Why Should I Always Tip?

So here’s a story of a meal I had this past weekend. We met my parents at an Indian restaurant for lunch on Sunday to celebrate my husband’s birthday.

Everything was fine except for the fact that after we received our food, no one came to check up on us to see if everything was all right. That was okay. The food was good, came out quick enough, and we were having fun watching my kid really enjoying eating.

Then came the dessert and coffee we wanted to order. My dad ordered his coffee and before any of us could say anything else, the server turned to leave. Then, I asked for coffee so he turned back towards us. He turned to leave again. Then, my husband asked for coffee and dessert so the server turned back towards us. As he turned to leave again, I asked him to hold on so we could all check what we wanted. It wasn’t more than a minute that it took us to decide. Finally, we got our full order in. But it was a little irritating that he couldn’t just wait 2 seconds to let all of us order without worrying that he was going to take off.

We got our coffee. Immediately after, we got our check. We didn’t pay right away because we were still waiting for our dessert (which was ice cream so really, it shouldn’t have taken longer than the coffee in my opinion). I took a look at the check to see if they had charged us for the ice cream. I figured if it was on there, then at least he had heard us and they would be bringing it over. As soon as I glanced at the check and put it back down, the server was back to take it away. He didn’t even ask us if we had paid. I had to stop him again to let him know there was no money in there and that we were just waiting for our dessert.

Finally, our ice cream came. Unfortunately, it was so frozen that we couldn’t eat it. We couldn’t cut it. We flagged someone else down to get a knife so we could split it 4 ways. I was hoping she would bring a steak knife because that’s what we needed. But we got a butter knife instead. We still managed to cut it but we still couldn’t dig our spoons into it to eat.

While we waited, we finally paid the check. Of course, that was taken right away by someone other than our server and returned to us with the change. While we were still waiting, our server then came and picked up the final bill with whatever change was inside of it. He didn’t asked us if we were finished paying or doing whatever we needed to do. He just assumed it was okay to take.

Now if there had been a lot of change, I would have protested. But there was only a couple of bucks in there. Which meant that the server left with a $2 tip on a $60 bill. That’s a 3% tip. We normally tip at least 15%. We had discussed though that since the service was really bad, would we be tipping that much?

It didn’t matter. The decision was made for us by a server who was just trying to turn over the table.

Tipping is something that can be a sore point for me. I have had friends and family who have worked in the service industry and I get the whole underpaid thing and the need to have tips to compensate for it. But shouldn’t tipping rely partially on the service provided? I don’t have it in me to automatically tip a good amount just because you did your job. At the same time, I will tip generously if the service was beyond what was called for. But that is my hard earned money and I did my job well so I could come to the restaurant and eat. I don’t want to just part with it because of societal expectations.

I think it’s unfair that we feel like we have to tip a certain amount automatically. A lot of us are in jobs where we don’t receive a tip for good customer service. A lot of us are in jobs where we feel like we aren’t compensated enough for the amount of work we do. But we deal with it. We don’t have an option other than to ask for a raise or to find another job. Why is there a double standard here?

With this particular experience, this server did as much work as someone in a fast food restaurant. He took our order and brought us food. There was no extra service. I don’t tip a fast food employee. So why should this be any different?

Maybe I’m missing something about the restaurant industry so if you would like to fill me in on those facts, please feel free.

Small Talk

We’re Indian. Which means that even if we don’t know someone, we kind of sort of know them. So when we run into them at social events, we have to make small talk. It’s how we socialize. It’s how we get to know people. And it’s how we make sure that it’s not awkward when we see them again.

I spent a 30 minute ride home with a family friend who I’ve known my whole life in almost complete silence. Her daughters are really good friends of mine so I asked how they were doing. And that was the end of our conversation. We just had nothing to talk about. I couldn’t even think of what to say so I just sat in silence until I reached home.

There are times I will run into people that I have met before and be at a complete loss of what to say to them. Other than the standard “how are you doing” and “what are you up to”, I have nothing to say. I know small talk comes easily to some people but I’m not sure how.

I have a cousin who once told me that she manages to start conversations by just asking people about themselves. She found that people love talking about themselves and this helped her jump start any conversation. Is it that I’m not that interested in people? Or maybe it’s just that I’m too scared to start talking about anything. Maybe I’m worried what’ll people will think of me.

It’s interesting to me that that insecurity is still around. I’m at a place that I’ve established myself. I know who I am. And if I say something that everyone doesn’t like, should I even worry that much about it? I am well aware that everyone might not like me at this stage in life.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve done my job making new friends over my whole life and now, it’s harder. Now, we really have to make an effort to know someone else. Now, we have to try to find common ground that isn’t just provided to us. Before, we made friends of circumstance. We went to school with someone, they lived near us, we were in the same social group outside of school. It takes a lot to pass the insecurity we might have in order to make new friends.

Now, we have to work at it, especially if it’s a situation where you are truly there just to make friends. You have to put yourself out there. You have to find a way to make the small talk so that you can really get to know the people that you meet.

Small talk. Fun, huh?

A New Mom Reclaiming Her Life

We all talk about how you shouldn’t lose yourself when you get into a new relationship. We work so hard to maintain our individuality while merging into a relationship so that we still feel independent but can enjoy the aspects of spending time with a partner as well.

Well, what happens when you have a baby? As a new mom, I found myself really losing who I was.

Even before I had the baby, I didn’t recognize myself. I define my self worth by what I do (and if I really do it well). I had been working for the last 8-9 years and I had been dancing for a really long time and finding peace and happiness in that. But, as soon as I was a few weeks pregnant, I left my job due to the distances I was driving and I wasn’t allowed to do any other physical activity other than walk due to doctor’s orders. It was really hard for me. I still did see my friends but a lot of the activities I used to do were limited.

After I had the baby, there was obviously the time I needed to heal and get used to having a baby around. So that’s all I was doing for the first few months. But it was hard. You give yourself so entirely to this little human being. All of a sudden, the only label you have is mom. All of the other things you were disappear. At least, that is how I felt.

I’ve never been able to function in a one dimensional sense. Even though I worked in one profession, I was involved in so many other activities that really helped my life be well-rounded. So this was really a difficult way for me to live. There are women who fit so easily into the mother role and make themselves so well-rounded within that role. I’ve seen moms who plan activity after activity for them and their babies and it sounds amazing. I wish I could do that. But, after a recent breakdown, I realize that it’s not me. I need certain things in my life for me to feel like myself. And feeling like myself is the best thing I could do for my child.

I felt guilty wanting to be back in the workforce or wanting time to myself. I still haven’t gotten up the courage to have a girls night out without my baby. I want her to be with me at all times. But I have taken steps to reclaim who I was. I joined a gym and get an hour workout in a day which has done wonders to my self-esteem. I am looking to find other moms to hang out with. I have a found a new dance class that I’m really excited about. I also have taken steps to see if I can find a job that fits a schedule that would allow me to be home for my child whenever I want.

As much as I really wish I could do the stay at home mom thing with great joy, I know it’s not me. I need to find the things that help me feel like me so that I can really show my baby my best self, the person that I’m proud of, the person I want her to be proud of.

Changes

I made the decision to quit my job and venture out on my own. So, during the time I am training my replacement, my posts will be a little bit more inconsistent. I’m excited about this new adventure and looking forward to a new chapter in my life.

I am hoping to use this time to instigate some discussion from those of you that read this blog.

Today, I want to find out what is the greatest risk you took and how it paid off. It’ll be an inspiration for me as I move forward.