Went to Duluth Dylan Festival, a week of music, films, memories, presentations, and performances great tribute to a home growing son. Having a dinner with a few friends in a restaurant on the Northshore area, where you can usually see the heads of the food served hung on the walls to make sure. This restaurant was surprisingly different, Midwestern feel with a French accent cuisines, the menu was simple yet sophisticated, tables made out of rusted logs and the waitress was friendly and eager . Everyone ordered wine for a starter, I went for the hot tea, a cultural cringe these days. Today’s specials, was highlighted by the waitress’s sexy elegant voice unlocking the mystery of the French cuisines … ; “a crispy texture of savory flavors, that would melt inside your mouth, gently touching your tong with a surprise aroma that will fill up your mouth … and… !!, I was at this point, lost in imageries of the food porno presentation. I wasn’t sure of what she is descripting, and I didn’t really care, waking up only on her voice asking if I was ready for my order .
A friend recommended, the French Online Soup, “the best French Onion Soup out of France’ he assured with a Yelp authority. “why not, go for it” I told the waitress. “Should I get your Soup with other orders, the waitress asked, making sure that I understand this is not really a dinner dish. The conversations went from music, traveling, and other ventures, none talked about the overpriced food, at the end a friend asked about the tipping rules, “I never been in a restaurant like this ” he explained. , “… at least 25%”, a friend mussed, “the waitress was that good.” He added. Then we talked about tipping in general, which is taking a front stage recently with Fox & Friends co-hosts Ainsley Earhardt tipping gaff, who thinks instead of raising minimum wage, …you should just be super nice to the customers, you’ll make a lot of tips at McDonalds, he promised. A friend started talking about his trip to Egypt, there, he noticed that people don’t usually tip, they only give Baksheesh, ( Persian origin, means to give or to forgive) ) “this is a bribe” he complained. It is not a bribe,? I snapped , “It is a bribe, you can’t get anything in Egypt without giving someone a bribe or a Baksheesh , ” he explained . I know there are so many different kinds of Baksheesh , straight begging in the street, and in tourist areas, to Baksheesh that is giving as a permission to get preferential service, or treatment, at stores, juice bars, bathrooms, and attractions Well, Baksheesh, is common in Egypt yes, but if you look at it as a pre-tipping, you will relax a bit” (laughing) . Baksheesh , unlike tip, you give it to the server before rending the service, this would establish a relationship that is based on trust and a promise, whereas tip, is giving after the service is rendered, establishing a relationship that is based on rewards and punishments. So it is not really a bribe. Most western visiting Egypt snubbed at Baksheesh, and fulfill their self-righteous supercity over color corrupt people, that are corrupt and uncouth, but it is ok to give tip (Baksheesh) to baristas at Caribou or Starbucks, according to the Starbucks Newsroom, Gottsman… “ tipping a dollar or two for a cup of coffee is steep. However, she says it may be worth it for loyal customers who have developed a relationship with the employees” that is what Baksheesh is, Baksheesh is common in a society, where communally relationship is more important than individual efficiency and self-righteous. Tipping Baristas at Starbucks before rendering the service, which everybody know that won’t necessary improve your coffee or get it faster, everything at Starbucks’s is Starbukized , as Sociologist George Ritzer coded it in his brilliant book, the Starbuckization of Society ! Tipping here is more demeaning and patronizing to underpaid waiters and waitress. The cultural meaning of tips changes as Raymond Williams published in his book Keywords, exposed the mutability of words across different historical periods. Here is in Forbs, “Tipping is stupid, unnecessarily complicated, bad for restaurants, and arguably illegal.” … studies show that when it comes to tipping, young people get more than old people, women get more than man and whites get more tips than any other ethnicity. Why tipping a Baristas at Starbucks aren’t called Baksheesh or bribe like in Egypt, or other Middle eastern countries, because words are not neutral, Language according American Poet, Journalist Ambrose Bierce is “The music with which we charm the serpents guarding another’s treasure,” Here corporate media and politicians would use loaded charged words like, Taliban, AL Qaeda, Madrassa, Jihadists, that fit western narrative about shitholes colored people in the middle east and elsewhere, who according to Trump racist rhetoric, infested our neighborhoods, and coming to invade and to replace American whites. One last thing, this is a free public service, no Baksheesh needed!
Ahmed Tharwat / Host/Producer of Arab American TV show BelAhdan