In Fargo, they used earth movers to plug the dikes. (Image: Minnesota Public Radio)

Well, we may be beyond the leak in the dike stage in this economy, but we’re not beyond the point where individuals can stem leaks in order to keep the flood from carrying our neighbors away.

Being grown women we have a way to not only plug a leak, but to stop new ones from developing. Believe it or not, we can do it with dollar bills. Or fives or tens. By realizing that tipping– as in being Big Tippers– can have a significant ripple effect in these times.

Think of it. Everyone is cutting back. Instead of eating out several times a week or once a month or whatever our previous norm, we‚’re eating out less. Instead of going to the higher ticket places, we’e going to the more affordable ones. Instead of buying the grande coffee, w’re buying the regular size. Whatever the numbers, the amount of money being spent where tips are part of the equation is less. And the tips go down as well.

Waitstaff everywhere are seeing the size of the average check and the number of checks diminish. The people who make up this part of the service industry often try for more than one job, and this is a time when they’re lucky to have even one. The same goes for coat check people, baristas, counter help, cab drivers who are watching people board the bus, hair dressers who are watching their clients’ roots grow and on and on.

The simple truth is each tip means more.

At this moment in history, we can make a difference by giving bigger tips. And we probably actually have the money to do that..

We’re all trying to be prudent and whatever our situation, we are spending less. If we pocket 18 of the 20 dollars we save and give that extra two as a part of a generous tip (or give a dollar instead of the change we get in a coffee transaction), we make a significant difference to someone who needs it and don’t significantly diminish our intent to save.

The savings means there actually is more money available for tipping. And it should translate into tipping better than you ever have before. Because the extra one, three, five or ten dollars will mean something to the person who is getting it and won’t hurt much, if at all, to give

What’s more, older women have often been the victims of a misguided image. We are thought to be bad tippers. Now is a moment in history when we can not only make a difference to a segment of the population who need our help, but we can forever change our image in the process.

This could be a movement. A tipping point, if you will. Next time you have to leave a tip, leave more than the reasonable amount. Leave the reasoned amount and remember the reason for doing it: we’ve got to help everyone we can.

Try it. It feels great.

We can make a difference with so little sacrifice and that difference will grow into optimism and hope. At a moment in history such as this, the world actually does turn on such things.

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