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My friend, Julie recently posted a comment on Facebook regarding her experience dining out.  She related that in two separate instances a server gave her back only the bills of her change, and not the coins (which in one case was just 18 cents).  When she questioned the server about the coins, she was met with the response, “I didn’t think you would want it.”  Seriously???  The server in one case went on to say, “Don’t worry, I kept it, it didn’t go in the till.”  And that should be reassuring because…?  My friend promptly gave the server less tip than she had originally intended.

She asked her Facebook friends if this was a new practice.  Her story elicited comment after comment, some saying it had happened to them as well, and others expressing their outrage.  Many synonyms for “stealing” were used.  Not condoning it, but trying to understand it, my comment was that I thought this behavior was brought on by the practice of servers pooling and sharing tips, resulting in some being tempted to skim a little off the top for themselves.  I hate to clue these people in, but with the exception of large groups, a tip is not an entitlement, but a reward for good service, to be bestowed on the server at the discretion of the customer.

I told the story to someone I know who was a server for many years.  She was incensed and said, “It is absolutely stealing.”  She went on to talk about the elephant in the room: that the latest generation seems to have a sense of entitlement when it comes to tips: they do not recognize that tips are EARNED with good service.

My husband and I recently had a poor service experience while eating at the bar of a local restaurant.  A second server took much better care of us than the first.  My husband’s response was to ask her if they shared tips.  She said, “Yes,” and his reply was, “I’m sorry…that’s too bad.”  He praised her service but left no tip because the first server (a 20ish young man) had simply stood around doing nothing but ignoring us, and then disappeared.

My friend’s story ended with phone calls to the managers of the restaurants involved, producing shocked reactions from the managers, who said they did not condone the practice.  But do they actively discourage it?  How are these servers getting away with this?  Because patrons don’t speak up??  In a bad economy, consumers choose carefully when they go out; it’s a treat, no longer a habit, to go to a restaurant.  Customers, speak up if this happens to you!



{June 28, 2011}   The Irony Behind Yard Sales

What is the irony of a yard sale nowadays? The economy is bad and you need to make money, but you can’t; nobody’s spending and everybody’s looking for free stuff. As you drive down the street, it seems like everybody’s selling something in the front yard– their “toys” including motorcycles, boats, and sportscars — to plants or firewood.

Before the advent of online auction sites, yard sales were a legitimate way to make some extra cash when you needed it. If you had furniture as part of your yard sale, you were almost guaranteed to make over $100. These days, having a yard sale is just another way to get rid of extra stuff, not a true money-making activity. If you like meeting people, sitting around for the day, and you hope to see some of your extra stuff find a home, by all means, have a yard sale. Don’t expect to make much money, and expect to put a lot of leftovers out front with a “free” sign or donate them.
My husband and I have had a couple of yard sales, trying to help my mother get rid of some stuff and make her a little money. We were hoping to do the same. When there were initially no customers, we sat silently looking at all the unwanted items. I said, “I’m thinking about all the money we wasted on this stuff.” My husband said, “I’m thinking about all the time I spent working to pay for this stuff.” It was an enlightening and sobering experience.
We eventually got some customers and sold a few things, but I was left with this thought: Don’t buy anything unless you really need it and you plan to use it until it breaks, or you absolutely love it and will enjoy looking at it for the rest of your life.




When I was working, I used to collect the cans from the coworkers who drank sodas.  They usually threw them out, so I just asked if I could have them.  I had a box in my office and when it was full, I would take them to bottle redemption; I would put the money I received in a jar.  One day, one of the newer engineers asked me why I collected them.  As I mentally prepared my answer, one of the other guys jumped in, “That’s her ‘mad money’; every woman needs ‘mad money’.”  The first guy looked at him with a puzzled look.  “You know, ‘mad money’– money to spend on little things like magazines or little decorative things for the house”, he explained.

I had to smile…he understood better than I would have thought; I really liked his answer.  It is so difficult to NEVER spend money on anything frivolous: little decorations at Christmas Tree shop, seeds for the garden, craft materials, music on ITunes, or magazines.  I do understand that I don’t NEED those things, which is why I don’t want to spend needed household money on them.  But, somehow, without the ability to buy those things when I want to, I feel like a prisoner.  I am working on my attitude, but the desire to “break free” is overwhelming at times: every woman needs “mad money”.



et cetera
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