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Two “political” posts in one morning, I gotta stop before I descend fully into madness.

But I heard this story on NPR as I was driving the Girl to school, and it just about made me spit.

My heart goes out to Ms. Geri Punteney, and I am glad that, for her, the connection with Senator Obama was a worthwhile and rewarding one, even if the Senator himself (or more precisely, his handlers on the campaign) utterly dropped the ball.

But Hillary, the Clinton campaign…I’m actually ticked-off, honestly, and it’s such a small thing, but it reveals so very much.

You leave a tip.

You’re running for President of the United States, you leave a goddamn tip!

When you have over 90 million in your war chest, you leave a goddamn tip!

And when you don’t leave a tip, whether it’s simply gross negligence on the part of your handlers or because you’re too busy or because you’re running from Point A to Point B and you forgot, whatever the reason, and the story hits the news, you damn well better make it right.

Talk about doing everything you can to shoot yourself in the foot.

I’m trying to remember if it was How to Eat Fried Worms or Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing or some other book I read as a child where the main character and his friends leave tips for a waitress in pennies, dropping them in the bottom of their milkshake glasses, etc. And the waitress finally loses it on them, explaining that for her, this is how she can afford to buy bread.

I’ve waited tables. The only reason you don’t leave a tip is if the service was crap.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

On another note entirely… just sent me a reminder about the CMA awards. I do not know why they sent me this reminder.

But I cannot help but notice that the CMA award bears a striking resemblance to this.

21 Responses to Stupid STUPID STUPID!!!

  1. gregmce

    That is totally nuts — although they’ve now ammended the story at that link to say that the manager has said that a $100 tip had been left. Hmmm. CYA or not?

    (And I think it was Then Again, Maybe I Won’t. That always stuck with me, too.)

  2. lithera


    There could be a lot of reasons you got that e-mail. The customer matching system grabs on pretty broad paths. *grins* I’m sure I’ve had more than one e-mail sent to someone who was boggled by why they got it.

    As for Hillary… I don’t like the woman. I’ve never liked the woman. I get mad when women tell me that I’m disappointing because I don’t want to vote for her just because she’s a woman. Her husband lied but at least he was charming about it.

  3. jonlaw

    And I know stupid . . .

    I listened to the same story on my train ride into ONC. I normally drowse through the news on my ride, because after all, I get on at 6:45 am, but I have to say, when that story came on, it made me sit up and listen. My reaction matches yours in terms of how Campaign Hillary handled themselves. I am afraid you paint yourself and a cold, calculating, exploitative manipulator when you descend on someone’s workplace, draw them out, and then use their personal story during your subsequent campaign stops to supposedly show how you identify with the common person and have connected with the day to day experiences of the people of the state, and yet, in the clutch, YOU DON’T LEAVE A TIP. It might not have amounted to more than $5-10, though it sounds like if your personal bit of exploitation causes a person to loose hours at their second job and essentially makes that person’s life worse, while you gain the benefit of their story, she could have and should have deserved a lot more (and forget the campaign fund, Hillary and Bill have plenty of their own damn cash to spend). Frankly, if this is not a lesson in humility and the importance of the little things, I don’t know what is.

    And who is the bigger person here? The single mom in the diner who, despite the exploitation, the damage, the indignity and the failure of comprehension, would still consider voting for her oppressor. There is decency out in the world, I tell you, and dignity, and we had all better remember it in everything each one of us does.

    As for Obama and his audience member, I have to say that we had a different kettle of fish there. I was hoping that the candidate had written the cancer-ill brother a note, and somebody should have handled it, but, he made no promises, and he did not take any more from the interaction, it would seem, than he gave. The poor lady of the piece is bearing up under some of the most difficult indignities of life, and she came out to a rally and put herself forward. She shared her pain, and it would seem that Mr. Obama took that at face value, acted with human compassion, and stayed on his message, which, after all, is the point of a political rally.

    While I don’t take it as dispositive of whether Obama is a better candidate, he certainly wins this round.

    You have to remember though, the arenas were different as well. For Hillary, she intruded into someone else’s life at their place of work, and Obama must do that as well. We have no comparison of how he has acted. And, I am sure there is no doubt that at a staged political event, Hillary Clinton would act with the same compassion and voice concern and sympathy. The proof of where the heart of these two candidates really are, is not really exposed by the piece. There are indications, but, I need to know more.

    No doubt though, Hillary and her team should have tipped and done so with an open hand and generous heart, which is what I thought we Democrats were supposed to have.

    It certainly did not show.

    It shouldn’t take a national shaming to get things made right, but if they don’t make some effort now, I am afraid they are really going to fall into the scum category.

    Oh, and by the way, that’s just my opinion.

    PS “ONC” = a snooty inside the beltway manner of expressing “Our Nation’s Capital” from someone who has been seduced into being a snooty inside the beltway kind of guy after only just two years.

  4. roseseule

    Two stories about tipping:

    1) EVERYONE I have ever known who works where tips are involved loves the opening scene in Reservoir Dogs about tipping. Even if they hate the rest of the movie.

    2) There was a story a couple of years ago about Tom Brokaw and Bill Gates going out to eat, and not only not tipping but not paying for the meal. When Brokaw found out about it, he paid and gave a generous tip (as did Gates), and his excuse was that normally, he has someone with him who takes care of it, so he was not used to paying for things himself. I hope that is the case with Clinton, since her husband has a reputation for being someone who is acutely aware of issues around the working class.

    Me, I tip even if the service is horrible because I assume that the person working is having a horrible day, or has other things going on that I don’t know about. But then, I worked 18 years in social services, so my mind always goes there.

  5. gdwessel

    I’ve waited tables. The only reason you don’t leave a tip is if the service was crap.

    My experience is that most servers assume you’re just an idiot if you didn’t leave a tip, or you were merely stiffing them.

    The way to get the point across that the service is crap is to leave a penny, a dime, etc.

    And FWIW, I’ve been a part-time bar cook for 10 years.

  6. sd6

    Very interesting.

    I once served coffee to President Clinton. He thanked me and said good morning, giving me a smile. He didn’t tip me directly, but the Secret Service guys escorting me did.

  7. mercuryeric

    YES. I heard that this morning, as well, and was actually heartbroken.

    Why? Why can’t my party find someone ELECTABLE?!! The tip thing really drove me nuts. Not because it’s a douchebag move, but because it raises, and answers, the obvious question: “Are you COMPLETELY out of touch with normal people? Answer: YES.” Using the waitress as a talking point in her follow-up stump speeches only makes it worse.

    Obama’s empathy seems genuine, though not sending the note was a gaffe (albeit an easily remedied one). In comparison, if the choice is gonna be Obama or Hillary, he’s starting to look more and more like the lesser of two evils. He at least seems like, er, NOT a soulless robot.

  8. kali921

    Ah, Amazon and their spamming policy. So very noxious! Any and all employees of Amazon should bring this to the attention of someone, because whatever data mining enterprise engine and personalization engine they’re using to match up people with spam is utter crap. (I say this as someone who used to work for Macromedia, which had a very sophisticated personalization engine for a while.)

    Meanwhile, I am flailing that Karl Urban has been cast as Scotty!

    Re: waitressing. As a former waitress, that is an absolutely horrifying story. I can’t believe that.

  9. kali921

    The more likely reason is that Amazon’s data mining and personalization engines are absolute pieces of shite. Given the spam that Amazon sends me (despite repeated efforts to take me off their e-mail list by clicking the appriopriate links)trying to match me up with products based on previous purchases, they’ve made some very bad choices vis a vis their personalization engines and data mining software. “Tragically misguided” doesn’t begin to describe it.

  10. lithera

    Part of it is when you opt out of an e-mail you’re only opting out of the e-mail of one category. There are still a jillion other categories you haven’t opted out of. No, it isn’t perfect.

    And anything more I can say on that starts to wander into non-disclosure territory, so that’s all I’ll say about that.

  11. rschamberger

    I was flabergasted by that this morning as well.

  12. kali921

    I’m pretty cognizant of how to opt out of e-mail spam systems, having been doing it for years. I’ve tried everything with Amazon, and it just doesn’t take.

    As far as their personalization stuff goes, having worked in IT for years, I’m used to seeing Amazon used as case examples of How Not To Do Personalization, to the point of outright hilarity.

    I wasn’t aware that you were an Amazon employee, btw, although it doesn’t stop me from pointing and laughing at the company’s astonishingly poor record in those two areas.

  13. pezdro

    Everyone Heard about it

    but no one seems to hear that a tip was left not at her table but by one of her staffers.

    In this sound bite 24 news hour world, no one will hear the second part. If only they had followed up at the beginning

  14. admin

    Re: Everyone Heard about it

    Yeah, I’ve heard that.

    I’m curious how it is that the tip never made it to the waitress in question, however.

    I’m not sure one can accuse NPR of sloppy journalism on this, though it’s fair that the story be accurately amended (which I am going to do right now, actually.)

  15. dr_jekyl

    When did tipping become mandatory in the US? I only tip for exceptional service when I’m over there. It’s not my job to subsidise someone’s cheap labour for them.

  16. skalja

    Well, I have no idea when, historically, tipping became mandatory in the U.S., it’s necessary. Many people working in service jobs get the majority of their effective salary from tips, and how much they make in tips in a day can make the difference in whether they have enough money for groceries or not, just as an example. Do you want to be responsible for someone not eating, or having gas money?

    A lot of people don’t like the system, and well they shouldn’t, but until we can get rid of it, please tip!

  17. dr_jekyl

    That’s the bind, though, isn’t it? If I don’t tip, it’s possible that the server will go hungry (and spit in or drop my food if I’m foolish enough to return) because I know that the restaurant manager is too cheap to pay his staff a decent wage. But if I do tip, I’m subsidising a system I think is idiotic and in dire need of change, thus removing a major incentive for change. As long as managers can say that their staff make a decent living off tips, they won’t have to pay them a living wage. And I end up paying extra for crappy service out of unwarranted guilt.

    While American myself, I’m fortunate to live in a country where this is not an issue. The only person I feel compelled to tip is the pizza boy, and that’s because I like to get my pizzas while they’re still hot.

  18. skalja

    Well, the thing is, the people in a position of power to institute living wages (and these people are often a fair bit higher up than restaurant managers) are not going to be persuaded by servers going hungry, or they already would have changed the system. If change is going to happen there, it’s by pressure through participating in a living wage movement, or some such. So when you don’t tip, you’re not punishing or sending a message to the higher levels, who probably haven’t even noticed your failure to pay up – you’re just punishing your server.

  19. leborcham

    Hilary laughs too much. Hilary claps too much. Hilary doesn’t tip.

    I realize that these little personality things are what decide elections, but it’s pretty clear that a new meaningless minutiae campaign is underway to obfuscate actual issues.

    And I’m not even a Hilary fan.

  20. admin


    I am well-aware of the bullshit parade, and trust me, I find the whole, “oooh, this week Hillary clapped! This week she started laughing!” shuck-and-jive thoroughly insulting and demeaning to both the candidate(s) and the electorate. It ranks up there with the vilest hoop-and-fire garbage that Coulter pulls.

    Tipping is of issue, at least to me, because it speaks to the candidate’s awareness of the economic realities of the working class. Most waitstaff in the US earn minimum wage; tips are what allow them to actually live above the poverty-line (here, paragraph 4). It’s as simple as that, and for that reason, it was something I responded to.

    The story has now been clarified (to a certain extent, at least), and now my questions are entirely of a different matter — the campaign left $100 tip, but apparently 1) the waitress never received her cut; 2) didn’t know who the cut was from or why; 3) forgotten she’d received it; or 4) neglected to mention it for some other reason.

  21. lithera

    Re: Everyone Heard about it

    It probably never made it to the waitress for the same reason that she now has less hours at that place. Might be me but seems someone doesn’t like her.

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