I Have A Tip For You

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


I have to say in my own defense here that I am usually a very good tipper. In restaurants or taxis or whatever, if the service is good, and it usually is, then I have no qualms about rewarding the person who has taken pride in their work and done a good job.

I just wish the world did likewise and rewarded those who did a good job instead of falling over themselves to reward those who don’t and who don’t even want a job to begin with.

But when the service is bad or the person has a bit of an attitude problem, then I don’t tip. Well actually yes I do, but I make the tip so small and derogatory that the message gets through.

In fact, I’ll make that a different sort of tip for anyone reading this blog, if you are in a restaurant or wherever and the service has been bad, pay the bill, without a gratuity if you’re paying by credit card, and leave just a penny on the table for the server. They’ll get the message better than leaving them nothing and so will their colleagues who you will usually see smirking in the background. Oh, and don’t go back to the restaurant, they don’t deserve your custom if they employ people like that.

Fortunately, I haven’t had to resort to that kind of thing very often. I remember though, one time myself and a friend were in the airport in Sanford in Florida. We had a while to wait for our flight which had been delayed and to pass the time we decided to go to one of the restaurants for a beer or coffee and maybe a sandwich. It was a particularly hot day and we decided to sit close to a ceiling fan. It was very comfortable.

Although it was beside the other tables it must have been a place reserved for larger meals than a snack and the waitress paced back and forth, knowing we were ready to order, but deliberately ignoring us. Neither of us were the least bit annoyed, in fact watching her antics helped to pass the time. I’m afraid our comments on her attitude and even her appearance were none to complimentary. She hadn’t been blessed with good looks, nor, from her attitude towards us, much of a brain or a personality either.

There was no one else in the place which should have been a bit of a clue for us. But we persevered. Eventually she came over to our table, took out her notepad and stood there without saying a word. We just ordered a couple of beers which were delivered to the table again without a word and without a smile.

We took our time over those and when it was time to board the airplane we asked for the bill. We left the exact amount plus one penny for the great service. It was all in change, mainly nickels and dimes and pennies. As we were going out the door we stopped and watched as she went over to the table to collect and count the money. We could see her counting it, and then counting it again, and then a third time.

Finally the literal penny in the palm of her hand the metaphorical penny in her head dropped too. She didn’t hope we had good day, in fact the look on her face said just the opposite. But, you know, it didn’t matter, we’d already had one at her expense, literally.

Then there was another time when my generosity was curtailed, this time it was in New York. I had arrived at JFK from Heathrow, and, suitably tired after first the flight and then the long and humorless ordeal that is US Immigration since 9/11. I was eager to get to my hotel.

I got the first available airport taxi. The driver was a New Yorker, from Queens. An authority on everything, you know the type. So there I was stretched out in the back of the cab listening to this guy give me a lesson on all things New York. It was unnecessary because I was a frequent visitor to the City and knew Manhattan reasonable well, but I listened to him anyway and answered when appropriate, which wasn’t that often because he liked the sound of his own voice.

When we got to the hotel, nice place on West 44th Street, he stopped the cab and I reached into my pocket for some money. The fare was $20, so I reached him a $20 dollar bill. As I was turning the bunch of bills over to get to the $5’s for the tip, the cab driver proceeded to give me a lesson on life in New York.

“It’s customary to give a tip,” he said in that harsh grinding New York accent. “In fact it’s expected!”

“Is it?,” I answered innocently. “Would $5 be okay?”

“Yeah, I suppose so,” he reluctantly replied.

“Well then,” I went on, “Here’s your tip, if you’d given me time I’d have gladly given you the $5 and maybe more, but because you couldn’t keep your mouth shut, here’s a dollar. Maybe you’ll give your customers the benefit of doubt the next time.”

In truth I doubted if he would. Needless to say he wasn’t pleased, but neither was I.

So I think the moral of this post is, reward good work generously, but do not be afraid not to reward incompetence, bad service or people who expect something for nothing. They’re literally not worth it.



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