31 August 2011

Tips on Tipping

Today was my last day of work for Cuisine on the Scene. All-in-all it was a good job, and my boss liked me and I liked him. I only made $60-$80 a week or so, but for an extremely flexible summer job to keep my bank account in the green till moving to Ireland, it wasn't bad. It bought me a new pair of glasses, all of the Digger comic books, gas for the months I spent here (including the $172ish dollars I spent on gas for the job itself), and a few odds and ends.

Since I was working primarily for tips--the delivery fee I got for each order pretty much only covered gas--here are some things I learned about tipping in America.

1. Always tip 20%, if you can, although 15% is okay on larger orders. I know 15% is the accepted norm, but with inflation and so forth, 20% is much better. Plus your driver will love you even more.

2. A delivery driver works just as hard, if not harder, than a normal waiter to get your food to you. AND has to pay for her own gas. Tip 20%.

3. Any tip under $5 is hardly worth it. $5+ is a good tip. If 20% turns out to be three or four dollars, round up a little.

4.  Don't demand exact change on cash orders, even if the tip is included in the bill--tell them to keep the change. But don't expect them to be super-grateful if the change is only ten or twenty cents...

5. Speaking of, "keep the change" doesn't make a good tip automatically. Figure out 15%+ and THEN around up to the next dollar.

6. The to-go people at the restaurants, if you decide to pick the food up yourself, are still working pretty hard. Give them tips too (although they can be smaller, 10%-15%, since they aren't driving themselves to your house as well--but still keep in mind that most people don't tip them so they get stiffed a lot).

7. It is usually not the delivery driver's fault if the food is late. The restaurants can be slow, traffic can be slow, every red light could conspire to slow your food down... don't shoot the messenger and tip poorly if your food is late or cold. Complain to the restaurant, but don't stiff the poor driver.

8. It is also not the driver's fault if you were shorted an item or if an item was wrong. Delivery drivers do not have food handling licenses and are not allowed to open your food or whatever to check and see if it is right. They have to trust the restaurants. So, call and complain, but still tip. (I did hear a story of a guy who used to work for my boss who would eat little side orders of things--bread here, extra shrimp there--and it was quickly noticed that the people were shorted on EVERY order he ran. So he was fired. But don't assume the worst, okay?)

9. Never stiff anyone but an absolute flaming a-hole, unless YOU want to the be a-hole.

My job wasn't so bad because an automatic 15% gratuity was added to every order, making it impossible for people to stiff us. It was wonderful when people tipped over that, but at least I was assured an okay tip (~$3 was the min. since they had to have at least a $20+ order in order to order ...DX). However, my boss didn't always have that rule in place. He HAD to enforce it when his drivers started being stiffed on a very regular basis. So if your bill doesn't have the tip automatically in it, you can probably safely assume that your driver gets stiffed from time to time. Tip 20% to make up for the asshats who don't even round up to the next five bucks.

Now that I've worked for tips, lemme tell you, my tipping practices are definitely going to improve from now on.

28 August 2011


Less than two weeks from now, I will be in Dublin, Ireland, with a backpack and a suitcase and a purse--nothing else. I will convert a wad of cash to euros in the airport, then take a bus to downtown Dublin, where I will deposit my suitcase at a hostel on Aston Quay and wander around a bit until it is time to check in to my room.

I will probably scope out the USIT office, first, which is down the street. I will be arriving on Wednesday. On that Friday morning I will have to head down there for an orientation through BUNAC, the people from whom I bought travel insurance, and who helped me sort out my working holiday authorization and gave me a wonderful little booklet of information that will be vital as I start to canvass the city looking for jobs and accommodations and travel and entertainment. In the first week I will need to register with the Immigration Bureau, as well.

I estimate that it will take me two to three weeks to be gainfully employed in Dublin. Even if it takes two months, however, I have money enough to see me through, and won't have lost too much of my 12 working months to idleness. To be honest, I don't care what work I get, as long as it's minimum wage or more and a decent number of hours a week. I'd gut fish six days a week in order to live and travel in Ireland and the rest Europe. I'd sort through rubbish for recycling. I'd sit in an assembly line putting piece B into slot A for hours on end.

I cannot fathom how little time I have left here in America. I didn't graduate from University all that long ago, and I haven't done much since then, unless you count watching British comedy shows and reading comic books. I mean, I have this super-part-time job Delivery Driving for Cuisine on the Scene, which is pretty fun and really flexible, but I'm only getting like $50-$70 a week doing that, only running three or four orders a day, if that. And it took me a month and a half to even get that job.

I hope that Ireland will infuse me with life and energy. Ever since I left university I feel as though I've lost a lot of the articulateness I used to have, and without set deadlines my creativity is flagging, too. I need to write and draw a little every day for the practice, sketches and lines of poetry and paragraphs of story that don't necessarily have to go anywhere. But mostly I watch Top Gear or faff about on the internet.

I'm gonna try to make my time in Ireland different.

16 August 2011

All set to go.

Today I received my working holiday authorization!! I actually received it first on Friday, but they spelled my first name wrong so I had to send it back for correction. But now it's here and it's correct and I have my passport back...! I also have my plane tickets (air canada), and a hostel reservation on Aston Quay for one week. It'll be a dorm-style room, I get one night free thru BUNAC and the rest is only €12 on weekdays and €16 on weekends. I'm paying a little extra for a female-only dorm but I think I'll like that a lot better than a mixed one.

So, basically I'm good to go. I'll get there at 08:30 on Wednesday, September 7th, and I'm set to check into my hostel at 10:00. The last bit of business to take care of once I get there is to check in with the Immigration Bureau and pay their fee and all that. Then I'll have the USIT orientation on Friday morning, and then JOBHUNTING I s'pose. I'm not going to try and get a flat until I have a job first. Staying at a hostel comes out to about the price of rent anyhow. I mean, you have to share the room with 9 other people, but it's economical and flexible and right smack downtown next to the USIT office.

I cannot begin to explain how excited and nervous I am that I will be moving to Dublin, Ireland, in less than three weeks. I just hope I don't forget anything that I need to do before I get there or bring with me when I leave...

02 August 2011

first post

I created this blog so that people who want to (mostly my parents, I would imagine) will be able to keep track of my adventures in Ireland.

As of right now, I leave on 7 September 2011 from Denver to Dublin. Until after I leave there won't be much to post, unless I want to go on about the various things that I'll be doing to prepare for my journey, such as getting an international driver's permit (did that yesterday) or what have you.

I have not yet gotten my working holiday authorization from the Irish Consulate of San Francisco, but it was approved pending the submission of 1) proof of travel insurance and 2) return airline tickets. I mailed both a few weeks ago, but I sent them in the regular mail so I have no idea when I should expect them to return my passport with the visa in it. Soon, hopefully. I may call to check on the progress if I don't get them in the first week of August.

Till then I will continue to work for Cuisine on the Scene here in the Springs and be generally lazy and goodfernuthin. Watch a lot of TV, make some art maybe, write if the mood hits.

Oh, and mama got me a camera for my birthday, so I should get some good pictures. I think I have to sign up for something extra to be able to post them on blogger, tho.