Do you tip or are you one of those assholes I overcompensated for?9:52 PM
So I seriously found out this week that as a society, we suck. Yes, you heard that right. Okay, so maybe I am going to far in saying "we" because on this subject, I can happily say, I am exempt, and maybe you are too.
Let's get started here, shall we. Have you ever taken an Uber ? Pretty nifty huh? How many of you have used the "pool" feature when using Uber simply because you were not in a hurry and you wanted to save a few dollars? I'll be honest here and say that I have used the "Uber Pool" but not for saving money, but because I was in a new place and I wanted to see more of the area without having to pay extra to aimlessly drive around this vast city. I wanted to see how the locals lived, not just the side of the city that typical Tourist like myself normally see. What I got to see on top of the beautiful scenery , was greed, stinginess, rudeness and pretty much disrespect.
I bet now I have you wondering, where was I? Well, before you can start speculating, it was NOT New York City. I was actually In Los Angeles. I have always heard how nice people were in California, how much they try to do things to save the environment, go green, etc and we will get to that. I have always also heard about the high cost of living in Los Angeles, and I saw that pretty much is true, so that is why I was so surprised when one of the first things I began to notice was the use of the "Uber Pool".
Do you typically tip your Taxi drivers? If not, you should. Obviously it isn't required, but if your driver gets you where you are going, is nice enough, charges you only what the meter says, and you arrive on time, then why not?
Now how about tipping your Uber Driver? Uber is basically a higher end Taxi Service, right? So when I say Higher end Taxi Service, I don't mean that you pay higher fee's to take the same ride , I actually mean you are paying lower fee's to take the same ride in a better car, usually with a much nicer and sometimes , ahem " cleaner" driver. So let me tell you about one of my experiences in the Uber Pool in Los Angeles. My Uber for 2 people from Santa Monica Pier back to L.A. Live was only going to be $9.50 ( HOLY SMOKES that was super cheap!! ) it was also rush hour, how was this driver going to make any money at that rate? I mean Uber Drivers drive their own cars, pay for their own gas, pay their own insurance, pay for their own car repairs and upkeep, yet here this driver is taking the 2 of us 23 miles during rush hour for a measly $9.50. That actually only gives the Driver $7.12 as Uber keeps the other 25 %. Then beep, beep, another lady was joining us in the Uber pool, "thank goodness"was my first thought, because this driver was seriously not even making minimum wage. I knew it would take much longer than an hour to get us back to where we were going. So here comes our new rider whom we pick up 3 blocks out of the way ( Again, we didn't mind that part because we enjoy seeing different area's and not just the tourist traps) She hopped in the car, not even a hello, but after a few minutes she did say, well I was not expecting this, I have used Uber pool for weeks and this is the first time I have ever had to share a car with more than one person and had to sit in front ( We then offered for one of us to sit in front if she preferred but she refused and went back to picking lint from her skirt which wasn't there)
At one point after 25 minutes in to the ride, she spoke up and said that at-least the car was only costing her $3.00 since she normally paid $4.83 to $4.91 for her Uber home from work each afternoon. Wait...WHAT??? $3.00? I had thought that this poor driver was at-least going to hit that Minimum wage goal I had personally set for him myself, but I guess it wasn't to be. So, 45 minutes later we drop her off, after she had the driver drive around her block three times until a spot opened up getting her closer to her door because she did not feel safe being let off at the end of the complex but only in one of the designated spots in front of her specific building. So, she was home safe & Sound from work, with front door service, and paid much less!! I bet she was Thrilled. How awesome for her! I kept expecting to see her give the driver a tip, I was personally interested in what she was tipping because I wanted to see if I had been properly tipping on my previous Uber trips that day and maybe calculate my tip a little bit on what she was tipping based on the distance he took her. Nope, nothing, Nada, no tip at all!!!! Sighs..I was being judgemental in my mind, maybe she just didn't have any cash since Uber is all done electronically except the tip. So that was when I ask the Driver, do most of your customers usually tip? That is when he tells me that he picks the same young lady up at least 3-4 times per week where she is a Senior Teller at a bank , as he is usually always in that area and she had ever given him a tip at all. As a matter of fact, he says less than 25 % of his fares ever tip him.
Maybe you think I am being judgemental here. she cold have been strapped for cash herself, supporting a ill parent or family member, or maybe she was a single mom barely making ends meet since things in L.A, typically were more expensive than where I live. So, I will tell you that eventually during this ride, she told us that she had received a nice promotion 6 months previously and was up for another promotion the next week. She was also 26, single. lived in a nice yet affordable apartment which she shared with 3 others ( It was 2 bedrooms, and a very large apartment ) and that because of the promotions and subsequent pay raises and her living situation, she was going to be able to pay cash for her dream car in less than 3 more months that cost a little more than $50,000. So, yes, I am being judgemental, give the driver a tip for goodness sake!
Not to continue to drag this situation out , SO I will briefly tell you that I decided to continue this experiment by taking Uber 5 more times over the next 24 hours, riding with 9 other passengers in those 5 times, and not once did I ever see anyone ever give the driver a tip. From younger generations to older generations to Baby Boomers...not even a Dollar. So every time a rider got out without tipping, I ask the same question, Did they tip? Do you usually receive tips? No, not usually they say. SO why do they keep driving? Uber pays more than cab companies sure, but the drivers also have much more out of pocket expenses including their own cars. Without knowing what I knew by the way, I had already tipped two previous Uber drivers $20 each based on how long it took, the distance and the fact that the fare was half of my tip did play in to what I choose to tip.
Okay, so it wasn't just Uber tippers and it wasn't just Californians to be fair. Free drinks anyone? Sure, bring it on, pour away! I saw thousands of free drinks being poured, yet out of all the Bartenders during these two nights, I saw with my own eyes that only about 1 out of every 25 left a tip. Now, I can understand that maybe you are just having a drink and you have no cash on you , but once you have that second drink, and then that third drink, how about taking your stingy ass to the ATM instead of feeling like it's your right to have free drinks and have others waiting on you.
Seeing what I saw this past week, I tended to overcompensate for others in my profession. I probably spent more last week just in tip money than I would have spent had I have purchased every meal and every drink for my husband and I . What gives anyway? Do people really think that free food, free drinks and celebrities give them the right to act like assholes to everyone else around them, especially those that are bringing them that free food or making them those free drinks or cleaning up that mess they made with all of those little Shrimp Cocktail cups and empty Hard Soda Bottles and Wine Glasses?