Tipping, Two-Sided Marketplaces, and Drug Sales

Dear Brian,
How much do you tip for table service for a $2 coffee?

If that’s all I consume in this coffeeshop.

Do I tip $1 for this drink (as is my plan)? What if the drink is $4? Should I up the tip?

How does it change if I stay for 10 minutes vs. an hour?

I rarely drink coffee, and when I do it’s typically free at some sort of event where the staff doesn’t get tips. I’m sure working in the service industry at an arena, convention center, etc. is just as hard as at a coffee shop, yet tipping isn’t the social standard in these places.

Tipping is an act I included in a piece I wrote about piracy. Like garage sales, money from tipping is often underreported and falls off the balance sheets: 12 Seemingly Innocent Acts of Piracy You Don’t Know You Commit

I never understood tipping, though I do often leave tips since Americans are just soooooooooo stuck on the concept.

The irony is that I’m also homeless and have been for the last 4 years. It’s funny to me how many people jump on a soapbox about supporting food service workers, but none of them ever stop by and hand me a dollar.

When did the onus of covering the income gap fall on us as consumers? It’s not my problem what someone gets paid in the profession they chose and continue to choose. If you want to support food service workers, lobby and vote to raise their wages.

That’s a much more sustainable solution than you overpaying every time you go out. Instead of just helping 1-2 people with 30 mins to an hour’s worth of money, you can help everyone in that entire industry unionize and gain access to better pay, working conditions, and benefits.

But no…instead of actually changing the world, you throw an extra dollar on the table and walk away feeling like you did some sort of community service. Guess what – despite your tip, your server is still a server. They still live exactly where they did before you came. Their life was in no way changed by your generosity.

The only change that happened in the world is you get some smug sense of self satisfaction that is in no way earned. You’ve not cured cancer nor solved world hunger – all you did was overpay for some coffee.

I would like to point out that I’ve worked as a server before, and only a complete idiot bases their tip on a percentage. For example, I used to work as a server at Olive Garden.

At Olive Garden during the lunch rush, all my tables would be taken up by businessmen ordering drinks and unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks because it’s the cheapest lunch available (meaning I get the lowest possible tip). Unfortunately there are only 4 things in the entire restaurant a server is solely responsible for making – soup, salad, breadsticks, and drinks. So essentially, all these cheap idiots paying 20% were giving me the lowest possible tip for doing the most possible work.

If these people weren’t cheap and trying to fix my life as a server by offering me a dollar for bending over backwards for them, they would just order the expensive steak I can input in the computer and wait for a cook to prepare, but no – they order cheap, tip cheap, and force me to run around like a jerk.

Anyone who tips based on a percentage or how they liked the service is completely blind to how the service industry actually works and are simply contributing to a broken system.

Dear Brian,

How do businesses (“two-sided marketplaces”) such as Uber, AirBnB and dating websites for instance get people to start using their services if players are required on both sides for it to work?

Whenever Uber opens a new market, they post a bunch of job ads looking for drivers. This continues for quite a bit, because in order to scale that type of business, you need a lot of drivers.

Think about how the P2P service economy works – people are broke and looking for ways to make money, so a marketing campaign focused on getting qualified drivers signed up would ensure any customer who needs a ride can get one, thus preserving the Uber brand.

Drivers may not get as many fares as they’d like, so some will learn to game the system like real cab drivers do and hang out in popular areas near hotels, convention centers, etc. People acting as independent contractors and working on a commission basis will motivate themselves to outperform each other.

AirBnB likely had a marketing focus on earning extra money in the “room for rent” sections of classified sites like Uber did in the job posting sites, but I don’t spend as much time scouring those, so I don’t often notice trends.

Dear Brian,
Is DMT physically safe?

It’s as safe as any medically consumed chemical or any other chemically enhanced food, which is pretty much everything in c-stores like 7-Eleven.

Dear Brian,
Besides it being against the law, why is it bad to sell drugs?

I would also like to see this answered without the idea of people overdosing and dying. Think marijuana…

Whether or not you think it’s bad to sell drugs depends on your perspective on life. Drugs obviously exist, and one could argue the crime surrounding them surrounds them because they’re illegal, and that is somewhat true about the black market.

There’s an illegal black market around batteries too (phone, car, any type of batteries are valuable). Tons of crime involves gold and diamonds. Many criminals fraudulently recreate legitimate items such as Beats headphones: Cheap Beats and How to Spot Fake Beats | Safe Buying Guide

Because there’s crime around Beats headphones, does that make it bad to sell headphones? Many criminals listen to music – hell, some inmates even had the nerve to film a rap video: Rapping inmates get solitary confinement for almost 20 years

Anyone who’s ever worked in the music business can tell you it’s dirtier than the drug game.

There’s nothing wrong with selling drugs. It’s a moral choice, and if you don’t make it, thousands of others will. None of the rest of these answers even cite their sources, instead offering opinions and hoping their credentials will legitify such an opinion as fact – it doesn’t.

Selling anything on the black market is dangerous. Selling anything on the legal market is dangerous. Having anything of any value is always dangerous – that’s nature. Singling out drugs is just some weird thing old people do when they’re delusional and in denial of the facts and realities of life.

Brian Penny whistleblower Versability GonzoBrian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work has appeared in High Times, Huffington Post, Fast Company, Small Business Daily, and DumbLittleMan,



Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer.

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