Wednesday, June 09, 2004

To tip, or not to tip: that is the question.

Over the many years I’ve been performing at Jewish affairs, I’ve found that there is a wide discrepancy as to whether the musicians are tipped or not. In my experience, some communities tip more than others, and some tip not at all. In the cases where I have been tipped, the amounts have ranged from ten to two hundred dollars. I don’t expect to be tipped, so I’m always appreciative when I am.

The following tip story will always stand out in my mind. We were playing at a party that we’d been referred for by another bandleader. It was an engagement party for his cousin’s daughter, and he wasn’t able to do it himself because he had another gig. He did show up at the end though, and was quite pleased with the music. The client also kept coming over throughout the course of the affair to compliment us on our volume level, song selection, dance sets, etc.

At the end of the evening, the client came over to settle up and said: “You were good. I should tip you – you’ve earned it. But, no one ever tipped me when I was doing this (apparently he’d moonlighted in the biz years earlier), so I’m not going to tip you either.”

I’ll never forget standing there speechless! Talk about chutzpah!