Saturday, February 17, 2018

Winning the lottery, or always tip your service people.



The United States is an odd country. We like going out, for brunch, lunch, or something to crunch. Here it might seem that home really isn’t the only happy place. Going out is very act that gives us the most pleasure and it is based on an army of service folks who depend on gratuities for their survival. This practice is distant to foreigners, as in many countries it is rude to tip. 

I’ve always tipped well. Maybe too well for my own good, feeling empathy towards the underpaid waitstaff. It irks me when I see someone standing at the doughnut counter and pays with a debit/credit card and doesn’t think to tip, or the person who orders a complicated drink. Yes, I never thought I would put those two words together, but it’s these aesthetes of liquids who usually give the wearied person poor tip. 

So, starts the lottery section of my tale. On a sweltering hot summer’s day a few years ago, I found myself at the grocery store. My mode of transportation at that time was an old New York state police cruiser.
The air conditioning wasn’t working, and I needed a cool drink to make the ride home bearable. Two doors down from the grocery store there is a combination gas station/coffee shop. Peering over on this grossly hot summer’s day, the shop didn’t seem too busy, no cars were in the lot, it appeared it might be a quick visit, so I decided to head over.

Keep in mind there was not ONE car in the parking lot, save for one out-of-state car parked in the fire zone (*&^%%$*). Yes, I’m swearing, that practice drives me crazy. Entering the store’s coolness, there were at least thirty people in the store, all at the donut counter, milling about like bees around a freshly blooming flower. I reluctantly took my place in line. 


With a fast deduction on my part, all these people seemingly were together and ALL of them ordered complicated drinks. The staff of three was frantically trying to fill the orders. At least half of the orders declared “wrong” with a snit. The drinks were then dumped, which resulted in the unfortunate waitperson starting over from scratch. When the orders were complete, a gray-haired guy stepped up and paid for the 66 plus dollar tab settled with a credit card. After twenty minutes of complete chaos, everyone exited, and NO TIP WAS LEFT! 


I felt badly for the staff. It was cool in the store, but all three had beads of perspiration dripping off their brow due to the cacophony that just ended. Without incident, my medium $2.30 black iced coffee was ordered, paid out of a 5-dollar bill and signaled to the girl to keep the change. I also thrust a twenty-dollar bill into the tip jar, feeling a little anger towards the wild crew that just left. 


As I made way out into the heat, I noticed that the gray-haired head honcho of the mayhem was getting into the car parked in the fire zone and all the others were boarding a small bus on the side of the building. As Mr. No-Tip entered his ride, a twenty-dollar bill floated to the ground under his feet. As soon as his door shut, the car zoomed out of the parking lot with the gusto of a newly launched cannon ball, with the bus in hot pursuit.


The top of my car made a very scalding hot place to set my drink on, and fiddled with my keys to unlock the car’s door. I noticed no one was around the dropped money, I looked around and scooted across the hot pavement and picked up the loot. Still scurrying, with intermittent twinges of guilt, I headed towards my quickly warming iced drink. Then I had a flash of stupidity, I trotted back into the store. 


I told the musically distracted young man behind the counter my tale, how I acquired my new wealth. He smiled, offered up an air fist bump and an enthusiastic exclamation of “Dude!” He suggested a 20-dollar scratch off ticket and when the transaction was through, I stole off with my newly found riches.


Still furious at the non-tipping jerk, I parked under a shade tree in one of my favorite nesting/day dreaming/napping places. By this time, my mind played karmatic solutions on ways to get even with the whole crew. Shrugging those off, and carefully scratching the ticket, I discovered I had a $100 winner!!! 


Making my way to yet another gas station, I asked the clerk if she could cash the ticket for me. Unfortunately, she said, she had just made a cash drop and could not cash the ticket. Thinking quickly, I asked if she had forty bucks and offered to exchange the ticket for two thirty-dollar tickets and the cash. She could, so I did, and was off. 


Picking another cool shady spot, in my now blazing hot car, and my now hot coffee, I scratched the first ticket. Nothing won. Sparing the reader excessive suspense, the second ticket was a five-hundred-dollar winner. Five HUNDRED dollars. 


To recap: I left a twenty-dollar tip, found twenty, spent twenty, won one hundred, spent sixty to win five hundred. $540 isn’t bad for a hot afternoon’s banana/hemp milk trip. 


The moral of this story is, yes maybe there is karma. Instant Karma, as John Lennon once sang. The other moral is TIP YOUR SERVICE PEOPLE!!! Maybe in a strange twist of fate, on a hot Saturday afternoon in July, the Universe will reward you.

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