03 October, 2007

Dear Mr Lebron James, Millionaire

Sir, let me first say that I appreciate you remaining in Cleveland and playing for the Cavaliers, and continuing to support the community. Certainly, I do not need to remind you that Cleveland is a city with numerous image and economic problems, and while I do not agree that having a successful sports franchise is in any way a panacea or even a suitable Band-Aid for our city's ills(*), I cannot argue that your continued support does do some good.

That said, when you (allegedly) tell your friend not to tip a valet because "they get paid to do that anyway," I feel I must take offense and correct you. Certainly, valets are paid. Usually, they are paid a fraction of the minimum wage. The reason this is possible is because they are employees, like waiters and bartenders, who earn a portion of their income from tips.

In July, the minimum wage for Cleveland, the lowest in the nation, went up to a dismal $5.85. According to the text of the bill, an employer may pay 'less than [the proposed minimum wage] but not less than half of [the minimum wage] if it can be demonstrated that the employee also earns tips.' Half of the minimum wage is $2.93, and you can bet that almost every employer will pay their tip-earning employees the exact minimum the law allows.

So, sir, with all due respect, if you do not tip valets, and if you tell others not to tip valets, then that means that not only are you a cheapskate, you are also a douche-bag.


(*) Regarding the phrase "successful sports franchise", I do mean a winning one; in the words of Stringer Bell to Omar Little and Brother Mouzon, "get on with it, motherfucker."

No comments: