💸 Ask Tip! — "Furious on the 4th Floor"
A father and son delivery team carry a new refrigerator up a four-story walkup.
“Furious on the 4th Floor”
I live in a four-story walkup on the Lower East Side. Last week I was having my refrigerator replaced, and two men from the box store came to carry my new refrigerator up to my top floor apartment. The younger man forgot to bring the dolly so they were forced to carry it by hand. Then the older man wanted to cancel because the stairs were too narrow which they are not. The whole event was horrendous from start to finish.
Although they insisted repeatedly that it was unnecessary, I guided them up the stairwell to make sure that they found my apartment and didn’t continue up the stairs to the roof. This has happened before, and with a refrigerator it would be unimaginable.
On the second floor, a disagreement broke out between them about who should be in front and whether the downhill side or the uphill side carried more weight.
On the third floor the older man needed to turn around and carry the refrigerator from behind and then pinched his fingers trying to pass me. Finally, on the fourth floor, the older man needed to turn around a second time to his first position which he said was the better one in the first place.
The younger man was a horrible man, through and through. “Hang in there, old man,” he said. Well, my jaw dropped. I can’t think of any reason he would be that disrespectful unless he was the man’s son.
Unfortunately, the new refrigerator did not fit through the door to my apartment, and the father and son had to carry the new refrigerator all the way back down and the one being replaced back up.
During the final trip up, the younger man insisted on getting the top position which would make it three trips for the father from the heavier position and one trip up for the son in the heavier position. From a fairness perspective that should be a 75% / 25% split.
But I only had two $20 bills and I did not want to give the rude son anywhere near the same amount. I felt helpless, but still I gave them the same amounts.
Was $20 the right amount? Should I have asked the father to make change? Should I have tipped for the return trip up and down? That doesn’t seem fair to me. I didn’t bring a refrigerator that doesn’t fit through the door.
And shouldn’t an older man get more? How should one divide a tip between generations in a family? I certainly don’t want to insult the father. Does the person on the bottom truly carry the same weight when descending?
They did not hook up the first refrigerator because they said only a plumber could attach the ice maker.
Merci in advance,
Furious on the 4th Floor
Dear Furious on the 4th Floor,
Oh, ma cherie, you are breaking my heart. There are so many issues to address for a bi-weekly column! I’m afraid unless we do a personal session together, I can’t possibly address them all.
Mais… you should have not needed Tippi to advise you to measure the door. Pas du tout!
Tout d’abord, I am not an expert in physics, but I know that if the refrigerator slips it kills the man on the bottom. But, hélas pour tous les deux, there is no hazard pay included in gratuities, and their injuries are not your responsibility.
Nor is it your responsibility to resolve family dynamics. To work for a parent is more dangerous than to carry a refrigerator. No one knows this better than I. My late mother (quite coincidentally, no matter what she insisted) also had an advice column. And, croyez-moi, her advice was worth what you paid for it - and not a French Franc de plus.
Deuxièment, you should have stayed in your apartment with the unsatisfactory door and let them do their work. One doesn’t go into the restaurant to watch the chef prepare one’s meal, si?
Il y a plusieurs principes impliqués:
If they can carry the heavy object in one hand, then it is $10 per individual. If they need two hands because of size or shape, then it is $20 per individual.
Of course, we do not tip based on total cost in these situations. The weight and shape are the sole considerations. Note that I refer exclusively to heavy objects, not Chinese food cartons. For light objects it is exactly $5, no more and no less. A light object can be comfortably carried at one’s side. (Principe #46)
Tips are equally divided between individuals carrying heavy objects. Of course, this is not the difference between a waiter and a busboy. The busboy - as you may have experienced directly - doesn’t need to be friendly with you. “You need nice, you pay twice,” as my vulgar competitor puts it. Et voila. Très simple.
Have cash on hand in varying denominations so that you aren’t forced to go through the discomfort of making change for gratuities. This is embarrassing for all parties. What if they don’t have change? Then what? This is not a rhetorical question.
It is not your problem to pay for a service provider’s mistakes unless you choose to do so. I have further strong and very clear opinions here, but I shall keep them to myself.
$20 for both father and son is the correct tip.
Complètement par accident you gave the gratuities you needed.
Votre maîtresse et serviteuse,
Tippi “Tip” Pointier
“Les conseils gratuits valent ce qu’il coûtent.” — You get what you pay for!
The Weekly Ask Tip! Reader Challenge!
Et maintenant, the weekly challenge for my beloved readers! Let me know how you would respond to the letter below, and I will Venmo a tip for la meilleure réponse, comme if faut!
“I’ll Break Her Nose”
There is a group of five gals that have drinks on alternate Fridays after work - we are nurses in a rhinoplasty clinic. I can speak for everyone in our group to say that by Friday evening we’re all sick of looking at broken noses.
Drinks are not cheap in our neighborhood, and we’re well past the age of anyone buying them for us. You don’t need to know what that age happens to be, Tippi, but I guess you’re approaching it, lol. 🤣 That was a joke. 🤣 <SHOW JOHN, HE’LL GET A KICK, BUT REMEMBER TO DELETE THIS BEFORE SENDING>
One member of our group said she had the ability to do math in her head, and so we started letting her do the calculations when we pay the bill. She makes a Broadway performance of the check, muttering and tallying everyone’s amounts, calculating long division in the air, asking for silence, and divvying up the amounts like a schoolteacher.
At first, I thought her math was stunning, but now I’m sure she’s not making up the numbers out of a hat, because I seem to be on the losing end more and more frequently.
But all of that is fine. Let her show off with her public math, although I suspect she embellishes her skills because I’m quite sure she can’t do body weight to milligrams conversions properly. Far too often the Brevital amounts she puts in IVs keep us late in Recovery, and her patients have excessive hiccups which is a side effect of, I don’t know how else to put it, an overdose. <GOOGLE IN ADVANCE IF COLUMN LETTERS ARE ANONYMOUS !!!!!!!!!>
But, as they say, “that’s neither here nor there” - unless you’re the patient or their family dealing with the outcome! Nurses like her are why you have to initial everywhere.
But this is “neither here nor there.” My issue is that after she signs her credit card, she always places the tip amount face down. Everyone else in the group places their receipts face up to demonstrate they aren’t hiding anything.
This bothered me, and several months ago, I went back on an excuse (a personal reason) and turned her credit card slip over. She had only tipped 5%! Now it has gotten so that I can’t help but go back every time to “use the ladies” to see how much she’s cheated on her tip.
I know that I shouldn’t speak to her directly, but what should you do to make sure another member of your party is tipping properly?
Should I make up for her stinginess on my own? I’m a registered nurse, not a saint! Honestly, I’d like to punch her in the nose and give her a taste of her own Brevital, but that’s neither “here nor there.” 😤
I’ll Break Her Nose
<THIS IS NOT FINAL DRAFT. SEND THE ONE MARKED FINAL>
Ça alors! Take it from here my dears! J’adore vos reponses! And please share your Venmo in the comments so I can tip you back!
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Mais oui, ma chérie! Au revoir!
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