Posted in Life

“Would you like to leave a tip?”

Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

Those are the words of a touch screen, not a person. Pretty much every touch screen now. For a long time, the only places I tipped were sit down restaurants and bars, barber or hair stylist, pizza delivery, and a cab ride. But now, just about everyone expects a tip.

  • The coffee shop where you place an order and pick it up right there at the counter.
  • Restaurants where you order your food at a kiosk and pick it up from the counter when your pager vibrates.
  • Anyone who delivers anything to your house, from groceries to packages to furniture.
  • Shuttle drivers for airport parking and rental cars.
  • Picking up clothes at the dry cleaner.
  • Uber and Lyft drivers.

I never read the free shopping newspaper someone throws in my driveway each Friday morning, yet they give me an envelope for an annual Christmas tip.

If that’s not enough, I get suggestions of how much I should tip the mail carrier, lawn guy, bathroom attendant, exterminator, poker table dealer, garbage collector, tour guide, tree trimmer, housekeeper, valet parking, and tattoo artist.

There are places where a tip is not expected and is sometimes not allowed. But in place of a tip, I’m asked to donate to the charitable cause of the week. “Would you like to round up your total to support the local…” humane society, homeless shelter, comfort dog charity, disease research, canned food drive, or veteran’s center? All worthy causes. All so easy to give to. All hard to say no to.

I’ve started saying no. Not everyone gets a tip. And I started asking, “Where is this money going?” Unless I hand cash to a server, I have no idea how many workers divvy up the tip. I don’t know if a store is simply pocketing the money donated to a local charity. I don’t know how much employers are paying their workers. Probably not enough. I don’t know how long it takes for the tip added to my credit card to get to a server’s paycheck.

But when I do say yes, I will be generous to those who are working hard, aren’t being paid much, and do a good job.

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