Tuesday

Tip Jar Mania

Oh, I do have a question. Does anyone use the daycare at the gym? (Before I ramble on about the following, I really am curious to know how other gym daycares are and if they're trustworthy).

I thought I might check out the daycare at my gym today to see if I might have enough guts to have the kids go there and play while I work out (I mean, it's only for an hour or so). No, I haven't done the daycare thing yet at all, call me lame, yes, and I haven't done the non-family babysitter yet either because I am probably wayyy overprotective (that's another issue entirely) but my family is usually around to watch them if I need someone and I prefer to have family except out of total necessity if possible. And for the gym, my mother-in-law usually watches them, but I was thinking that on the rare occasion she can't, maybe I could take them with me.

But I was really put off by the giant TIP JAR that was on the desk.

Because I thought, oh, ok. So if I tip, you'll not treat my kid like crap? And it kind of pissed me off. A tip jar at a daycare?

AM I MISSING SOMETHING HERE?!

And then it got me thinking about tip jars in general. And how pressured I feel to tip ALL THE TIME, even employees who are getting a regular wage and who don't actually serve me food or do anything, really, other than take my money in the original capacity that is paying for something at a cash register.

In New York, when I worked at one of the news channels, I got so fed up after going to a deli where I bought a sandwich and used my debit card and there was a place to leave a tip and total just above the signature and I wrote in a tip because I thought I had to even though all the guy did was literally hand me the sandwich and I thought, the world has totally lost it and is completely out of control with the tipping.

So I went across the street, back to work with my sandwich and put a tip jar on my desk. Because why not? I wasn't making that much money, either. All my money went to my ridiculous $1000 a month 200 square foot studio apartment that was smaller than my news director's office and I had to eat bologna sandwiches most of the time. Why shouldn't I ask for just a little bit more!

The funny thing was, people actually started putting money in it. But it was usually only change and it was for the Lucky Bucket. I had a little red, tin candy bucket at my desk that became infamous, we called it the "Lucky Bucket" (I even passed it on to a friend of mine in a ceremony before I left the job). But it was always full of some kind of candy and it took on a life of its own; people I didn't even know were passing by to check what was in the bucket, people I knew (and even those I didn't) were even filling it up sometimes. So when I put the tip jar there, people would occasionally put money in there to contribute to the Lucky Bucket which I thought was hilarious. Because it was totally unnecessary and I had the tip jar there just as a joke and a statement. Mostly though, people put smart ass comments on sticky notes in there and that was really what it was there for.

Anyway, I do "get" that anyone can use some extra cash, including people who don't make great wages. I am not totally callous and terrible. But I can't help it. Even when I go in to get takeout wings and the girl at the register literally just turned around, grabbed the white grocery bag full of food and handed it to me, I still end up tipping because I am pressured by that line in the receipt called "tip".

Come to think of it, maybe it is just me. I have always been somewhat confused by tips and who to tip (in New York, it's pretty much everyone, especially around the holidays -- your landlord, your doorman, the person at the salon who washes your hair who is not your hairdresser because they have separate people for that, etc etc). But when it comes to like, furniture delivery or housekeeping, the groomer, or the nurse who waxes my eyebrows at my dermatologist's office (I still don't know the answer to this one by the way), I am always running around in a fury and googling and asking people, "Am I supposed to tip them??"

In instances where I am sure that there is a tip involved, I am an over-tipper. Because I was a server for many moons in my college days at quite a few nice restaurants (I made the best money at Denny's though, but that's another story) and I made a meager $2.25 an hour + tips and there were many times I felt like a servant rather than a server and I understand them well and I want them to feel uber-appreciated. So I tip them rather well and I can't ever bring myself to stiff anyone ever. Even if they hated me.

Anyway, I could just be getting irritable at my old age (although I was 24 or so when I put that tip jar on my desk so maybe I'm always that irritable) that everyone's trying to get in on tips. Including the lady at my gym's daycare. (She even made sure to mention the tip jar even though it was quite large, right in front of my face, and marked in very large letters "TIPS".) So it goes that I no longer know the rules of tipping and I feel like a complete and total schmuck now if I go through the Starbucks drive-thru and don't leave another damn dollar on top of the total for my (delicious) $500 Skinny Vanilla Latte.
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5 comments:

  1. Hahahahahahahahaha, oh my gosh, yes! I mean, no. I mean, yes, I don't get the whole stupid tip jar thing. At all. Three of the most wonderful years of my life were in Japan where there is no such thing as tipping, and the service was almost always impeccable. Maybe it's a cultural thing, in fact, I know that it is, but really, there has to be some way we can adopt that. I also over tip most of the time, but I never do the tip jar thing because it annoys the piss out of me.

    Not being a parent my opinion is probably of the grain of salt variety, but I wouldn't be comfortable leaving my very small children with the gym daycare if there was a family option - I'm judging nobody who does, just that I think I wouldn't feel comfortable. *ESPECIALLY* if she had a tip jar. Sincerely. Really. Wtf?

    Times are tough for lots of us, but tip jars are pure evil. And tacky.

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  2. i don't usually like tip jars. there are occasions where i will put money in them if it's somewhere i like, people are naturally friendly, etc. but a tip jar at a gym's daycare? i'd like to know what other daycare puts out a tip jar. i can guarantee you that those people in the gym daycare are teens who are just greedy. if you want to make more money, then get the hell out of there and find a better job. that whole tip jar at daycare has me a bit p.o.'d LOL

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  3. wow.

    Id be WAY PUT OFF by a tip jar in the daycare as well.

    if it isnt filled enough on a certain day will the workers take it out on the kids?

    (Im kidding---but not)

    that said I do often bring treats to our day care women.

    food to crayons.

    Miz.

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  4. My boys (2 & 4) love the daycare at our gym. They have a great staff that is consistent. Most are college age education or nursing students. The "head" person during the week is an older grandmotherly type. They are good about coming and getting parents when needed, but trying to calm kids first.

    A tip jar there would have totally turned me off. The daycare for me is included in my dues. For others they are paying a good amount every time they leave their child there. I don't think a tip in addition is needed.

    Too many areas of employment have gotten tip crazy. I will tip well when I tip. But I won't tip you for just handing me a drink or a sandwich. A tip is something extra for good service.

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  5. I too believe that many areas of employment have gotten tip crazy!!! However, if I go somewhere and it's a bunch of high school students workin behind the counter I tend to throw in the extra dollar... You never know, they might be trying to save money for college and some families aren't fortunate enough to start a college fund for the kids... Most kids that actually have jobs these days is for that purpose... How many high school kids that come from families that have money really have a job?
    Anyway... I am not sure I would have been happy to see a tip jar at the gym, especially if you are paying gym dues but then again I am like you in that I have not had anyone watch my child but family!!! And I probably would have been turn off by the tip jar at the gym as well!

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