Friday, 23 December 2016

Even more excitement this week!

Hi again!

I might be on holidays, but I haven't quite been on holidays this week, if you know what I mean.

My first super exciting news to share is that I was a guest blogger this week for Susan over at The ESL Connection. You can check out my post on education in Australia here! I am so very super excited because this was my first ever guest blog post!

It was also really cool because I learnt heaps while revising the post. There were heaps of times I looked at something Susan had asked and I was like, oh really? Other places don't know what that is or do that? It just goes to show how different our collective worlds can really be, even when we all have the same goal!

I have also just updated my Teacher Control Organisers for the 2017-2018 year!

   Take Control Teacher Organiser Bold Bubbles                                  

I must be really inefficient at this stuff, because it took me all day to update 6 calendars?  Anyhow, I am really happy with how they look, and I have about 10 more background designs that I just didn't get around to making last year that I'm thinking about working on after Christmas. Maybe.  

The boys have been mountain bike crazy the past few weeks, and go with their Dad nearly every day. We have the World Cup Trail just down the road from our house, so they disappear up there an awful lot. In this hideous weather. You know it's humid when even your earlobes get sweaty. Not mine. My sons. I have never seen anyone with sweaty earlobes before, but there is a first time for every thing.

I kinda get stuck between really wanting to do stuff with my kids, getting school stuff done, and playing with all the genius ideas I get that never seem to really work out, and Disney research at the moment. 366 days and the kids are counting. Alright, I might have a Disney countdown app on my phone that enables them. I AM excited. It's not every day you get to go to Disney World!

Well I guess it is if you work there. But for us, it's a once in a lifetime, not likely to ever be possible again, family holiday with an 18 month run up momentum. This week I've been researching tipping culture in the US. I have come up with this much:

  • It is extremely complex. The socially excepted rules are pretty simple when it comes to the amount. It's all the what ifs that make it tricky
  • It's in unexpected places. Like public bathrooms!?
  • Australian's are notoriously awful at it.

Silver and Gold Coins

Well, I don't want to live up to THAT expectation! I would like to do this well, hence the research. I may be a bit defensive,  but please understand, we just don't DO it here, and I have yet to find someone who can coherently explain it! Not anywhere! 

In a lot of jobs here you are actually not allowed to accept tips. In one job I had, if someone insisted on leaving one, it just went into the till. On a separate but slightly related note, I read a story this week that a local council in another state in Australia had BANNED kids and parents from giving teachers 'substantial' gifts such as wine and gift cards. 'Token' gestures such as a box of chocolates were acceptable. This is supposed to ensure anti-corruption laws are followed!?  You see?  We have no chance of really understanding this tipping culture properly when we live in an environment such as this.

I have read some people saying that the Japanese tourists often don't tip, and it's not so much okay but it's accepted, only because it's a cultural thing as they don't do it there. We don't do it here either... why is it less okay for us to mess it up? I don't really follow that logic, but it seems a pretty prevalent line of thought out there in google world. 

So,...... I'm going to lay out my understanding and really, really hope that someone will correct anything wrong! I'm sure there's stuff I have completely muddled up. I'm a bit terrified concerned about accidentally ripping someone off.
Like I said, I want to do this well.  

Anything less than a 15% tip is rude or for extremely bad service. 
I might feel guilty leaving less than 15% even if the service was really bad. Is it counterproductive to tip well even when the service was appalling?
But then you pay tax on your meal? So are you expected to tip based on the total of the bill or the before-tax amount? Does it matter?

I tip cab drivers but not the starbucks staff?

You pay tax on stuff you buy anywhere, but it's not listed on the price tag? And depending on what it is, there are different tax percentages? Is it written down anywhere so you know how much your actually paying for stuff? Do you then tip the sales staff? Again, is it before or after the taxes?

Apparently, you don't tip for tickets? So what if I buy a dinner that comes with a ticket for something? Do I just tip on the food part or the total? 

What about buffets? 

What if I run out of small change and only have high denominations left? 

I kinda feel like I'm going to end up standing on a corner handing out money to whoever walks past because I can't figure out who I should tip and who I shouldn't. After all, these are all people who are doing their jobs. Should I ask them? Seems rude. 

I guess that's why we are thought to be bad at this. It's hard to understand. I can completely understand people panicking and just bolting for the door. 

Yes, I know that these people get paid a ridiculous $2 an hour or something like that. I get that they NEED it. I have no idea how to identify who these people are. I also get that people from outside the culture could be baffled by paying someone to do their job. After all, that's what their boss is supposed to do.

My big question is this: 
Why DON'T their bosses pay them a proper income? Surely a small price increase on products and services to meet the cost wouldn't put people off buying from them if it meant that the staff were paid and the need to tip disappeared?  This is what I really don't get. 

I really want to though. As I said. I want to do it well. 
I don't want to add to the idea that Aussie's are rude, arrogant and culturally insensitive. I'm not trying to be difficult and I hope no one is offended by anything I've said. Like I said before, I'm making a huge effort to understand what is not only expected, but why and how it all works.

Well that turned into a bit of a desperate rant/plea for help. 

3 more days til Christmas! I am so very excited. My little niece is 3 weeks old. I love having hugs with her. Even though she immediately sleeps every time I touch her. She's precious. We will have the entire family together for her first Christmas, with my boys and my other niece. Such a special time.

I hope everyone has a safe Christmas and a blessed New Year. May we always remember that Jesus is the reason, but without the promise of redemption brought through Easter, it would be just another birthday celebration. Christmas is a gift of hope for the future.

And please help solve my tipping dilemmas! I have NO idea what I'm doing!

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