© All columns copyrighted
Columns must not be
reprinted in any form without the author's express permission.
Nshima & Curry
Nshima & Curry
TIPPING IS SOMETIMES CONFUSING
Did you hear what First Lady Hillary Clinton
Its terrible. Shameful. Despicable. At least
thats what some people are saying. And
not all of them are Republicans.
Hillary -- who likes to drop names,
especially her last name -- recently forgot to
leave the customary 15% tip for a New York
waitress. She didnt leave a single penny.
She didnt even leave her husbands phone
The "crime" occurred after Hillary had
devoured a double helping of scrambled
eggs, home fries and rye toast. The
restaurant owner told Hillary that the meal
was on the house -- totally free. And Hillary
quickly figured out that she didnt need to
leave a tip. After all, 15% of nothing is
nothing. Arithmetic was never so simple.
The Albion, N.Y., restaurant was
appropriately called Village House, which
fits Hillarys new slogan: "It Takes A Village
to Feed Me."
Hillary unwittingly proved that shes a little
like her husband. If he happened to meet a
waitress named Penny, hed also be guilty
As you can imagine, Hillarys waitress,
Trish Trupo, was angry and disappointed.
Considering Hillarys profits from
Whitewater and other deals, Trupo was
hoping for a substantial tip, one that would
pay for, at a minimum, her sons college
Trupo, a single mother who earns $2.90 an
hour plus tips, was so miffed, she was
prepared to file charges against Hillary --
if only stinginess were against the law.
New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Hillarys
opponent in the Senate race, jumped at the
opportunity to upstage the First Lady. After
lunching with Republican leaders in a Long
Island diner, Giuliani left $60 to settle a $35
bill (a 71% tip), a shrewd move that will
almost certainly win him a powerful
endorsement from the National Union of
Waiters and Waitresses. And perhaps also
an endorsement from NAAB (National
Association for the Advancement of
If elected, Giuliani plans to propose a new
tipping law that would state, in part, that
"anyone who fails to leave a tip of at least
15% will immediately be disqualified from
running for the Senate."
Of course, if tipping were required by law,
people like me would probably be serving
hard time. When I moved to America
almost two decades ago, I had no clue
about tipping. I stiffed dozens of pizza
deliverers and hairdressers. And I kept
wondering why my pizzas were often cold
and my haircuts were often ugly.
Today, I know better. But Im still not sure
whom to tip. Should I tip the guy who lubes
my car? Should I tip the guy who delivers
parcels to me? Should I tip the guy who
signs my paychecks?
To be absolutely certain Im not offending
anyone, perhaps I should start tipping
everyone who does anything for me, even
my mother. "Thanks for that delicious meal
and for doing the dishes, Mom. Heres a
quarter. And dont complain, Mom. What
are other sons giving their mothers? At
least Im more generous than Hillary Clinton."
Though Ive worked as a waiter, I
sympathize with Hillary, who -- it should be
noted -- apologized for her faux pas and
later sent a $100 savings bond for Trupos
Nobody should expect to get tipped.
Restaurants and other places should pay
their employees higher wages and allow
customers to leave tips only when theyve
received exceptional service.
In todays fast-paced, technology-enhanced
world, exceptional service is as rare as a
visit from the First Lady.