Are you willing to pay for stuff?

I was talking bands with one of the young people in our care here at MCH when I said something about buying songs or albums.

The youth looked at me as though I had slipped into an unknown language. Since we now live a good decade after the advent of Napster, could it be that much of a generation has never thought to actually purchase music?

As a volunteer at Glen Lake Camp this summer, I enjoyed refilling water glasses table to table at lunch.

As I moved from table to table, I made occasional jokes about working for tips. Most chuckled; one young man said, “I never leave tips. I’m poor.”

“If you can’t afford to leave a tip, then you can’t afford to eat there,” I replied. People get paid less with the expectation of tips. Don’t you think the waiter or waitress deserves to make a living?”

I got the expected “I never thought of that” look.

Musicians, artists, and waitstaff all deserve to be able to make a living, don’t they?

If you want stuff, please join me in being willing to pay for it.

2 thoughts on “Are you willing to pay for stuff?

  1. I think this ethic has been lost, and just in the past 60 or so years in the US. It started with the advent of easy credit (and cheap credit) post WWII. In Bishop Schnase’s 5 practices book he quotes the statistic that 40% of Americans live on 110% of their annual income each year. (pg 113) The average credit card debt per household is $9,858. ( ). This doesn’t take into account other consumer debt, nor mortgages. I read somewhere that the average total debt per US household is about $78,000. That is a great deal of money.
    Add to that the fact that just yesterday, both Houses of the US Congress passed (through bi-partisan support), and the President signed, the authourisation to add $7 TRILLION more to the US debt. This means we now will go from roughly 14.7 Trillion in debt to 21.7 trillion in debt over the next 10 years. Astounding.
    In 2010 there were about 1.5 MILLION personal bankruptcies in the US. That means that 1.5 million people personally defaulted on money they borrowed, owed, and promised to pay. Proverbs states that, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” (Prov. 22.7). This was true then and will always be true. The poor will always get poorer regardless of US governmental fiscal or tax policy as long as they continue to borrow and spend more than they earn. As Christians we are called to be good stewards of all we earn, all we spend, all we save, and all we give. Too often the church has only focused on the giving, which is short cited and Biblically wrong.
    There is a place that our youth have learned about not paying for what you get: Their parents. We must raise up a new generation of fiscally aware and responsible stewards. As the church we need to teach a holistic view of stewardship to our congregations.

  2. It’s also a matter of different patterns of tipping in different setting. While leaving tips for those who wait on us in restaurants is a phenomenon standard across the country, where I live now is a largely self-service world. In my normal travel experiences I check into a hotel, carry my own luggage to and from the room, figure out all my own stuff. But when I visit an urban area and stay at a downtown hotel, for example, there are service people doing everything. I have to figure out how to tip all these folks after coming from a culture of doing it myself. It feel strange.

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