Monday, October 24, 2011

The closest you ever got to Facebook

If you were sitting at home and wondering how your old crush was doing you'd dust off your yearbook and try and find her number. If that failed, you might call your friend to see if they had her number or maybe they knew someone who might. After a week of phone tag, you might have finally tracked her number down.

When you called, her parents picked up and you politely asked to speak with her. It turns out she wasn’t home yet but you could try back tomorrow. The next day you finally get a hold of her and only then could you arrange to meet in person. You would both agree to meet at the mall later that weekend (because the mall is the only decent place to be seen in public with someone).

The weekend finally comes around but she didn’t show. You were left to wonder why the entire day until she calls you later that night. Her mom’s car had broken down.

A week later and you might finally get to see her. Only then could you extend your index finger and press it against her upper arm.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Modern Day Etiquette: Tipping

Why Should I Tip?

The idea of a tip started out as something you gave to a person in the service industry for their exceptional service. In most places in the world, this is still true; tips are not “expected”. In the United States we like to be different (see: imperial/metric measurements).

The bastardized version of tipping here in America is for a service person to receive 15-20% tip, regardless of their service. Now a big part of me (the non-conformist part) says, “Fuck you America. How stupid is this standard? Everyone needs to stop tipping.” However, the part of me that empathizes with people in the service industry says, “Fuck you America. I feel sorry for these workers who are having their pay adjusted on the expectations of tips.” Most employers know that bartenders, waitresses, valets, etc. make most of their money on tips so employers often pay them minimum wage.

When should I Tip?

If you need to know, just ask. “Is it customary for people to tip here?” “Is your tip included in the charge?” Obviously, if you're asking, you should be prepared to tip. Let me go through the list of people that I’ve tipped in the past: Wait Staff, Bartenders, Casino Dealers, Valet, Cruise Staff (cleaning), Hotel Staff (bellhop, room-service), Strippers, Guy playing music while I was in line, Taxi Driver, Movers, Pizza Delivery Guy, Guy who works at the casino who kicked a smoker out of the non-smoking section, Tow Truck Guy, and probably tons more that I’m forgetting.

How much should I tip?

If they are “expecting” a tip, (there’s a line on the receipt for a tip) generally 15-20%. I don’t like that word “expecting” but it’s the sad case for some professions… their take-home pay seriously depends on tips. If it’s something spur of the moment, or something where there isn’t a fixed price, just do whatever feels right. If it’s something small maybe $1-5. Something more substantial like moving heavy stuff? Maybe $20+. Some of these people aren’t expecting tips and if you have any friends who work in the industry they’ll have horror stories of tipping. “Oh this person from Europe was such a bad tipper! I even helped them translate the menu and she only gave me a $2 tip!” It’s a cultural thing don’t take it personally, she was actually being nice by giving you ANY tip because she’s used to giving zero.