Generous Policies

How do you tip? It might be a straightforward calculation, a matter of rounding things off nicely, a judgment call, or a unilateral “no.”

For me, it’s an opportunity to delight someone with a pleasant surprise. The extra couple dollars are important, sure, yes they compound, but because I’m lucky enough to have an abundance in my life, I’ll often whimsically opt for a proportionally ridiculous gift.

You could buy someone you know and love flowers, or you could make a stranger’s day for much less. What’s the difference?

Driving Uber and Lyft, I was surprised at how few people tipped. It was automatic for me as a passenger. Bad drivers, who swerved or shouted or honked or got lost, they would get nothing extra. That was their punishment.

But now I know why they were bad, consistently…because even if you’re good, few people take out their wallets to acknowledge that.

A friend remarked with surprise at my tipping. “I’ve never seen someone do that.”

Similarly, I’ve never seen someone throw away free money. Most folks, even (especially?) rich ones, they value a really good coupon or rewards program because they see it can be worth a lot.

I, however, participate in no rewards programs whatsoever. I use my credit card solely to keep up my credit score. I have no frequent flyer miles, no fancy lounge access.

I decline to register for your thing. My inbox and my attention are more valuable to me.

I’m furious at the amount of junk mail I’ve been receiving at this new apartment building. It’s almost as bad as college admissions season when I stupidly checked the box on the SAT.

But on balance, it’s OK. I’m grateful to have cycles to spare.


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