Tipping is nothing new. It is customary in many circles for a variety of services. Even the rise in recent years in the number of 'tip jars' at unlikely walk-up counters as the economy began to fall doesn't even faze most anymore. But yesterday, I discovered, it IS possible to take that twist-on-making-a-fast buck to an even more ridiculous level. The automated self-serve car wash. Really?!
Those 'tip' containers are so commonplace at burger joints and coffee stops, that it took a minute to re-sensitize my sensibilities. Then I wondered, for what service am I expressing my delight with the superb treatment? How politely that car wash cheerleader took my money and handed me a trash bag? Come to think of it, that guy with the perma-smirk did manage to wave me onto the automated rails without incident or mowing him down, and I did understand what he meant when, using sign language, he pointed to the instructions on the wall that told me to put my vehicle in neutral. But from there I really was on my own. Maybe I deserve a tip! I was the one guiding my vehicle onto those automated rails through the Lava lather rinse. I was the one who did the heavy lifting/vacuming. But by the time I reached the green light to exit (by myself), I was still wondering who else would reap from any moneys deposited in that 'tip' container? Mmmmmm....the guy who empties the trash containers, maybe? The landscaper? The automotive repairmen across the street? This is a slippery slope, I know.
For the record, when I'm not in a hurry, and take my office-on-wheels to be handwashed, I can be accused of going overboard when it comes to tipping. They deserve it, every wipe, wax and swish of the vacuum.
But when we are expected to treat the person who guides us into the do-it-yourself car wash with the same monetary expression of appreciation as we would our hairstylist or the concierge, something has really gone haywire. After all, 'It Manners A lot'.