Saturday, April 12, 2008



I started waitressing when I was 16 years old. I would get up at 4 am to be at the diner by 5 and I would watch the sunrise from my bike as I rode down the nearly empty highway. My customers were mostly regulars- truckers- and what they didn’t give me in cash tips, they gave me in genuine and warm compliments, camaraderie and jokes. One very drunk college student one night didn’t have tip money, so he wrote me a check for a million dollars. I still have it in my desk, waiting till I see his name someday in Forbes magazine or something.

As I grew older I returned to waitressing a couple times. I was good at it. Eventually, I opened my own cafĂ©, the only one in my tiny town. We didn’t have waiters, just bar help. But we had a big glass tip jar on the counter. My small staff and I always noticed who tipped well and who didn’t – did you know that, that we talk about you behind your back if you don’t leave a tip, even at a counter or a bar?

, or perish.

OBVIOUSLY I AGREE WITH SARAH, and not merely because I wrote great chunks of BOOKS ONE AND TWO in her and her "husband's" good company at the Bookmill and the cafe they used to own there.


SARAH AND MATTHEW don't own the cafe anymore, but maybe you can go and buy them a drink at the Rendezvous some time. It is Turners Falls's only Space Shuttle themed bar, and it's hard for me to recommend a finer place to tip heavily in.

Meanwhile, AS I AM SURE YOU KNOW, you can find more "THIS I BELIEVE" essays and contribute your own HERE.

UNLESS YOU BELIEVE IN NOTHING. In which case, go HERE. (That is one wacky picture of the Kremlin).

That is all.


Michael said...

Ahh, the Book Mill. I miss Montague. I wonder if the weird castle house is still there...

Lhyzz said...

I like to make sure I tip fairly when I eat out. Have you noticed, though, that every store with a counter lately thinks that's an opportunity to put out a tip jar? I'm wary about those jars; many establishments don't actually give those tips to the employees.

Unknown said...

I've been a waiter. It is hard work. And so I try to be at least a fair tipper and hopefully a good one. But that's for people who are making minimum wage, plus or minus. Massage therapists making $50 - $75 an hour? They get tips? Whaaaa?