Sunday, August 21, 2011

15 - 20 Percent....For WHAT?!

I have always felt a tad bit guilty when I get my hair done...and by done, I mean anything from touching up my roots, to full-on highlights, haircut and styling.  The reason?  Well, my hair is a bit like a rat's nest, I often say....a rather large, mangled rat's nest.  So I literally feel the exhaustion as my hairdressers near the end of their voyage through my massive amounts of tresses...their arms having been raised and moving for nearly an hour at the end of the dying part, not even having enough time to rest before it's back to the mounds for a cut and style.  It's an arm workout in itself!  Therefore, I have no problem giving each stylist a 15 - 20 percent tip.  It's my way of saying "Thank you, and sorry about the pain I have caused."  I think the extra few bucks is worth it; not only does it ensure that at my next appointment, the stylist will be especially attentive, knowing that 20% extra is on the line, but it also makes the guilt a little more subtle, now that I have shown my appreciation for her time and effort in the form of some extra green.

Now, there are not many services where it's common practice to leave a percentage tip: waiters, nail/hair services, taxi drivers, housekeepers, valet drivers...compared to the great number of professions out there, the percentage of those who accept tips is relatively small.

Sooooo.....who ever decided that these professions are worthy of a little something extra than their hourly rate/salary??  Some would argue that in these professions, the hourly rate is normally smaller; benefits may not be included; hours are less than appealing, etc., etc.  While this may be true (I know I personally wouldn't want to file blemishes off stinky feet all day, or run around like a bat out of hell at 2 a.m. every weekend to find some drunkard's vehicle) I don't know what justifies these people getting a little something extra.

Take for example the guys who pick up my trash/recycling.  Although our household trash pile usually doesn't consist of anything extraordinarily disgusting or inconvenient, sometimes on my morning commute, I find myself feeling horrible for the poor gal/guy who will come upon that particular pile of junk in a few hours.  Some mornings this sympathy stems from seeing disheveled, uncoordinated trash bags strewn carelessly around someone's mailbox, with random pieces of garbage spilling out from each container.  Other mornings, it's because someone decided to empty what appears to be an entire garage-full of old furniture, random boxes and other over-sized knick knacks.  I remember as a kid, my mom used to leave fresh baked goodies on the mailbox near the holidays with notes thanking the trash men/women for their services, and wishing them a happy holiday.  No doubt, nowadays if I left cookies on my mailbox for the servicemen and women of Waste Management, they would probably report me to the police for suspected poisoning.  Regardless of what efforts used to be made to thank these people who tirelessly pick up stinky, old, dirty trash every week, the fact remains that whatever they are getting paid for this service, it's probably not enough.  So why not tip them?  Why don't I leave a crisp $10 in the mailbox every week, thanking them for taking my garbage away? Or report to the city every month, and inform them how much extra I would like to give to the men and women of Waste Management?  Trash men/women is not even the worst of it....what about plumbers?  What about the firefighters who came to my house to put out a fire in the hottest part of the day during Texas summer, with no air conditioning in my cramped laundry room, wearing layers upon layers of heavy gear?  What about the people at the laundromat who get hubby's pants so fresh and so clean clean (and pressed) every week?  It's not like they're rolling in Benjamins....why don't they include a "Tip" line on the bottom of their receipts?  Are their services not appreciated enough, or unappealing enough, to warrant a few bucks extra for their time and effort?!

I won't even get into the fact that although dentists, doctors, lawyers and the like make a whole heck of a lot more than the guy who picks up my trash every week, they still have years of loans to pay off, and have devoted a good chunk of time and energy into becoming an expert at their profession (and let us not forget that doctors and dentists have to do some pretty disgusting things from time to time).  Why don't I slip my gynecologist a $20 bill after my exam so she can buy herself something nice in exchange for attributing to my good health?

You see my point?  Why do I tip a waitress for letting my drink sit empty for five minutes and not bringing me the extra jalapenos that I requested twice already, but I can't find the extra couple bucks in my pocket book for the electrician who trudged through the snow last winter to fix our power so that (Heaven forbid) we didn't go a day without electricity.

I realize that now I have to start tipping every person whose job seems slightly less than charming....maybe I shouldn't have taken the time to write this particular post.  I feel that nothing will be accomplished now except for the dwindling of my petty cash and the spare change my hubby and I keep in the "Baby Jar."

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