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$1.25 to Feel Like a Million Bucks

I’m not a big tipper by nature, but following advice from Jim Rohn, my favorite philosopher, I’ve learned how to do it right. Pay well for good service, he says, but then tip again for how it will make you feel all day.


I passed a lemonade stand down our street, four little kiddies smiling and calling to cars passing by. They had ice and cups, of course, and bite-sized brownies. They had small piles of old toys, and some little boy clothes for sale.


A cup of cold lemonade and a lime-green metal lunch box proved irresistible, so for $1.25 I got a good deal. This is where Jim Rohn comes in.


I asked the little ones if they took tips, and they looked at each other and giggled. I handed the girl who poured my drink $3 and walked away. I heard the sharp intake of breath and a chorus of oooooohs from four tiny voices, and saw the little boy running up the sidewalk, shouting. I turned to see the other three, standing on their toes, waving, grinning like it was free Ben and Jerry’s Day.


Yep. Best seven quarters I’ve ever spent.


I used to never tip, thinking that if the restaurant didn’t pay its employees, what’s that to me, but as I say, Jim Rohn set me straight. Here is his plan. If the service is good, leave 15 or 20 percent for the server. Leave another 15 or 20 percent for how you will feel later. That extra couple of bucks is a small price to feel good about who you are all day long.


That’s the philosophy I tried to follow in my various jobs over the years, doing fair work for a fair wage, then doing a little extra just because it is the right thing to do. Of course, I still got fired and let go and downsized from time to time, but never because of unsatisfactory performance.


One last note about tipping. One of my daughters was a server in a well-known upscale chain restaurant. Their policy was that the server kept any gratuity, but at the end of the night, the kitchen staff got four percent of every ticket she served. This means that if she did not receive a tip for a $100 meal, she had to pay $4 of her own money to the kitchen staff. Don’t ever let that me your fault.


An additional note about servers. I taught public speaking to college students for five years, and many of them supported themselves as servers. Many of those often gave speeches about their experiences, which included deliberately contaminating the food of people who gave them a hard time. A few claimed to never have spit on a plate of food, but they did admit to other acts, such as mixing old food from other people’s plates into what they were about to serve. You might want to keep that in mind the next time you eat out.


From The VICE Quad Volume 2.


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