Happy Halloween… Can I get a Witness!

Happy Halloween… Can I get a Witness!

To begin let me start with a heartfelt “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” to all the pagans out there. Hey if the Christians can pretend that December 25th is the birthday of that Jesus chap, then I feel perfectly comfortable redistributing the meaning of this whole Halloween holiday as the official birthday of Paganism.

With that being said, let’s all step into the WABAC Machine and go way back to the time when a young lad in Wyoming experienced some actually diversity in a town of 1500 people. It happened on a dark and chilly night on the 31st of October in 1982. I was eight, and probably a vampire. Of course this was back when vampires were still cool in a creepy kind of way, instead of the trendy bastardized shells of misunderstood models brooding and pouting in an attempt to get sympathy and instill crushes from thirteen year old girls and soccer moms. And I don’t care if you point out that you could see the strings when the vampire would change into a bad and flying around on strings, they were better damn it!

So there I was standing next to my brother on the doorstep of a rather plain looking home that was 100% devoid of any holiday decorations. I placed the plastic glow in the dark vampire teeth that would that would only glow for about 30 seconds after holding them up to a light for about a minute, in my mouth, you know, so I could get into character before giving the people behind the door my, “Sshick or ssseeeat” plea for more candy (those teeth always made it hard to talk clearly.) Once the teeth were in, I nodded at Mike and we knocked on the door.

As the door opened, Mike and I yelled in unison, “Trick or trea…”

“We don’t believe in Halloween,” interrupts the lady who opened the door.

This had never happened to us before. I figured she was kidding. So I said treat or treat again.

“We don’t celebrate holidays,” she said.


“The bible tells us not to,” adding, “goodbye.”

Nothing harshes and eight year olds unbridled sugar buzz quite like a stranger refusing to give you candy on Hallowing because the bible told them not to. It made no sense, and to be honest, it pissed me off a little. I even hung around for the next set of kids to come to her door, just to make sure what just happened really happened… it did. Poor things were just as baffled as I was. Still, hanging with the new batch of kids allowed us to compare notes on who passed out the best candy in the neighborhoods we had not yet hit. Soon we parted ways and Mike and I were in route to the big payoff houses a few blocks down, forgetting completely about the anti-Halloween house… until the following year.

The same damn thing happened. Then the following year, it happened all over again. It’s amazing how easily you forget which are the ‘no candy’ homes once the trick-or-treating actually begins. I made a mental note to skip the house a day or two before Halloween, but on the night of there I was on their step with an open sack holding all my candy, and an open mouth full of disbelief that the people in front of me didn’t believe in Halloween. I do remember that with each passing year the patience of the person answering the door grew shorter and shorter.

Over the years I learned that the family were Jehovah’s Witnesses, and that they were actually telling me the truth when they said they didn’t believe in celebrating holidays. For years my friends and I thought they were just cheap, and lied about not believing so they didn’t have to buy candy for other peoples kids. I don’t know why their deity is so hell bent against on having people celebrate holidays, but that’s deities for you… getting upset for no reason whatsoever and always, and I mean ALWAYS, trying to take the blast out of blasphemy.

There always was one rather depressing experience that happened from knocking on their door. It was seeing the children stuck in that house, sitting in the front room looking in amazement at kids their own age all dressed up, pretending to be something other than what they were, laughing, and asking strangers for candy every time the door would open.

Halloween was always my favorite holiday as a kid. I think it usually is for most kids because it is full of the one thing they have ample amounts of, imagination. The only thing I can figure is that the kids had been very naughty and the parents were trying to teach them a lesson. I wonder if the parents ever, after they closed the door, told their kids, “I know it might look like those kids were having fun being with their friends, unsupervised, running around asking for free candy and getting it, but the joke is on them! They aren’t having any fun at all.”

Maybe it was some cruel and unusual anti-imagination activity, like taking them kids to the Disney Land parking lot to collect bugs for a science project and telling them, “Just imagine there is no Disney Land beyond that fence. Instead imagine an empty field with beige flowers and nothing else, not even the bugs you are trying to collect. So there is no reason to even look in that direction. Oh and just ignore all that joy and laughter you ear coming from behind that fence.” Perhaps breaking down and hindering a child’s imagination is part of their religious agenda. Honestly, I have no idea. Although, I imagine if you get rid of the imagination early on, you don’t get questions like, “What does this all mean?” or “Do I really believe what you are telling me?” or “What does happy mean?” You know, things like that.

The other thing I never understood is why the parents would leave all their lights on. It was the equivalent of a child in wolves clothing… oh wait… I mean in reverse. When you leave your lights on, on Halloween, it gives every kid, and adults with kids, an inviting green light. It tells them that you are home and waiting around with no other purpose than to open your door to pass out handfuls of sugary goodness to anyone that knocks. Leaving all of your lights on and then answering your door just to tell the person knocking that you do not believe in the holiday and sending them away treatless, well, that’s just mean. I mean at the very least you could put up a sign! And that’s exactly what happened. Granted it only took seven years to figure it out (perhaps it was due to a lack of imagination?), but it did the trick. I mean sure, we still walked up to the door, but left in peace once we finished reading their anti-holiday proclamation.

I do have to say one thing though, saying you don’t believe in a holiday and then partially participating in that holiday by answering your door just to tell the costume clad person who knocked, and who is celebrating the holiday that you do not believe that holiday… well that’s kind of like going camping and then smearing honey all over your face and then telling the bear that has just showed up for an afternoon smorgasbord that you don’t believe in them. Whether you believe in it or not, it’s still there and still very real.

Although, I get people choosing not to participate in celebrating a holiday. Holidays are created all the time that I choose not to participate in… That’s right! I’m talking to you Hallmark! Quit it! Besides, I’m not sure a holiday goes away just because you choose not to believe in it. If that were the case Halloween would have disappeared a long, long time ago when the Catholic Church was avidly working on expunging all the Pagans, their beliefs, and their holidays.

In the end, I suppose that as long as these people are well and their anti-holiday belief isn’t hurting anyone then by all means, continue not to believe. To help with this whole thing I’ve devised a plan… so to any Witnesses reading this let me be the first to wish you a “Happy No Holiday At All Day!” I hope it treats you well.

Any anti-Halloween stories of your own you’d like to share? Please do.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: Happy Halloween, glow in the dark fangs, trick or treat, Jehovah’s Witnesses, imagination, house lights, and happy non party.

The Cost of a Cool Island Breeze

The Cost of a Cool Island Breeze

After spending a week in Maui, I learned something… ok technically I learned a number of things while I was there. This little nugget of Hawaiian wisdom comes from the realization that if your goal for Hawaii is to have a resort type of island holiday, then they will do their best to charge you for everything they possibly can… including the wind.

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “But Rich, how can they charge you for the wind?” Well, I’m glad you asked. I was a touch dumbfounded when I heard them say it myself. Ok, so here’s what happened… For the first half of your trip we stayed in the ritzy part of Wailea (pronounced why-lay-a). This area is home to some the bigger high end resorts on the island, like Four Seasons or Grand Wailea, were rooms with a view of the parking lot start at around $400 a night, and if you want a view facing the ocean, well that’s going to cost you.

One of the first evenings there my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh and I wandered around looking at the place. As we rounded the corner we came across these adorable little cabanas, i.e. patios with padded wooded lawn chairs under a big umbrella out in the middle of one of their pools. We even went out onto one and enjoyed a few moments laying on them looking out into the blackness beyond the resorts lights were the sound of the ocean kept spitting its S’s like a giant with a lisp trying to say “lisp,” reminding us that it was there, even if we couldn’t see it.

On our third day, decided to spend a fair portion of our afternoon lounging in and around the pools. The first place we headed to was the pool with those cute little cabana areas in the middle of the pool. Out of three possible options, there was one that was not yet taken. I started making my way there, appreciating the fact that we could snag one before any more people arrived. Angela, being a little more aware than I of resort protocol, asked one of the resort employees next to the pool how we would go about reserving one. The employee kindly informed us that we could get one for the entire day for only one hundred dollars.

“What all does that include?” Angela asked.

“It comes with a chilled fruit tray, a pitcher of ice water, and a nice cool natural island breeze that comes up from the ocean.”

Yes really, she included the islands natural breeze into the price. As Angela and I tried to have one of those “Did she just say that?” conversations using only our eyes, the employee leaned in and in a voice that I imagined locals only use to convey some mystical secret about the island, said, “If you rent it after 2PM it’s only fifty dollars.”

Not wanting to be rude, I engaged in the conversation by saying, “Ohhh.”

“I know,” replied employee smiling fanatically.

Angela thanked her and we watched the employee set off toward one of the ‘natural island breeze’ cabanas to deliver a pitcher of ice water to a waiting couple.

“Did she really say that they charge you $100 dollars to enjoy the island breeze?” I asked.

Angela smile, nodded, and decided, “Let’s go to the pool by the bar,” which is where we spent a good portion of our afternoon.

The rest of the time in Maui we would laugh when that $100/day wind would start blowing. Apparently the wind didn’t get the memo that it was only suppose to blow on those people visiting the island that had paid the $100 wind blowing fee for the day.

Ok, one more thing that cracked me up about Hawaii as well, Hershey’s Kisses with macadamia nuts. Yes Hershey’s has teamed up with Mauna Loa to create a Hershey’s Kiss that is stuffed with macadamia nuts. The kicker, you can only buy them in Hawaii. It’s true; these chocolate nutty treats of sugary goodness are made specifically by Hershey’s for the five island state of Hawaii. Mauna Loa ships their macadamia nuts from Hawaii to the states were the Kisses are made. Once the nutty Kiss cools, and is wrapped and packaged, it is shipped back to and only to, Hawaii…

Anyone else find that a little silly, or is it just me?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: Learned, Wailea Marriott, Hawaiian wind, ice water, and Hershey’s kisses with macadamia nuts.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

With Utah’s birthday coming up, July 24th to be exact, I thought I‘d get a little jump on the topic of Utah. I have a great deal of appreciation for my state, and by state I mean Utah, the state I live and not my mental state… although the same could be said for that as well. Utah is quite diverse, geographically speaking. When you begin talking about the people, a lot of the diversity is a result of visitors, and people experiencing layovers at the air port.

Still, when you look at the land, Utah does have some beautiful national parks, forests and mountain ranges. Some are teeming with evergreens, rushing rivers and speckled with red and orange stone, arch carved and always thirsty for water. In the northern part of the state you can always expect a nice ensemble of seasons.

Apart from the raw breathtaking beauty of the state, there are also little nuggets that seem to help others appreciate the state as well. Things like snow, for those of the winter sport inclined. The Sundance Film Festival brings with it a spotlight and red carpet for Utah once a year. We even have a professional soccer team, oh yeah, and a basketball team that was relocated from New Orleans decades ago… which explains their name, because let’s face it one of the things Utah is not known for is their Jazz, well they are, just not in the Louis Armstrong sense of the word.

Then there are the things about Utah that you are a little unprepared for. Things like the Gilgal Sculpture Garden. As a standalone name for a garden it’s rather opinion free. When you find out there is a sculpture of a Sphinx there that has the head of Joseph Smith, you begin shacking your head in much the same way you might shake up an Etch-a-Sketch when you need to start over again on your picture. Joseph Smith was the chap that created the LSD religion, the dominant religion for the state. To make a comparison, I guess you could say it would be a little like going into Vatican City and finding a garden with a sculpture of a giant Sphinx with the head of Saint Peter on it… ok so maybe there is one. I have no idea. I’ve never been to Vatican City. Still, either way it’s one of those things that strike you as a bit odd.

Or there is the unhealthy obsession and addiction that mainstream Utahans seem to have with Jell-O. I have no idea where this intense connection to a wiggly green gelatinous food-like substance comes from, but there is also an unrelenting impulse to put shredded carrots in it.

Then there are things that are just odd enough that you are compelled to say, “Yeah, started here in Utah, sorry about that!” A friend sent me an article this morning of one such event. The article made me want to take the time to let you know that we in Utah are sorry about this. I give you… the Candwich! A man by the name of Mark Kirkland, from Salt Lake City, Utah is going to be unleashing a product that is a sandwich in a can.

I was touch disturbed when I first saw this because the first place my mind went was that it was a thick puréed liquid that was supposed to taste like the picture on the can. You can all relax a bit, I read the article to make sure. It’s a meal stored in a can. It has all the makings for a sandwich they show on the front of the can, in the can. Take the strawberry PBJ one for example. The can contains a packet of peanut butter, a packet of strawberry jam, a bun in an air tight sealed bag, and a taffy treat. The peanut butter and jam ones seem harmless enough, as long as you avoid looking at all the preservatives placed in it to ensure it had a shelf life of over one year. Thus giving Twinkies a run for their money as the longest lasting food source after the apocalypse, which will probably be a result of releasing this product into the world?

Let’s just hope they don’t put the word fresh anywhere on the product. There is no way a one year old sandwich is going, that is of course unless it grows a hand while in the can and get a little flirty when you set it free for your own personal consumption.

The one that disturbs me and almost triggers a gag reflex in me if I think about it too much is the BBQ chicken one. Keeping BBQ chicken in a sealed bag that is stored in a can, which is not required to be chilled or refrigerated in any way and has a shelf life of one plus years… well you can call that a number of things, but I’m pretty sure chicken isn’t one of them. Even more disturbing is the thought that if it catches on you know they’ll be adding more and more flavors. I mean if it does catch on, what’s next? Maybe they really will start creating liquid meals for mass consumption, which only pushes us one step closer to the portrayal of humans in Pixar’s WALL-E.

When I think of the great things about this nearly rectangular state, I am proud of Utah. Still, when it comes to being the state that is remembered for giving the world the sandwich in a can, well, it does deflate some of that pride. I guess we’ll have to see where this ride ends. Until then we can always thank this state. For those of you that live here I recommend, “Thanks Utah, for being our home.” And to those of you not living here might I recommend, “Thanks Utah, for being you. So we don’t have too.”

What are your thought about the whole Candwich product?

Image Source:
Google Images, key words: Utah, Joseph Smith Sphinx, Candwich, and Wall-E humans.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Parents that make you go… “Why?”

Parenting is one of those skill sets that you make up as you go, and they seem to evolve and deform from one child to the next. I know this not because I am a parent, but because I have parents. Some things work well enough so they stick around as parental laws. Rules like, you can’t come home until a certain time, or playing in the street unless you are wearing a helmet… or is that riding your… and I think I got that first one backwards. Yeah, actually I think it’s you have to be home by a certain time. Well, I suppose at rule actually depends on the parents and the child involved. Sometimes though, you’ll see, or hear about, parenting decisions that really just make you say, “What the fffffrankly, well, just, you know… WHY?”

This first experience I witnessed a few weeks back at the local Art Fair during a hot afternoon. As the heat began to swelter, Angela and I found ourselves in the food tent sitting at a table eating some fries and enjoying some ice cold water while enjoying the shade. As I chomped on a crunchy wedge of deep fried potatoey goodness I noticed Angela’s eyes suddenly widen. She then whispered, “Look behind you.” As I turned around in my seat I noticed a small and empty stroller. Behind the stroller was a mom, holding a small pile of clothes in one hand and using the other to pour ice cold bottled water on a little child standing next to her wearing nothing but a white diaper.

As ice water flowed off his head and onto his bare torso, he didn’t really cry, but there was a gasp with eyes full of surprise while he clinched onto his moms pants to keep his balance. The lady stopped long enough to take a swallow or two and bent over saying something to the kid. The kid just shook… all of him, he was freezing. I could even see his teeth chattering together.

A friend of the lady then walked up with a little person of her own in a stroller and asked the first lady what she was doing. She replied, “He was hot so I’m helping him cool off.” And that was it, the ladies started talking and the little kid stood shivering in the sun trying to warm up. I turned my back to the scene looked and Angela and simply asked, “Why?” She just shook her head in reply.

As we started talking about the art of poor parental decisions, she told me a little story that a lady she use to work with had shared with her one morning a few years back. Apparently, one evening as this coworker pulled up to her house she saw her husband on the roof doing a little re-shingling work. Then she noticed that about ten feet from where he was working was her four year old boy… on the roof, sitting against swamp cooler, which was attached to the roof. The boy was facing his dad just sitting there looking around. She raced up to the house, jumped out of the car, and yelled at her husband to get the boy off the roof that second.

This took a little longer than expected. The father had taken a few precautions, such as putting the kid in a climbing harness, duct taping the kid to the cooler, and then wrapping a rope around the kid and the cooler three times and then tying a knot to ensure that the kid stayed put. In short, the little one had no chance of moving from that spot until his dad undid all the safety knots and released the kid from his perch.

Once the child was safely back on the ground, she began the husband scolding process. He tried explaining that their son had refused to stay on the ground in the first place. He kept following his dad up the ladder because he was curious to see what his dad was doing. So instead of fighting the kids persistence, he just took the kid up with him and made sure there was no way the kid would be able to move until the dad wanted him to. The boy was happy and content on the roof, sitting there asking questions about what his dad was doing, followed by a barrage of “why” and once satisfied with the answers he had received he just sat there quietly, looking around the neighborhood. The wife then began to explain all the reasons why it was a monumentally bad idea to take a four year old up to the roof of your house and duct tape him to the house’s swamp cooler. As the discussion continued, the husband eventually conceded that it was probably… definitely not the best decision.

I’d have to agree, it’s a bad idea in general to take any little kid and put them on a slanted roof. However, I’ll admit I do find a tiny smile creeping across my face when I envision a little four year old kid wearing round black rim glasses contently sitting on the roof of his house, duck taped to a cooler.

What are your thoughts on this visual? Also, do you have any “Why?” parenting moments that you’ve witnessed?

Image Source:
Google Images, key words: bad parents.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Texting and Junk

At the last wine party, with travel schedules, short notices, kids, and existing plans the wine party held a smaller gathering than usual. On a groovy note though, we did have my cousin join us for the first time, which I had not seen in probably around 10 years. Now one of the many things I enjoy about the wine parties is the endless collection of conversational oddities that people bring with them and share at the party each month. It was during the last wine party that my cousin brought up an epidemic that is spreading and affecting women across the world.

There are a few prerequisites that must be met in order for a woman to fall victim to this epidemic. The first thing that is required is a cell phone. Although, not any cell phone will do. I am referring to a cell phone with texting capabilities in which the owner of the cell phone can receive pictures via text.

Now there are people who would assume that this relates to all people who are equipped with a cell phone, and I would agree were I not one of the freaks out there that has an abrasion to texts. It’s not that I disagree with the concept of texting in general. I just disagree with the concept of me receiving and sending text messages. In fact my personal abrasion to the texting phenomena resulted in me contacting my cell phone provider and rearranging my phone to block all texts from my phone, both incoming and outgoing.

Sure it might sound a little archaic, but by that simple choice alone I am one of the most polite cell phone owning humans on the planet. Hey, I understand that the way people are communicating is changing. I have even heard from some parents that texting is the only way they are able to communicate with their teenagers. Personally I think this is a result of poor choices in parenting and they are letting themselves get sucked into a myth about texting being a gateway of communication between parents and teenagers that the cell phone companies have released on the internet as a way to boot cell phone sales. Parents are beginning to believe that they need to get their kid a cell phone with texting so they can talk to their kid. Even if you remove the conspiracy theory of that statement, shame on you for taking the lazy way out and given up on traditional spoken conversation, replacing it with bad grammar, nonexistent punctuation, and the use of the endless anagrams for words because people are too lazy to spell it out… I mean seriously, wtf?

In my experience, texting breeds rudeness, but because its texting, people fail to comprehend that they are being rude when texting or simply checking an incoming text while in the middle of a conversation. Yes, there are times and places where I can see how it is a useful tool. My problem is that I see texting as a tool that is turning people into tools without them realizing it.

I accept that texting is here and will be around for a while until something comes along that will replace it. Until then, and because this behavior is a relatively new addition to the human social dynamic wouldn’t you think that there should be texting etiquette classes? I think the class would break down to the following rule:
If you are having a conversation with an actual human, don’t text to someone else in the middle of your conversation or read texts you receive during the a fore mentioned conversation with said “real person.”
Appendix 1: Texting a third party is acceptable if it relates to contacting a third party that is being invited to the conversation.
Appendix 2: Checking received texts is acceptable if the situation is explained to the other “real person” in the conversation that you are expecting an important call or text, prior to engaging into a real conversation.

I don’t care if it could be the baby sitter with an emergency about the kids. You know what happened back in the day when something would happen while the parents were away? The baby sitter would drive your behind to the hospital, of if she couldn’t drive she would call her mom and her mom would show up and drive your butt to the hospital. Either way the situation was handled and your thumb was reattached, and your parents were still able to enjoy a nice evening out with friends or, better yet, each other.

So what was the epidemic that my cousin shared? The baffling yet regular habit of lesser mentally developed men that feel the need to, and consistently engages in the practice of sending a picture, via text, of the guy taking a picture of his reflection completely naked with his naughty bits waving hello to some poor unsuspecting woman who had only gone out with the chap only once a few days prior. I mean, who does that? I wish I had an answer, but it completely baffles me, bewilders me, befuddles me, and other words starting with b.

There were a few people at the party who admitted to having received more than one candid photo from more than one mentally broken male presenting their peanut sized brain in digital form to a girl that they have either chatted with online, had dinner with as a result of friends setting them, or that they had been chatting/stalking via Facebook. None of us at the party could really figure it out. One has started keeping a collection of all the “junk” files she receives in the event that fame or fortune comes to the junk sender. She figures at that point she can always sell the images to the highest bidder.

You know what I find confusing about selling photos like that? If you attempt to sell the image back to the individual who freely sent them to you in the first place, law enforcement experts chose to call that blackmail, but if you sell it to a third party so that they can release it to every major news networks and with any luck get the image to go viral so millions of people Google and giggle at some candid photo, it’s perfectly legit and often called entertainment. The world is a funny place sometimes.

I find it a little disturbing how common of a practice this actually is. The more people I talk to about this, the more I find people responding, “Oh yeah, happens all the time.” It’s almost as if it’s such a common practice that people just aren’t affected by it anymore. One of the party goers did admit that weren’t terrible opposed to it if there was some creativity involved with the picture taking, but this was the same person saving the photos for possible money making opportunities. My theory is that if you get the model to play “naughty bits” dress up the photo is going to be a lot more valuable in the resellers market. Who knows though, maybe that’s the line for her where junk becomes art.

I mean, I knew texting was a gateway habit to poor etiquette, but I had no idea how far south the poor etiquette meter it can cause some people to go. I hope it gets better, but sadly no matter what you consider is acceptable or not, I fear that as long as there are devices that have cameras on them there are going to be people jumping in front of them as the take picture button is pushed wearing only a smile. If you are one of these smiley people, practice some social skills and at least ask the person if they want to see it instead of just surprising them with a text that is going to add an extra year to their therapist visits. It’s the right thing to do.

Normally I’d ask for your stories on the topic, but I’m a little afraid to ask… your call I suppose, but please don’t send me any pictures.

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: texting, naughty texting, texting at dinner, blackmail, and poor etiquette.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Getting Tippy in Vegas

One thing I noticed about Vegas, it is a very tippy town. Of course it’s also a very tipsy town. Still, tipping in Vegas is just as common of a practice as drinking in Vegas. The thing is, getting tipsy there is a very simple process and the casinos are very eager and willing to accommodate any who are seeking that type of Vegas experience. Tipping on the other hand, although an easy process to take part in, is a very confusing process for a carry-your-own-bags type of personality such as myself.

Here’s what happened, on the second night in Vegas we had reserved a suite at the MGM Grand to do some training for about 20 to 30 people who had gone to Vegas for the same business training that my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh had gone there for. After the training, we had some Hawaiian BBQ and a luau party, along with some entertainment. The entertainment… dancers! I know what you are thinking, but the dancing did stay in theme with the party and the dancers wore traditional island outfits and performed traditional island dances in which all of the dancers remained clothed. That in and of itself may seem like a bit of an enigma for Vegas, but for the purpose and theme of the evening it was perfect.

The grooviest part of this whole experience was that the hotel was feeling rather randomly generous that day and upgraded our room to a high end suite for no additional cost. When we arrived with all the party supplies we had the bellboy, who was really a bellman but still seemed content on being referred to as a boy that based on his title alone was in charge of ringing the bells for the hotel, unload the car and place all our supplies on a luggage cart.

He was very clear that we would not be seeing him again, and that he would not be the one to drop off our luggage at our room. He pointed this out to us three different times. After he filled up a luggage cart we understanding the not so subtle hints he was dropping, tipped him a few dollars and headed to our room. When we got there a completely different “boy” showed up with our luggage cart and proceeded to unload it for us. The main problem I had with this and with loading up the cart was that it just makes me feel a little useless and odd not knowing how to react to the situation. I wanted to help out, because that’s how I was raised, but both “boy ala bells” was very adamant that I do no such thing.

After the cart was unloaded the “boy” came over to me asked for the cart ticket we had been given when the cart was first loaded up. I handed it to him with a $5 bill. He looked at the bill and opened it up to see if there was more than one bill inside. When there wasn’t he looked back at me with a “Seriously!?!” look on his face to which I responded, “Thank you!” in one of my friendly tones, and with that he left.

It did get me thinking though. Apparently I had taken part in some tipping faux pas. At least when I comes to tipping for your food there is a standard set up that I can mathematically figure out and take part in. I was almost bothered by the “boys” reaction, but we had to quickly get everything set up for the party, and I was responsible for mixing a vat of spirited juice for the attendees. Also, we scored an amazing room. It was around 2200 sq. feet and we were on the 17th floor. The room had a deck with a fabulous view overlooking the strip, which just so happened to have a hot tub on it.

During the stay in Vegas my thoughts eventually went back to this whole tipping thing and confusion began to set in. Here’s how the subject began to unravel in my head…
Tipping your server in a restaurant is around 15 to 20% of the cost of your meal. This is a common standard for the US. So how does that equate to baggage handlers? I mean apparently you have to tip the bellboy who unloads your car, and then you tip the bellboy who unloads your luggage cart. You also tip the valet person that takes your car and then you tip them when they return your car. Is there a percentage associated with the tip based on room cost? If there is a scale, what is considered correct? It is 1% or 5% or what exactly? I know it can’t be the same food, mainly because the service you get for the span of a meal could be up anywhere between 30 minutes to 2+ hours. Unloading your baggage cart takes maybe 10 minutes top. Granted there is a bit more heaving lifting, but still.

Also, how does this percentage work with upgrades? If I reserve a room that is $200 a night and get upgraded to a room that is $1000 a night, am I then required to tip at the new room rate vs. the original room rate? I don’t think you would, but maybe you are? Does that go along with cars as well? Do you tip a valet guy more if you drive a more expensive car vs. a cheap car? Or is there just one standard fee? Also, with the valet, or even taxis, do you tip more if there are more people in the car?

And another thing, we had a cleaning lady show up to get the room ready for bedtime, something I’ve not experienced since I was 5 and my mother would come into my room to tuck me in at night, although this was a bit different. Some nice lady showed up and took away all of the trash from the party. Then she went up to our room and placed some robes on the bed and folded open the sheets to the bed so we could easily climb into bed without having to take an extra second or two to personally grab the corner of the bed sheet and fold it down and then climb into bed. It too was an odd little experience and at the end, it was once again tip time. Once again begging the question, how much do you tip these people? Is this also equated to the cost of the room you are in, or if it is an upgrade do you use the room you were initially intended to be in? Is there an equation that can be used to quickly figure out these sums? Or is it just some standard fee?

And while I’m on the topic, I do feel it important to point out that if you are a food server and you take care of a table of 6 or more people (I believe that is the standard) were you automatically add an 18% gratuity and then you intentionally don’t tell the party that in hopes that you’ll get double tips, well then you are an evil, wicked, mean, and bad, and nasty person and I hope you get a severe case facial herpes which always flares around your mouth so that no one will ever want to kiss you again. Sure, some might call that a bit harsh, but I choose to call it suggestive karma.

On a different note, but still on the same topic, if you are at a restaurant, and you and your dining party stay for an extended period of time catching up, laughing, telling jokes, sobering up, whatever really, and spend over a three hour period at your table, remember that your server has had to put up with you and serve you for that time and has lost tips because you are taking up a table that someone else could have used for a meal and tipped the server for. The point is you really need to tip them more that the customary 15%. I’d recommend doubling your tip for them. Or if you are one of those people that just meets for coffee at a restaurant and purchase a cup of endless coffee and decide to spend two hours there drinking coffee and ordering nothing else, make sure you drop a dollar or two for each hour you spend there as a tip to your server. It too is a karma issue.

Needless to say, Vegas did leave me a little tipped out when we left. I’m sure there is a cell phone app out there that is more than willing to answer all of my Vegas tipping questions, but that would require me to get a new cell phone that would allow me to add apps to my phone, and that is one gamble that I am just not willing to make.

Is anyone else as perplexed by this extended tipping practice, or is it just me?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: tips, bellboy, MGM suite deck, confused man, and friends at dinner.