Day 09: Being Brown

Day 09 —When the cashier gives me this amount of money for change, I know it’s too much money to dump in the charity bucket…

I am sure I would be of a different opinion if I had found jobs where my salary was heavily supplemented by tips, but right now, I have a decided distaste for the tip&charity system.

I just don’t understand the reasoning. Let me get this straight. You run a grocery store. Your job as a cashier of that store is to sell me my groceries. More specifically, your job is to take my money, put it in your register, give me back my change, and print out a receipt. Maybe you will even bag my items for me. But now, you want me to leave you my change in a charity bucket to thank you for doing your job?

If I need to express my absolute gratitude that you have done the job you were hired to do, a simple “thank you” will suffice. Even if I worked on the other side, I would feel so pathetic taking people’s tossed coins from a charity bucket. I am not their charity case!

Next thing you know, every student will be required to bring the teacher a gift every day, to thank them for doing their jobs. Oh hey, I want to be a future lawyer. Whenever my client meets me, I simply MUST expect him or her to treat me to an exquisite dinner as a thank-you for doing the job that a lawyer is supposed to do – that is, litigate a case.

Is the entire notion of a tip sounding ridiculous to you yet? The amount of gratitude you feel shouldn’t be reflected by how little you value your own money, and by how freely you give it to others. I’m sorry, I’m not made of money either.

If an item costs $1.99, I’m taking back my goddamned penny. I have no problems being sweet and saying thank you, but I am absolutely infuriated when people expect me to pay them money for doing their job. I am not their employer, I owe them no financial obligation. Go fight for another pay raise or something.


My longstanding hatred of the ‘tip’ system in the US goes a long way back. I just don’t GET how people find it normal that they’re obligated to pay somebody money for doing a job that they’re hired to do. I mean, you wanted to be a cashier/teacher/lawyer, and you get paid to do it. I’m not about to congratulate you for doing what you’re supposed to do.

That’s like somebody expecting me to give them a gold medal for remembering to breathe. Every single day. And being pissed if I skip a day. Please, that’s pathetic. I’ll keep my change to myself, and you can go on collecting charity from people who don’t see the world as I do. I earn my money same as you, and I don’t expect additional financial gains as tokens of gratitude.

I sound like a grouch. But really, I’m just extremely stingy with my money. I don’t spend wastefully, and I save what I can. In fact, this entire semester, I’ve been paying for coffee solely with the change I get back when buying other odds and ends. I have a giant stash of coins – it’s got to be worth a couple hundred bucks at this point. All of my change goes into that.

I am my own charity case as it is. And that is enough. I don’t leave change in charity jars, and I grudgingly give tips only because restaurants are now haughty enough not only to expect it, but also to mandate it. As if it’s a right and not a privilege. Argh.


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