Tip Me…..Or Else!


Welcome to the next chapter in The Commissary Diaries.

I was just reminded of something I wanted to write about for some time now.  After my long day of stocking those darn bananas you all love I decided to exit by walking by the front end registers.  As I was leaving I walked past a hoard of baggers.  Everyone said hi.  I was so loved by them.  And why not, I made them a lot of money during my time up there. For those of you that are not military affiliated and don’t know about the bagger system I must explain about this interesting group.

The baggers at the commissary are not paid employees.  They only work off of tips given to them by the customers.  They have this strange system that seems to work.  Think of the bagger system as a mafia.  They have a leader that gets paid by taking a cut of each of the baggers take-in.  The leader does nothing more than assign the baggers to registers and keeps everyone rotated.  In order to stay a bagger one must work a minimum of three days a week.  Now to throw a kink in your understanding, there are specific morning shift baggers and specific evening baggers.  And you are not allowed to be both unless you are called in to do so.  The morning baggers are the retired military and spouses there of.  The night baggers are the students and current military wanting a little extra cash in their pockets.  Here’s the kicker…..its all tax-free $$$$.  They don’t report a dime!

OK, so now you are a little in the know of the system, back to my story.

As I was leaving this one bagger stops me to talk a little.  It’s my mailman.  Yup, you read that right, my mailman.  I didn’t know this until a few months ago when I saw him deliver while I was out cutting my lawn.  Anyway, he just wanted to tell me I got a package today.  (It was my new workout gear from UA!)  His telling me about this package made me remember a discussion he and I had during my last week as a cashier.  Here’s the story…..

A neighbor of mine came through my line ( a retired mil guy).  We talk and he recognizes my bagger as our mailman.  He says hi and blah blah blah..  My neighbor leaves and the mail-bagger and I get to talking.  He tells me my neighbor is a great guy.  “He always tips me well here and gives me a nice money filled envelope for the holidays on my mail route.”  I said huh?  “Oh yes, he gets a lot of packages that I deliver and he always gives me a lot of cash at the end of the year because of it.”  Wow, that’s nice.  I figured that was your job.?!.  “It is but it is common practice to tip your mailman if he ever delivers packages.”  Oh OK, I didn’t know that.  “It seems a lot of people don’t know this. A lot of your neighbors don’t tip especially So n’ So.  I think you have had a few come your way too.”

I wasn’t sure if he was joking with me or throwing me a hint.  But seeing how he comes back from some of his carry-outs and complains that he only got a few bucks I see that he is totally a money driven person.  So, it was probably a hint!  At the time though I couldn’t tell so I joked with him….

Oh, well I figured that my tax dollars that pay for your federal government job made me square with ya.

Needless to say, I didn’t receive a response.

For me personally, I am a little put off by people like this.  If I didn’t know his career (which he is also retired military) and his thoughts on the whole tipping thing, I would get along with him fine.  I guess I’m one of those people who believes in you get paid for what you do and if you want more $$$ you do something different.  You can’t expect others to hand you money if they think what you did is part of your job.  My other thing with this guy is that he has two jobs that he expects to receive tips for.

OK so now you have some info.  I want your take on this.  Don’t worry, you won’t make me mad with what you say.  I respect your opinion no matter what.

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8 thoughts on “Tip Me…..Or Else!

  1. I do give UPS a little $25 giftcard during the holidays, but we do alot of online shopping – it’s just easier (call me lazy). I don’t like our usps guy though, and i don’t think he likes us, so he’s lucky if I say “happy holidays”. 🙂

    • See, that is nice of you to do that. And he probably never “expected” that from you guys.

      I guess that I’m still in the mind set that I’m glad to have a job so I take everything that comes my way at work in stride.

      Oh no! You said holidays…..that reminds me I just saw Christmas stuff being put out already. It is way to early for that 😦

      And….I think you would be one of the last people I would ever call “Lazy!” 🙂

  2. It’s really hard for me to comment, because I’ve only lived in cultures that don’t really tip. You have a 10% service tax that’s tacked onto every meal, and that is pretty much a tip right there. We still leave tips if a person was outstanding, but generally that’s not necessary.

    But a postman? Really? I mean, are you supposed to tip a cop every time he pulls some guy over for speeding? Do you tip a fireman for putting out a fire? You could, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be expecting you to (in the case of the cop, that can be considered outright bribery and corruption).

    Whoa… your postman is corrupt! Next thing you know, he’ll be running a mail protection racket, where a lack of tips means your packages don’t make it through the system safely.

    • Your point is one of the reasons why I loved living in Japan, no tips! I tried tipping once but my Japanese friend said not to because it would be considered an insult to do so.

      I just can’t get over the fact that my mailman expects it. But unfortunately that is part of our culture for some people to expect things even if its not warranted.

      Then again, I could also be wrong and be considered selfish for not showing appreciation.

      • A smile, a polite greeting, a handshake and a simple “thank you.”

        Is that not appreciative enough?

        How about those students who sleep with their teachers in return for a better education? Is that any different?

      • I like your thinking Drew! I agree.

        Oh my, educational institutions! I have two universities that send me requests to join their alumni groups so they can beg for money every year.

        Now they are saying we should “give back” to the university that gave us so much. Didn’t I pay you guys thousands of $$$$ to get a piece of paper? Contract, over!

  3. I struggle with who to tip and how much. Sometimes I feel like it’s your job and you should be doing it. It’ not like a waiter who has to be a certain level of attentive with you and pay attention to your needs. When I get ice cream, I feel like there sole job is to dish out ice cream. Maybe I’m wrong. I do tip my mail carrier at Christmas though. She has been with us since before my kids were born and always brings them candy and talks with them!

    • I guess I don’t know who to tip either Jamie. Outside of wait staff and valets I didn’t know tips were something to do for other professions. I see people tip dog groomers!?! And like you said, isn’t that their job?

      Beyond the waiters and valets I don’t see the need to tip someone. To me that is saying, Thanks for doing your JOB that you are being paid to do. And in the terms of a mailman….we already pay for their job with taxes. To tip a mailman is like saying, “Hey, I wasn’t taxed enough, so here is a few more bucks burning a hole in my pocket for ya!”

      Of course this is all in sarcasim…..kinda… 😉

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