Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Service of Year-End Gratuities

Thursday, December 21st, 2023

Tenants in our apartment house place December tips in the slot on the roof of this house

I’ve only lived in a gargantuan building the last four years of my life and I still can’t get over my holiday tip challenge. This year there were 28 envelopes to fill for porters, handymen, door staff, manager and temps. I keep a chart of what I’ve given to every staffer each year. While expensive, the system is impersonal but efficient. We place the envelopes in a container in the lobby. If only half the 510 tenants give something, staff should do quite well.

Co-ops and condos often ask for $X.00 from each tenant and the money is divvied up by management. I’d come out way ahead if that were the case here.

One friend gives $0.00 to porters in his co-op because they “don’t do anything” for him. I guess he forgets who removes garbage from refuse rooms, vacuums the hallways, shines the marble lobby floor and polices the outside of the building, watering trees and flowers as well.

Another friend reminded me of all those who stiff the staff while urging me to bring it down a notch for some of the gifts to staff I never see. “You are one person,” she added. And during the year I tip anyone who so much as turns a screw to fix something in my apartment. [They are so quick to unclog a sink or fix a bathroom fan that sounds like a jet revving up on a flightline I suspect the word is out to expect $ from my apartment.]

My hair stylist told me that some ridiculous weekly or monthly customers go elsewhere in December so as to avoid giving a holiday gift and tip! They shouldn’t feel obligated, she said. If they have the substitute stylist color or cut their hair, this only-in-December person could ruin a year’s work not to speak of causing a dip of income in month 12.

Some staffers in office or home may be nasty or appear to be unconscious yet you never know if you’ll need them so stiffing them at Christmas may not be a great idea.

How do you handle the tipping situation?

Service of Tips of the Day

Thursday, December 29th, 2022

Could this be the launch of a tips of the day series, born because of an almost botch?

I received a bunch of Christmas cards at once, opened them, pulled out the cards and put the empty envelopes in a stack. When I tossed them in the paper-only trash, fortunately I felt something hard in one and inspected it. It was a gift card! The person who sent it had already given me a fabulous present. I’m rarely the lucky recipient of a gift card. I could have lost it by mistake.

The tip: When mailing a gift card, tape it to the notecard so it doesn’t slip out into the envelope. A friend suggested when enclosing a check or gift card always insert what you are sending facing out to lessen the chance of contents being left behind.

Because it happened last night, I had to share another tip—literally and figuratively.

I love it when a restaurant lists a choice of gratuity according to three percentages, as I don’t have to figure it out myself. I know, I know—EVERYONE says how easy it is. Not for me. But take care if you are splitting the check. Often the revised check keeps the percentages based on the total, not on half of it. [See photo below].

The tip: pay attention especially if you are in a deep conversation or have had a few glasses of wine. [We each gave $11.]

Do you have a tip to share?

Service of Easy Fixes for Restaurant & Takeout Places

Thursday, December 22nd, 2022


Image by Mudassar Iqbal from Pixabay 

Inflation is a problem for everyone but here’s a plea to food vendors: Be creative when adding surcharges or removing benefits to customers.

I bought one Danish pastry the other day and paid with my credit card. The gadget that accepted the card asked me three times if I wanted to add a tip. What part of NO did it not understand? I paid top dollar for the treat and didn’t think that placing it in a small bag warranted a tip. I know: It’s the holidays. I’m not usually a grinch. But the prices here are high enough that owners should pay workers a decent wage and not foist on customers the responsibility for paying counter help. In any case, I tip in cash.

A friend who inspired this post resents being charged for ice in a cup when she’s ordering other food. She was hit with an ice charge from a takeout place the other day. I know her: Her orders are never small.

She is miffed when not allowed to use the bathroom. There’s a bakery I like a lot that added tables and chairs in the back. It sells amazing scones and cakes and toothsome sandwiches. It doesn’t have a WC. My camel friends are the only ones I meet there.

While on a roll my friend added that it irks her to be charged $4 to $6 for a soda refill at a restaurant. I agree. Charge a dollar more for the first one if necessary or present them with a can of soda but don’t make customers feel ripped off.

Are there small things that happen when you buy prepared food that tick you off?


Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

Service of You Can’t Please Everybody: Setting Up People to Fail

Monday, November 7th, 2022


Image by fran1 from Pixabay

The default for some is to criticize and complain. These people frequently set the stage for each situation they gripe about though they would claim that odds are stacked against them. Sometimes employers put workers in an impossible position and even then, these whiners have no pity.

Here’s a perfect illustration. The scene: my apartment elevator. The conversation: between a handyman and a tenant after they’d greeted each other. It was a Wednesday.

Handyman: I haven’t forgotten you.

Tenant: I thought you had.

Handyman: I’ll come this afternoon.

Tenant: I just had a vaccine. I don’t feel that well. Can you come next week?

I bumped into the woman that afternoon and she asked me about the weather and was planning to go out. How sick was she? There are 510 apartments here. Do you think the overworked handyman will remember her issue? I have zero proof but I suspect the woman doesn’t tip. When I submit an online workorder someone comes within a few hours and within minutes if I report a leak. I tip.

Here’s another example of impossible to please. I once had a client who had no respect for women which at the time, I wouldn’t admit and soldiered on even though his prejudice was obvious. In addition to putting me through ridiculous hoops he was verbally abusive and insulting in meetings to the woman who reported to him. With me, he would waste hours asking for press release rewrites. He’d want a word like “the” added, then deleted, then added again. Just before I left the PR agency where I represented his company, I drafted one last release and put as “contact” the name of the man who was taking my place on the account. That was the first and only release this client approved without changing a comma. Only then I admitted that the man had a problem working with women and there was nothing I could have done to appease him. Did I mention that the woman he demeaned in meetings was his girlfriend?

There are many examples of people who are set up to fail: Waitstaff responsible for too many tables; exhausted hospital personnel asked to cover another shift; administrative workers reporting to many overwhelmed executives on deadlines; customer service people who hardly speak English, to name a few. Have you experienced–or observed–other examples?

Service of Handy Tips

Monday, August 29th, 2022

I suspect everyone has received frequent lists of tips forwarded by friends via email or has seen them on social media.

Here are a few of mine:

  • Ask the cashier at Target for the Walmart price. Here’s an example of an indulgence–ice cream that costs $10.99 a pint at a local grocery store–costs $7-something at Target. The Walmart price–the one I’ve paid–has ranged from $4-something to $6 and change, depending on the day.
  • Baking soda and white vinegar cleans residue off my coffee pot, the once white inside of often-used ceramic teacups as well as glassware with a clinging shadow of red wine.
  • This one addresses a longtime pet peeve–when someone asks me to call them back in X minutes when they are postponing a scheduled call. Can’t they call me? I used to waste that time concerned that I’d get involved in another call or project and miss the new appointment. The timer on my phone comes to the rescue. I can forget the call until I hear the buzz. This helps remind me of all sorts of things.
  • When making piecrust the quality of butter makes a huge difference. Use a well known brand and pay more if you must otherwise the dough is unmanageable. It’s also worth the money to buy Bounty paper towels: You’ll use many cheap ones to pick up a mess vs. one sheet of Bounty,
  • If you want to know what’s going on in the world of retail, you’ll enjoy a chuckle as well as well-researched, honest reporting at WarrensReport. Warren Shoulberg writes it. As he put it, he “knows home furnishings retailing. As a career business journalist, he has covered the good, the bad and the ugly of the industry, focusing on the home furnishings segment but also reporting on the broader business of retailing and wholesale distribution.”

What are some of your favorite handy tips?

Service of Thanking Before Dining is Over

Thursday, June 10th, 2021

Last weekend I sat outdoors at a restaurant in the Village. The only way to get food was by downloading the menu, signing in to their website, ordering online and paying by credit card. No smartphone, no luck.

As with any restaurant credit card purchase there was the TIPS line which I filled in. I know, I know, I should have left a cash tip. But I didn’t. Next time.

I wasn’t thinking clearly. My mind was spinning from the unusual–for me–ordering process. After I clicked our choices, my first attempt didn’t go through; it took me forever to find ice tea–only coffee choices were evident. Intensifying by the second were my feelings of being a super all thumbs Luddite klutz which slowed me even further.

So I wrote in a generous tip–the percentage I would calculate at a standard restaurant. In retrospect all the wait staff did was to deliver the order and clear the plates. Turned out that they were forgetful in delivering our standard requests. We were sharing a giant luncheon salad and asked for a second plate. We had to ask two waitresses a few times. With temperature in the 90s, the water in a bottle left on the table, soaking up the sun as were we, warmed quickly. We asked for ice–several times too.

I’ll be better prepared the next time, with reading glasses at the ready, immediately locating the SEARCH icon [which is how I found iced tea as it wasn’t one of the upfront choices]. And I’ll have cash–which I don’t carry in significant amounts–on hand.

I suspect the do-it-yourself ordering process is in our futures at less expensive watering holes especially if the staffing shortage persists. It’s not a new concept. I have belonged to clubs at which the member wrote the food and drink order in the casual venues. It seemed easier.

Have you been tripped up by technology? Do you feel foolish when it happens? Have you, too, encountered such an ordering process at a restaurant? Is this a welcome trend?

Image by LUM3N from Pixabay

 

Service of Pet Peeves III

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

I wrote the first two Pet Peeve posts in 2010 and 2011, summarized below as my feelings about them are unchanged. And although they’re not earmarked as such, many posts over years focus on irritating situations that fall in the peeve category, such as the recent ones about bait and switch sales tactics and euphemisms like “food insecurity” for hunger.

NOW

Hard to believe I have so many new ones.

I recently paid by credit card for bread in a bakery and dinner from a takeout-only Chinese place. In both instances an automatic tip request popped up on the tablet’s screen. Why should I give a tip to someone for putting a loaf of bread in a bag? I gave a tip for the Chinese takeout, even though I picked up my order, but friends who tip generously said they wouldn’t.

I don’t answer when surveys ask me what my income is and don’t believe that they should ask.

TV news producers: Stop showing close-ups of injecting vaccines into arms. For the squeamish who aren’t planning to get the vaccine it’s a turnoff and deterrent.

Train your vicious dog or give it away particularly if you live in an apartment house.

Respond to personal texts within 24 hours–especially if the sender infrequently reaches out and/or if they pose an important question.

If I never hear from you for months and we are personal acquaintances send me something more than a link to an article.

If I consistently “like” your Facebook postings, every once a quarter please “like” one of mine.

THEN

I’m surprised at how many of the oldie peeves are pandemic-proof. The exception might be how miffed I feel when my hands are full and someone near a door doesn’t hold it open. These days some might be afraid of getting too close. Another that irritated me 10 years ago was someone borrowing my pen and not returning it. I wouldn’t want it back now.

Otherwise, here are many of the oldie but still valid:

You call at a scheduled time and are told “Call me in 20 minutes.” The person who changes the time should make the second call.

Repetition of misinformation so it becomes true to some.

Drivers who don’t use their signal lights. It’s as handy a communication tool for pedestrians crossing city streets and avenues as it is for drivers.

Waste by government and corporations.

Buzzwords and jargon.

Tell me privately something that impacts me–don’t first announce it in public and if you want to give away something of mine, don’t ask me if it is OK in front of the potential recipient so I feel forced to say “yes.”

Don’t:

  • roll your eyes if I ask a question
  • offer to do something you know you won’t do
  • pull out on me causing me to slam on my brakes

Lack of traffic lights or signs at dangerous intersections drive me nuts.

Have your peeves stayed the same over years? Any new ones? Do people close to you know your peeves or do you keep them close to the vest?

Service of Miserly Tips

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Washington Post columnist Carolyn Hax reprimanded a couple who complained about their daughter and son-in-law. They meet for a meal once a month at a restaurant halfway between them and their son-in-law embarrassed them when they caught him giving an additional tip to their waiter and apologizing for the table.

The incident resonated when Erica Martell sent me the column because I’ve been there, though I was never caught; I didn’t apologize to the waiter and it didn’t involve my parents. Either my husband or I would slip our waiter extra money to adjust miserly tips left by a generations-old family friend.

Back to the mother who described to Hax her conversation with her daughter the next day: “She told me….[that] our restaurant habits are not very thoughtful. I demanded specifics, and she told me that we split an entree and order water only, so the bill is really low. She also said we are demanding of the wait staff, which is especially bad because we aren’t giving the establishment much money to make up for it.”

The mother said they normally tip 10 percent, 15 if the service is good “maybe 20 percent” [the amount her daughter recommended] “if they washed our car while we were eating or something.” She concluded that she didn’t feel like she was “dining incorrectly,” thought it was rude to “correct our behavior behind our backs” and no longer wanted to meet her kids for dinner.

Hax told the complainants that they were “bad restaurant guests,” noting that a 10 percent tip was decades outdated. “And, hereafter: Always be mindful of the price point and service level of a restaurant before making demands of the staff. You can send back an order that was somehow botched at any level, from Mickey D’s on up, but you don’t fuss over the garnish on a $7.99 entree.”

About the daughter and son-in-law, Hax also suggested that the mother “take a moment to appreciate their sensitivity both to the staff and to your feelings.”

Have you dined with others who leave stingy tips or in other ways embarrass you either by drilling waitstaff or by being far too picky and demanding, making the life of restaurant workers a misery? Do you side with the parents or the adult kids in this instance?

Service of Discomfort to Correct a Situation or Person

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

In a recent “Social Q’s” column in the Sunday Style section of The New York Times, reader D.H. shared a problem with Philip Galanes: She’d given a longtime manicurist a $50 instead of a $20 by mistake. She didn’t “want her to think I want the money back,” D.H. wrote, “But I also don’t want her to think the huge tips will continue (almost twice the cost of the manicure). What should I do?”

Galanes’ advice was sage: “Say: ‘Doris, I realize I gave you a $50 tip last time. I hadn’t intended to, but I’m delighted I did in light of your many years of excellent manicures.’ Otherwise, you will be on pins and needles every time you get your nails done, afraid that your ordinary (but still generous) tip is signifying some unspoken complaint.”

I agree.

This situation is a first cousin to someone calling you by the wrong name and how the situation exacerbates when you let the misnomer continue especially if they introduce you to others. I’ve heard it happen quite often to my husband Homer. Some people call him Horace. And although I don’t recall what name folks have given me, the discomfort in correcting them when what they’ve said is nowhere near Jeanne makes me squirm the longer I let it go.

I find it hard to speak up even when I know that not doing so will make things worse in future. Does correcting people under these circumstances bother you? It’s not like advising a client, which I don’t find nearly as hard to do. How do you push yourself to do the smart thing?

Service of Checking the Bill

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

According to tripadvisor.com, gratuities of as much as 20 percent are added to restaurant and pub bills in the US these days, especially in high-tourist areas. They mentioned the Grand Canyon. The website advises travelers to check the bill before adding a tip.

I noticed an addition to my restaurant check at the Oyster Bar recently. It related to the tip but wasn’t a charge. The check included all the usual information as well as three potential tip amounts, calculated for three percentages of the total [before tax]. What joy! It took me a second to round off the percentage I wanted and I didn’t need to stop the conversation.

I asked the waiter about the guide. He said it was fairly new, mentioned that they couldn’t print it on bills before because of the law. [In brief research I couldn’t find anything about such a law or regulation.] He and his colleagues were thrilled as previously so many left without adding a cent. The Oyster Bar, located in Grand Central Station and considered a landmark, sees thousands of tourists who come from countries where service is included, so this wasn’t a surprise. [My husband also reminded me of several wealthy and cheap friends who consistently stiffed restaurant staff.]

As the handy calculation was news to me, I asked some friends who eat out often whether they’d noticed these calculations. Here’s what they wrote:

Nancie Steinberg: Yes, very common now but not everywhere.

David Reich: I’ve seen friends use it, but to me — and I’m no brainiac in math — it’s easier to just double the tax and add a little more.

Andy Gerber: I don’t know what law the waiter is talking about, but I have seen those guides on checks now and then.  Mostly, I think they’re innocuous.  I confess I do feel a little offended by the arm-twisting, but it doesn’t really bother me because I’m free to ignore it and I can put up with it if it discourages some people who would otherwise stiff without a good reason. I wonder whether they base the percentages on the net check (proper) or the total including the tax (overreaching)?

Do you find such guides helpful or offensive? Have you noticed them? Do you always study your bill or do you hand the waiter a credit card or slap down a few bills without looking?

Get This Blog Emailed to You:
Enter your Email


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz