Who do you Tip?

A couple of days ago we took delivery of a stove (the old one was dieing and we couldn’t really bake with it), which had “free” delivery included in the price. When the delivery chappies showed up, they hauled away the old stove, put the new stove in place, and I tipped them $10 with the statement “get yourselves some coffee on your break” (if I had given them a $20 I would have said get a beer after work). I think tipping them is just being curteous (and they did a good job, and frankly, they did something I didn’t want to do (i.e. move around heavy appliances)), I am wondering do folks think this is out of line, or wrong?

I know that it is normal in North American society to tip servers in restaurants (in fact many servers work for tips only) so that seems to be a normal thing. When I did paper delivery as a young lad, there were a few distinct groups of folks when it came to tipping:

  • Those who tipped 10% on the weekly charge (that I collected from the door weekly)
  • Those who didn’t tip weekly, but gave me a Christmas tip
  • Those who didn’t tip at all (and were the ones who had their papers sometimes get really soaked in the rain)
My feeling is a gratuity is something you should want to pay out for a service you think was done well, or that you want to thank someone for doing.
There are countless other professions that seem to have gratuities associated with them:
  • Delivery folks in general (flowers, pizza delivery, etc.,)
  • Door-persons  (the term doorman seems to be passe)
  • Bouncers at certain clubs
  • Maitre D’s at restaurants
Sometimes I get miffed at having to tip folks all over the place to get simple service, but sometimes I like to say thanks as we

 

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Scared Straight: For Finances?

One of my favorite shows on A&E is Beyond Scared Straight, where problem teenagers are brought inside of a prison and shown how life is on the inside and the kids get a chance to get a feel for what real prisoners are like.

The show is quite raw, and unapologetic about things (and usually says that most of the kids in the end don’t really take advantage of this chance, and end up in prison), but it is a show about redemption (or the hope of redemption), and I think that is why I am fond of it.

This got me thinking about the Financial Redemption shows that are currently on TV, shows like:

  • Gail Vaz-Oxlade and her various shows where she attempts to pound home financial common sense to Troubled Financial Adults, who seem to not understand that there is no fairy god mother who is going to pay their bills (but then Gail gives them $5000 so maybe that is the wrong message).
  • Our friend Preet sounds like he might be cooking up a similar type of show, we shall see (he is looking for folks to be on his show, I hear).

There are other shows like this out there, trying to get people to understand what their Financial Misdeeds will do to their lives and to their family if this behavior continues. Many of these shows seem to show that in the end even the worst of us can learn from their mistakes, but I suspect this may really not be the case.

That got me thinking if I was producing a show about Financial Redemption, I think I’d want it to be a lot more raw and maybe show that this kind of change is not as simple as most folks think.

If the show had some of the following it might be a little more believable (and maybe more educational for the viewers):

  • Have an actual collection agency show up and repossess something from the debtors house, even if it is paid for, to understand how it feels to have something repossessed. Point out that this will happen if they don’t clean up their act. Get the guys from Operation Repo to show up, they are a very scary bunch.
  • Have them live in a shelter for a few days or public housing? This could easily scare a lot of folks straight, I am stealing this from the BBC show Secret Millionaire, but it would be good for folks who don’t realize where they are heading.
  • Make people live for 6 months without their cars, and no cabs either, only a bus pass. This would be an interesting way to show folks where their bad habits could lead them (i.e. without a car, or an ability to come and go whenever they wish).

I really wonder whether these folks who claim they have repented (financially) are really going to stay on the straight and narrow financially?

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Gosh Darn CPP & EI!

Given we start a new year, all we folks who receive pay cheques (I believe the Japanese term is Salary-man), we get to start paying CPP and EI premiums again. For a lot of folks, they are just deductions that appear on every pay stub, but for folks who make over a certain amount, this deduction appears some time in the year, and after that, they get a “virtual raise” given they do not have to pay these deductions for the rest of the year.

Michael James is a lover of numbers (but not a numerologist luckily) and pointed out one day how easy it is to approximate how much someone makes, by when they stop paying EI premiums (and you’d be surprised how many people talk openly about the fact that they have stopped paying the premium (in fact I had just told Michael James that very fact)).

It’s actually a pretty simple game to play and well worth a couple of minutes time to create a little model to figure this thing out.

Meet Jack

Jack gets paid bi-weekly, and works as an employee of XYYZZ. He gets paid a regular salary (assume no bonuses and such), so if we list the month in which Jack tells us “I stopped paying EI premiums this month” we can then approximate how much Jack actually makes in salary. We know from the EI web site that your premium is 1.73% of your insurable earnings (and the maximum insurable earnings is $42,300 in 2010).

EI Premium 1.73%
Employee Max Contrib $747.36
Month Effective Weeks Approx Gross Income
January 2 $561,600.00
February 4 $280,800.00
March 6 $187,200.00
April 8 $140,400.00
May 11 $102,109.09
June 13 $86,400.00
July 15 $74,880.00
August 17 $66,070.59
September 19 $59,115.79
October 22 $51,054.55
November 24 $46,800.00
December 26 $43,200.00

Just remember what you tell folks can sometimes have more meaning than you might think.

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How do we measure happiness as part of the economy?

The French President Nicolas Sarkozy is asking that very question. How can the economic measures done include the relative happiness of the populous in the economic growth ?

Interesting question but who cares? If there is economic growth the relative happiness of any single worker has very little to do with any of this, that is the nature of the free market system. I am not saying that employers and governments should not care about happiness of workers in their companies or their countries, what I am saying, is: They don’t. The only time the relative happiness of employees or workers ever comes into play is when there is a scarcity of those employees and then the Employers must then make sure their employees are happy (to retain them).

Case in Point

Over my thirty years working various jobs my best examples of what makes people happy is simply whether they get good pay raises,whether their direct boss or the people they work with are good to work with, and whether they enjoy their direct job. I have been lucky in that most of my bosses have been reasonable folk and the folk I work with the same, so my only “happiness” monitor was and is money.

How do I make more money? I really don’t know. Years when I think I have been effective, I have had little or no pay raise, years where I feel I have failed I have been rewarded highly (and vice versa). If someone could train me in how to increase my Happiness by increasing my income, I’d be even happier. If anyone cares to comment on getting a raise, I am interested in hearing your Happiness and Pay Raise stories.

Anecdote

Two years in a row I went into my “pay adjustment” discussions with my boss expecting raises and both times I got not much:

  • The first year my company had not done very well and the stock had dropped a fair amount and the statement I got from my boss at the time was, “How can you expect a raise look at the stock price?
  • The next year, the same boss and I went into our adjust meeting, the stock had rebounded the company was doing much better and when I asked about why my raise was about the same as the previous lean year, given the stock price had rebounded, I got the statement, “The Stock Price, has nothing to do with your relative pay raise“.

Bosses say the darndest things don’t they?

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What another Budget? Ontario’s Stealth Budget

Yes, the Ontario Provincial Budget is due out tomorrow, and this one should be interesting since it is the last budget before the upcoming provincial election this fall. Can I find much analysis or guesswork out there about what might be included? Not much really, I found Mr. McGuinty’s response to the Federal Budget on the Provincial Liberal’s web site but not much else right now.

I have heard talk that there is a plan to raise the minimum wage in Ontario to around $10 an hour, but that is only planned to be phased in over the next three years or so, currently it is around $8/hour. So someone working the minimum wage for a 42 hour work week is going to gross about $340.00, a week, doesn’t seem like enough to live on to me.

There are comments about post secondary funding I have heard, but nothing concrete mentioned as of yet. There will need to be closure on any election promises from 4 years ago, but then again, I don’t remember much of those either.

This seems to be almost a Stealth Budget about to be brought down by Queens Park. The Liberals hope you don’t read it, or even think about it? That’s a little cynical, I guess, but still, no one seems to care about it.

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