I have a lot of respect, and a special place in my heart for all the people out there who work hard, make low salaries, and depend on tips for a large part of their income. I try to leave larger than average tips, and I always put money in those tip jars.
There are two things though, that have bothered me lately. Do you think it’s the business owner’s who are putting out the tip jars, and more importantly; are the workers getting any of the money? Many of the jars have things written on them like, ”Tips are greatly appreciated?” Of course they are. The owner of the establishment probably wrote the note. He then emptied the jar, just before he left for a twenty-one day fun-filled excursion on Carnival Cruise Lines with his new twenty year old wife. Do you think poor Juan who came up from Tijuana and washes dishes in the back for fourteen hours a day is going to see any of those tips? The poor guy lives in a closet, and sends what little money he makes back to his wife, ten kids, and fourteen assorted relatives in Mexico. Maybe we should just ignore the tip jar, jump the counter, visit the kitchen, and start handing out bills to Juan, Bill the line cook, Mike the busboy, and poor Myra. She’s the nice waitress who’s eighty-four, and still carrying huge trays of food ten hours a day for minimum wage!
I’m also seeing tip jars that say, “Please leave a tip for exceptional service.” Exceptional service, huh. What do you think they mean by that? I would think that exceptional service at a restaurant would entail an always filled coffee cup, extra napkins, food received five minutes after ordering, relaxing back rubs, pleasant conversation, and a smiley face on the bill. Reallyyy….. exceptional service would be a fantastic electric guitar solo by the server, and possibly a series of difficult and athletic tumbling runs, along with a somersault or two without spilling anything. Now, that would get one heck of a tip! Years ago, I worked as a bartender, and always depended on the largesse of strangers to pay my bills. After a long night, I checked my tip jar and found it stuffed, not full of crisp bills, but with tiny pieces of neatly folded paper. As I opened the first couple and read them, I realized I did get some pretty good tips. Let’s see what people wrote. “Lose some weight, get a face transplant, wear deodorant, and never have children.”