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Tipping workers
Readers weigh in on the correct amount


Dear Readers,
Several months ago, I ran a letter from a player asking about the correct amount to tip a Bingo worker. The player had won $800 and tipped $20, which I said seemed low to me. A number of readers wrote in with strong opinions on this subject, and their letters follow. (Some assumed this was a not-for-profit charity Bingo with volunteer workers, which was not the case. Tipping obviously is not permitted at charity Bingo.)
I hope to hear from a few Bingo workers on the topic of tipping for a future column. —Aunt Bingo

Dear Aunt Bingo,
I just got home from Bingo and read your column, since I’m a fan. I had to write to disagree with your advice to “Upset Player,” who won an $800 Bingo game and was criticized by a Bingo attendant for tipping “only” $20.
You wrote, “Tipping is an established part of the service profession.” Yes, that is basically true, except Bingo is not a “service profession” like a restaurant, hair salon, or vacation resort! Do these Bingo attendants take your order, serve you food and drinks, and remove your plates? Do they wash, cut, blow dry and style your hair? Do they carry your heavy suitcases to your hotel room?
I’ve spent plenty of money going to Bingo, trying repeatedly to win. Once I’m lucky enough to win, I prefer to “share the joy” with my family, who truly helps me all the time, not strangers who never have! Why should I be obligated to tip anyone who didn’t provide a personal service to me?
If you have a good job and can throw money around, fine. But if you’re unemployed, or on a fixed income, that $20 tip (that was not appreciated) could buy that nice lady food for the week!
For some folks, winning that game can be the lucky break they needed, to pay their bills and buy their family necessities. The mindset that “tipping is part of the winning experience” is absurd. When you pay your hard earned money to play Bingo, sometimes for many games before you win, why should you “owe” anyone who works there anything? Prizes are gifts, with no strings attached!
You said “brow beating a player is unprofessional.” I call it being rude, disrespectful and selfish. At age 88, Upset Player doesn’t need a lecture on tipping, either. Someone that age knows more than most people already. Besides that fact, I was raised to respect my elders. —DPK, San Francisco Bay Area

Dear Aunt Bingo,
I disagree with your answer to the 88-year-old Bingo player whose $20 tip you said seemed pretty low. I think $20 is fine. If the place isn’t paying its employees an adequate wage, it’s not up to me to make up for it—especially when I pay a premium price to buy in. No one compensates me when I don’t win.
I don’t mind sharing when I feel I can but no one should be made to feel cheap and there is no way I am giving $80 out of a jackpot unless the worker was daubing my card while I was in the bathroom snorting coke! —KP, via email

Dear Aunt Bingo,
I frequently read your column and have never replied until I read the letter from the Bingo player who wrote in regarding her $800 Bingo win and a complaint regarding her tip to the volunteer paying her out.
I do not agree with your advice at all. Firstly, volunteers don’t expect to be paid. You’re encouraging bad behavior and selfishness. No one compensates players if they lose. By the time we actually win, it’s like getting our own money back! Wait staff and hairdressers are employed; gainfully so, not volunteers. Tipping is really called gratuity, or “that which is freely given.” How rude of that person to complain about the amount! —Ms. Ceci


Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, Washington 98070, or email her at STENGL456@aol.com. Be sure to include your name and address (you can request that your name not be published), as typically she will not include anonymous letters in her columns.

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