Tag Archives: moolah

Thanks, Captain Tips

>Back home, I don’t even think about tipping. I seem to remember having to tip everyone who provided anything remotely resembling a service around 15%, regardless of how shitty the service was. This was a system I condoned but never supported. I understand that a lot of great folks in service industries aren’t paid all that well and they rely on tips to shore up their wages.  However, if you suck at your job, you should be fired… not rewarded an additional 15% on the bill for being a dick.

In Korea, you didn’t tip. Ever. On anything. Or at least, you weren’t expected to. Some places were “Westernising” and tipping was a bit more heard of. On the other hand, some Koreans seemed absolutely horrified that you were trying to leave them extra cash and would chase you down, tackle you and try to put the money back into your pocket.

That was a slight exaggeration. But only slight. I had a cabbie leave his car once and follow me down the street in Itaewon to give me my 500 won change. 500 won is about 50 cents. Or 30p. And he made sure I got it.

This is the part that kills me: so often the service in Korea was phenomenal. They deserved a tip. And, in my most humble opinion… they deserved it more precisely because tipping isn’t automatic there. They provided great service and you felt compelled, not obligated, to do something extra and nice for them because they had done a great job for you.

Now I live in London, where the service is similar to Canader in most cases. Tipping here is somewhere in between the two extremes – some places have the service charge added directly to the bill, other places it isn’t even thought about. However, I am sure that no person in London would chase you down and try to give you the cash you left on the table.

Because of this ambiguity, I’m not always sure when I should tip. So I’ve invented some rules in my head – if they have table service, I tip. If I have to go up to the bar and get a pint, I don’t. I tip the hairdresser and the lady who does my waxing (I have a vested interest in keeping that woman happy… she’s got power beyond all others to hurt me in my most sensitive areas if she ain’t happy).  I don’t really think about tipping cabbies because I don’t ever take them (I sure the hell can’t afford a cab in London).  Overall, my system works. Of course there are exceptions (read: hot bartenders) but for the most part, that’s the way I roll.

Today I went for lunch at Pizza Express. I’ve been craving the Express for sometime (yummy pizzas, my lovely North American friends not in the know) and I thought it would be groovy to actually take my allocated hour lunch (rarely does that happen).  The service was very good and the food was deeelish.

The bill came and I noticed that the service charge was not added. I put down a £20 note and waited for my change – I wasn’t leaving the full amount of the change but I was going to tip £2 (the service was good).  When she returned with my change and the bill…. I notice she had underlined where it said that the service charge was not added.  She also underlined thanks.  Didn’t write thanks. Found it on the bill and underlined it.

It really put me off, to be honest. I still tipped her… but I don’t feel good about it anymore. If she had left me a mint (I wanted a mint) and wrote “Thanks!” and her name on the bill… fine. It was the way that she had underlined “service not included”. She might as well have turned the damned thing over and wrote TIP ME.

Bah. I’m probably over-thinking the entire thing. I’m sure she makes nought an hour, poor thing, and the service was good. Still, there are more subtle ways of trying to squeeze a tip out of a cheap Canadian miser.

>Blogs I like

>I’m a nerd. I read a lot of other blogs. No, a lot. About a plethora of things.

Would you say I have a plethora of pinatas?

I wanted to share something from one of the blogs I like with you today. It is a great blog all the time, but today’s card really hit home today.

Except, of course, I never did have any savings.

I do recommend checking out Indexed. I’ve written about it before, so you know it must be good.

Temp Work & Timmy Ho Ho Ho


This morning I had an appointment at a recruitment agency. I wasn’t all that excited – the last one I went to still hasn’t found anything. I know, I know. Bad time of year. Bad economy. Etc. But you know what? I don’t want to hear that. And I’m sure if you were unemployed and thinking that you might have to leave the country if you can’t find something fast, you wouldn’t want to hear it either.

So, with a rather heavy heart I ventured into the city. The agency is near Piccadilly, but to avoid changing Tube lines I just got off at Westminster and strolled towards my appointment. On the way there, the greatest thing happened.

I found Tim Hortons in London.

Now, it isn’t as exciting as I would like to pretend it is… it isn’t a really-real Tim Hortons. It is more like a kiosk in another store kind of Timmy Ho’s. Still! It was good to see it and I decided that I would grab a coffee after the interview on the way back to the Tube.

The people at this particular agency (Angela Mortimer) are swell. They are very professional, very kind, and seem very interested in getting people work. I haven’t gone to them before today as they were the ones who got me my last job, and you know how well that went. Although I suppose none of that was really their fault – I fell for it, too.

After going through all the form filling and typing tests (I’ve been practicing… I can get over 100 WPM if I concentrate), I sat with Libby (the recruiter) who actually remembered me from last year. She seemed to understand what I needed – ANYTHING over the holidays and we’ll worry about the rest of my life after Christmas when things started to pick up.

Well, Libby found me a very temp position – three and a half days over the holidays which pays nearly nothing an hour. As in, HALF of what I was making before. But it is still more than I would have been making. And because she was able to do that for me in the same day, I’m feeling a bit better this afternoon about what my future in London will be like (read: that I even WILL have a freaking future in London!). I’m still nervous about paying rent and bills in January, but I suppose that is a tough time of year for everyone. If I can’t do better wage-wise come January though, I’m still going to have to bail. I just don’t have a safety net here.

On the way back to the Tube, I did stop at Timmy’s. And it wasn’t as good as it is in Canada (nothing ever is), it still did my heart some good to continue my way home with a cup of Timmy’s own.

So, starting on the 24th of December, I’ll be the receptionist at Visit London, which isn’t paying me very well but perhaps I’ll learn about some cool things to do in the city. The good news is that I can’t find a phone number on the website, and it IS the holidays… so at least I won’t be ran off my feet for diddly an hour.

>iPhone? Yes, please!

>I finally gave in on Friday and bought myself an iPhone. Normally, this would be a sign of my twin weaknesses: Money Retardation and Tech Lust. But seeing as how I’ve been waiting to buy a freaking iPhone since they first announced that they discovered the technology to make it possible (almost two years ago), through the release of the first generation (over a year ago) and still through after the second generation was released (a few months ago) to see if the G-phone (Google’s phone with the open-sourced Android platform) would be cool enough to go that direction instead… I think I’ve been fairly restrained.

Other than to congratulate myself on delaying my gratification (apparently a sign of intelligence – I never wait to give myself anything so I mustn’t be all that bright) I just wanted you to know how much I love it. Love it. I’m tempted to sleep with the damned thing.

>Money woes

>I won’t go into too much detail, but I hate money, I hate credit, I hate the bank. I hate myself for being bad with money and getting into trouble with debt. And I hate that it is going to take 100 years to get it fixed. Aurgh.

Original Comments:

Holly wrote (on 16/07/08):
Sadly (as we’ve discussed) I know exactley how you’re feeling. Poop.

>Toilet money


There is an interesting bathroom situation here at work. On our floor there is only one toilet and it is clearly marked as a man’s toilet. However, it is actually a unisex toilet and everyone uses it. (Unless they have to poop, then there is an unspoken law that one should go downstairs to the less-oft used “Poo Loo” to do their dirty business. Note: not everyone abides by this rule.) Perhaps that isn’t really a man on the door… maybe that’s just a chick wearing trousers. I mean, I certainly don’t wear a triangular-shaped dress or skirt every day. I’m not wearing my triangle skirt today, for example. So, I try to ignore the fact that I have to use a boy toilet every day. But I can’t ignore the penny that is in there.

The penny has been in there forever now. I’m curious as to why. No one will take it, not even the cleaners. It just sits there. And of course, each time I see it, I ponder its bathroom existence and I’ve come up with a tri-theory as to why no one will take it:

First of all… it is only a penny. Not really worth much. If you had a load of them, it still wouldn’t be worth much. Perhaps the payout is not worth the effort of taking it. I wonder if it would have disappeared by now if it was a pound coin. I would test this theory, but I can’t be arsed to pay a pound to see if the perceived worth of the toilet item is directly proportional to how quickly it will be moved or not.

Secondly, perhaps no one will take it because no one thinks it is their penny. I mean, you should not take what is not yours. I seriously doubt it is my penny, do I have a right to take it? Perhaps I just work with the most honest people in London.

Thirdly, it IS in the toilet beside the sink. It may have, at one point, been on the floor. The toilet floor. That penny is definitely not your cleanest penny. Perhaps no one wants it because it has been living in the toilet for so long.

I shouldn’t think about that penny so much, but it makes me think about human nature a wee bit. I, of course, am tempted to toss it in the toilet and make a wish.

PS: There is also a wee bottle of perfume that someone abandoned in there ages ago but I understand that one: it smells like insect spray.

>Cranky pants


Ah, Sunday night. How I hate you so, so much.

I know it isn’t going to help me sleep when all I can think about is how I can’t sleep on Sundays, but I can’t help but think about it; as well as lament, bitch, moan and whinge about it.

Things are not going well right now.

I wasn’t going to blog, because I don’t want to complain all the time. I’m very grateful for where I am and what I’m doing. If nothing else, no one will ever be able to say that I lived an ordinary life.

But damn it! I am so sick of some of the things I have to constantly work at. My number one complaint right now: money.

I hate money. Hate it. I used to want to be rich when I was a kid, but I’m fully convinced now that no amount would ever be enough. The more you have, the more you spend and you are never really better off. However, I do wish I had enough to last until the end of the freaking month. I mean, really.

Now, granted, I brought all this pain and suffering onto myself. I didn’t have to travel to England in the most long-winded and outlandish way possible. I could live in a cheaper flat. I could possibly drink less beer. I could consider budgeting. I could have done or not done a million things. But the problem is, financially, I’ve been very bad at making the right decisions. I would rather have a good time. And because of my lack of responsibility for my own finances, I’m forcing myself to live with the consequences this month.

On or around May 13th, I realised that I only had £6 in my bank account. That’s bad news bears, ’cause I only have a £10 overdraft and a £15 internet bill that they are going to take payment for (sigh) the day before payday. Arseholes. In my wallet I have a single £5 note and four £1 coins. I have a handful of miscellaneous change amounting to about another £2.

I can’t spend the £1 coins because I need to save them for the electricity meter.

Have I mentioned that yet? My electricity meter? I’ve never heard of such system before moving here. There is a wee box above my door with a coin box and electricity reader thing. I put £1 coins into it to keep the electricity going. It isn’t any more or less expensive, just weird. And I, of course, usually forget to do this until the power goes out and I have to use my mobile phone light to drag a chair over there and put more money in the box. The good news is that the meter was nearly full at the time I realised how dire my financial situation was and I do believe (hope) the £4 will get me through until payday.

Which leaves me with £5 until the end of the month. That’s not going to buy a lot of food. It’s been only 5 days since I found out just how poor I am and I swear I’m starving. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have fuel to spare (mostly sitting around my stomach and ass, unfortunately), but I’m getting tired of only having popcorn and a few old oranges to eat. I think I’m going to fast next weekend just to make sure that I make it to the end of the month. At work I’ve been eating a bowl of cereal for lunch (which I’m now out of – yikes) and all the biscuits in the communal tin. And lots of coffee with milk. I’m going to buy a bag of rice and that should do me until the 30th, which is officially payday.

A friend of mine at work, Caryn, has offered to lend me at least £20 to get through the next few weeks, but I’ve refused. For once it isn’t my damned pride, but rather that I feel I need to suffer a bit this month to (hopefully) learn a damned lesson. If I blow through all my money at the beginning of the month, this is what is going to happen from now on.

This should be the last month where money is so tight. After this I should be past the impact of moving house. Hopefully.

The second complaint I have these days is work. I know I *should* be happy right now – I was just promoted a week ago. I suppose that’s why I’m double-not-happy about work… I should be happy, damn it! But all my promotion earned me was more bullshit, more work, and the animosity of my coworkers. If I have to hear one more snarky congratulations, I’m going to punch someone in their snarky little face. Honestly.

I thought that with the change in title and more clearly defined role, I would have more time to focus on the kind of work that I should be doing. But good Lord – there’s being flexible and then there is the ever-changing priorities that we are all having to constantly deal with at work. It does my head in. Every time I turn around I have another “number one priority” job to do. I went through my todo list to see how bad things were – out of the 30+ items on the list, 4 were tasks and the rest were all labeled “projects”. And as soon as I start on one, I have to drop it and start another. Again, I like to think of myself as flexible. But what I’m doing now takes more creativity (lots of copywriting) and it is hard to stop and start constantly. And some of the new stuff that they are talking about giving me to do… well, it essentially changes my entire job again and I just had it changed a week ago. And that promotion was the third job change since the day I walked in the door. Good grief.

It is worse though – I feel like they’ve trapped me at work. I’m happy that my new title doesn’t have the word “Assistant” in it (it is “Business Producer”, by the way, which… as far as I can tell… means fuck all) as I do not want to be an Assistant anymore. I don’t know what I do want to do, but it isn’t doing someone else’s running around while they get the credit. But the thing is… now I’m trapped. I have to work under the new title for a respectable amount of time or it does me no good on my CV. Aurgh! And although some days I like my job and the people I work with, this last week has been an utter shit-show of unhappiness.

It probably doesn’t help that I’m hungry.

Anyway, I didn’t want to complain about all that… although I guess I just did. There’s more to life that’s driving me bugshit right now, but I do think those are the top two largest things at the moment. I’ll leave my crippling ennui and soul-crushing loneliness for another sunshine-filled post.