A Hand Out

Tipping in the service industry is the norm.  I realize that.  Both my husband, John Murphy and I tend to be generous tippers.  We not only appreciate the service we receive, but we’re also mindful of both the low pay and challenging customers most in the service industry encounter.

That being said, I will tip when I feel it’s appropriate, not because it’s expected.  In fact, if I can tell you expect it – I will not tip even if I had intended to!

Most of you know the situations I mean; a delivery person or hotel staff person who lingers too long, the cashier who automatically gives change in lots of small bills so you can easily feed the tip jar… You can just feel their hand out even when it’s not in the literal sense.

The worst example to date happened on Friday. I was in Las Vegas with my husband for a few days.   My game of choice is blackjack.  Most players tip when they win.  Personally,  win or lose, I will tip my dealer provided they have been friendly.  It’s a game – I want to have fun.  I’ve even lost and tipped generously because I still had fun playing with a dealer who enhanced the entertainment.

But Friday, I was playing a table with 3 other people.   The dealer was sarcastic. One snippy comment after another.  Then he chided the 2 smoking players by saying “Oh, go ahead, I don’t mind.  After all, chemo treatments are getting so much more affordable.” HELLO! This is Las Vegas.  Smoking is common.  I don’t smoke – don’t like smoke – but I know this is a smoking establishment and I chose to come here so I don’t complain.  Dealing cards is not the only career choice and Las Vegas is not the only card table in the world.  If you don’t like the working conditions – work somewhere else!

The jab was lost on the 2 smokers but the comment took away from my enjoyment of the game.  I was thrilled when a relief dealer came for his break.  The fill in dealer was great!  She laughed, cheered for the customers, looked chagrined when we lost a hand and generally made the game more fun.

When the regular dealer returned, we were all laughing.  He asked if she had treated us well.  Everyone said yes.  I added “We really enjoyed playing with her” as a hint that he should lighten up.  His reply; “Did you let her know how much you liked playing with her?” In fact, I had tipped her.

He then looked at the couple of chips in his tip pile and said “That’s okay.  I have some money saved up.  Don’t worry, I’ll be able to get my 1 year old baby girl something for Christmas.” Really?  He’s been snarky and sarcastic and now he’s layering on guilt?!?

I had enough of his drama and moved to another table where I generously tipped my dealer.

The moral of the story; if you have tip positions within your company talk to them candidly about the “invisible hand out”.  We can feel it when they are fishing for a tip.  It  makes customers feel uncomfortable.  Feelings linger.  We avoid what makes us bad and gravitate to what makes us feel good.  It’s human nature.  Concentrate on the customer experience and the tips will follow.

Make us feel bad and we will go elsewhere.  Make us feel good and we will make you successful!

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