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On tipping, teens and Texas Texas yeehaw [#124]
As usual, I'm baffled and bewildered.
My little brother Roger came to visit last week from Hong Kong, and the most reverse culture shock he encountered was about tipping. Ever since the pandemic began I have (maybe like a chump?) just absorbed the new norm of tipping a customary 20% everywhere, without questioning it. But Roger was confused: Was he supposed to tip for everything, everywhere, even where there is almost no service required of the order taker (e.g. buying a bag of coffee beans)? Was he supposed to tip on top of compulsory service fees?
After learning that sometimes at fast casual places (Little Caesars Pizza comes to mind) I select “No tip” on the payment panel, he followed suit and selected “No tip” at the coffee shop and reported getting a withering stare from the clerk. Gaaaah the pressure!
Elder millennials stubbornly refusing to slide quietly into irrelevance.on back-to-school trends among Gen Z. Journalism fails miserably at explaining what is really happening to America. The mess of the Texas Tribune’s finances, leading to the organization’s first-ever layoffs. The mess that is Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, who is on trial for impeachment this week. Square dancing and white supremacy.
When pondering the future, there are few thinkers more clear-headed than writer Ted Chiang. Now that we’re at an AI inflection point, Chiang weighed in on how best to think about AI. And goodbye to my friend Cesse Ip, who lived so fully and left us too soon. I had no idea that when Cesse so generously celebrated Flawless with us in DC in May that it would be the final time we’d meet in this realm. Hug your loved ones, hug them tight.
Werk Werk Werk
Cooking up some stuff, quietly. Weighed in on the (ugh) canthal tilt trend on TikTok, for Huffington Post. (For a more fun trend, ICYMI, the Korean success perm has made its way to the states). Talked Flawless with the South China Morning Post, Jean Chatzky’s Her Money podcast, and with Alisha Ramos for the latest edition of!
Also, the kids are back to school so I’m volunteering. For the past two weeks I’ve gotten to greet the kindergartners (not my kids) at drop-off each morning and help them find their way to breakfast and/or their classmates, to await the teachers. I have opened up a lot of single-sized milk cartons and held a lot of little hands and have fully enjoyed it.
Watch and/or Listen
Who Shat The Floor At My Wedding? is a must listen. A super intense investigative podcast about exactly what the title implies.
You’re the Worst (Hulu). It ran on FX starting about 10 years ago and ended five seasons later. I watched this during the Korea years and decided to give it a re-watch now that I’m familiar with all the LA jokes and references they make. Thrilled to report this show holds up! A cynical rom-com which starts with the “will-they-or-won’t-they” hooking up in episode one, which makes the rest of the series more interesting, IMHO.
As always, I welcome your recommendations for either just me, or to share with the group. And please weigh in: What kind of framework do you use to decide how much (or whether) to tip at places where there is little service performed, i.e. buying a bag of coffee beans? Leave a comment or write me back.
You’re the best (not the worst),
PS. I know I’m ignoring the latest mass shootings in this dispatch, only because I don’t know what else to add that hasn’t been said a million times. I will repost the same thing I usually do in the face of this senseless sacrifice of humans to guns: Our Moloch, written in 2012, but still holds up.