Tuesday, October 20, 2009
What's it worth to you?
When you dine at a restaurant, it is considered good form to leave a gratuity, or tip, for your server. When you get your hair cut, a massage or other personal services performed it is also appropriate to tip the person providing those services. I suppose this is our culture's way of thanking them for the service rendered.
I've never really been comfortable with the idea of placing a monetary value on another person's work so I tend to maybe be a bit more generous than I should be. However, I had an experience recently that totally changed that mindset.
I was returning home to Utah from a quick trip to California and had to pass through airport security. I emptied my pockets and walked through a metal detector. The alarm went off, so I had to go back and try again. It went off again. I walked back to try again - BUZZ. Try again. BUZZ. Try again. BUZZ. The friendly TSA agent asked if I had anything in my pockets. I assured him I did not. He had me move into a glass box and wait for a more intensive search.
A not-so-friendly TSA agent carrying a wand approached me and had me step to the side where he was going to perform a search of my person to ensure I had no dangerous items I was trying to carry onboard a plane. The Wand Man asked me to turn out all of my pockets, which I did and in the course of so doing discovered that I had forgotten to remove my wallet...with a magnetic money clip.
I tried to explain to Wand Man that my wallet was obviously the cause for the metal detector alerting when I walked through and that I should be allowed to proceed on to my gate. But Wand Man wasn't having any of it. He explained to me that he had to conduct his search and that he would pass the wand over me and if it beeped, he would have to pat me down in the area it beeped.
He passed the wand all over my body and it never beeped once. Somehow Wand Man still felt the need to thoroughly pat me down. After becoming more acquainted with me than I am comfortable with any man being and satisfied that I was not carrying any dangerous items, I was free to go.
This left me with just one question: what does one usually tip for such intimate, personal service? Ten percent? Fifteen? Twenty? I didn't know either, so I just walked away, red-faced, to my gate.