Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Great Depression is over, lady

My first ride was a pleasant, older woman. After a couple of quick stops we ended up at a mall. The fare was $8.60, and she gave me $9. "Keep the change," she said. Gee, thanks. Maybe I'll buy 1/300th of a share in Google.

I have no gripes with old people. My membership in that club is assured, after all. The problem is most of them tip in the $.10-$.60 range. That can only be explained by having lost touch with the value of money. Does the nice lady I just dropped off realize that I would need six more tips of that size to buy a measly cup of coffee? Does she know that I wouldn't bend down to pick up that much change on the sidewalk?

"The Great Depression is over," I wanted to say. "Forty cents may have been a generous tip when you retired 35 years ago, but now it's just insulting." For the record, I keep the mouth zipped in situations like this. I was very nice to her, held the door, and all that.

The French are even more insulting. I still haven't received a tip from a French person, and I have driven many. That affects the level of service to all future frogs. I wont' take them the long way round or do anything else unethical, but there is no chatting or acting as tour guide. "Je m'appelle Slabbe de Granite." Tipping cabbies in France is the norm, by the way.

Japanese usually tip, when tipping cab drivers in Japan is not the norm.

The only set of people who always get it right are American businesspeople. No cheap bastards, no hassles.

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