Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Tipping Culture

Maybe I'll write on the weekend about fun stuff.  No idea yet.  But I did think of a pair of conversations last night that linked.

I went to the Washington Nationals game last night (and my two blogging cohorts are going again today for the blogger day), because we'd been sucked in by the potential to see the latest phenom on the pitching staff.  That's now Tuesday, when I'll go again.  Regardless...

It was the 6th inning, so about 9:30 at night, and getting to be that Washington unbearable hot when the air doesn't move.   And just as I think of a cold beer, the cry of "beerman" hits my ears, and there he is with a cold can waiting for me.    $8 later plus $1 in tip, I have the solution to my problem.

I turn to Watson and tell him how I love that moment -- the moment when you desire something and there it is, our convenience culture making it readily available for you to order or not.

I continued, saying I had met an Australian this week when in Las Vegas who had been afraid of the tipping culture in America.  He had been concerned, before arriving here for his first trip, that it would be overwhelming and expensive.   He then immediately told me how much he loved it, and how surprised he was by the difference it made.   He didn't mind the tip, because he knew the service was that much better.  He even mused about what a difference it would be if they did that in Australia too.

I think about motivation among people, and sometimes, money is a big motivation.  Not always, and not universally, but sometimes.   Pure incentive plans don't always work with technical staff, but they can help too.