I managed to get past my annoyance at the tip jar that appeared on the counter of my local coffee shop one day. (Tit for what? Pour coffee? Hand me a muffin?) But apparently that wasn’t enough. Now the owners have added a “tip screen” to the credit card payment process, reminding me to have their employees pay for them in case I miss the tip jar on the counter. I’m tired of asking for handouts for people who are just doing their jobs. No one has ever tipped me in my modest paid job as a teacher. I’d really like to say something to the store owner. May I?
HAVE HAD IT!
There is no need to create a race to the bottom here where teachers compete against coffee shop workers. Our economy generates enough profit to pay all workers a living wage. This would now require equitable changes in the way opportunities are distributed and taxes levied. But you probably didn’t come to me for advice on economic policy.
So, to your question, unless the cashier put your change in the tip jar instead of returning it to you, or the automated screen pre-selected a tip amount for your purchase, I’d shut up. Just put your change in your pocket and select “no tip” on the automated screen. I understand you’re annoyed, but this isn’t just about you.
Tipping people who sympathize with a problem can make a small contribution to alleviate it. Even if all full-time workers were paid minimum wage (although many are not), in many places it would still not be enough to survive. So I tip. I also know that I am not solving the real problem.
Your suggestion that wages are an employer’s obligation is a hedge, not a solution. Many employers do not resign. So while we wait for meaningful change for working people, some people are tipping. That’s not necessary. But why bother about others joining in?
How dare she?
My sister-in-law has three children (2, 4 and 6 years). I had a doctor’s appointment so I asked her if she could babysit my 5 year old son who plays well with her oldest son. She agreed. After my appointment I went to her house and found my son very upset. My sister in law had given him a 15 minute time out for teasing her 4 year old daughter. I think it was completely wrong of her to punish my child. You?
Listen, I understand it was upsetting to arrive at your sister-in-law’s house and find your son upset. But when you entrusted him to her care—along with three other children under the age of seven—you implicitly agreed to let her use her common sense with him.
If your son teased her daughter and didn’t stop when asked, a short time out seems reasonable. Would you rather he kept challenging her? Your son may not understand the rules. But that’s an argument for explaining them to him next time, not being mad at your sister-in-law.
Shifting dates and dynamics
Two years ago, my husband and I were asked to be a part of a couple’s wedding party. We lived in the same town at the time and saw each other often. Due to the pandemic, the wedding was postponed until this summer. We are again invited to be part of the bridal party. But we moved from the area and have not kept in touch with the newlyweds at all. Can we say no?
I don’t think you’re bound by any prepandemic promise to march down the aisle with the bridal couple. So much has changed in the meantime! If you want to decline due to geography, thank the couple for inviting them again and tell them that traveling to their wedding won’t be possible for you.
But if your reluctance is about the emotional distance between you two, I would urge you to reconsider. Many of us withdrew from friends during the pandemic; it got lonely. This wedding can be a chance to renew your friendship, if you want to. If not, quickly let the couple know you won’t make it so they can replace you.
The women in my life
I recently started dating a woman who gets annoyed when I occasionally talk about female co-workers or make plans to see friends. These are purely platonic relationships. She doesn’t change the subject or ask me not to see them. But our conversations suddenly take a turn. What should I do?
Talk to your girlfriend about this directly. Give her specific examples of what appears to you as jealous behavior. There may be another explanation. Or maybe she’s coming to the relationship with a history of betrayal.
This is not your problem to solve. But depending on your interest in her, you might introduce her to some of your girlfriends and co-workers to help her feel more comfortable. However, if the jealousy persists, it’s not a good sign for your future together.
For help with your difficult situation, send an inquiry to SocialQ., to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.