Been on my mind recently, the matter of gratitude as a state of mind, or an act driven by the state of thankfulness, but without external compulsion, and gratuity; the apparently compulsory, yet non legally obligatory fee you add to a service expense such as when you are eating out and have “have to” tip on top of paying full price for your food or service.
By nature I am generous and giving, without need of an occasion or “special giving day.” But, I don’t feel that way when it is suggested that on top of what I am paying full, asked for price, for a product or service, that I give or pay more, just as a “gratuity.” Really.
If I want to go eat a meal that I can afford, say about ten bucks with tax, I shouldn’t go eat it because I don’t have an extra 2 bucks to give the waiter?
That sucks. I want and can pay for the food, but in order to get it I need to pay and extra unofficial fee. Honestly I’m not really all that thankful for stuff I have to pay for. It’s a commercial business transaction, not a religious experience. I may be thankful that I can afford the fee, but thats an internal thing. We’re all honestly a lot more thankful for stuff that’s free! The product should cost, the service should be free, so that IF I want, I can further express gratitude for that service with money, or a heartfelt smile, hug, or money.
Some years ago I was working in Japan. There wasn’t a culture of tipping there. You ate at a restaurant, and paid the price of your meal. You got a massage, you paid the listed fee. You could haggle for prices at some shops, and pay less than the list prices and that was OK. I liked that. Some resorts I’ve been to there was no tipping allowed!
Is compulsory and extracted thankfulness really gratitude? I don’t think so. “Even in the religious setting where they demand “Give till it hurts, cause the lord loves a cheerful giver…” If it hurts you are in pain and that is not cheerful, you are acting under compulsion, and your so called gift is tainted with pain and remorse.
In this new year I will go out and eat if I know I have the money for the bill plus tax. If I am especially so overwhelmed with the attitude and service and have money to spare I may tip. If I do not, I may write on the ticket “Thank You, but I cannot afford a tip today, but you were great, really thank you.” Would that not be gratitude and a gratuity?
Somewhere, a gratuity is defined as a free gift, not an enforced gift. I will not feel bad about paying the agreed prices, but not gifting indiscriminately. I will not let use of money be the representative of my state of being or consciousness. Others may choose to view me through those glasses, but that is looking “through a glass darkly.” I feel righteously about spending lavishly when I can afford it and spreading the wealth, and with the same dignity I will be frugal and honest with my thankfulness.
There’s one of my resolutions!
- Gratuitous Gratuity . . . Not Included (hotwheels60.wordpress.com)