Does your Dentist Have a Tip Jar Yet?

Everybody has a tip jar these days.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy tipping for good service in traditional situations like dining out, getting a haircut, taking a taxi ride or listening to someone sing Jimmy Buffett songs while I’m on vacation. In many jobs like this, tips are an integral part of someone’s paycheck, and I am happy to do my part.

But, things are getting out of hand.

Two out of the past three weekends, Kim has exhibited her glass at festivals. Each show had a carnival as well, and with that came carnival food.

I love carnival food — deep fried, decadent and devoid of nutritional value. Every trailer pretty much sells the same things. What has become different recently, though, is that all the trailers have a tip jar.

I have nothing against carnival people. I truly believe our differences are what makes us great as a society. I certainly don’t minimize the difficulty of their job, and I’m pretty sure they don’t earn a living wage to begin with.

I’m a progressive guy, but I simply am not to the point yet where I am going to tip someone for handing me a $9 corn dog, even if she has a mesmerizing gold dental device spanning from incisor to incisor and calls me “baby” 13 times during the transaction.

This whole concept is spreading rapidly. I’ve heard stories of tip jars at dry cleaners, oil change places, even jewelry stores.

I hope my dentist doesn’t get any bright ideas. Can you imagine sitting in the chair and being afraid the level of numbness he is going to give you depends on whether or not you slip him a five?

It probably won’t come to that, but who knows.

On the other hand, we could improve our lives significantly if more peoples’ paycheck depended on tips for their level of service. We could tip the cable company rep for picking up the phone when we call. We could tip road construction crews for getting those orange barrels out of the middle of the road in 9 years instead of 10.

Can you imagine how fast our members of Congress would reach across the aisles and embrace each others’ ideas and ideals if their paycheck depended on getting something — anything — done? We would be marrying who we wanted to marry, and agreeing on immigration reform before lunch.

Maybe more people should adopt the tipping strategy. I know lots of musical recording artists, writers and other types of artsy people. And, none of them are making much money — not even the good ones.

They keep at it because they love it. And, instead of money, they earn something called “exposure.”

Exposure is this notion that if they keep doing it long enough, someone in the industry will see them and start paying them for doing it. It’s the polar opposite of the tip jar. It’s the tip fairy. Nobody has ever seen one, but we still believe they exist.

Try buying a loaf of bread with a whole truckload of exposure, though. It’s kind of a tough sell.

Pretty soon, tipping for virtually everything will be commonplace, I suppose. I probably should’ve tipped the carnie for the corn dog.

After all, you’ve got to sell a lot of corn dogs to pay for six gold teeth.

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