Monday, December 12, 2011

Tipping Point

Yesterday, gentle readers, a friend of your MatchGirl shared a link to this very cool interactive map about tipping for takeout food in New York City. Take a moment and go over to it.

You can see that it has several types of food listed and, when you click on them, you can see how popular they are for takeout in certain areas of the city. (Having lived in Greenpoint for over 7 years, the food listed as popular her came as no surprise to me. Even as the neighborhood changes in its residents, and a different demographic moves in, the options are still limited - though if you want Thai food, we've definitely got it!.) Then you see a little radio button where you can click and see the percentage of tip that was left with the people delivering the food.

It would stand to reason that the wealthier neighborhoods would tip better, no? They've more money, after all...

Well, it's not as simple as that, dear ones.

There are delivery people we tip more because we order more from their place of business.
There are delivery people we tip more because they arrive on our doorsteps at the speed of light.
There are delivery people we tip more because the weather outside is atrocious and we're so very glad that we didn't have to go out in that.

Looking at the map, you'll certainly see that some of the more wealthy neighborhoods are poor tippers. But the numbers are different by fractions of percentages. None of the neighborhoods tip more that 14% on average. It's not terrible. It's not amazing. I'm not judging. There are loads of reasons that people tip well and loads of reasons that people are stingy. I've written about it before (to a barrage of comments - people are passionate about this subject).

But, gentle readers, as the "season of giving" keeps rolling forward, and the economy keeps being stuck in first gear, let's take a moment to think about the people bringing us warm food on cold, cold nights.

And let's move that thinking to the world as a whole.

Many of us are in no financial state to be giving way bigger tips or donating way more to charity, but, as we're in a place where we are paying greater attention to what we're spending on a whole, let's just take a moment and spread a little more cheer when and where we can. An extra buck here, a warm (and sincere) smile there. Giving up your subway seat to a harried parent with little kids. Holding the door open for the person coming in behind you. They seem small. And they, maybe seem like they have very little to do with tipping your takeout guy.

But your MatchGirl, dear readers, is of the opinion that a little extra bit of warmth and compassion is contagious.
Especially at this time of year.

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