Bad tips for holiday tipping
Did you see the recent New York Times’ “16 professionals (from doormen to nannies to weed guys) on what they get tipped (or don’t) at the holidays”?
I found it helpful even though I don’t live in New York City or have doormen, nannies or weed guys, and thus cannot chortle knowingly at advice from the Times that Times writers and editors think Times readers would chortle at knowingly.
Like many elite coastal liberals that Trump supporters hate and accuse of being haters, long ago I was a dishwasher at a Connecticut highway diner called the Golden Spur Pancake House. On theme, it was replete with Old West wagon-wheel chandeliers and matching Conestoga wagon salad buffet that offered canned sliced beets like cowboys ate.
While my cultural sensibilities were devastated by the décor, I delighted in the nickels, dimes and quarters I found in the disgusting bus pans amid the coffee- and syrup- sodden cigarette butts and remains of Belgian waffles. It was also worthwhile to cage tip shares from the Annie Oakley-costumed waitresses through flirting that succeeded because they pitied me.
Those old poor days behind me, now that I have untold riches, I worry whether the bus person taking away my dry-aged porterhouse steak bones will get any of my 10,000% tip that I leave anonymously but knowing that social media will find and celebrate my jaw-dropping generosity. Because I have a highly paid social media consultant to make that happen and will get a fat tip for every “like.”
I have other tipping challenges you may wish to avoid:
· My newspaper carrier puts a tip envelope in my December papers. For years I slipped him a Hamilton. Since my carrier is now delivering mainstream media fake news on tree- and climate-killing paper, and Hamilton is just more liberal propaganda about the Founders and Constitution (or was Hamilton really a conservative?), I have no idea what, or whether, to tip him and still be “woke” on either the left or right.
· My Starbucks personal barista/consultant feels entitled to be tipped ₿20 billion in bitcoin or other crypto-currency. Even though “they” and their face tats say the whole digital economy will crash any time because “they’s” Instafriends, who work at the internets writing code about AI and machine learning, can make the internets crash quicker than it takes to prepare an iced ristretto ten shot venti with breve, five pump vanilla, seven pump caramel, with four Splenda. Poured, not shaken, like the new woke James Bond character, non-cisgender “Bond, Jamie Bond,” prefers.
· Last year I forgot to tip my Verizon representative and his manager and her manager and his manager on up the ladder to the CEO and the chairman of the board who collectively spent six months not fixing my internets. Adding insult to injury, I failed to respond to a survey praising Verizon’s customer service. So I can’t get the internets anymore except when planted at Starbucks not buying costly, complicated coffee drinks. Although, as a longtime loyal Verizon customer, I’m eligible for Fios Triple Play at the reduced introductory rate of only $900 a month plus placenta from first born. They’ll also throw in free Chiller Thriller channel with movies from the not-so-golden age of shock cinema such as “Forbidden Planet” and “Doctor Cyclops.”
· I also forgot/neglected/refused to tip my postal carrier, hairdresser, handyman, housekeeper, dry cleaner, lawn guy, grocery deliverer, appliance repairman, car mechanic, optical stylist, Men’s Warehouse bespoke haberdasher, tree surgeon, personal Dr. Scholl’s® shoe insert consultant, and countless others in the micro-economy I’m supporting. As a result of their retaliatory vow not to do anything I pay them to do, my life is in free fall like both Steve Martin and John Candy in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”
· Yet oddly, as I discussed with my therapist (who gets a BIG tip because she has my emotional health in the palm of her hand, which we discussed), I always remember to lavishly tip the FedEx lady many Hamiltons because I once misheard her saying, “Your package is the biggest I’ve handled in a long time.” (Or did I really mishear that? my therapist asked provocatively in order to lock in another year of sessions because she has kids in college.)
· Who knew otolaryngologists took tips? At least that’s what her office staff obliquely intimated, i.e., demanded, as they warned the next available appointment to look into my paint-stripping, chainsaw-ripping, dating deal-breaking snoring was in 2025. But I have no choice but to tip since the doctor takes my insurance with just a $75,000 copay.
· People I thought were close — good, lifelong friends and family — are asking for a “holiday cheer consulting fee” to have drinks before the New Year. I thought they loved me and thrilled when I regaled them with hilarious stories about my free-fall life. But they want a tip, which essentially comes down to money for love. How horrible is that? I’m triggered, disrespected, devastated, appalled and wounded down to the bottom of my soul. So, sure, of course, I’m pretty open — when’s good for you?
To everyone else who’s done so much for me throughout the year, selflessly serving my every need for money, even sarcastically calling me “sir,” I say:
“What? You want a tip? OK, here’s a tip: Don’t bet on the horses.”
I think that’s hilarious in a Sinatra way. And who doesn’t love the Sinatra holiday classics?
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.