Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tip Me! Tip Me!

Occasionally I use Thursday to sound off about something that bothers me.  Editorialize.  Pretend I'm being paid to give an opinion.  In other words, prepare yourself to be annoyed.

And truly, these posts are the only ones I've gotten negative comments from my readers and I actually received  two from my review of Fantastic Mr. Fox, which I maintain was awful, contrary to my dissenter's opinions (one of which is my famous, someday really famous director nephew).

So caveat aside, let's talk about tip jars, baby!

Tip jars, for me, are a great representation of what is wrong with America.  When they say this:

Tips Appreciated

They actually mean this (in my humble opinion):

Hey YOU!  Pay me more for doing something I'm already getting paid to do.  Feel guilty about "just" being a customer who keeps my place of employment in business and succumb to your guilt.  Throw that change in the tip jar on the counter.  Go on - you don't need it, right?  Oh, you do?  Who cares?  I need it more.  DO IT.  And if you don't?  You're an inconsiderate jerk.

Ok, MAYBE it's not talking that much (either that, or I need the men in white coats to come pick me up), but you get the idea.

In so many ways, America is an instant gratification, "get it free" society and it drives me crazy!

I see tip jars at places I love (like Chipotle) and places I hate (like Starbucks), so this isn't merely a slam on places I don't like.  It's a slam on the notion of overpaying for minimum wage service.  If I want to go to a fancy shmancy sit down dinner and get "handled with care" by a waiter, then by all means I'm going to tip the person generously (also because I know she/he is getting paid LESS than minimum wage and relies on tips for a large portion of his/her paycheck).

But if I walk up to a counter and say "I'd like a half-caf mocha latte to go," I don't think the person who makes a production of yelling "half-caf mocha latte to go" deserves a buck of my hard earned money.  I just shelled out an exorbitantly overpriced payment for it at the register, didn't I? (Which I can't even get into why our riches are going down the toilet in the form of over-priced drinks today - another day for that fun.)  I know they're getting paid minimum wage and I know that's not enough to make ends meet for virtually anyone.  I just don't think the guilt-inducing tip jar is the answer.

I'd rather take my guilt over the state of the world to a confessional (or my congressman, I suppose) than give it away in a tip jar.
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