Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tips, and the massaging thereof

One thing I learned early on in my Mahjong career is that as an insider, I wasn't going to get tips. There was a tantalizing little line on the receipt I had customers sign, but straight up, the reason anyone ever places an order for pickup is so they don't have to tip.
The cultural mores of American society don't call for it. I understand why people don't do it. But it is an incredible, unbelievable boon to someone making minimum wage. Getting 3 dollars in a day meant the reality of taking in necessary calories to survive was the slightest bit easier. 
At the beginning, I had no rivals for tips, but eventually the competition for the meager sums people would occasionally let slip would drive me to a reasonable facsimile of the drivers's behavior, at one point culminating in me furiously shouting down a fellow insider, but that is Ray, and Ray is a different story for several posts in the future. 
After a couple weeks floundering around without getting more than a dollar here or there, Jeremy showed me a simple trick that increased my tips tenfold. 
"When you hand them the receipt, don't ask them to sign it. Tell them, 'Fill this out and sign it, please.'"
It was so subtle, it was beautiful. Masterful, even. I went very suddenly from getting a buck every couple days to averaging 4 to 7 dollars a day. This way they felt compelled to write on those two little lines, and even though it was mostly zero, a lot more people than before would write in a tip. 
I'm sure there's some sort of psychological experiment to be made here, but all I know is that this one line made me a dollar menu millionaire.

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