Some believe that TIP is an acronym meaning “to insure promptness.” If true, why do we tip after the meal? Would our service be better if our server knew the amount they would earn from serving us, or is it best to wait until the end, see how they do and reward them based on their performance?
Let’s take my newspaper delivery person for example. Every December, there is one day—right around the holidays—when he leaves my newspaper right outside my door. I don’t need to take one step, and there it is. And yes, I confess, while I often read the newspaper on my tablet, I still love the touch of the newsprint and the clumsy turning of the large sheets of paper.
As you have probably guessed, along with my perfectly delivered paper there is a self-addressed envelope and a nice green printed note thanking me for being a customer this year, both of which are kindly suggesting that now is a good time for an annual tip.
Did I mention that for the other 364 days each year my newspaper is NEVER on my doorstep? It’s always within 15 feet of my door—no big deal—but nonetheless, it’s NEVER right outside my door.
So, should I tip my delivery person for the past year, as suggested, or should I offer a tip for 2017, sharing my hope that the paper will always be right where I want it? I could send the delivery person a note asking for the nicely delivered paper, which I now know is possible, in exchange for an annual tip.
It’s said we get the behavior we accept. I’ve always tipped my newspaper delivery person in arrears—maybe it’s time to cut a new deal and see if I can ensure the behavior I want, which is a more accurate toss on my porch. Now, where my paper lands is, of course, immaterial, but the larger point remains.
Do we reward the behavior we want or the behavior we receive? The timing of when you offer the reward can make the difference.