Saturday, September 4, 2010

On Tipping

Firstly, a bit of context for this post: I'm Australian, so we don't have anywhere near as big a tipping culture as the good ol' US of A. Also, this is focusing on the restaurant industry and will most likely end up as a rant more than anything else. You have been warned.


WHY IS IT CONSIDERED MANDATORY IN THE US??? Why is the employee's basic wages allowed to be passed off to the consumer??? You run a business, you should pay at least minimum wage, not some bullshit token amount and expect the customer to make up the rest.

A defination of 'tip' per Wiktionary:
A small amount of money left for a bartender, waiter, taxi driver or other servant as a token of appreciation.

A "token of appreciation" shouldn't be mandatory. It should be a reward for good service. With tipping considered mandatory, service staff have less incentive to provide a better service. The reward should be supplemental to their wages, not a replacement of it. If you have a bad day and don't get tipped, you should still be able to afford to live.

Also, why is it that a chef, perhaps more important in the grand scheme of meal preparation, doesn't receive a tip? Perhaps because they wouldn't work for sub-legal wages and try to make their income livable by being nice to (sometimes) complete douche-bags.

Also, why is it that the waitress can be punished for any problems the chef has? If your dinner comes out half raw what do you do? Punish the waitress by leaving no tip (or a "minimum" tip, in the US) even though it was the chef's fault for putting out the meal too soon!

As you can (hopefully) tell, I'm against mandatory tipping. I think that a tip should be reserved for good service, with outstanding service receiving even more. I don't think I should be forced to tip when I receive average service. That's what your regualar wage should cover.

I know this sentence is going to be controversial, but if you're a waitress or such and trying to argue that tips allow you to have a decent wage otherwise you would be in poverty, then I say to you that you need to get a better job where your standard wage IS liveable, or at least find another employer who doesn't take advantage of his employees.

Opinions? Suggestions? Retaliations? Be the first to post a comment!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

On Software Pricing

This post is inspired by an email discussion I had with my brother.

I recently had to upgrade my financial software ('education' version of Quickbooks turned out to be a trial version with the 5 day limit turned off, but the 250 entry limit left in there). This resulted in trying to find a suitable alternative to keep my spending on track. One of the alternatives was You Need A Budget (, which I'd heard glowing praises of on a couple of the personal finance blogs I read. For some reason I had to price of $30 in my head, but when I actually got to the checkout, it turned out to be $60. This gave me pause.

After thinking about it, YNAB is the first non-video game related piece of software that I've paid money for in quite some time! The main programs that I use (other than games) are iTunes (free), Firefox and IE (free), Steam (itself free) and Outlook (bundled with the computer, so having the appearance of free).

After so long buying only video games, the thought of spending full price on software seems rather odd, considering that I regularly buy games at large discounts, either through Steam sales, first week release sales, or just waiting until the price drops. Sometimes I don't even do that and the prices are already bargain basement, usually PSN and WiiWare titles! So while I was tossing up whether to buy it or not (I did), I came to the conclussion that since my copy of Quickbooks was essentially dead, it was either this or a couple hundred for a new version of Quickbooks.

Now things take an interesting twist! I found out yesterday that Microsoft released their last version of Microsoft Money for free (their answer to Quicken), after they decided to stop making it. Now, if I'd known that before paying for a YNAB licence, I would've downloaded that and tried it out, most likely ending up using it for realsies.

Quickbooks is full-on double entry accounting (what I'm at home with, being an accountant). Quicken is (I think) single entry accounting, but mostly just transaction recording. I'm fairly certain Money the same as Quicken. The recording aspect of YNAB is the same as Quicken, but it has a major focus on zero-based-budgeting, and comparing your transactions to a budget, with the emphasise on budgeting your paycheck going forward and trying to live that, rather than merely looking backwards at what you've spent.

So YNAB is going to be the best for me in the long run as I'll finally make an actual budget, rather than just roughly planning when bills are coming in and spending a bit less than I did before I started tracking my spending. This is opposed to one of the others that I'd be more comfortable with, being my accounting background - trust me, there's been a few concepts that I've struggled to get my head around in YNAB. But the thing is, I doubt that I would've gone with this new thing had I known about Microsoft Money a week earlier...

In summary: video games changed the way I look at software to such an extent, that I woul've used a product for free that was less conductive to my long term well-being, than one that I actually had to spend a chunk of money on which is going to set me on a better path for life.

Funny how things are all connected-like, isn't it?


Thursday, August 26, 2010

A New Beginning

After this blog laying dormant for a while, and becoming a wasteland of re-posted stories before that (even if they were funny), I'm deciding to take this in a different direction.

Rather than being mostly games, I'm going with the over-arching theme of 'money'. Games will still fit in there with reviews (are they worth it?), where to get them cheap, etc.

To start with, I'm going to post once a week on weekends, I'm going to stop with the wishy-washy landuage, and I'm going to have opinions.

Let's see the start of a new beginning!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Daily Funny - 6th August 2010

No Title

I do tech support for a mid-sized regional ISP. Recently, I received a call from a very surly fellow who opened our conversation by saying, "This s**t ain't workin'." When I asked him to describe the problem, he said, "I just told you, Jack, the s**t ain't workin'!" I told him my name wasn't Jack, then once again asked the specific nature of his problem. After a few more rounds of this, I was able to ascertain that he hadbeen dialing in and getting busy signals each time. Now, our company provides several different types of dial-up accounts, some with different phone numbers, even in the same cities, so to try and pin down which type of account this gentleman had, I asked him what number his modem was dialing. His charming response? "I don't know what the h**l you're talkin' about, Jack." After counting to ten, taking a deep breath, and biting my lip, I said, "OK, please click on the icon labeled 'Dial ISP' and tell me what phone number you see in the window that opens up." He managed to do this, and rattled off a number totally unfamiliar to me. Then he tells me "But that's MY phone number!" I said, "Maybe that's why you're getting a busy signal, Jack," and hung up. He never called back to ask what our dialup number was, so I suppose he must have gotten around to reading the step-by-step documentation that came with our software.

Thanks to: Paul Dulaney


From May 1998

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Daily Funny - 15th June 2010

High School Dropouts Work On The Pharm

Pharmacy | Boston, MA, USA

(I work as a pharmacy tech at a chain pharmacy. I am also currently in pharmacy school and will be a pharmacist one day.)

Customer: “You should be ashamed of yourself!”

Me: “I’m sorry. Can I help you with something?”

Customer: “No! I refuse to be helped by a high school dropout! You should be ashamed of yourself for working where children can see you! You are going to make them think that it is okay to not have an education!”

Me: “Ma’am, I am not a high school dropout. I have a high school diploma and I am currently in pharmacy school working towards a Doctor of Pharmacy. I am going to be a pharmacist one day.”

Customer: “Stop lying! I have never heard of a pharmacist before. You are a high school dropout!”

Manager: “Can I help you?”

Customer: “Yes! Your employee is lying to me! She says she is going to be a pharmacist! That job doesn’t exist!”

(The manager looks at our pharmacist who is near tears from laughing so hard.)

Manager: “Ma’am, see the man over there? He’s the one who filled your prescription. He is a pharmacist.”

Customer: “No he isn’t! He just counts pills! You don’t need school for that!”



Monday, June 7, 2010

The Daily Funny - 8th June 2010

Customer's From Planet Mars!

I work for an ISP in New Zealand and I had a customer call who was quite clearly a native English speaker and yet I could swear he was from another planet. The conversation went like this:

Cust: I can't connect
Me: What phone number are you dialing
Cust: My username?
Me: No, the phone number
Cust: Oh, my password?
Me: No, the phone number
Cust: Oh - (gives home phone number)
Me: That's your home phone number sir, is that entered in the phone number field?
Cust: No it's in the dialing from field
Me: Okay, so what's in the phone number field?
Cust: It doesn't have one
Me: No, it will have one, it will have a phone number that you are meant to be calling
Cust: So you want my username?

Quite seriously this went on for several minutes until we found out that he had ONLY *52(disable call waiting) in the phone number field and nothing all! Then we went thru and I asked him to put in the area code in the dialer and the phone number which he said he had done.

Then *52 wouldn't come up - even tho it was ticked so we went back to properties to find out he hadn't entered the area code even tho he said he had.

So, we did that.

Then we had to change the country code to New Zealand from USA and this took 10 minutes because he was looking in the Y's for NZ despite being told that it was alphabetical *almost groaning out loud at this stage*

FINALLY we got it sorted and he actually asked me WHY it hadn't worked!!!!! He was quite shocked when I said he hadn't been dialing any phone number.

Is it any wonder I am changing professions!

Thanks to: Blair Cooke


From May 1998

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Daily Funny - 3rd June 2010

This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 2

Retail | Duluth, MN, USA

Me: “Your total is $152.37.”

(Customer begins to write out a deposit slip from the back of her chequebook.)

Me: “That’s a deposit slip, not a cheque.”

Customer: “Oh, so I can’t pay you with this?” *confused look*

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Oh, well take it out of this then.” *hands me a roll of cash* “But don’t take more that $75 out of there.”

Me: *takes $75 out of roll* “And how would you like to pay for the rest of this?”

Customer: “Umm…” *confused look* “I have to pay more?”