February 2002

Hi! I would like to make some comments on Tatiana Prophet's article titled Dining Out: The Other Side. There is always an other side. Here are some observations:

Dear Tatiana,

When you lament on people leaving only a 15% tip - well, even that could be quite a bit for someone on a very limited budget. These are people, and there are more than one would suspect, who add up all the costs of going out to eat before they go and that includes the tax and tip. It's not a question of $0.80 but the total bill.

You made a strong point about what the hourly wage is without tips. What I would like to know is what is your actual wage rate with tips. That is really the bottom line. What do you actually make? I know some waitresses that do very well thank-you and don't have to put in many hours either.

People who make money from tips are way ahead of the game when it comes to paying taxes on one's income. Take home pays are drastically cut for those who may seem to have reasonable hourly wages. Governments are trying harder to get more out of those whose incomes are primarily derived as tips but I know many who are very skilled at avoiding the tax man.

You may be fully deserving of your tip but I have often encountered waitresses who made me wonder whether I should leave a tip at all. I have always felt that tipping is for good service (or at least doing what you are supposed to do).

As you noted there can easily be developed a kind of game whereby the waitress by being extra nice is hoping to get a better tip and vice versa the diner could be desirous of less service so he can feel better for not having to leave a bigger tip. Well, notwithstanding that, whether motives are pure or not, it is still a pleasure to interact with those in the service industry who by being extra nice make life more pleasant. Certainly, if we could be thoughtful, considerate, loving and kind without any thought of reward then this world would become transformed rather quickly. Things are not so simple when money is involved though.

To me the most important thing when you earn some or most of your income from tips is to be grateful for what people give you. They do not have to give anything. There are always some who give more than the "going rate" and those that give less. There are some who are unusually generous and are a lesson to us all. I once drove a taxi and I would always be surprised at the good tip I would get from people who were obviously poor (they lived in a run-down part of town) and the puny tip I would get from people who were rich. A book could probably be written about this astonishing but real thing.

Once you have worked where tips are an important part of your income, you become a better tipper yourself. When you do not make that much, all those little tips add up. Hopefully people will become much more sensitised to that by your article.

Perhaps I have gone a lot more into this then I should have but these are some thoughts that came to me. It wasn't long into my taxi career that I gave up being concerned about what other people do, say or tip. I have always tried to express loving kindness before and after the tipping. Why should I concern myself with what other people do? All I can attest to is that all my needs were readily provided for by my work.

It's been a long time since I made money from tips but I believe it's important to be not only a grateful giver but a grateful receiver.

Yours Sincerely, Arie Abravanel

Hi Sean,

I've read most of your writings on the BSJ site. I was first aquaintet to you when reading and listning to a lecture about Rock Music from 1987 while I was involved with TSL, no longer. And because of that thrashed all of my Metallica CD's .LOL now! Anyway just wanted to know that I read and want to read more and hear you speak your mind, on your site. BTW here's a POW, a quote from Alan Watts.


Merry Christmas

Hugo Thorvaldsen

Exener, in New America, forgot, "let's give away the Second Amendment"....

....very much agreed with your essay, Paper Tiger. found God Is...um. hmm. well. ah, just not my cuppa tea. and Esalen. i lived in Northern California for many years and know of the beauty of which you speak. as for Feng Shui, I want a dog named Feng Shui. good, FengShui! Bad Feng Shui.

hope this year is a better one for you, your family and us all.

as my old hippie guru friend likes to say, blissings on you.

best to all and keep writing.

Charles Dietzel

I enjoyed your latest Journal. The ideas are thought provoking in the fullest sense of the word. I hope you'll find time to keep 'em coming.


Patrick Sween

I think the Black Sun site really sucks.

You sound like a self righteous know it all who wastes an inordinate amount of time writing nothing over and over and over again.

Good luck in your search.

Debra LeMore