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OK I'Il Tip You. But Only Because It's Christmas.


A Scrooge – what you might call a person who’s stingy around Christmas time. Personally, I’m the opposite. The Christmas season is when I lose the stinginess I carry during the other 50 weeks of the year.

That is, if you define my decision to draw a line in the sand against non-stop tipping as stingy.

Count me among those who believe that tipping is now an epidemic, an underground source of inflation. It’s gotten way out of hand. Grab a sandwich at the local deli? Tip jar. Picking up a pizza? Tip jar. Even some major national chains, like Dunkin’ Donuts, have gotten in on the act. Newspaper deliverers, traditionally tipped around Christmas time, now solicit gratuities about once a month (“I hope you are happy with my service…” goes the phrase on the card that’s inserted into my latest bill). Of course, to add a tip with every bill would pretty much wipe out the cost savings of the subscription relative to the newsstand price, the paper’s original selling point.

The custom of tipping (TIP=To Insure Promptness) is based on rewarding a server for taking care of you for some extended period of time. A good restaurant waiter imparts knowledge of the menu, takes your order, brings your food, follows up, etc. A barber or cab driver could have you for 20 or 30 minutes.  A bartender might serve you multiple drinks over the course of a couple of hours. When these folks do their jobs properly – tip them, and tip them well.

People with service industry experience always plead with us to understand that their low wages have them reliant upon tips to make ends meet. Well, it’s not that I don’t sympathize, but…that isn’t my problem. Your wage is between you and your employer. When you pop into the local hardware store for a box of nails, do you insist on paying an extra dollar to be given to the minimum-waged, teenage stock boy who helped you find them?  In one way or another, every business is about service.

I love the folks at my local pizza place. I make it a point to tip well for table service or home delivery. But when I call in my order and then walk over and pick it up at the counter? No, sorry. Despite the unspoken awkwardness, I’m ignoring the tip jar.

Except during late December. That’s when my line in the sand against excessive tipping fades during the spirit of the season. I contribute to the tip jars, and I write separate checks to the newspaper carriers and trash haulers to thank them for what they did during the year. It is the season of giving, after all. It’s just that the season of giving is just that, a season. It’s not a year-round phenomenon.

What do you do think? Do the people who make you a sandwich behind the deli counter or pour you a cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts deserve to be tipped every time? Just at Christmas? Never?  I need to know if I’m behind the times.

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Source: Forbes

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