The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Stiffing the Help

I came across this article in the New Yorker (which, for the apparent reason that I signed up for it, sends me daily emails with links to such articles). It caused me to pause and muse... in that order, I think.

You see, I have had jobs where tips were the major part of your earnings. Plus, I have known a waitress or two along the way. Tips are very important to these workers.

I tend, because of my job history (and my mother... which I will get to), to be a bit generous with my tipping. For instance, I generally tip at a 20% or better rate. It's easy to calculate for one thing and it seems to make the tippee happy (a reward in itself).

My mother was a generous tipper in restaurants. She did this, she told me (more than once), because she had once worked as a waitress. She lasted only half a day, just past lunch, she said. According to her she failed to get the orders right and generally ran around like the proverbial headless chicken.

My jobs that involved tipping were as a bellboy and a busboy. The bellboy job was better... much better. Nobody minds tipping a bellboy. the busboy job entailed getting 15% (give or take) of the waitress' tips. The base pay for both jobs was terrible. Less than minimum wage in one case (the bellboy gig). In the busboy job, one or two waitresses had really poor math skills. At least, either that or they regularly stiffed me.

I do not like jobs where I must depend on tips. They involve hard work and some people are cheap. Horribly cheap.

One thing bothers me, though, and I do not often tip when faced with it. That is the Tip Jar on the counters of coffee places like Starbucks. I tip waitresses at the counter because I can see them busting their butts (some of which are quite cute and, therefore, worth a higher tip) serving me and others and attending to my 4 or 5 cups of coffee as well as making sure I have all I need.

But coffee counters? They take the order, turn around to fill your cup, and turn around to give that to you (at Panera's, you get your own coffee). You clean up after yourself, you dump the cardboard or styrofoam cup or bring the dirty cup to the dumping spot. Sorry, folks, tips are for service with a little extra.... it is not an entitlement.

I will admit that I once stiffed a waitress at a Big Boy. I had stumbled in with some friends (also drunk) and sat in a booth. I ordered a BLT on toast to go with the coffee we wanted.... desperately. The waitress leaned against the wall by the kitchen window and read a paper. I saw my sandwich on the shelf and noted that she ignored it for ten minutes. When she finally brought it to my table it was cold (the toast that is). She immediately walked away and went back to reading the paper. I left a quarter glued to the table.

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