I was raised to believe strongly in tipping. My mom is one of the greats and she has always been a generous tipper. The kind of person who eyeballs the tip left on the table at a group meal and quietly adds to it as she believes it needs to be.
Mom has always ensured she tips with cash. “It’s between me and the server; the government doesn’t need to be involved.”*
I’ve been thinking a lot about how powerful it is in the economy to spend our money directly with other people, and not to companies with shareholders.
If I buy a pride tee shirt for twenty bucks from Target (LOL as if) versus spending forty dollars on a shirt made by an actual queer person at a pride festival. My forty dollars is life changing to that family. Puts food on the table. To Target? I’m just a bottom line number to see if the gays are worth marketing to.
The same amount of power comes through when you choose to tip a service professional in cash. Lavishly when you can.
It feels so good to give a big tip, especially if the professional has rendered a memorable service. I’ve never forgotten the 21 year old Lyft driver in Atlanta who advised me to watch interviews with 2Pac on you tube; I am so glad I gave him a $20. I always tip my groomers well, especially now that I have a unique needs cat with chronic pain! I had to work hard to find my groomer up here in the North Pole (I drive 45 minutes each way!) and I want her to know how much I appreciate the care she gives Biscuit Reynolds.
As an adult one of the first things I look at when discerning a new dating prospect. Did they tip? How much? There are a lot of red flags I’ve had to learn how to see but not tipping is a huge one I’ve been able to notice right up front because I was raised to tip. I absolutely won’t go on a second date with a bad tipper.
Whether you tip says a lot about who you are and how you value people.
A lot of times it seems like the same twenty bucks moves around from person to person in our go fund me healthcare economy and I think the same is true for service professionals–most of them are the best tippers I know.
When I was living in Los Angeles I spent six months as a Lyft driver. I drove more than 1,000 LA miles a week, at least 60 hours, and took home less than four hundred bucks a week before taxes. The tips made a huge difference to me and only one out of every five people tipped me. I was shocked! I’m a fun person who is a delight to ride with or so many people would say. It made me wonder if folks don’t think you’re supposed to tip a driver? I was an early adult in New York City and Philadelphia for fifteen years using yellow cabs, I KNEW you had to tip.
In this economy, where so many folks are looking to gig jobs like grocery shopping and driving and pet sitting to make ends meet, your big tip makes a massive difference.
I keep thinking about whether to write about this and why would it matter but I think if only one person reading this becomes inspired to tip someone well even once it’s worth it.
Imagine if a few hundred people started tipping with cash lavishly how much that could change our economic situation? Community care has shown itself to be the way again and again.
The ongoing Covid Pandemique continues to show us immunity is a group project. So is the economy. And right now the shareholder corporations have folks lulled into complacency spending all their money on little treats and not intentionally directing their money where they want to see change.
Tipping is simply the right thing to do in all circumstances. I know people want to have “rules” around things because we are raised in a white heteropatriarchy that thrives on giving us rules for how we act. (Uncertainty is an unavoidable part of life. If you live with “rules” that make you believe you are “safe” it falsely lulls you into complacency.)
I’ve heard 20% before tax but also, isn’t it kinder to be someone who tips after tax? I treat it as 20% minimum even if they suck because restaurant work is brutal and typically wait staff don’t get paid well hourly and they pretty much live off the tips. And a slide up from there.
When I cannot afford to tip well I don’t go out to eat or take the taxi.
Hey, this is just my idea! If you’re feeling defensive or like you want to argue with me about whether you should tip, consider clicking out of this website and moving along with your day. But if you’re really emotionally brave, journal about what money story you’ve been told that makes you think that service professionals don’t “deserve” your tips and which parent you are always afraid to disappoint! Juicy stuff!
*The APPS don’t need to get involved because they absolutely do skim tips or keep them as delivery charges. Maybe they aren’t “supposed to” or they might get caught, maybe there might be a class action suit down the road but the person giving you service today is so much better off leaving your transaction with cash in hand. Doing the work of having cash on hand and handing it to someone versus being lazy about it and going through the credit card on the apps is… your choice.
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