We spent all day Saturday visiting Worlds of Fun, and has reserved a room across the street at a Holiday Inn to spend the night in a little weekend staycation of sorts.

I was looking forward to the stay. I had three bad customer service issues in Lawrence last week and was ready to spend money somewhere where I’d be given service in proper fashion. Right off the bat, I was impressed with the Holiday Inn. It was a big place with lots of room, ample parking and a suite with a king size bed, a foldaway bed for the 4-year-old kiddo, and they even brought up a crib for the 2-year-old.

As a silly sidenote, I’m totally in love with Holiday Inn’s logo. There’s something about that green gradient that I really like.

Things were looking up. Then we went to breakfast.

It was fine, but when I went to pay, there was someone else in front of me at the register, so I waited patiently to settle the tab. Then a couple of people showed up on the opposite side of the register. When the guy in front of me was finished, the woman working the register turned to the lady that showed up long after I had been in line and started working on her bill.

“Humrph,” I thought to myself.

After she was done, the woman turned to me, then to the guy behind the lady that just finished up and said “Who’s next?” The guy deferred to me, and I went ahead. Of course, I should have been well before him and the lady in front of him since I had been waiting the longest, but whatever.

But after I was done, I heard the woman at the register say to the other fellow, “I’m sorry for your wait.”

“Sorry for your wait? What? Didn’t you see me this whole time?” Of course, I didn’t say that. I just kept in inside and went on my way.

I left without tipping. It was a buffet, I reasoned, and it’s not like they really did anything. Besides, they barely even noticed me.

I didn’t think anything more of it. I went upstairs, finished packing and brushed my teeth. With my Sonicare on full blast, I walked around the room. The youngest of my spawn, Remi, was looking out the window. We were on the third floor, and the window overlooked the interior, specifically, the dining area we had just returned from.

As we stood there looking out the window, I noticed the dining area workers doing their thing. They were cleaning up the mess left behind from all us who had eaten at the buffet. Everything looked great. All the tables were set up perfectly, like no one had even been there, ready for the next meal. I had noticed that the night before – the tables were arranged perfectly for breakfast, with order, ready to make an impression on us hungry diners.

Then I noticed the shoes. All of the women who worked in that dining area had sneakers on.

I worked at Toys R Us for five years during college; I know what that means – those people were on their feet, on the move, all the time. They needed something comfortable because the job was demanding on their feet.

You jerk. You big, fat, American jerk,” I thought to myself.

I rinsed out my mouth, explained that I need to do something to Amy, and headed downstairs. I found one of the women, vacuuming around (of course) the table we had sat at and handed her my standard 20-percent tip.

“I forgot to give this before,” I said. “Sorry about that.”

“No problem, hon,” she said with a smile. “I’ll share it with the girls, thanks.”

“Great,” I said. “OK.”

And that was that. What a heel. Everyone has their reasons for rationalizing however amount that is given for tipping (see also: Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs). But for me, I had to stop and think: these workers brought out food for us to pick aplenty from, cleaned up our mess (and with two children, there’s always a mess) and then made it look perfect  for the next meal. Am I really going to leave them nothing extra?

I can’t believe I can be so obtuse sometimes.

3 thoughts on “Tipping

  1. David Eldridge

    I think by custom that the responsibility to tip is not the same, because in that setting they are paid minimum wage+. I don’t buy the new 20% baseline. I use 15% still, because fractions and percentages follow inflation quite nicely: they always correlate. I am not afraid to pay less than 15%, if that’s what’s warranted, but I will tell a manager if that is the case, excepting buffets, or some similar thing. I am not begrudging you for paying a tip in this case. I irregularly pay tips at buffets. Though they are usually less than 15%, because they don’t have the same waiting responsibilities as waiters at other restaurants do. I’m for typing when it’s customary, and when something exceptional happens in a place that’s not customary: like tipping my Sprint salesman. Tip without guilt, man! 🙂

  2. David Eldridge

    I made myself out to be a real heel there. I certainly, frequently pay more than 15%. But I use merit to drive me over 15%. I will say that I am generally accustomed to getting good service, so I usually pay over 15%. (I am not saying I get better than average service wherever I go, but that the average is good, because people that don’t do well tend to leave or are fired, which naturally drives the average above mediocre.) And, in my last post, Swype thought tipping was typing, and I did not have the courtesy to correct it before hitting “submit”. 🙁


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