Tipping for personal services

Anymore I rarely write about personal finance or budget related topics, possibly because I’m far too busy obsessing about health and fitness and work. Occasionally stuff comes up that makes me think about it.

This week, I had a second session with trainer J. Something with work happened last week that made Saturday’s time at the gym a major exercise in frustration and tears. I came home ready to quit, telling M that I couldn’t do the simplest stuff that we have been working at for several weeks, all accompanied by major weeping and wailing and angst that any 15 year old drama queen would envy. M, being a smart man who wants to continue his happy-life-happy-wife existence, wisely suggested I request a second session with J to go over all that ailed me about my practice and receive additional direction/instruction and reassurance.

So I texted a timid request for a second session this week and that was this morning. But by this morning the dramatic waves that had overwhelmed me Friday and Saturday were now fading, and I was a little embarrassed yet had a better handle on what is going on in my brain and psyche. J as always offered me choices about what I wanted/needed to do, so we went through the other basic workout and started making it harder, and Thursday we will finish that process. For now, though, all seems well.

How does all that relate to finance and tipping, you’re probably wondering.

I believe J falls into the category of personal services where tipping seems appropriate. M was shocked and appalled that I was wandering away each week without tipping him for our time together, and I told him I thought it would be weird and was waiting until renewal came up in a few to do so. But I was dreading it, not because of the money, but because of the actual act of handing him money. I am uber cowardly when it comes to such genuine, heart-felt gestures and did not want to embarrass him and therefore embarrass me. I hate talking about money (yes, I am an accountant and recognize how stupid that sounds from someone who deals with and discusses money practically all day long), and I have this phobia about reactions to gratuities.

Today something else happened that allowed me a perfect reason to advance my timetable. The big event? I am officially relieved of the burden of daily insulin injections. Yep, had my 3-month with my doc this morning and he agreed to experiment with taking me off that completely due to my excellent A1c (down to 6.1 and “normal” is >5.7). We can always reevaluate this choice in 3 months and add it back, but for now he’s comfortable that I can and will maintain my hard work in this area.

I am excited and happy and gratified that my focus on getting healthier is finally paying dividends!

Anyway, I give J a lot of credit for getting me to this point. He has made exercise make sense for me, finally. I am also fully engaged and working out daily, which is another big change for me. With M’s mild disapproval for not “taking care of my trainer” ringing in my ears, I put some leftover Halloween candy into a baggie with a red envelope containing a 20% tip based on my package purchase price along with a brief note of thanks and highlighting my success with this big goal. I put money into a red envelope (this is the only Chinese tradition I follow from my mother’s culture) and hid it with the candy. That baggie then went into the larger bag of diet rock star that our contractor did not consume during a few days flurry of measuring the deck for estimates and taking care of some minor repairs at our home. I then handed the whole lot over to him before our session today without mentioning my life-altering news. Basically I did not want J to make a big deal out my small gesture and thank me effusively or protest or something even worse. I figured he’d text me when he found it and he did. And now, mercifully, it’s done for another few months.

And I am out of M’s “cheaping out on tipping service providers” doghouse.

Not everyone agrees with our philosophy on tip-appropriate occasions, but we have done our fair share of menial jobs and always try to pay it forward whenever we can. Much as we hate tip jars on principle, we drop money into them at food stands. And really, other than servers in restaurants, my hair stylist, nail lady, and now my trainer, we don’t have a lot of services for which tipping seems customary in our day-to-day life. Maybe if I did I would not feel so weird about it.

 

2 thoughts on “Tipping for personal services

  1. I bet you knew I would have an opinion on this. First – talk about burying the lead. Off insulin!, jumping up and down here for you. Super happy and proud of you! Congrats congrats congrats!
    Ok – I don’t tip D after every session (would be dumb based on how I pay him) but have done two different things to thanks him. One big difference is I pay D for sessions – not the gym – he is an independent trainer. So first I raised his rate because I had negotiated a ridiculously cheap rate and he had proven to be worth far far more. And when I hit milestones that are important to me – I give him a bonus. He never expects it – always surprised and insists all of the accomplishment is due to me, I tell him I may do the work but wouldn’t know what to do or stay motivated without him. Team effort.
    I also don’t know anyone who tips after each session – that seems really odd because it isn’t about any one session but the cumulative impact – I think a tip at renewal times would be right or when you hit a milestone that is important to you – like this one!
    Total side note – D is getting an awesome Xmas gift/tip because I am on pace to be below 200lbs – a number not seen since the ’90’s and am already the smallest I have been as an adult and the fittest. No real way to say thanks for that but I will try.

    • See, I KNEW you’d see it my way. M is just a weirdo who doesn’t get this training thing. J is a gym employee, or I’d be taking the exact same steps as you do with D. And since he is an employee of the gym, I wanted to be super low-key about it so as to not inspire issues with his peers or bosses.

      I am renewing my sessions within the next couple of weeks and am plotting the Xmas bonus already as well. IF we have to talk about this tomorrow (I already know our paths will cross) or Thursday, I will ensure to reinforce how the NO MORE INSULIN is a big F-ing deal to me and something I never thought of as achievable. There is a separate post coming on that, but the tipping thing has been on my mind today because it just gave me all sorts of anxiety to sneak it into the diet rock star care package I’d already told him I’d be giving him.

      OMG! You must be so excited about this next milestone! You are the poster girl for lifestyle change.

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