You Never Know Who Has a Little Table; or, The Necessity of Tipping

Darling, some people have the blessing in life of getting to the point where coins, small bills, £1 coins etc. become unessential to happiness and well-fair being, that joyous day when you no longer empty your pockets and wallet when you get home to see if you have enough to buy something you need like dinner. If that time comes, when you have no debt and you can buy new gold earrings without a second thought, it is time to set that money free.

Some, lucky in some ways but not in all ways, have had this chance from birth and, with good parents, have been inculcated to give. For others, there were times in your life when 5 dollars was important, now it isn’t so do you best Elsa imitation and let it go. When someone puts change in your hand, look around for a tip jar, ‘leave a penny’ bowl or charity box and send it on its way.

This can be seen from the religious perspective – a kind of on-the-go tithing. Or from a spiritual POV, one needs to give back to the universe, to let things (and energy!) circulate, to open your hands so that the powers that be can bring new and interesting objects and chances to you.

There is also the practical fashionista angle: coins weigh down your pockets and spoil the silhouette of your dress. They create havoc in your purse, ruining the lining, hiding in corners and making it so heavy, the purse pulls at your shoulders. They clog your wallet, trying to tame and organize small bills takes time better spent shoe shopping, and you open your purse to refresh your lipstick and a cascade of coins and small bills fall out, most unattractive!

And there is the enlightened self interest take. You never know how the universe works, what immediate, concrete and helpful consequence might be the result of dispersing largesse, even if it isn’t that large.

Once your dearest auntie was stuck in a crowded cafe; there were no free tables and circumstances dictated that I had to stay there for over 2 hours. I bought a coffee and small slice of cake and was attempting to balance those with my purse and bags, when quelle miracle, a server appeared and took the coffee from me to carry. I found a free chair, set the cake on it, then opened my purse and gave him a large tip. Then I tried to get myself situated; within a minute, he was back and placed a small table in front of me. Bliss! Instead of juggling coffee and cake, I could set them down and relax. Two other people saw this and demanded their own table, yelling “Bring me one!” and were told “Sorry, last one!” One yelled, “But I was here first.” “Sorry, I did not see you,” and he was gone.

Some would say that one should help all people equally, a lovely sentiment that is true for many situations. But when you can afford an expensive, nonessential coffee, you can afford an inexpensive tip. I don’t think doctors should organize waiting rooms in this manner, big spenders first, but we must all follow the wise words of Dolly Levi: “Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around, encouraging young things to grow.”

Oh the days when a extra $20 meant a cheap purple mascara, a cold soda, a magazine and a candy bar – two hours of bliss. Truth to tell, I (me!) once received hardback books for Christmas, exchanged them for paperbacks and took the extra money to buy food with. If you have ever had days like that, never forget them, and if you never did, don’t forget that others do.

Of course, darling, if you have it you should be giving big money to whatever you please: medical causes, museums, save the planet charities, schools and universities, but the little stuff – send that out as well: give to beggars, tip extravagantly, pay for the person behind you in line at restaurants and cafes, say “I don’t need the change,” roll up small bills and stick them between books on bookshelves for someone to find (especially in the self-help and philosophy sections), stack coins into little piles and leave them on the bathroom counter, drop coins in the ‘change’ compartment of candy and soda machines, get inventive and let go.