Better Compensation Through Tipping

by Johnny Debacle

When you try and get in a taxi in Argentina, frequently a man (not the driver) will pop out of nowhere and open your door. Then he will hold out his hand waiting for 2-3 argentine pesos. Little did you know (and thanks to him for reminding you) that opening the door to a taxi is a valuable service worthy of compensation.

In the Ritzy hotels in the US, like, errr, the Ritz, sometimes there will be a “boy” in the bathroom ready to hand you a hand towel. He will have a plate nearby, letting you know, that handing the towel is a valuable service, one in which his specialization adds substantial value worthy of renumeration.

In the Middle East, you are expected to tip about everyone and every camel, even if you have paid them for their service substantially and even if they performed a service that was valueless or unwanted.

In these situations of dubious value tip seeking (“tipeteering”) the potential tippee uses intimidation and/or the threat of shame to coerce payment. This is the point at which tipping debarks from its root as an effective way of incentivizing performance in personal service industries and enters the realm of entrepeneurial racketeering.

This phenomenon is something that can be seized upon by any American service worker, provided that he/she/it has the gumption.

Say you are an associate in a law firm, making good buck. Your partner comes into your office to pick up some documents you have prepared with painstaking effort. Leave a dish out, a little silver plate saying “Tips Accepted.” What do you have to lose? That $20 in his money clip was probably going to be used to wipe his next No.2. And until he uses it, that silver plate will bore a hole where his soul would be if he were human.

Or you’re a sell-side analyst in a one-on-one with the CFO of a somewhat respectable publically traded firm. After he is done debriefing you on what kind of valuation you will give the stock, hold the door for him, make solid eye contact and stick out your hand. Do not stop until he extends some petty cash your way. You’re worth it.

And Doctor’s, let’s just say you have a lot of leverage in this area. Want those sutures taken out? Well, we have a collection plate from which all the proceeds go to the Mercedes Convertible Foundation…

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