Community//

Here’s a Tip: Don’t Be a Jerk

Why being stingy with your manners is worse than being cheap

PHOTO BY VIKTOR HANACEK
PHOTO BY VIKTOR HANACEK

We had met online. I can’t remember if it was Bumble or Coffee Meets Bagel or OK Cupid, either way, it felt awkward having to meet someone new. The stigma of having to resort to online dating after my divorce pained me even though all of my friends assured me that this was a sign of the times, and “everyone was doing it.” One of my matches was this guy who was a few years younger than me, but he didn’t mind the age difference, which felt rather odd to me since I operated under the theory that women should date men a few years older than them if they want someone who can match them mentally (which turned out to be completely false–age really is nothing but a number!). He told me he worked in the tech industry as a program analyst.

After being the main breadwinner during most of my previous relationships, including that to the self-proclaimed cheap skate of an ex, the idea of dating someone who could be able to take care of me financially–even if it was only for a coffee date at the time, sounded appealing. We ended up meeting at a Starbucks in downtown. He was there first, sitting at a table near the door. He stood up and extended his hand, the sunlight bouncing off the face of his Tag watch.

“Hi, I’m glad you could make it. Can I get you a drink?”

“Sure.” I replied.

We walked to the counter. I ordered a tall Caramel Frappuccino. When asked what he wanted, he replied that he was okay and didn’t want anything. Which kind of made feel awkward, since I was taught it’s poor form to be eating or drinking in front of someone who isn’t.

“That’ll be $4.28.”

He fished 4 dollars and 30 cents out of his pocket, then tossed the change into the tip jar. We made small talk near the counter until I heard my name called. The barista smiled as he handed me the frozen delight, stating,

“I charged you for a tall earlier, but went ahead and made it a venti since the rest was going to be thrown away anyway.”

I smiled and thanked the barista before walking away. When we sat down, I asked him why he didn’t say “thank you” after the barista did something nice. He said his tip was thanks enough. I cocked my head to the side as I tried to think in what universe would a two cent tip be seen as a heartfelt thank you.

I don’t remember the rest of the date. I’m sure it was as underwhelming as his manners and tipping skills. I mean seriously, it costs nothing to be polite.

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