Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Gratuity

Gratuity
gra·tu·i·ty n. pl. gra·tu·i·ties
A favor or gift, usually in the form of money, given in return for service.
[French gratuité, from Old French gratuite, from Medieval Latin grtuts, probably from Latin grtutus, voluntary. See gratuitous.]
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

There are far too many of you stingy bastards out there. I don't blame your frugal tendencies on you though, I blame it on the penny pinchers that raised you. They were raised by cheap skates who were raised by poor people that didn't have two pennys to rub together. OK, so there is an excuse. Now it's time to fix it before someone calls you out in the middle of a public place as you ignorantly exhibit your shameful habit.

At this point, many of you have a number in your head. You are more than likely thinking "well I almost always tip fifteen percent, it's the standard." If this is you, then you are the stingy bastard I am talking about.

Forget fifteen percent or any standard figure what so ever. There is absolutely no correlation between the amount of money you are spending on the product, and the quality of service you have received. So I will not be presenting you with an objective rule to standardize the amount of compensation for any services rendered.

Tipping is subjective. It is a tactful means of compensation and communication. A tip is relative to who you are as an individual in conjunction with the level of effort employed to provide a varying caliber of service.

Some of the questions one might employ while subjectively assessing a tip towards the end of a business transaction are:
Was the individual polite?
Were all of my needs met?
Did the individual perform tasks that I found to be above and beyond what was necessary?
For how long has this individual been handling the services rendered to me?

No, there is not a specific figure to attach to the answers of these questions. Remember, you are making a subjective assessment. Now, once you have assessed the situation, you need to place yourself in the shoes of the individual providing the service. Ask yourself "what amount of money would reflect the effort put into the level of service provided?"

Examples:
Would a $50 tip tell me that an individual was pleased with the hard work I put into this eight hour day of removing all of their worldly belongings from a moving truck and placing them safely into their third story apartment? Hhmmm
Will a $20 tip on a $15 bar tab tell me that an individual acknowledged that they sat in my seating section for 4 hours with good service? Possibly
Is a $2 dollar tip going to tell me that an individual appreciated my timely service after I just carried 12 pieces of matched luggage totaling 600lbs in multiple trips up two flights of stairs? Hell no!

Also take into consideration who you are and what you can afford. If earn a modest living, obviously you will have a different perspective on what is a reasonable good tip. However, this is not an excuse to run up a $27 bar tab with $30 in your pocket. If this is the case, don't set foot out the door. Just calmly sit down and pop open a beer from the fridge.

If you want to know about my tipping habits, I acquired my personal philosophy from Vincent Antonelli who said, "I tip everybody. Actually, it's not tipping I believe in... it's over tipping!" -My Blue Heaven (1990)

I hope that this will help everyone to better handle tipping in the future. Maybe, once this new capital is out there, we will see a trickle-down effect and inspire other individuals to provide better service... but I don't think it is going to happen.

Gratuity
n 1: a relatively small amount of money given for services rendered (as by a waiter) [syn: tip, pourboire, baksheesh, bakshish, bakshis, backsheesh] 2: an award (as for meritorious service) given without claim or obligation
Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

scene: four random dudes in a bar seated at a table and totaling the money after chipping together for the bill

Dude Number One: "Hey there is not enough money here! Who didn't put in for tip?" pissed
Dude Number Two: "Don't look at me, I put in eight dollars." dumbfounded
Dude Number Three: "Wasn't me, I put in ten dollars." disappointed
Dude Number One: "Princeton, you cheap bastard, you only put in a dollar?" disgusted
Dude Number Four: "Yeah, it's a relatively small amount. So what?" clueless

Limbo

"Should I continue on with my education while I accrue more debt... or... should I drop class for now and work in an attempt to pay down my mountain of debt?"

This is a heavy question on the mind of many of us in our twenties. It is a life choice that comes with a heavy commitment as this is truly a severe fork in the road. Earlier this evening, I was chatting with a fellow blogger that was pondering this very question and I feel that my life experiences have taught me how this question is to be handled.

THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWER IN THIS SITUATION!!! Contrary to what many others have told me, the only reason to choose one path over the other is your happiness. Keep it simple, make the choice dependent upon your immediate happiness.

I can tell you as an individual that has attended a Community College, an Automotive School, a Real Estate School, a Massage Therapy School, and several Universities across the United States over the last 10 years... that I have wrestled with this question constantly. During this time, I have worked many occupations consisting of Electronic Tech, Construction, Waiter, Busser, Valet, Bellman, Gym Building Supervisor, Realtor, Loan Officer, Pizza Delivery, Bouncer, Bar Tender, and Hotel Doorman. I have lived in Pennsylvania, Delaware, South Carolina, Arizona, and now Maryland while on this journey. I have also constantly wrestled with the desire to become an Independent Business owner for the past 7 years Building Custom Choppers which has not come to fruition. This is my life's dream which I am forced to put off because of the debts I have accrued during this journey. Time to pay the Piper.

I know this seems to be straying off topic but I will bring you back in... stay with me.

Do not get me wrong, I do not regret traveling any portion of this path. It is because of this path that I have come to know so many wonderful people and obtained many valuable experiences... BUT, right now I am stuck with no solid foundation of "accredited knowledge" from which to base a career and I have a substantial amount of debt peppered with bad credit. This is not because I can't decide what I want to do in life or because I don't know how to get it. The reason I am in this current predicament, is because I never made a decision between going to school and accruing debt, or leaving school and paying the debts down. When I arrived at this fork in the road, I stopped and avoided making the decision which basically turned into a string of half assed attempts at both options while succeeding in neither one.

Like anything else, the more you ignore this question, the farther you get from its resolution. It festers and rots. That is exactly what I am currently faced with. To put it bluntly, to correct this situation I must put off my dreams to pay down my educational debts by obtaining a job available to individuals with a poor educational background. A slow process anyway you slice it.

So if you are ever faced with the question "should I continue on with my education while I accrue more debt... or... should I drop class for now and work in an attempt to pay down my mountain of debt?" make a decision based on today's happiness. You can finish the education today and pay down the debt tomorrow or you can pay down the debt today and finish the education tomorrow. Both are responsible choices. Make a decision and get on with being happy.

If you do not choose and remain in limbo between the two decisions. I can promise you a wild ride which ends right where it begins...

...Purgatory.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Greatness

I was recently interviewed by a real prick and he asked me the worst question I've ever heard asked in an interview. After sitting across from me for seven minutes in total silence as he read my resume, looking for god knows what, he placed one foot on the edge of his desk and made the following three statements to me:

"I don't know why anyone would leave Phoenix!" (in a condescending tone)
"I work here in Baltimore and commute from Pittsburgh!" (like it's my fault)
"I own a house in Phoenix near the Biltmore!" (ok, you have more stuff than I do, I get it)

Without saying one thing about the resume he just read and not one utterance about the position I was applying for, he asked:

"Why are you great?" (like this "simplistically genius" question was supposed to impress me)

At this point, I started to chuckle after this arrogant prick asked his question in such an ignorant manner.

"What is so funny son?" (I thought to myself about how his rich wife is probably kicking her heals up right now in for some guy my age in Pittsburgh)

This question was pointless and does nothing to subjectively gauge me as a person. If anyone reading this feels otherwise, I welcome your opinion. If you want to get to know someone or get a feel for what they are capable of, strike up a conversation with them. Feel them out subjectively through artful and skilled commentary about the job and inquire about how they relate themselves to the profession.

Lesson learned... if the person is a prick in the interview, they will be a prick to work for.

While walking away from this interview, I thought to myself:

"Now there is a man who knows nothing about greatness."