Why Tipping Is Important For America And Our Mental Health
At a recent Wrigley Field game, close to the 7th inning, a “ice cold water, here” vendor came around our section.
“Hey Garcon, 4 waters please!”
He does his deal with the waters, one by one, and I hand him $25 dollars. It was a tip of $3.
He can’t accept cash for the transaction, I need to use a card.
I hand him my card and it doesn’t work. The machine breaks down on him and won’t run the card. He apologizes, comes back a few minutes later and we do the same dance. It doesn’t work. I try another card again this time. No deal.
I try and hand him the $25 again, but he can’t take it. He leaves and returns again a few minutes later. Success! My card works and what would have taken 15 seconds, literally took 12 minutes to complete. Even though I was a bit annoyed, it wasn’t the vendors fault, it was the faulty machine.
But, here’s the kicker. The irony was I now HAD TO TIP HIM IN CASH!
I mention this, because the vendors were obviously getting messed over with tons of transactions. The number of .50 or $1 tips from persons not wanting any change happen almost every transaction at the ball park, even with the misers in the crowd. Now, by not being able to accept cash, it takes effort for someone to go the extra mile and tip and the “keep the change” guy no longer exists.
Game day vendors for instance are seasonal workers, and with all games cancelled, they were hit extremely hard during Covid. Currently, they are still receiving the shaft.
I was a server.
I have stories of both benevolent people and those who tipped me $4 on a $160 tab with wine. So, I’ve always tipped well. However, pre-covid days, I would sometimes got annoyed that the kiosk asked me how much I wanted to tip the Panera Bread cashier for handing me a cup so I could fill up my own coffee.
Currently, there is a more pressing issue why tipping is important.
Research shows over 50% of hospitality works won’t return to their positions. Accommodation and restaurant workers are at the top of the hiring crisis. We often walk into restaurants that are half or three-quarters capacity not due to restrictions but due to the paucity of staff.
I won’t step out of my lane into the sociology and economical psychology of the work force. I don’t want to pontificate into the why behind the staffing shortages or how to fix it. My expertise simply lies in human performance, mindset, and mental toughness.
This is a mental toughness blog about how to be the best at getting better.
Since isolation and mental health are continuing issues, we can make an immediate impact on our own state and help out others at the same time.
TIPS- To Insure Proper (prompt) Service.
We no longer tip to insure proper service.
Most of us even tip about the same regardless of the quality of service, unless it’s really bad or exceptional. We tip because it makes us feel good about ourselves and to satisfy the norms that are in place when we do so.
For instance, if you’re out of state, why tip the individual you’ll never see again? Because society says so and we would feel awful if we didn’t. The norms get muddied however, because we aren’t always sure “who” to tip? We tip our hairdresser, but not our chiropractor. We tip our waiter, but not the drive through worker.
Let’s start to adjust the societal norm and the reasoning why tipping is important for America and for our own mental health.
People, WE need each other.
We can accurately judge our own society by how we care for others. However, this often means governmental programs, charitable organizations, and/or large movements. I’m referring to the individual actions that each of us can take to improve someone else’s day or current mood. It may not make an impact in their overall quality of life, but it will make a difference in their current reality.
If your impact doesn’t make a difference, then your absence won’t make a difference.
I first started to tip everyone — Drive-through workers, contactless food pick-up, cashiers, everyone. Since the norms suggest we don’t tip the cashier, it was odd for both parties. Thus, I’ve modified it a bit now.
Hence, I’ve now made it a point to make sure to tip one person everyday a $5 or $10. Sometime it is a few different people, but it’s at least one a day. It’s always accompanied with a “just wanted to thank you.”
It’s not a power play, it’s a heartfelt thank you! But, as I’ve written many times and in my book, NO ONE Gets There ALONE.
When we create a better us, we create a better you.
Notice how your own mood and outlook will automatically improve when you start to do something above and beyond for someone else. That’s why tipping is important in today’s culture. We can make a difference in those who are with us and turn a transaction into a transformation.
And do it in cash…
Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens.
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