An unexpected PayCashTipBig story

This story wasn't quite a Bet On Main Street story, since it happened in an IHOP while we were returning from the clinic to get an exam done. We were making our way out of town, going down one of those "developer strips" lined with big box stores and chain restaurants, and at the time I figured nothing special would happen.

And yet, something did catch my eye while we turned in. The McDonalds across the street had a help wanted sign out, offering $10.75. I thought back to when I was teaching unit conversions to middle school students, by having them calculate how much work they would need to do to buy what they wanted. "When I was in high school," I told them, "I earned $5.75 an hour working at a Chick-fil-A, and gas was $1.15" (2001) "What jobs are you looking to get with your new permit? What does gas cost right now?" For my first job, an hour of work netted me 5 gallons of gas. At the time I was teaching in the 2010s, to the moment I saw that sign, the numbers work out to three or three-and-a-half gallons. One of the subtle ways that inflation robs the most vulnerable.

One thing we like to teach here is learning the names of everyone you do business with, and while I don't have the gift of gab like the Narrator of the Main Street Manifesto when he goes out, I did learn a little bit about Nina and her plans for finishing school. I thought about that sign across the street again, and that it was an off hour, so we tipped big. Sure, it didn't turn into one of our receipts because it didn't meet the criteria. However, paying cash and tipping big isn't about scoring points, it's a reminder that every interaction of this kind is a chance to get to know someone, and to also boost goals and dreams just a little bit more each time you tip. It's something accessible to just about everyone. and instead of waiting on politics to make everything better, we can do it right now.

Next time you are out, try this challenge:

  • Get at least one name of the people you are doing business with
  • If possible, get a little bit of their story
  • Pay Cash and Tip Big