the cheapskate end around

Why go directly for the jugular in battle or give anything less than your all when participating in anything worthwhile? The all too obvious side steps and short cuts are so very appealing and readily available. Go for it sneaky pants, cut a few corners already and wallow in your cleverness of doing less than you are able, there’s always time to do it over, right…

Why pay full price for something you want badly, feel you deserve and can easily afford? So why not tip generously when someone has helped you enjoy your meal, brought you french roast or did you a little something extra that makes you look and feel better about yourself at the barber or salon?

My question then is why do we continually cut back on our ability to give more reward when it is well deserved for services rendered, keeping a little extra cash at hand to hand out freely when it is indeed deserved. It will lift your existence and make you feel a little nicer and better about yourself too, so go ahead and give yourself a treat by helping others who help you though your day.

The pursuit of a good deal is always fun and I too love to shop for bargains, but when it comes to our friends and neighbors employed in industries that rely more on tips than their hourly wage, we should insist and make a point of tipping generously.

I have have waited tables, tended bar, happily assisted a private membership at an exclusive country club, bagged groceries, moved furniture, provided tech support and pet and house sat many, many times. The clients and customers I remember most vividly are the ones who were kind and actually went out of their way to make my life just a little bit better with the best tool of appreciation known to mankind – cash moolah.

I’m beginning to think that it may be a world-wide “cheap ass” mindset, an I don’t give a hoot about anyone but me way of life, reinforced by repeatedly slipping in and out of our favorite busy coffee spot without giving a little something extra. I always tip the friendly staff at Starbucks and Coffee Bean, but for that little something extra I hold my crisply folded bills (loose change as a appropriate tip – seriously?) over the tip jar and provoke a little teasing to hopefully generate a smile or three. Somewhat annoying yes, greatly appreciated yes, a regular occurrence expressed by busy, satisfied customers… probably not.

Maybe there should be mandatory instructions and required tests when we spend hours at the DMV renewing something, only to scoff at the seemingly snail pace of the workers there.  Maybe it would be a better place to conduct routine automotive registration chores if they were allowed to accept gratuities? But, I have an even better idea, every one of us should at one point in our lives be required to hold a service job where some 2/3 of our potential income is dependent on tips for at the very least six months.

This would enable a two-fold strategy most likely making the world a better place; for service positions and the people who work them are by and large pretty friendly folks, they are typically part-time, quite young and impressionable for the most part, they work the oddest and sometimes extreme hours, therefore I believe strongly that each and every one of us would benefit greatly from having to adopt a mindset of forcing a smile and a friendly hello in hopes for a little extra cash in the jar.

Am I wrong or does this not make perfect sense, for would not that boss you hated or that micro managing VP everyone hated and played tricks on or that idiot who insists on checking out 17 items through a 15 item check stand would all benefit from a little time behind the counter at 5:00 AM?

It’s a very small thing to toss in a dollar or two especially when you are truly needing a little inspiration to feel better about yourself and giving a five, ten or even a twenty-dollar bill is far better and cheaper than a therapy session. There is no better way to say thank you for a job well done, so why do they not teach this in school?

There are wonderful stories that need to be shared about great tip masters and one of my personal favorites was during the Christmas holidays. I was working the pro shop at the golf and country club where I was employed and one of my favorite jolly old souls came strolling down from the clubhouse to attempt a game of golf with the same three friends on the same day of the week at the very same time. He was a friendly, well fed and typically had a cocktail or two in him when he arrived. He had made his fortune with a chain of protein shake stores that also sold health foods, supplements and vitamins.

His private golf cart was cleaned and ready, his clubs cleaned and mounted in their place and I had emptied out the ash tray where he chained smoked Tareyton 100s throughout his round. “Merry Christmas” Mr. Edward he sang out while slipping a $100 bill into my my shirt pocket! Then when he had finished his amazing round of golf scoring in the high 120’s and was headed up to the bar. To my surprise he attempted the same favor again, but I reminded him that he had already tipped me earlier and I thanked him again as well. So, he got right up close, looked at me intently and added two more $100s as he said quietly, “here’s a little more for being helpful, honest and friendly.”

All in all I received a little over $1,500 that pre-Christmas week from a 400 person membership, but my jolly buddy with his belly typically full of bourbon and seven-up (who by the way always received my very best service and care) accounted for nearly one-third of the entire member ship total!

The bottom line in all of this is that we need more good and generous “tippers”, more compassionate souls who appreciate those who take care of our needs day in and day out. The art of the masterful tip or generous gratuity is quite simple really and an example of a reasonable calculation used for adding an appropriate amount while paying your bill at your favorite deli, bar, salon, quick lube, dry cleaner or restaurant should be as follows –

The total bill less the tax times 20% – easy peasey! Don’t ever worry about over tipping a little either as it is not a sin nor does it make you look like fool in the public’s or server’s eyes in any way. It’s all about giving!

One more hint that will make your  life better in the important “tip karma” vault that we all so desperately need refill often. Always tip with cash and refrain from adding a few bucks or some random limit like $5 to the total of your purchase or meal made with a credit or debit card. If you don’t have enough cash, add a little extra for being a dumb ass.

Pitch in already…

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2 thoughts on “the cheapskate end around

  1. Interesting perspective Ed. I definitely agree with some points you make, like when you give it generally makes you feel better about yourself. Sometimes tipping isn’t so much about the other person but about ourselves. If we looked at it that way I think we’d be more inclined to tip better and more often. In the other hand, I tend to take the cheapskate route though. For me to give a generous tip, the service has to be beyond “normal.” When the person helping me does an outstanding job then they do deserve a tip and I’m generous when that happens. In normal situations I tend to agree with Mr. Pink – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-qV9wVGb38

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