Sunday, September 29, 2013


I hope our country is not turning into a society with a patronizing upper class and a lower class.  Those promoting tipping everyone for everything might want to think about where we will end up if the promoters get their way.

If I have my facts right, tipping started with an upper class, a huge lower class, and a sparse middle class.  The upper class began handing out tips to indigent people sweeping a street crossing for them, holding their horses, or for other small services of this nature.   A nobleman staying at another nobleman’s home as a guest tipped the servants for performing duties for the guest that the guest’s servants performed for him in his own home. 

As an American through and through, I have no interest in establishing a class of “noblemen” or keeping others as part of the “lower class.”  I want all people to have a chance to be anything they want to be without regard to their roots.

For me, the problem with tipping is that it implies that one person, the tipper, is above the other, the tippee.  When my hair stylist put a jar on her counter soliciting tips, I wondered why she didn’t raise her prices and forgo begging.  I have always considered my hair stylist to be equal to me, but me giving her extra money implies that I am her social superior and she is in the position of a “servant.”  After all, I would never consider tipping my dentist or my doctor.

I know, I know, my dentist and my doctor make a lot more money.  I am not looking at this situation from a monetary perspective.  I am looking at social standing.  I believe I have equal social standing with my dentist and doctor. (They might think I have inferior social standing to theirs.)  I always thought my hair stylist had equal social standing with me.  But whenever I give her extra money for doing her job, I feel more like a patron providing extra funds to a begging servant.

I don’t mind tipping a waitress or waiter, probably because that kind of tipping is so long established. Also, I remember when I worked as a waitress for a little while between my Freshman and Sophomore years of college.  A new manager was hired.  He lowered all our wages from minimum wage, $1.80/hr to .90/hr.  He informed us the wage cut was perfectly legal as long as we made $.90/hr in tips.  He advised us to tell him if we didn’t make .$90/hr in tips and he would pay the difference. Who would admit that they were such a lousy waitress that they didn’t make $.90/hr in tips?   Now, I would check out his “legal” wage cut with the Department of Labor. 

Tipping has become ridiculous. A few weeks ago I picked up a takeout meal at a local restaurant.  My receipt advised me that a 10% tip was ____ amount, a 15% tip was _____ amount, and a 20% tip was ____ amount.  I should tip the person at the cash register for handing me my order and taking my payment?  Think again. 

It’s time to draw the line on tipping.  I am going to respect others' social standing, even if they have no respect for their own.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tales of Lost Treasure

post card front

Among the family lore handed down are tales of lost treasure.  The treasure was supposedly accumulated by O.A. Robertson while mining for gold. My dad said O.A. didn't trust banks and hid his money.

According to my grandfather, who was prone to stretch the truth for the sake of an interesting story, O.A. Robertson made quite a bundle mining.  Grandpa maintained that O.A. loaned big bucks to his brother's hospital in Missouri. His  brother was Dr. Duncan Robertson who founded a famous hospital. In addition, O.A. was flush enough in the pocket to vacation every winter in Arkansas my grandfather told Dad.

O.A. Robertson and Jenni Johnson Robertson
The attached photos of post cards I found in my grandfather's papers are from O.A. Robertson.  They are written to Jenni Johnson,  his second wife.  The writing indicates that O.A. was sick.  I don't know if he became sick on his vacation or if the hotel catered to men recovering from illnesses. It seems odd that a chance visitor would have his picture taken in front of a hotel, so I am wondering if O.A. stayed at the Jefferson Hotel to recuperate from something.

Evidently O.A. recovered from his illness, because he later married Jennie Johnson.  My Dad stated that when O.A. died in June of 1926, he sent for grandpa, O.D. Robertson, to come to his deathbed.  O.A's  purpose in sending for his son was to reveal the whereabouts of the treasure.  O.D. almost killed his horse trying to get there before his dad passed away but didn't make it in time.

According to the story, O.A.'s second wife went to Missouri after his death to collect on the loans, but they were too old. Jennie must have been informed on the location of the treasure because she traveled the world after her husband's death, Dad said. Whatever the truth may be, it does make an interesting story.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Don't Call Me "Hon"

The old saying is, “Familiarity breeds contempt.”  Lately I’m beginning to think the reverse is the real truth: contempt breeds familiarity.  Several female sales clerks who have decided to address me as “Hon” lately have led me to this conclusion.  Either these clerks harbor an deep affection for all other female members of the human race, or they are getting their jollies annoying them.

You don’t have to be a genius to realize all this familiarity is not affectionate.  Not long a ago, a clerk at the gas station in Dubois, Idaho called me “Hon.” Then noticing my annoyed expression, she escalated to “Sweetheart.”  Clearly, this form of address is hostile.

This irritating famliarity almost never happens at the higher quality stores like the Parrot, Base Camp, or Pan Handler.  But pay for gas at the chain gas station or check out at the local big-box store and all too often a female clerk “Hons" you. Yuck.  These clerks do a great job of living up to the movie stereo-type of a low class, gum chewing kind of babe with a nasal voice and a nail file. 

The best offense is a good defense, according to my football loving husband.  So I am considering what kind of defense to use when I am inappropriately addressed. Would a direct approach be best?  I am considering asking, “What have I done to deserve such disrespect from you?”  Or perhaps, “Since I don’t know your last name, I can safely say our relationship is not that chummy.”  Maybe a reply in kind would get the point across.  Next time I hear, “Here you go, Hon,” I am considering the following responses:

“Thanks a bunch, Snookums.”
“Toodle-oo, Poopsie.”  Or possibly,
"See you later, Lambie Pie."

After all, why should low class clerks have all the fun of irritating people?