Interesting Jane Mayer story on how Koch dumped PBS after they aired a documentary on the building he lives in:
“Park Avenue” includes a multifaceted portrait of the Koch brothers, telling the history of their family company and chronicling their many donations to universities and think tanks. It features comments from allies like Tim Phillips, the president of the Kochs’ main advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, and from activists in the Tea Party, including Representative Michele Bachmann, of Minnesota, who share the Kochs’ opposition to high taxes and regulation. (It also contains a few quotes from me; in 2010, I wrote an article about the Kochs for this magazine, noting that they were funding much of the opposition to President Barack Obama by quietly subsidizing an array of advocacy groups.)
A large part of the film, however, subjects the Kochs to tough scrutiny….[….]
In the end, the various attempts to assuage David Koch were apparently insufficient. On Thursday, May 16th, WNET’s board of directors quietly accepted his resignation. It was the result, an insider said, of his unwillingness to back a media organization that had so unsparingly covered its sponsor.
An interesting side note — it looks like Randy Moss was wrong about rich people and checks:
At one point, a former doorman—his face shrouded in shadow, to preserve his anonymity—says that when he “started at 740” his assumption was that “come around to Christmastime I’m going to get a thousand from each resident. You know, because they are multibillionaires. But it’s not that way.” He continues, “These guys are businessmen. They know what the going rate is—they’re not going to give you anything more than that. The cheapest person over all was David Koch. We would load up his trucks—two vans, usually—every weekend, for the Hamptons . . . multiple guys, in and out, in and out, heavy bags. We would never get a tip from Mr. Koch. We would never get a smile from Mr. Koch. Fifty-dollar check for Christmas, too—yeah, I mean, a check! At least you could give us cash.”
Don’t worry about it DougJ, Sully explained it all last week or may be the week before on The Dish, that Koch brothers don’t have any radical agenda and may even be surprisingly liberal.
Please sir can I have some more? The Kochs are like Dickens villains.
WNET hurt David Koch’s fee-fees. Certainly the fact that he was so ungenerous to the hired help never entered his conscience (if such a thing exists).
$50 bucks? Jesus, I was kicking that to the super at Christmas when I was living in my rent-controlled, 275 sq. ft. studio. As a graduate student. 25 years ago.
There’s a special tier in hell for these fucks, and they will have no trouble finding volunteers to load their vans when they’re heading there.
The entire extended Koch family needs to go before a revolutionary tribunal for a drumhead trial, followed by a quick trip to the basement.
I once worked with a multiple millionaire heir who ran a charity. He devoted his life to this charity and used many of his connections to get funding for this program. In a moment of frustration, he turned to me and said, “Rich people are the worst to get any money from. They’re horrible and cheap.” Having worked for another millionaire who fired me because I took far too long finding his buttons for his suit (spent 3 hours trying to find Tender Button on the Upper East Side so he could have a new set-I was a file clerk, go figure) and for whom allowing me to finish his half sandwich from Piatti Pronti was his magnanimous charity move-Yes, The Rich Are (often) Dicks.
WNET could probably improve by getting rid of David Koch. It’s not called Nice Polite Republicans for nothing.
The only thing worse than a thin-skinned bully is a thin-skinned bully with lots of cash. Years from now we’ll find that the Kock Bros. were once spurned by liberal women, touching off a decades long vendetta against the Democratic party.
Shorter Sully: The Kochs give lip service to marriage equality, so we should ignore everything else.
You don’t get to be rich by giving money away to anyone who asks for it. Rich people- especially heirs like the Koch brothers- want to make sure they’re getting something back for their money.
@Roger Moore: May be he is angling for some of the sweet sweet libertarian grift.
I don’t live in Manhattan, but it seems like a reasonable Christmas tip for a doorman is definitely not $50 from a billionaire, but probably $1000 from each resident is maybe too much. Pretty clearly they should be tipped every time they load up vans for you, though. On the other hand, it’s less than $3 a day so maybe that’s reasonable.
No, they got their hatred of the Democrats the old fashioned way: they inherited it from daddy along with their money. Fred Koch was one of the founders of the John Birch Society, and his kids are just following in his footsteps.
… be lined against the wall and shot when the revolution comes.
(h/t Douglas Adams)
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@jibeaux: From a capitalism POV, you could pay “up front” for all of the next year’s van loading with a Christmas bonus, which, like you pointed out, would be about $3 per day for $1000. If you don’t want to do that, then you need to tip every time you have a van loaded.
Koch just wants slavery without having to provide food and shelter.
Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/05/27/130527fa_fact_mayer?printable=true¤tPage=all#ixzz2Tqd2XugW
GO FUCKING FLORIDA GALT ALREADY Jeebus these people are all talk.
This is, presumably, great news for the Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Baltimore Sun, and other members of the Tribune Company.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): Yeah, I definitely think you should do one or the other.
If you don’t, it’s a little difficult to imagine the scale of their wealth. For the sort of building they’re talking about here, a thousand for each staff member is chump change for the residents. These guys play golf for a grand a hole every weekend and don’t even blink if they get wiped out.
Some of them are assholes; some of them are incredibly generous, treat the building staff with respect and, most importantly, make sure their kids do as well. But they’ve all got the cash to drop.
@JGabriel: Nope. More fitting that they be boiled in tar sand oil.
@dr. bloor: Wikipedia says there are 31 residents, and if they’re not already tipping regularly, that sounds more reasonable for Manhattan. I guess I was picturing 100 apartments or so and thinking expecting a hundred grand in holiday tips alone was probably not realistic. If I were a billionaire, I’d do it, no problem, because I would enjoy the hell out of overtipping. I’d be like Steve Martin in My Blue Heaven trying to tip the flight attendant $13 on a drink and slipping it into her apron when she says she can’t take it.
That’s fine too. I’m not terribly concerned with the method, just the result.
And how much money did the Kochs give to the astroturf TP groups, again?
Now TP darling Bachmann may be investigated by the FBI: http://www.startribune.com/nation/208024111.html?refer=y
The IRS looking at new applications for 501(c)(4)s might not have been such a scandal; after all, only 25% of those were TP. And it’s the IRS’s job to approve or reject applications. None of the TP groups’ applications were rejected. So what’s the fucking fuss?
@jibeaux: I know right? Bye-bye. Off you go. Enjoy the hurricanes and fire ants you pathetic insecure puling shit birds.
Belafon (formerly anonevent):
RFT: Reposted for Truth.
The Other Chuck
Even shorter Sully: Pay attention to MEEEEEeeeee!!!!
Anyhoo, it’s pretty obvious the only reason the Kochs aren’t out fighting marriage equality is that they’re smart enough to know they’d be on the losing side and don’t want the teabagger groups they fund tainted with that particular bigotry stain. Most of them are anyway, but it’s not the first odious thing one tends to notice about them.
I don’t think he’s doing this because he’s hoping for grift. Sullivan is a true conservative. He doesn’t really have a problem with the system fucking people over; he just wants to make sure he’s a top rather than a bottom. The only things he wants to change are ones that affect him personally and that he can’t get around by climbing a bit higher on the ladder.
This! I know of a wealthy SOB (supposedly a liberal) who would pack up any and all leftovers from a company catered lunch and take it home. Also, at a meeting at his home, served coffee and one cookie per guest.
I can’t see any of those people moving to Florida, they’d miss all the NYC exposure.
@jibeaux: The other thing, too, is that it’s considered gauche to tip building staff on a per-service basis–it’s all back- (or depending on how you think about it, front-) loaded into the holiday envelope.
@Shakezula: It kills me that they think this is some kind of credible threat, that these uber-wealthy Upper West Side people are going to leave the Met and their parties and their friends and their charity balls and their boutiques and whatever else the fuck it is they do all day, and go live in fucking Orlando.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
No. From a capitalism point of view the doorman is paid his daily wages by the building owner, who collects rent from the tenets. If the doorman doesn’t like his wages he needs to get a new job. Why should the billionaire be expected to give the man a tip for just for doing his job? And hey – the doorman is going to give the same service whether he’s tipped or not – if he didn’t load the bags, Koch would complain to the property owner and the doorman would be fired. So from a strictly capitalist point of view tipping at all is irrational. If the doorman were actually allowed to provide shitty-to-no service for bad tippers, then tipping would be rational. But he’s not, so it would be irrational to actually voluntarily give more than you need to.
Koch probably thinks himself the ultimate altruist in that he gives “the help” $50 at Christmastime when they should expect nothing. As always if you assume that Ebeneezer Scrooge is a role model for these guys, you won’t be disappointed:
(I fundamentally hate the idea of tipping – I think people should get a living wage and this idea that they should grub for tips is demeaning and stupid. But I always pay more than the expected tip precisely because I think it’s stupid and I know other people have that exact logic above. I spent too much time in the libertarian sewer in the 90s to expect “capitalism” to be anything but “take what you can when you can and never apologize for screwing the other guy”.)
ETA: Woo-hoo! I expected blockquote fail but it worked! I’m liking the upgrade of the site more and more every day – thanks Cole and mistermix and everyone else who has finally fixed something that has bothered me for going on FIVE YEARS at this point…
@dr. bloor: Ah. See all these things I don’t know about being rich? Note to the karma gods, I am a quick study.
You mean Upper East Side. UWS is liberal.
Twice the annual Christman bonus my company has been sending me for the past 5 or 6 years. I haven’t figured out the right way to tell upper management that sending a $25 gift card is more offensive than sending nothing, especially when you pay to send it FedEx overnight.
@DougJ: I think I have demonstrated my I’m-not-rich credentials pretty admirably today!
@MattR: Ugh, that’s worse than the Jelly of the Month club.
Death Panel Truck
Goddamn right they are. The more money they have, the more money they want. No amount will ever be enough for them.
WTF. Did the doorman not see “Trading Places?” Duke, Koch–what’s the difference?
@jibeaux: Not Orlando. Palm Beach, the summer home of the old-fogie uberrich and faux nobility.
Disagree. The super rich, especially heirs like the Kochs, expect to get comped all sorts of free shit, or offered things at cost or less than cost.
How about “buried up to their chins in the petroleum slag in Detroit, and then somebody tosses a match onto the pile”?
UWS is traditionally middle class, Jewish, bohemian. UES is wealthy, WASPy. (Though real estate prices are destroying the old UWS.)
The best part is what would happen after they moved to Florida.
Which is – their old places in NYC would be occupied within days of them getting all of their stuff out. Possibly within minutes.
When I worked for a members only club, we had the same rule about not tipping for individual service but having an annual Christmas fund instead. I don’t know how much of that is that was convenience, how much is a desire to avoid people fighting to help the big tippers while avoiding the poor tippers, and how much was an excuse to tip less without looking miserly.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@NonyNony: Actually, I hate the idea of tipping as well, mostly because most places that allow tipping have built receiving tips into the salary they offer. I wouldn’t mind treating tips as income, but they should be treated differently than salary. I especially hate the way restaurants do it.
@jibeaux: The sad thing is that I work in IT and we all make a pretty good salary without any kind of XMas bonus. Thankfully there is nobody depending on that money for anything.
Afew years ago, my manager was in Manhattan at a club around New Year’s and bought a drink for a girl. Between the two drinks and a tip, that ate up the whole gift card. So my manager got to use the line that he just spent his entire Christmas bonus on this girl.
@DougJ: At the same time, there are tons more 20 something year-olds on the UES because they can find affordable aparments between 1st and 3rd aves that just don’t exist at all on the upper west side.
One way for them to Go Galt is leaping from the windows, saying, “Don’t gimme none of this”.
@Emma: But they’d never live there year-round. There’s only one New York City.
Hear, hear! Actually, I think that tips are OK, but they should be an occasional reward for exceptional service rather than a regular part of somebody’s pay. I think that’s the way they started, but that cheap business owners who saw their employees getting tips used it as an excuse to cut their pay until the employees couldn’t do without.
It takes more than a match to start that stuff- it’s harder to light than charcoal- but the general idea is good.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
One thing I absolutely loathe is the idea that there can be a “minimum wage” and another “tipped income minimum wage” in the law. What the hell? Yes if they don’t meet the “floor” of minimum wage via tips the employer is supposed to make up the difference but so what? Tips are supposed to be extra – that’s why they’re fucking called tips and not payment for services rendered.
(Of course I contend that if restaurants paid their waitstaff a decent wage and actively recruited to get good talent, they would be rewarded for it. Good waitstaff is incredibly hard to find and it takes the right personality combined with the right physical ability to pull it off. Plus it can take years before you really “get” how to do it right. But instead most restaurants view waitstaff as a temporary resource who will leave for a better job someday so just take advantage of what you can and don’t even try to make it a viable career path. That’s screwed up. But they’ve mostly decided to follow the example of McDonald’s instead of what worked for restaurants for a long time before McD’s came onto the scene…)
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): At least in WA tipped workers also get minimum wage. Which means that waitstaff here can clear north of $16 an hour if things go well.
Tips are supposed to be a gratuity for good service, not something a patron should feel morally obliged to pay because the employer won’t pay the help a decent wage.
Not to mention, the way restaurants practice tipping is completely arbitrary. Whether I order a $25 steak or a $10 club sandwich will affect the size of my server’s tip. But will it affect the amount of work they have to do? Not likely.
David in NY
I thought that should be past tense (“destroyed”). I knew when I moved out of the UWS thirty years ago to buy a house (in a bad neighborhood at 16.75% mortgage interest) in Brooklyn, I’d never be able to afford coming back. And so it is. But I know some folks left over from that time, so it may retain some of the old flavor. Mostly though, the old UWS is, like me, in Brooklyn.
ETA: And I hear that in some ways, for young people, the UES is the new UWS. See MattR:
Somebody should send the doorman a copy of this film:
I come from a split family. My father’s side was rich. My mother’s side was poor. And yet my mother’s side was far more giving than my father’s. For years I just thought it was my family that was dysfunctional that way.
Then I became a CPA. And did a LOT of tax returns rich, poor & middle class. Rich people just don’t give that much. And when they do give to charity, it’s usually for stuff that benefits them and gets their name out.
So you’ll see gifts to the symphony (which gets a plaque) but rarely to the food bank. You’ll see gifts that get mention on PBS, but you won’t see gifts to homeless shelters. And so on and so on…
I work for guv. I haven’t had a tip or a Christmas bonus in 13 years. And while living wages sound good on paper, if you don’t have an hour floor, it’s rather worthless. Case in point; me. Back to rich people. They’re not expecting anything for their money. They’re expecting your broke asses to do it for free and love them for allowing you to do it for them. That’s what they’re about. The perception is that they are our moral, genetic, mental and spiritual betters-that’s why they’re rich and from rich families with pedigrees. There’s not a bonfire big enough to burn them once you account for the ego. I can say that, I worked for rich people, hung with their kids and did messenger work in UES.
@Older_Wiser2: The IRS Asking followup questions is just like waterboarding. And the mean kind of waterboarding,
not the fraternity hazing waterboarding, either.
@MosesZD: More proof. People who find ways to make money stick to them, are not generous givers. Who knew?
I wish any donation that benefits rich people ( the symphony, Harvard) was not even tax deductible.
@jibeaux: Many, many of them already have homes in Florida — Boca Raton, Palm Beach, Jupiter (IIRC), Bal Harbor among other places. They’ve had homes there since Flagler began building Palm Beach and his railroad.
@jibeaux: Only 31 residents? See, that is why the doorman is pissed. Upper middle class or entry-level rich residents of a large building with 100-200 residents would have tipped at least $100-$200/each without blinking, and the doormen would be taking home a Christmas bonus of up to $10k. By picking the Koch building, the doormen figured that what they were giving up in volume of tips they would make up in size, and thus feel they got shafted. A postwar shiny condo tower full of IT people and entry level bankers would have paid more.
My go-to David Koch quote:
If they hadn’t had a rich daddy, I’m sure their talents would have put them in the same positions they have today.
The only thing that can stop a bad billionaire with press access is a good billionaire with press access–to take a leaf from the NRA’s playbook. Basically that means that given our financial incentives the only thing that can enable the press to play any function as an honest broker of information about our upper class is when one billionaire finks on another and then pays to have the attack spread on the air or through the newspapers. No non-billionaire groups or individuals have the clout to over come the Koch brothers’ (or Scaife, or Vandersloot for example) ability to withdraw financial support from the groups they assume their “charitable” donations have bought and paid for.
Speaking of tipping…
President Obama is reportedly a great tipper, with stories of leaving a $200 lunch tip, and an $18 tip on a $2 beer.
On the other hand, LeBron James once left a $10 tip on a $800 dinner check.
Remember the Bush era vogue for ice cream sundaes with gold leaf sprinkles?
They will spend the money. But only for themselves.
Does this mean David Koch will remove his funding for Nova?
Is 1st Ave really the UES? It’s closer to Roosevelt Island than the park.
Pitchforks and torches. Need moar.
Tone In DC
I hope that LeBron didn’t do that.
He’s a young guy, though. He’ll do better, in time.
@WereBear: Wasn’t there even some hamburger that some NYC created that had gold leaf in it, or something. The burger cost something ridiculous like a thousand dollars. Kobe beef and gold leaf. Sounds like bad hip hop movie.
No, no, no: hermetically sealed into a room so they suffocate on their own CO2, all while you’re shouting over the intercom, “It’s not a pollutant!”
@Citizen_X: Can we force them to drink water affected by fracking first? Maybe even light it on fire and they’ll think it’s a party trick. Then they have to drink it.
@Tone In DC:
Tiger Woods is supposed to be the worst of all. He regularly stiffs waitstaff because he “doesn’t carry cash”.
That was the rumor. Never really confirmed. But it could easily be true – the rumor dates back to when he first joined the Cavs and finally had money that he was spreading around like butter on toast. LeBron didn’t come from money and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was something he just didn’t think about. Much like he didn’t think about how egotistical his ESPN covered “decision” to leave the Cavs was.
If he’s still doing it he’s a putz and he needs his ass kicked. (Full disclosure – I lived in Cleveland at the time and my dislike of James was mitigated by the fact that despite being a fan of the Indians and the Browns, the Cavs are a team I’ve never been able to stand. So not the James hater that a lot of other folks I know are, but still – there were many times he needed an ass-kicking and if he’s that bad of a tipper that’s another one.)
We’re all just jealous because our dutch daddies didn’t do well paying odd jobs for Joey The Stallion and “you know who else” before they saw the light and became Real Merkins but kept all the money anyway.
@DougJ: Yes, it is because closer to the river is East End Avenue (in the 70s-90s) and Sutton Place (in the 50s). These avenues have apartment buildings and private homes of the rich.
Higgs Boson's Mate
The restaurants I’ve been to have a line on the bill to write in a tip if you’re paying with plastic.
The president was a “normal guy” without being fawned over well into adulthood, while the adulation of James begain when he was barely into his teens. Hopefully the young fellow will snap out of it and remember his humble roots at some future time.
The compare-and-contrast between Willard and the Big Dog is worth mentioning. Clinton does a meet-n-greet with event staff while Romney…safe to say he things they’re fortunate just to be in the same
roomcounty with him.
Stories of bad celebrity tippers will almost always be apocryphal, as confirmation of the same would surely cost the aggrieved, poorly paid server their position. We can’t be calling our betters cheapskates now can we?
What’s wrong with living in Kansas?
@Higgs Boson’s Mate:
Maybe he hasn’t mastered pen technology?
I’ll wager that “goin’-Galt” golfer who was threatening to leave the US over taxes is a great tipper, also, too.
@Cacti: You can add the tip to the credit card bill. I’ve done so on occasion.
Wouldn’t work, they only drink and bathe in angel and orphan tears.
The idea that bosses treat workers as throw away temp slaves is not restricted to restaurants. I have known many industrial companies who refuse to train or pay their employees a living wage and can’t understand why people hate working there. And don’t stay long. And steal stuff if they can. How about retail? That’s good work. Isn’t it?
Oh, I’m aware. I’ve just read that “no cash” is the preferred excuse of one of the world’s richest professional athletes.
I sort of get the check thing. Guys like that probably aren’t used to carrying cash and they are always looking for things they can claim as business expenses or whatever. Also, the Koch’s have NEVER known for one second in their life what it is like to worry about money and have to work for a living. So they have absolutely NO idea what it’s like to be the 99%.
I know a few rich people and they are all kind of cheap. So no surprises there really.
Are you being sarcastic?
Oh, whew, had to lie down a bit there. No, retail sucks in about 5 major ways.
*Always working on holidays.
*Lots of them are “here’s a penny, make it up on commission.”
*No training, so they can keep you after closing to “fix” it, without pay.
*No consistent hours or days.
*Treated worse than wait staff by the public.
1. Argue that personal charity is superior to a government-funded safety net.
2. Avoid personal charity whenever possible.
While it could be true, I also remember hearing a very similar story about Kevin Garnett way back in his earliest years in the NBA (when he was 19-20).
I have mixed feelings on leaving bad tips. I generally tip quite well, but there are times when a bad tip is appropriate to make a point about the service. I used to run into this problem fairly often when I was younger. As I mentioned above, I work in IT so my work attire was jeans and a solid colored t-shirt (before I worked from home). When I was in my 20’s and would go out with coworkers, it would seem that quite often the server would take a quick glance at us, make an assumption about the lack of tip we would be giving and then provide us a level of service commensurate with that lack of tip. Of course that is a self fulfilling prophecy since there is no way we are going to tip well when the waiter is barely paying attention to us. It got so bad that at one place we left the server something like $50 on a $600 bill but gave the busbuy who had actually been paying attention to us and filling our drinks, clearing our plates, making sure we didn’t need anything else, etc a $200 tip.
@gbear: Related to that is that they never expect to be called out on their BS as this bit from Jane Mayer’s piece illustrates
@Trollhattan: You also have to factor in that Clinton loves to press the flesh. He loves, loves, loves the attention. Willard on the other hand can’t stand to be around anyone but his fellow .01%’ers
I just came across a quote from the critical essayist Walter Benjamin–he was from a wealthy, upper class German Jewish family before the war and he committed suicide in 1940 when he thought he was going to be trapped in France as the Nazis poured in). At any rate, paraphrasing, he says that as a child he came across “the poor” principally in the form of “beggars” and it was only when he grew older that he realized that they weren’t some natural phenomenon like a caste of beggars or a naturally occuring species but rather that what drove people to beggary was the fact that they were actually working but not paid sufficiently–they were working poor and the nature of working poor was to end up as a beggar. What struck me about this line, which was only quoted briefly in the introduction to his collected works, is how true this must be of the Koch brothers and other millionaires. They either don’t perceive people to need money, or assume that they need money because they are “beggars” who don’t “work” or don’t work “hard enough.” They have little knowledge of–or perhaps we should say they are wilfully ignorant–of how hard people work and how poorly work is rewarded in this society. No doubt they look at the entire process of tipping and bonuses to doormen as a bizarre and unnecessary ritual act, having nothing to do with wages and living conditions at all.
mike with a mic
I can fully believe that he did that. I used to work as a server/bartender in fine dining. I’m talking your average meal consisting of around 100-200 for food per person, and your average bottle of wine could be just as much. You could of course cheap out, or spend a hell of a lot more (150 buck shots, 1000 for a bottle of wine) but people spending about 200-400 a person was pretty much normal.
Most nights were pretty good. Lawyers from high end firms, corporate accounts. These guys will rack up 200-400 per person and give you 20%+ no matter what. They’re their to work and with clients. The best nights were when people from “the hill” came (this place was in DC). This happened before and after major votes and the bills would be astronomical. It was during the Bush years so mostly big wig Republicans (speaker Hassert all the damn time) and their business friends. But 60 buck scotch, 400 buck bottles of wine, let it flow. Tips were great as well, 20-40% on astronomical checks. And when they were throwing parties, one table could land you several hundred to even over a grand in a night.
Then there was… sports nights. Because the MCI center was right there and we were a famous place to go if you wanted to show money. And out of most sports nights there was basketball night. If you ended up working that night you really pissed someone the hell off. Basketball night was famous for a few things. The first was you’d get run ragged, the customers were all pushy as fuck and really demanding. The next was you’d make nothing, period. It was so low it we weren’t even taking percentages. You’d get 20 bucks maybe 40 bucks regardless of the bill. Most of these guys spent like the congress crowd but instead of getting 20-40% off an 1200 buck group they’d give you 20-40 bucks. And they’d constantly send back food, constantly demand special menu changes, and constantly demand free things.
Hockey night wasn’t a “good” night either, but it wasn’t nearly as bad. The tabs weren’t as high as other nights, and it was full of people from the suburbs who were obviously sticker shocked into oblivion (we’d always bet on if they were going to go once they read the menu or not), but you could expect a solid 10-20% even though their tabs weren’t as good as the other nights. There was also less crazy behavior and running servers ragged, and less grab assing of the female servers.
And I should be exact, it was specifically the athletes and their inner circles that made basketball nights a living fucking hell every single time. And because of the amount of money they throw around that went into profit, you knew bringing up the tips or sexual harassment with management would end up with your ass fired. I still think one of the saving graces of hockey nights was that the athletes didn’t eat there, but I’ve heard they were pretty bad as well. Being in the service industry you get to talk to other people after hours who are in it as well. Across the board, bars, strip clubs, fine dining, athletes are just about the worst fucking people you can deal with. When Jordan was here he was famous for being an epically shitty tipper despite blowing through cash at Ozio that would blow most peoples minds. There were also the night clubs they shot up periodically (and of course never got in trouble for it).
There were rare exceptions, we had a few of the Redskins throw a private party and they tipped OK and were completely awesome guys. But after spending time in there my default assumption is that if you end up with a table with an athlete, prepare for the worst tipping of your life and the most shittastic attitude you’ve ever seen.
So I don’t know if James is a shitty tipper, but $10 on $800 from a basketball player sounds like the status quo to me from past experience.
And the reason Fred Koch has an allergy to leftism is that he felt cheated by Stalin, who used him to teach the Soviets about oil extraction and, instead of rewarding him with a nice long Aramco style contract, waved him good bye as soon as that was over. Note that Freddy boy was perfectly happy going into business with the worst kind of Communist regime before that point.
If there’s one word to describe rich right wingers, it’s “petty.” “Thin skinned” if you want to use two.
In reply to your question.
Owned a small retail store for 6 years. Not a lot of fun for me either.
@Roger Moore: wasn’t Matt Welchs ancestor another founding member?
The superrich(and probably the regular rich as well) never do any actual physical work. They underpay someone else to do it.
I’m sure Koch things $50 is too much and gives that check begrudgingly.
@Death Panel Truck: There’s also this wierd disconnect with numbers the wealthier you get.. It’s the Warren Buffet quarter story writ large; meaning that guys like the Kochs may have shit-tons in the bank, but $50 bucks is still a lot of money cause it’s a number anyone can relate to. Humans start losing a sense of perspective when it comes to large numbers. It’s why a guy robbing a convenience store for cigarettes and 30 bucks deserves communal scorn and prison, while a banker that fixes libor rates (skimming billions) gets a golden parachute and the story gets buried on page E10 as readers’ eyes glaze over.
I have no idea what the Warren Buffett quarter story is — do you have that handy? If I Google it, all I get is quarterly earnings from Berkshire Hathaway.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old joke about the health care administrator who died. He found himself in front of the Pearly Gates talking to Saint Peter. Peter invited him in, showed him around, and escorted him to his new place. The administrator was surprised to find himself in Heaven instead of Hell, and expressed his surprise to St. Peter. Peter responded that it was OK, he was only allowed to stay for 4 days.
That’s a nice story.
But the kochsuckers know how much they are worth. Maybe not down to the last few dollars but with them even if you round off they know they are worth billions and make more than the vast majority does in a year, every day. They are cheap assholes and in real human terms are worthless. And they know this as well. They may not believe it, but they know it.
Oh yeah – I know. It’s just that restaurants are the most common example that stays vaguely on-topic with the discussion of “tipping”.
Retail is also terrible for most of the same reasons. A failure to understand that good sales clerks are worth more than minimum wage is, I think, the downfall of a lot of smaller retail businesses. Like everyone racing to the bottom to emulate McD’s in the restaurant world, everyone trying to emulate supermarket chains has really hurt retail. The only thing that keeps businesses afloat is that almost all of them do it, so most people these days don’t know what good, knowledgeable retail service looks like – or even than the person you’re talking to knows where to look in the store for the thing you’re looking for.
@Mnemosyne: It’s in Kathy Graham’s biography. They were out together and she asked Warren for a quarter to make a phone call even though it would probably have cost 20 cents (he didn’t have 2 dimes) so he paused, not wanting to waste the $.05 extra and she finally told him, “Just give me the damn quarter Warren!”
There’s also a general trend of much harsher treatment of violent crime than property crime. The accountant who embezzles a million dollars from a bank will get a much lighter sentence than a robber who holds the place up for a small fraction of that.
@NonyNony: I had a similar argument with a Republican I know who’s not a total asshole – but he was fixated on the old idea that a service job wasn’t a career job and was just a job you took as a kid until you got a degree. I pointed out that if he goes out and eats a lot (or indeed goes to a lot of stores) those days are GONE. We have moved from a manufacturing economy to a service economy, and the majority of jobs are going to be service jobs – with a declining birthrate and longer lived and more active older people. This is a sea change we’re in the middle of – not that everyone will have a degree and an IT job, but that everyone will have a job doing someone else’s laundry (as the old joke goes). That’s why entry burger jobs typically pay $10 plus an hour or more.
I will not be one bit surprised when competent ‘help’ at the store level is fought over by retailers like skilled machinists used to be. The wages probably won’t get that high, but they’ll still be fighting for them.
mike with a mic
I’d fully expect stocking shelves to be done by machines, checkout/payment via smartphone or on your own, order online pick up in store, and automated security before retail pays good wages.
We’re automating away more and more middle class jobs. Hell the Chinese are starting to get to the point where they are closing their near slave labor factories to have machines do it.
Where is this, exactly?
@mike with a mic: There are certainly some places where they can get away with it – every grocery store and some of the retailers have self-checkout lanes. However, none of them will dare go full-auto, because full-time on-site guys to fix the software are a hell of a lot more expensive than two or three associates.
@Steeplejack: I live in Northern Illinois and there have been cases where part-timers will start at $10 an hour, depending on location. Maybe it’s not as common elsewhere.
Depends on where you are, but I remember seeing chains like McDonald’s and Burger King advertising starting wages of $12/hour for daytime workers here in Los Angeles. This was in the late 90s when the economy was booming, though, so I don’t know if they’ve stayed that high.
In Defense of Scrooge seems apropos, if only because it is not entirely, or even mostly, tongue-in-cheek.
I gotta be honest: given the huge number of manual labor jobs that are backbreaking work and pay almost nothing, I kinda think the doorman is pretty full of himself when he expects a $1000 bonus. (On the other hand, I’d never expect a doorman to load up my van for me either, and if they did I’d pay them.)
And while I’m exposing my inner jerk, “I was near a famous rich person and therefore they should give me an extra gigantic chunk of money” tip culture is also equally bullshit.
I guess if I ever became rich I’d have to hire a director of tipping or something, because the fact that society says I have to hand out $100 to people who do the slightest physical gesture for me feels demeaning to them and a mental burden on me.
The older I get, the more uneasy I feel about tipping. It’s hard enough just to establish an egalitarian-but-functional relationship with wait staff — you’ve assumed the temporary role of my servant, yet I will treat you politely and with respect — without taking on the responsibility of determining what your services are worth. Why should I decide what someone’s wages should be? I got so sick of, and distressed about, grappling with this that I just made a flat-out, unbreakable rule: Everybody gets 20%, regardless — a little more if it rounds up easily. A swastika tattoo would void all obligations, but really, it’d take something on that level. Lousy service? Maybe the kitchen screwed up. Couldn’t get her attention for the second — the most vital! — cup of coffee? She’s busy, she’s overworked, she just didn’t see me, fer crissake. She’s a jerk with a lousy attitude and I hate her? I still don’t get to punish her financially. She gets 20%. Every time.
We should eat the rich.
Did you read the second highlighted text in DougJ’s post? You really are exposing your inner jerk. You sound like the kind of guy who thinks a secretary’s job is to sit at a desk all day.
@NonyNony: In many retail situations, if you walk in the door not having pre-researched your purchase, you’re just asking to be taken for a ride. Of course these days, the race to the bottom for service means you couldn’t find a knowledgable clerk if your life depended on it, even leaving aside honesty issues.
The internet is destroying much of the remaining brick-and-mortar business, such as it is. The malls killed the small retail store, the big boxes are killing the malls, and the internet is killing the big boxes. Face-to-face service is an anachronism from several generations of retail back. Once standalone deliverbots become common, no one will even bother going to stores of any kind anymore.
@Michael G: Yeah, I think you miscast what doormen do especially in chichi buildings. They do a lot — from holding doors, carrying bags, hailing cabs, parking cars, keeping track of when people are having work done in their apartments and letting the right people in, sometimes errands. It’s like a live person standing at your driveway all day, if it were the suburbs, and just making sure everything’s functioning smoothly. I’ve never had one but I think one reason that they expect generous tips is because it’s a sort of archaic and intensely personal service that goes on 24 hours a day, 365.
Betcha Koch doesn’t tip because they’re unionized and he thinks they get paid too much already.
The tipping culture is about social dominance displays. Breaking out a big roll and handing out cash like there’s no tomorrow is about proving you’re the one in charge and everyone around you is a lackey. Your suggestion of having somebody follow your around to dispense tips on your behalf would be an even bigger dominance display.
I don’t, but this speaks to my point: why am I expected to tip the doorman and not the secretary when I honestly think the secretary job is much, much harder.
As someone who’s worked a large variety of demeaning jobs in my life, it seemed intensely unfair that when I worked my ass off at McDonalds I got paid much, much worse than when I barely worked at all at the golf course.
I imagined someone following me around and telling me, “Hey, you’re being an asshole, you were supposed to tip that guy”. He would be very, very busy.
Focusing on tipping misses the big picture. In the case of the Koch doormen, you’re arguing about what size of crumb a very thin slice of the plutocracy should leave to the few members of the 99% in their immediate vicinity.
What we need isn’t better tipping protocols, it’s a more equitable distribution of income through the whole society. If the past 30 years of productivity increases hadn’t all gone to the top, there’d be money to pay servers and retail clerks a living wage.
$50. That rings a bell.
Recall the story told of Mitt Romney as a young man. A cop told him that it was illegal to launch his boat into a lake at a particular site, and it would cost him a $50 fine if he did. The cop then walked away, turned around, only to see Mittens launching his boat because $50 was his notion of chump change.
@Hungry Joe: I was eating out one time at a general restaurant. I ordered the burger platter and a Coke. The burger platter came but not the soda. I reminded the server twice and then at the very end of the meal, she’s across the room and shouts out “Oh, your soda.” She also paid attention to people at two (three?) tables who came in after me. I did not leaver her a tip. As I’m going toward the door, I hear her complaining to the hostess. I stopped and said, “Do you want to know why I didn’t leave a tip?” And I told the hostess the whole story and walked out.
Sorry, I’ll believe it when I hear it from someone actually getting that. I just texted a former assistant manager at the Barnes & Noble where I worked (in NoVa) and confirmed that starting booksellers are getting only $7.25-7.50 an hour now. At the Home Depot in the same strip shopping center, cashiers are starting at about $8.00, and floor “associates” who presumably have some technical expertise are getting maybe a buck or two more.
Okay, that’s all anecdata, but it’s anecdata that I have collected personally from real people in the situation, not something that I “heard somewhere” or saw on a sign 15 years ago. Maybe McDonald’s and Burger King are offering premium wages to attract highly skilled workers, but I doubt it.
I’m not flaming you two specifically; you just gave me a springboard into one of my pet peeves, which is the extent to which the vast majority of “normal” Americans, i.e., white-collar paper-pushers, are blind—willfully blind—to the way that the middle class is being hollowed out from below, starting with retail and the service industries in general, and how far the rot has spread already.
The service industries are now pretty much all as Kay and Walmart Lady described last week, but customers think, “Well, it’s not a great job, but they must do all right or they wouldn’t work there.” Or (my favorite) about fast-food places: “Oh, it’s teenagers having a job to make a little cash.” Yeah, if your idea of “teenagers” is 20-something Latina women running the drive-through at 3:00 in the morning.
(Question: Does anyone stop to think how cheap labor must be for the fast-food restaurants to keep their drive-through windows open 24 hours a day?)
People are quick to hop on the Google to buttress their arguments over the plot points of some obscure Star Trek episode or the origins of tartan plaid fabrics, but for some reason the economic reality on the ground today for the underclass is treated as some distant, unknowable realm, accessible only through deep-space telescopes and fragmentary anecdotes. There’s a real “Don’t turn on the lights, I don’t want to see!” quality to it.
Actual data in following comment.
Home Depot pay rates.
McDonald’s pay rates.
And, because I get three links, I will recommend this excellent book, Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail, by Caitlin Kelly.
Competent ‘help’? Most big retail corps don’t really give a damn about competent help and for the same reason they don’t give a shit about the bottom 2/3 of us. We are all interchangeable losers in their minds because we will settle for their shit jobs so we must not be worthy of anything better.
They taste like the shit they are full of.
Yep, Palm Beach is ready when they [email protected]jibeaux:
A few years ago many fast food places were advertizing $12/hr starting wages in NorCal. When the recession hit all of the signs came down asap and I’ve never seen one since.
But your post is correct, all service jobs pay as low as possible to get anyone to work there.
Remember Circuit City? Richmond VA based big box electronics retailer.
During its death throes, word got out the company had fired all its experienced (ie. better paid) salespeople, to save money. The staff that knew the store and its stock.
Customers deserted in waves. CCity collapsed all the faster.
I think WNET and PBS are better without Citizen Koch.
Some gifts are too expensive.
I’d ostracize the Kochs, if I ran the world.
Run Felix the Cat toons during “Nature”, if it came to that.
Actually, they were offering premium wages to people who could work specific shifts (ie the daytime shifts that students would not be able to fill). But I wouldn’t be surprised if that premium wage went down as the economy stagnated and then plummeted under Bush and there were more out-of-work adults available for those day shifts.
The Koch brother’s involvement with PBS was simply a method of trying to “look good”. it was free advertising. What the documentary did was expose them for what they are. That didn’t work for the Koch brothers so they took their toys home. They weren’t getting their money’s worth anymore.
As to tipping. Many of these jobs, such as door person, do not pay much. The attraction/method of recruiting is the salary is low but the tips are high. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that way. Many of the wealthy simply do not consider the “hired help” as anything worth while. They consider $50 enough, if not too much. The members of the co-operative, strata, won’t increase salaries for many of the buildings’s staff. They don’t want their monthly fees to go up. These workers go without benefits, pensions, job security, etc.
Very wealthy people who are lousy tippers sometimes are simply continuing to acrue money, by not spending it on things they don’t have to. Tipping is a not have to. As mother used to say, that is how the rich get richer. There is also the issue of entitlement. Yes, there are those who consider themselves so wonderful, they don’t have to tip. The person should just be happy to be working for them or around them.