Tip of the Hat/Spear/Your Pun Here

I woke up this morning thinking about tipping.

No apparent reason, just where my brain went upon waking.

Waking early, I might add. 6:10 a.m. finds me at the keyboard with energy, so a brief treatise on tipping is what you get today.

(My brain interrupts me here to point out that a treatise is technically a longer and more formal work than what I am attempting here, and I should probably use the term spiel instead. Okay, brain, okay. Can we get to it now?)

I strive to be a good tipper. 

I have a solid floor of 20%.

That’s the bare minimum I can scribble my name to without feeling guilt. 

It’s also a minimum predicated on a couple of assumptions.

Assumption the first: I tip on the whole bill, not the pre-tax amount. I do this because it is more generous, and the math is easier.

Assumption the second: I tip on alcohol. Considering my drinking tendencies, this raises the floor considerably.

Now, I’ve read tipping guides that advise you to not do those things, to which I say: Fuck off. I’m trying to be a decent human here.

So, we’ve set a floor. Is that enough?

Sometimes it isn’t. If I am, for example, eating alone at a Waffle House, the tab can be a single-digit number. In such cases, I have a $5 minimum.

Why $5?

As My Friend Who Likes To Punch People For Recreation once so eloquently put it, giving someone a dollar today is like your grandpa giving you a quarter when you were a kid. It’s pat-on-the-head money, not a living wage. I won’t leave the equivalent of a small pile of change on the table, and I don’t believe a diner server should get stiffed just because they didn’t get a steakhouse job instead. Start at $5 and go up from there as if that were 20%.

Having set the floor, it’s pretty easy to raise it. Decent work merits 25%, and I’ll go 30% for someone who makes me laugh.

Wait, wait, I hear.

(And I pause at the unintended pun, then realize there is no such thing as an unintended pun once you acknowledge it. So, leave it, or make a different choice, writer-person.)

Wait, wait, I hear.

What if their service was bad?

Read the room. Is the waitstaff busy as hell, working multiple tables? Is the kitchen backed up? Are there complicated orders (from your table or others)?

These are all reasons to raise your tip, not lower it.

What if they were rude?

How rude we talking? Southern rude? Did she bless your heart? Northern rude? Was the word fuck uttered as a casual adjective? Northwestern rude? Indifference?

Again, read the room. Put yourself in those shoes.

(Geez, you should have good shoes to wait tables.)

Try to think of a reason to hold steady or raise the tip, rather than look for ways to lower it.

Maybe it’s a first day/bad day/last day. Maybe their dog died. Maybe their lover is leaving. Maybe they don’t have a lover, and they are confused about love in general, filled with despair at the existential loneliness that is life, waiting tables to pay the rent on a place they don’t like but is (barely) affordable, living without parents who can afford to offer financial assistance that, even if such were possible, they would turn down on principle, and the power bill is due …

You get the point.

(I people-watch and sometimes daydream lives for the mental exercise. No, wait — that’s not the point. The point is …)

You never truly know. Err on the side of giving someone a living wage.

Which brings me to geography.

This spiel is focused on life in the States, as our (wealthy, developed) nation nonetheless has basically no laws in place to provide a living wage to members of the service class.

Tipping isn’t a nicety; it’s a necessity.

If you feel that shouldn’t be the case, fine. Vote and advocate accordingly. I’m with you. Meanwhile, tip well.

Which brings me to the assholes.

Low tip? Change on the table? Always looking for reason to lower the tip?

Assholes, all.

Then there are the very special assholes, the ones who don’t tip on principle.

Buddy, get some better principles. I get it, you saw Reservoir Dogs at an impressionable age, and Mr. Pink’s anti-tipping tirade really moved you.

a) You’re an asshole.

b) Everyone in that movie is an asshole.

c) Tarantino is an asshole.

d) Joe, while still an asshole, was correct: “Never mind what you normally would do. Just cough in your goddamned buck like everyone else.”

e) You’re an asshole.

2017 Whisky Wind-down, 346: Not My Whisky

[Editorial note: You probably remember 2016 Whisky Wind-down. Hell, it basically just ended. Am I saying 2017 is already so bad that it’s time to start a similar countdown already? No. I am not. However, some days beg to be noted in time. Also, some days call for a stiff drink.] 


Today’s dram: Ruskova Vodka Real American Whisky

Today’s tasting notes: Blarg. Gak. <string of expletives>

Today’s thoughts: Appropriately enough, I woke up sick today. Psychosomatic? Could be.

At any rate, I hadn’t been awake long when my phone rang. T-Mobile customer service. Without getting into the specifics, I’ll just say the company and I have an ongoing billing dispute. They’re wrong, of course. The service reps — I talked to three, over the course of 90 minutes — acknowledge the problem, but say they “can’t change that in the system.”

All in all, it was a frustrating experience, being in the right but still unable to make a positive change. Powerless before the needs of the corporation. Pay up or lose.

Which is, again, appropriate enough for the day at hand.

All the facts in the world don’t matter if one side has power and the willingness to use it.

All the reason in the world doesn’t matter if the other side is unreasonable.

Try as you might, the inertia of the system will carry you away, regardless.

Today’s notes on the immediate future: And so … I drank my selected “whisky.”

I poured a second.

After a bit, it got easier.

I mean, if you have low expectations.

No, lower than that. 

Afterward, I went to my happy place. 

Not the bar. 

My other happy place: the kitchen.  

There, I baked Christmas cookies.

What with travel, various sicknesses, and other conflicts, this weekend is the earliest I have been able to coordinate gathering with my family to observe the holiday.

It’s harder than it used to be, and I don’t just mean the scheduling. 

See, try as I might, I can’t convince some of them we’re better off, by far, than we were eight years ago, and the next four years bode poorly for all of us.

(In fairness, try as they might, they can’t convince me of the opposite, either.)

We resolve these differences mostly by ignoring them. 

At least we agree on cookies. 

Today’s toast: Nostrovia, comrades! “May the wings of liberty never lose a feather.” –Jack Burton

Administrivia: Don’t Read The Comments

[Administrivia posts exist to tell you what I think about what I write. Writing about writing, I guess. Not necessarily boring, but not necessarily essential reading, either — unless you care about things like how and why I run lastgreypoet.com, in which case you should click on the administrivia content label and make sure you’re all caught up.]

—–

I’m not Jim Wright, demi-god of the sea, who petrifies his enemies then carves their heads into beautiful bowls, all without spilling a drop of his whisky.

Nor am I John Scalzi, who wields the Mallet of Loving Correction with judicious glee before turning back to more important pursuits like cat photography.

My comment policy, while sharing something in spirit with theirs, is a bit different.

Comment moderation is ON, and anonymous commenting is OFF.

Does that makes sense? How about a Q&A? I bet that would help.

I HAVE TO REGISTER TO POST? WHAT IS THIS?

It’s easy, is what it is. You have to either be signed into a Google account or an account from one of several other online services. (I honestly can’t keep up. They’re listed for you on the comment box, though.)

I figure if you have an internet connection and the web savvy to get here, you probably have access to one of those services. If not, email me.

MODERATION? WHAT IS THIS, A DRINKING SUPPORT GROUP?

No, but we might talk about alcoholism some other time.

Moderation means your comment goes to me for approval before it hits the site.

EVEN AFT-

Yes, even after you went to all the trouble of remembering your AIM password to log in.

In practical terms, this means there will be a delay before your comment shows up. How long depends on what I’m up to.

If it’s a typical day, I’ll get the email ping, and if time allows I’ll read and approve a reasonable comment in short order. Then again, your comment might hit at a bad time (such as a time when I haven’t been writing much and you’re hitting up an older post and wanting to start a discussion but it turns out I’m wallowing in a cave).

YOU HAVE A CAVE?

I have a fondness for metaphor.

LET ME BACK UP TO THAT BIT ABOUT “APPROVE A REASONABLE COMMENT.” WHAT?

If your comment meets my standards of decency, I’ll allow it.

(Trolls, professional devil’s advocates, and assholes I went to high school with may find themselves disappointed with said standards.)

FREE SPEECH!

That isn’t a question, but you are welcome to speak freely in whatever public space you find yourself. This isn’t a public space. I realize it may be confusing, given that it’s publicly accessible, but that’s not the same thing.

Think of like this: No shoes, no shirt, no minimum IQ or sense of decency, no service.

Actually, scratch that. I don’t care what you’re wearing (or not wearing). If you’re a decent human who isn’t so dumb as to get on my last nerve, I’ll probably let you in.

WAIT A MINUTE, YOU MENTIONED SENDING YOU AN EMAIL, BUT I CAN’T FIND AN EMAIL ADDRESS ANYWHERE ON YOUR SITE!

Well spotted. You might just clear the aforementioned minimum IQ requirement.

WHAT ABOUT FACEBOOK? TWITTER? CAN I COMMENT THERE?

If you know me there, be welcome.

DID YOU REALLY HAVE TO WRITE THIS Q&A LIKE A CONVERSATION BETWEEN YOURSELF AND AN IMAGINARY YELLING INTERNET DENIZEN!?

No, but it was more fun that way. Nice use of “denizen,” btw. I dig that word.

STOP COMPLIMENTING YOURSELF IN THE THIRD PERSON AND GET BACK TO WORK