myself now. As W.E. says I am just turning in to an angry middle aged man, but it seems to me that people are now doing less and expecting more in return. Whatever happened to just taking pride in a job well done?
Oh one more thing. If you enjoyed this blog tips are accepted.
(Editor’s Note: You’ll notice that this is Tio’s first guest post. I want to congratulate him in advance for such an awesome post!!! The W.E. readers will now start expecting… nay… demanding regulars from you, Tio!)