I was thinking about the practice of tipping - you know, when you give additional money for a service performed.
At restaurants I always tip. Even if the service is lousy I usually tip. I think it may be because I've known a few people who were servers at restaurants and I know how much they depended upon tips. So I tip at restaurants.
But this is a little different.
Starbucks is a place I go nearly every morning. Usually I go inside. And usually it is about the same time of day and I usually order the same thing. So every morning I see the same people and I've learned their names.
They know my name but that is not unusual at my Starbucks. They know an amazing number of the names of the customers that come in about the same time that I am there. Usually I am there about an hour. That's how long it takes me to read the paper. It arrives electronically on my Kindle 2 and I read all of the stories except the sports section. So while I am reading the paper I am watching and listening and it amazes me how many people are known by either their name or their drink. Usually it is by name and drink. That would disqualify me from working at a Starbucks.
It is pleasant for me sitting at Starbucks and drinking my coffee and reading my paper and listening to the music as well as the conversations of both the customers and the staff. It is one of those places where you can go and be alone and yet have company at the same time so you don't feel lonely.
I used to do that very thing when I was caregiving. It was the place I went just before I returned home on Saturday mornings to take up my caregiver role again. I never really understood why I enjoyed it so much back then.
A few weeks ago one of the Baristas that I knew by name and had visited regularly was missing. I asked about her because she had shared with me that she was getting a Kindle 2. She took another job because her pay had been reduced by Starbucks corporate. I understand the need for the company to do that and I do not criticize them for it at all. I've had to make such decisions myself. Sometimes it is hard to know what to do and even harder to do it.
But that's when I decided to increase my tips.
It was my small, personal plan to fight the recession.
I recognize it is a mostly futile and foolish gesture on my part. I am Don QuiFlinty tilting at my own windmills.
After all what can one little guy adding a little to his tips do against the worst recession in 80 years compared to the trillions of dollars being spent by the government.
Not much I am sure.
But it makes me feel a little better every time I put a little more money in that Starbucks tip jar.