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I was twenty five years old and the middle son of three brothers who were going out for a night on the town. They are both great musicians, but usually broke. My father stopped us on the way out and said, “You guys should do what we used to do in the 1940’s. We would give all of our money to one person, he would pay for everything that night and everyone thought he had money. The next time out someone else would hold all the money and eventually people thought we all had money.” Unfortunately I think that’s how he snagged my mom. But it worked! The “Burton brothers” became known as big spenders and big tippers. We were the life of the party, and partying was our life. It all came to a crashing halt when I tipped a waitress I was trying to impress $25 on a $25 tab. My brother liked her also and we had a big falling out.

When I drove a taxicab in Philadelphia my whole existence was dependent on tips. Someone once made the mistake of offering me a $10 tip to get them to the airport, through cross town, rush hour, traffic, on time. They eventually gave me $20 to slow down. What a chicken!

One of the fun things I learned to do was what I call “blind tipping”, tipping people that never expect it and/or in professions that never get tips. How about your dentist receptionist or DMV clerk? They stutter and stammer and say I can’t take that. I say why not! I leave a $5 on the counter and walk away. You’d be surprised at how much good will and good memories $5 can create even months later when you return.

I recently conducted a completely scientific survey (of at least 5 waiters, waitresses and bartenders) in the places I frequent in the area and the following are some results:

 People from the East Coast tip more than anyone else, only if they’re on vacation.
 Women tip better than men, but they use calculators and charts more.
 Older men tip the worst, unless they’re with much younger women.
 Black people (who have been falsely categorized as poor tippers) tip well, if or when they tip at all.
 Bad service deserves no tip, especially if you don’t plan to go there again.
 Tip early and well, don’t wait till the end of the night, you’ll get better service and a better pour throughout.

Ultimately we may not be remembered for what we have or leave behind, but for what we give now. So tip well!

Winston Burton
Berkeley resident

What do you think/