I rarely tip and I don’t know many people who do. For me, it has a lot to do with the crappy service I get most of the time. Besides, life is hard enough without having to worry about extra money on tips, right?
Yet, these past few weeks I’ve felt the need to tip certain people. You don’t typically tip supermarket attendants but a certain young lady at one supermarket leaves me wanting to do just that every time I visit. After all those hours on her feet, she still smiles and guides scores of customers to different aisles even when some of them are only there to buy sweets!
I have offered to buy her a “Fanta”, not once but four times, and each time, she declines, again with a smile and insists she’s just doing her job. We need more people like her. Then there’s a waitress at one of my favourite restaurants, the best I’ve met. She’ll greet you, wait on you and even ask about your day.
Most waitresses just hand you the menu without a word and pace impatiently as you figure out what to order. Not this girl. She will recommend a certain dish or let you in on any specials on offer that day. She will not clear your table when its obvious youre still eating and before you leave, she will thank you for coming and wish you a nice day.
How can you not tip her? There’s one problem though. I think she expects to be tipped all the time. I know this from the way her eyes light up when I walk in. Twice, she didn’t even return my change because it was about the same amount I usually give her and I guess she thought it was business as usual!
Now, while I appreciate her service, I can’t afford to do that all the time but I don’t know how to tell her. You just can’t be mean to a nice person. A friend suggested that on those occasions when money is tight, I should carry just enough to pay for the meal so that I save us both the awkward moment when the customer wants her money and the waitress wants her tip.
I feel guilty about this, like I’m letting her down to the extent that I sometimes eat elsewhere even though that means bland food and poor service.
The other person I’m tipping, albeit undeservedly since she doesn’t do any chores for me, is my neighbour’s daughter. She’s a chatty 8-year-old who’s quickly draining my purse.
It started with her asking me for money once in a while and knowing how kids can be, I indulged her. I shouldn’t have because it’s now part of my daily expenses.
This girl will make a good businesswoman someday because she’s persistent and has perfected her timing. As soon as I open the door, she’s right there. “Aunt, give me some money.”
As with the waitress, I don’t want to come off as the mean neighbour and yet at the same time, I don’t want this little girl to think there’s a money-spewing tree inside my house.
I can’t tell her parents for obvious reasons, which is why I’ve decided to stop giving her money. When she smiled at me on Monday, I didn’t smile back and hoped she’d pick up on the mean vibe. She didn’t because early Tuesday, she was at it again, at which point I told her I didn’t have change and walked away.
On Wednesday, I told her I didn’t have any money left. “But Aunt, you don’t have even one hundred?” she asked. I gave up the fight and handed over the ijana. This one’s parents don’t have to worry about her future. She knows what she wants and goes right after it.
To be continued…