The World’s Smallest Violin is Playing Just for Me

“Gratuity”, also known as “tip”, is defined like this:

gratuity

noun – gra·tu·ity – \grə-ˈtü-ə-tē, -ˈtyü-\

Something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service; see tip

Example of gratuity in a sentence:

A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to the restaurant bill.

Related words:

donation, gift, present; bonus, favour, reward; contribution, offering

                               

Today over lunch, I had an interesting discussion with some of my colleagues – NorwayJakarta and the just-now introduced Manila – regarding the insane and somehow also non-existent rules about tipping.

In my world – in an ideal world – a tip symbolises that a paying customer is so satisfied with the service that has been provided for him or her in various situations in life that he or she is willing to pay more than the actual price. So far, it seems like my views are backed up by Merriam-Webster’s definition above. Comforting.

For instance, people I think we’d all happily agree deserve a nice tip, if good service has been performed, could be:

  • Waiters and waitresses in restaurants who actually know stuff about what’s on their menus, and can recommend good shit that go together nicely with other good shit
  • Non-jerk cab drivers who don’t rip you off, drive comfortably, and know the quickest way to your destination
  • That hotel dude who’s struggling to carry your ridiculously overpacked and intensely heavy bag up to your room. Also, every time your bag is ridiculously overpacked and intensely heavy, the hotel in question is almost always not really a hotel, but a resort or another establishment that doesn’t really believe in elevators

These cases are normal, tip-wise.

But, there’s a major dependent variable here. Let’s consult the homemade equation I just made up to see if we can find it:

Service Performed + Nicely Done = Tip is Deserved

Interesting.

It would seem like a tip is appropriate only when a service has been performed in a nicely (satisfactory) manner.

But wait, there’s more.

The Plot Thickens

If you remove the Service Performed part of the equation, there wouldn’t be any need for a tip – in fact, there wouldn’t even be anything to tip.

It would also seem like the Nicely Done part is significant, because a service performed just for the sake of performing it would mean that the person performing the service has barely put in any extra effort in making you, the customer, feel extra satisfied and inclined to reward him/her.

If you go to your barber or hairdresser and they greet you with a smile, make pleasant, comfortable conversation while you’re just awkwardly kinda sitting there while their touching your hair, they offer you a water or a coffee, and they give you solid recommendations regarding styles and products, they would sure as hell deserve a tip. They’ve not only done their job, they’ve done it in a very impressive (“nicely” on steroids) manner. Tip fucking deserved.

However.

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