On this beautiful day, let’s participate in a quick thought exercise. It won’t be hard, I promise. And I don’t break promises, so from the almost nothing you know about me, and that statement, there’s zero reason for you not to trust me. Ok, let us wander down memory lane to a time when you could buy things, anything really, and simply pay for it. List price plus any sales tax. That’s it. You pay for it, and then you grab the bag and leave feeling satisfied. How far back in time did your mind travel? 

Actually, pause, I think we should address the question in your head. Was I supposed to go far back? Technically, I gave you no real instructions other than a time you spent money, so I guess not. My bad. But, if you think about the last time the custom additional payment line was added to a receipt, it may have been a while. That’s right, I’m talking about tipping! And America, I believe we have a tipping problem. Not the tipping you experience from consuming maybe one too many adult beverages. No, I’m talking about the tipping that comes from your wallet. The tipping that you have to do math to get to. The tipping that is optional, but mandatory. 

Are you picking up what I’m leaving on the table? When was the last time you weren’t asked to leave a tip for someone? It’s getting consistently more difficult to find examples of plain old pay and walk away. We tip for everything now. Not just when eating out, back when that was a more mainstream, and safe, adventure, but we’ve gotten to a place where almost every business feels it’s acceptable to ask you for a tip. You can count on it with any food adventure. It’s almost guaranteed for any type of experience you participate in. Don’t think that retail isn’t trying to hop on this bandwagon either. Where did we go wrong?

Since this is an opinion based blog, I would like to take some time and dive into my thoughts about being asked to make additional payments on things I spend money on. If this is your first time realizing there are zero factual backings to any of these posts, I apologize. But, also, we may need to discuss your ability to interpret sarcasm. Anyways … moving on … tipping! Or robbing, you decide. I think there are limits to the number of “services” that can acceptably ask me to spend more money than my receipt says.

If you give me a fantastic tour of a distillery, then of course I’m going to tip you – excellent service pays off. If you’re refilling my drink before I even know it’s getting empty, then of course I’m going to tip you – hard work pays off. If I order food and you drive it to me, then of course I’m going to tip you – not being lazy pays off. If I, however, pick out all of my own groceries and place them on the conveyor belt, then why would I leave the cashier a tip? You’re just doing your job. And I did all the hard work, so, what is that about?

For starters, why not just factor my tip into my bill? Then I wouldn’t care. Make me calculate it, though, and all of a sudden it’s an extra expense (and an annoyance). Use mind tricks with people – make us believe that was always going to be the total. Basic math equations aside, if I do all of the work and you simply are working at the register, what on earth is making it acceptable for you to ask for a tip?

Don’t get me wrong, tipping is not something that I see as an employee problem. In fact, I actually support adding extra money so they don’t have to make whatever absurdly low hourly rate their business has decided is appropriate. The main problem is that we still have places paying people less than half the minimum wage and banking on the fact that tips will push them, on average, to the federal minimum. How horrible would it be for you to start their pay at minimum wage and allow them to earn much more than that for their hard work? Why is that like asking for the moon?

Second imagination station train of the day. If you’re at your job, and have a meeting with your manager, what do you think their reaction would be if you asked for a tip / bonus for meeting the basic requirements you were hired (and are already paid) to do? You may be job hunting the next day. You may get laughed off as a joke. You may get the silent stare of terror. You may get a snarky comment. Small chance you get a tip, though. I feel like that should be no different in the consumer industry, but maybe that’s just me.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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There isn’t a store in the world that I have more of a love / hate relationship with than Target. It’s always a weirdly magical shopping experience that feels wildly unsatisfying. Makes zero sense to me how I can spend hours in there and come out with everything I didn’t actually need to get. So my respect level for Target as a company is sky high. Their business model defies all human principles of money management and responsibility. And yet, they are thriving – as they should be, though. This is not an I Hate Target post. It’s an I’m In Awe of Target and How They Keep Getting My Money post.

In my humble opinion, Target is not maximizing its advertising with Spot. Sorry, Bullseye. That dog is adorable and is clearly very patient to always be dressed in a Target sweater and allow someone to paint Target’s logo over its eye. Because I know my dog would never let that happen to her. Hard to say who’s smarter, but one is definitely richer (hint: it’s not my adorable pup, but I STILL LOVE HER). Why isn’t it in every commercial and on every one of their buildings? I don’t want to see a container of Tide Pods – it makes me sad because it’s a reminder that I have chores to do. I would like to see a dog, though. Maybe I’ll write them a letter? 

Dear Targetians (tar-gee-tians): 

Please change Bullseye’s name back to Spot because that was better. And use him everywhere. 



That’s really my only issue with Target. Their preference for human “models” over a dog. Seems a bit backwards, but then again I’m sure there is a reason behind it. Suckers like me continue to fork over money to them in hopes that it will bring back Spot. Because in my mind it’s a cash flow issue – Spot got too expensive – and I need to do my part to help. I see what’s happening here. Genius … yet again.

Do you think it’s the way their carts move like they’re on a cloud of air? Maybe it’s the way their floors make zero noise? In fact I think they absorb noise? Possibly that, despite having red (the color of anger) as their primary choice, I feel at ease and calm in the store? Could it be because their weekly ads are of surprisingly high quality paper? Or because they always have everything in stock all the time? Literally, I have never been disappointed. I wonder if when you enter the Bullseye vortex if they’re actually sending messages to your brain at sound waves that we can’t hear, but can understand? Coercing you to buy things that you didn’t even know existed until you turned down that one aisle you never go down. Next level sci-fi theories happening so I’m going to swerve on myself here.

I clearly have no clue how they do it. Probably some combination of all of those. What I do know is that I usually have what can only be compared to an out-of-body experience when I go shopping there. 

Me, in the parking lot: normal human being with restraint and control. 

Me, steps inside the Bullseye Zone: what even is the value of a dollar? I can buy something from every section in the store! It’s all so affordable! What if I never come back? Better stock up on Target-y things now. Forget budgets! Forget bills! What did I even need? If I can’t remember, better just GET IT ALL!

And that is how I frequently return home and unpack my Target bags to find that I didn’t get the one thing I went in for. It’s never an issue if I need multiple items, because by some money-spending universal law I’ll end up with those at some point in my manic spree. All except one. It’s always one stray item that has been forgotten. And it’s never something insignificant like vegetables. It’s always critical like toilet paper, Chewy Chips-Ahoy, or wine. And thus, I have to travel back to Target and try again. An endless cycle of brainwashing into forgetting things. In fact, that’s all I do. Go to Target, come home, unpack, realize I forgot something, go back to Target, come home, unpack, realize I forgot something, go back to Target, come home, etc. Like the song that never ends. Well played, Target.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this and want to share it with them, that would seriously mean a lot to me. I’m so grateful to all the current readers and subscribers. If you want to get these in your inbox twice weekly don’t forget to subscribe. Thanks for reading!


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