Tip Line

By Mark Jerkins
Vice President of Tinsley Creative

I recently attended a local event. Beautiful weather, big crowd, fun times. Food vendors all around, and it was about that time so I got in line. The guy in front of me placed his order; vendor gave him the total. He pulls out the wallet, thumbs through some cash, hands her a $20. The vendor takes his Jackson, yells out the order to her carney-food counterpart, and then digs in the register for the gentleman’s change. She hands him a few singles, which he in turn counts them, puts all but two back in his wallet, and then it happened. And “it” has probably happened to more than one of us, and certainly more than once.

The two dollar bills he held back were clearly earmarked for the fish bowl tip jar that you had to actually look over or around when you placed your order. The opening at the top was certainly big enough to get your head in and out much less your hand, and that’s just what the gentleman did. As he lowered the singles down into the bowl, the vendor turned away to speak to her counterpart. The patron, realizing neither one of the vendors was watching him put his hard-earned money into their tip jar, decided he would not let go. He pulled his money back out, hovering over the jar opening. Once the vendor turned back around, she looked up at the patron, and only then did he toss his dollars into the jar, and stepped to the side to wait on either his “thank you” or his Italian sausage. Maybe both.

We’ve all had this moment. You reason with yourself about what to do when the plan goes awry. It’s no different than when you order curbside food and pay with your card. Receipt has a tip line on it, but you had to pick up the food, and the person that brought it out didn’t cook your food. Etc, etc. Whether you tip or not, most would admit there’s some sort of internal mental anguish over it. I bet most people would say they did tip…if they had someone in the car with them. You don’t want to look like a jerk to a date, right? Or a parent? Or anyone watching really.

And my point here isn’t whether to tip or not to tip. That’s for you, and Shakespeare. The point is the deed. The act. Better yet, the reason behind the deed or act. Do we really have to wait until someone’s watching to get credit? Must our deed be physically seen by someone to count (to us)? Of course not. But people do it anyway. I get it…Italian sausage guy doesn’t want his tip unnoticed. He doesn’t want to step to the side with an angry vendor staring at him (who hasn’t given his food to him just yet) and thinking he’s a jerk for not tipping. Conundrum.

After reading this, it might bring up a laugh from the Seinfeld episode where George threw his tip in the jar at Pisano’s after purchasing a calzone, tried to take it back out because no one saw him do it, and then go accused of stealing out of the tip jar when the restaurant owner turned back around. Same principle. Maybe “no good deed goes unpunished” should be changed to “no good deed gets seen” in some minds.

How does all this relate to marketing? Plenty, especially if you’re sitting on the opposite side of the client. We do a lot behind the scenes for our clients, most of which go completely unseen. But that doesn’t mean that it goes unnoticed or isn’t appreciated. We work hard not because someone is watching, but because it’s the right thing to do. Of course we like to be recognized for our successes, and we like seeing our hard work yield results for the clients. We strive to earn our clients’ business every day, not just when they’re staring us in the face across the conference room table.

Italian sausage guy walked away with satisfaction, and heartburn. Satisfaction that the one person he wanted watching him put money in a tip jar did in fact see his deed. Heartburn – not because of the food – but heartburn after he realized there were eight people in line behind him that watched him hold his tip money hostage, just to be seen.

The moral here is don’t wait for someone to watch you do something. Just do what you believe is right, assuming no eyes are on you. Plenty of people will eventually see what they need to see.

And if you notice some special work, extra effort or task someone has done, let them know. The unexpected acknowledgement is worlds better than the premeditated, set-up acknowledgement. Now, I’m not saying we need to pat everybody on the back or dole out ribbons for breathing or mediocrity. That’s for another blog.

Mark Jerkins

Mark Jerkins

vice president – account services/media relations at Tinsley Creative
Mark brings 15+ years of expertise in numerous branding and marketing initiatives to the team. Mark’s experience includes brand consulting, public relations, media planning & buying, social media and copywriting in numerous industries including marine, software technology, insurance, residential and commercial real estate, food and beverage, healthcare, fragrance and law to name a few. Bringing a sharp awareness and common sense approach to marketing objectives – as well as a successful track record of consultation, promotion and implementation of numerous campaigns throughout his career – Mark has become an integral partner for his clients.
Mark Jerkins

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