The first time I saw the words “Pretzel Logic” was on the cover of an album by the rock group Steely Dan. They play exceptional music, in my opinion. Since then, I have often experienced Pretzel Logic in my travels.
What is Pretzel Logic? Simply put, it means Illogical logic – meaning that sometimes things happen that defy logic, because they make no sense or they’re the opposite of what should be.
Tips fall into the category of Pretzel Logic. That is because many times, I work really hard and don’t get a tip and other times I do the basics of my job as a chauffeur, and I’m actually surprised to receive a tip.
To be clear, I never expect to receive a tip. Receiving one is always a pleasant surprise and sometimes I ‘m amazed at the generosity of my passengers.
Too Rich to Tip
I’ve driven many passengers over the years who are clearly wealthy. I can tell they are financially well off by the size of their palatial estate McMansions, the cars in their driveways (Porsches, Teslas) and their super work titles (VP, CEO, CFO, etc).
My routine for all of my VIP passengers is the same; it never changes because every passenger I drive is a VIP. I arrive 15 minutes early for the pickup, I’m polite, I smile when I greet them by name, and I drive them safely and efficiently to their destination.
At the end of the trip, I can often tell if someone has no intention of tipping when they grab their own bags out of the back of my car and run away. I don’t mind because I’m paid fairly by my company.
One passenger I drive always gives me a Ben Franklin note. I am always very pleased, of course, because again, I never expect to receive a tip.
No matter what time of day or how many guests he has or how much luggage there is, he gives me $100. He told me his tip to me is always the same because of the VIP service I provide to him and his guests.
In the Nick of Time
In late February, I picked up four people from Tenafly going to Newark Airport. I’m usually 15-20 minutes early for every pick up, but for this one, I just made it there in the nick of time.
I backed into their driveway and they all walked out of their house and into my SUV, dropped their bags in the back and got into my vehicle without saying a word. I got them safely to Newark and when I said goodbye, I was shocked when one of them gave me a Ulysses Grant note. I felt a little guilty because I didn’t think I “earned” that tip.
Early Morning Mistake
In mid-March, I woke up late one morning (don’t tell my boss!) for a 3:30am pick up in Wayne, NJ going to Newark Airport. On my way there, I realized the notes on my iPad said, “child car seat needed.” I didn’t have one… YIKES! (Don’t tell my boss!)
I arrived in the driveway at 3:30am and stepped out of my vehicle. A young mother came out to say hi and I introduced myself to her. I apologetically said I did not have a car seat and suggested using one from her car. I promised to return it when she returned with her family.
She seemed to think that was a reasonable solution. She didn’t appear to be upset or angry. I believe MOM is actually an acronym for Multiple Operations Manager, so she is probably used to plans going awry all the time.
All seven of us made it into my SUV and we made it to Newark Airport with plenty of time for them to catch their flight to Orlando, Fla. I was shocked when she handed me two crumpled up Andrew Jackson notes. She was so generous and clearly had her hands full.
The moral of this Street Story is to never expect anything from anyone, except yourself. Always do your very best and strive for perfection and, if you are rewarded financially or emotionally, then that’s gravy.