10.20.2004

TIPPING

from www.britannica.com

tip
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): tipped; tip·ping
Etymology: perhaps from 6tip
Date: circa 1610
transitive senses
1 : GIVE, PRESENT
2 : to give a gratuity to
intransitive senses : to bestow a gratuity


and then this

gra·tu·ity
Pronunciation: gr&-'tü-&-tE, -'tyü-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ities
Date: 1540
: something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service; especially : TIP


somewhere along the line society has forgotten the meanings of these words; TIP and GRATUITY

not sure where but somewhere in recent history the notions of voluntary and beyond obligation have been forgotten

don't get me wrong....I tip....but, not in all cases
and in many cases I tip when I feel it most definitely is not deserved

Coffee Shops have to be the biggest extortion artists out there when it comes to tipping...

Explain to me why I need to spend a super inflated price for a cup of coffee and then tip the worker on top of that? Sure the HIPSTER with all the tattoos and piercings at STARBUCKS is doing a wonderful job of pouring my basic house blend....but what are they doing differently than the person behind the counter at McDonalds who is also serving food and coffee with the same robotic smile? At McDonald's they want you to give the money to the kids at Ronald McDonald's House....not into the employee's pockets. Yet, for some reason or another we all feel this great social pressure when we are in coffee shops to give the remainder of our change to the Cool Cats behind the counter.

I have to deal with a smarmy attitude and give up my change!??!?!
YEP!
and I do!
why?
cause I am scared!
scared that people will think that I am not a good member of society

Now there are other areas of the SERVICE INDUSTRY where tipping makes perfectly good sense....but is so often overlooked by average consummer. I will dip into my personal ethnography and recall two jobs that I worked that often got me tips....but not often enough; working as a mover and as a mechanic in a bike shop.

Gulliver's Movers
To all those who do not know; it is customary to tip a mover. It is also customary to tip a furniture delivery person or anyone else who is doing a similar type service; (as in this morning I tipped the guy who delivered the wood for my deck, I did not tip him for the delivery, but rather for him helping to move the wood and concrete bags from the alley into my backyard. For this he earned ten dollars, which is not much, but if he gets 10-20 bucks for each of his deliveries that day....well....he may have earned himself an additional 50-100+ dollars; as a mover we were happy to get 10-20 for 6-8 hours of exertion; no tip after a 12 hour day...that hurt) When working as a mover I was often the guy who headed the crews. So when it came time to handle the paper work I usually had a good idea of who was tipping and who was not. Either way things were going I tried to slip in as tastefully as I could that it is customary to tip the movers. Phrases like, "Oh, you are writting a check...you can include the mover's tip in the final tally and we can get the boss to settle up with us back at the office." or if there was damage done and they were trying to weasel out of some of the final billing...."oh, mam, I am sorry about the scratch on your floor..we try to avoid such things, but these things do happen....maybe you can take a percentage of the tip for the workers and use that money to buff out the scratch."

You get the basic idea, the phrases were all customized to the situation. As a crew leader I was well liked....everyone was treated fairly...the tips were always spread equally (some crew leaders did not split the tips fairly...some kept the tips for themselves) And the workers always like to hear me come up with these lines in the end, in the background I would hear, "oh, cool, joe (L implied) is gonna take care of us!" The boss back at the office frowned on such behavior..in fact I got reprimanded indirectly for such things....but in the end I felt it was my obligation to educate the public one by one on the customs of using a mover. Remeber these people use a mover once every 7-10 years, while I was a mover everyday. They knew to tip in a resturant....some had to learn to tip when using a mover as well.

at times on a big move....

I would try and get a subtle hint that "pizza and gatorade" often aid in the moral of the larger moves. With a little skip in the worker's step things move quicker with less error (damage.)

Big Wheel Bikes; Capitol Hill Location, Eastern Market

The bike shop was a tad different...

Each day, mostly on weekends there would be a parade of weekend warriors with their low end bikes looking for a quick adjustment. After the first couple hundred of free adjustments I realized that these people had purchased their bikes elsewhere....were getting free service from our shop....and were more than likely never going to spend any money in the shop. The tighening of the handle bars, adjusting the seat, fixing the front wheel were all done with a smile in the hopes of earning their future business. Till finally I realize...this is taking time away from sales and repairs....something must be done. So I came up with a little phrase, "our repair minimum is seven dollars an fifty cents, I don't feel that this adjustment merits that, but if you want to contribute a few dollars to the mechanic lunch fund we would be very grateful...."

The repair was done, two or three dollars came our way....and we had pizza or subs headed our way come lunch time.... The potential customer left feeling good about the situation as 3 dollars is better than seven fifty and we got a rapid increase in our hourly wage. This barter system extended...there were locals who had services...and we did fair exchanges for services. I gave the local sports club big discounts and serious hook up in exchange for a free gym membership. The girls down the block at the coffee shop got free adjustmenst for an occassional free coffee...and so on...and so on....and so on....

what is my point?

is it that I like to get tipped
but that I do not like to tip?

no, not at all
as a matter of fact I feel I am a good tipper
as a father of two I realize that our table can often make more work for the bus boy or the waiter
so we tend to be generous with our tips, even after we try to clean up some of the damage

but there are times where I feel that tips are not needed or services are unnessecary

the coffee shop is one
but
when lisa and I go to a nice hotel....I hate using the Bell Hop
it blows my mind that I need a dwarf with a hump to carry my bag and hold my key
while I a young and strong and could carry this guy and my bags to the room with no hassle at all

where am I going with this?
back to work
where I do not get any tips!
but do not expect them either
although it would be nice


No comments: