30 Comments

  1. Perhaps this is going to be another case of Tiffany being totally wrong — that’s been the running theme, what with her failure to understand credit cards and all — and likewise of Les being wrong (recall his costly pursuit of coworker who turned out to be a lesbian).

    As for “mostly men”, I thought the Fuse was a teen hangout and performance space, not a “businessman’s lunch” kind of place. Maybe whoever is seating the customers routes the women away from Les’s tables. Or maybe an older male contingent asks for Les and he again lacks a clue.

  2. I’m sometimes not too good at math, but I don’t see it WW:
    She makes three times as much as he, so she makes 3/3 for his 1/3, or 6/6 for his 2/6. She gives half hers to the dishwasher, so she has 3/6, he still has 2/6, and the dishwasher has 3/6. If that’s the only money the dishwasher’s getting, then you can only determine he (Les?) is not making the most. But more than likely she’s not the only one to share tip money with the dishwasher, which leaves the dishwasher making the most (3/6 + c > 3/6), as he says.
    Is my math wrong?

  3. larK – 2 things – in the scheme, Les IS the dishwasher
    Also, dishwashers are typically non-tipped employees so their base pay tends to be higher. (Although that part is beyond Evans)

  4. 3/3 and 1/3 looks confusing, making a total of 4/3rds. I’d recast it, though the result is the same as larK says. If she make 3x what he does, and their total is the total pot in question, then she (Tiff) gets 3/4, or 6/8ths of their pot, and he (Les) gets 1/4, or 2/8ths. If Tiff splits hers with with the washdisher (Dishy), Tiff gets 3/8ths and so does Dishy, and Les still only gets 2/8ths. So Dish and Tiff get the same top whack and Les the least. As larK says. But if Les also felt moved to give half his tips to Dish (and any other employees on top), Dish would be getting 1/2 the pot, Tiff 3/8ths and Les just 1/8th.

  5. Without the knowledge that Les was the dish-washer this was a complete CIDU to me.

    But even still her argument isn’t valid. I guess the idea is Les is unhappy and wants to be a server as servers make more money. Her response is he’d make more money if she gives him half her tips. Her reasoning is; a woman makes x whereas a man makes y and x = 3y so 1/2 x > y, and Les makes more as he is. But that’s irrelevant as she’d make less. If a dishwasher make c and c < y then together if he stays as they are they'd make 1/2x+ 1/2y+c=3y + c < 3y + y = 4y whereas if he's a server they'd make x + y=3y+y=4y.

    Or is her argument that she's *required* to give half to the dish washer no matter who s/he is? In which case…?huh? If that were the case the dishwasher is always raking it in and that would be obvious to *everyone* from the very beginning.

  6. larK: Ah, I hadn’t been thinking about the dishwasher getting portions of tips from other servers.

  7. WW: but apparently we’ve all been obsessively focusing on the wrong detail, as it turns out that Les IS the dishwasher… :-/

  8. This might be referring to not just the number of tipping customers, but the dollar amount of the tips. A pretty, smiling waitress who does her best to make the dining experience really good for the customer might get a large tip. A sullen, pissed-off hipster who acts like this is a big imposition is likely to get lesser tips.

  9. beckoningchasm: I think he’s definitely referring to the dollar amount of tips. But you’d have to be comparing an amazingly good waitress to an amazingly bad hipster to get a factor of 3 difference in dollar amount of tips. And he’s stating that it would come purely from gender, and not from him being extremely unlikeable.

  10. “But you’d have to be comparing an amazingly good waitress to an amazingly bad hipster to get a factor of 3 difference in dollar amount of tips.”

    But you’re forgetting to factor in the prices and relative popularity of lap dances between the two options. (Sure, we’ve not been “shown” That Sort of Thing at The Fuse, but come on — who believes it could be attracting enough trade to stay in business otherwise?

  11. Part of the problem, as people have noted several times, is that this is one scene in an ongoing story. Tiff has no job, wants a job (wants money). Les has a job as a waiter. The Fuse needs a dishwasher. Tiff is unwilling to be dishwasher (the previous strip had her showing off her $95 manicure as the reason why). She’s willing to give half her tips to Les if he’ll give her his waiter job and work as a dishwasher (which is at least a less pleasant job, I don’t know about relative remuneration – and I’m not sure either of them do, either).

    So the sum is T=0, L=z + x (Tiff makes nothing currently, Les makes z in salary and x in tips) turns into T=y, y=3x (by their assumptions, no idea if it’s true – particularly as Tiff is probably not going to be a very good server, at least to start) and L=w (dishwasher’s salary) + y/2. Which would probably mean that Les would make more money, but Tiff is ok with that, in theory (we’ll see how it shakes out).

    The math is highly shaky, but then this whole storyline is Tiff missing points (as MinorAnnoyance said!). And Les is none too sharp either. We’ll see if Tiff is capable of being a decent server and Les is willing to do the work of the dishwasher. At least, those of us who follow the strip will – there will probably be other incomprehensible-in-isolation strips showing up here, though.

    On a completely different subject – the last line of my first paragraph. I pronounce the two “either”s differently (ither then eether). Do others, or is that my weirdness?

  12. Thinking about it, I came up with an odd response: if the sentence were simply “I’m not sure either of them do,” I’d say eether. For the full sentence as written, “I’m not sure either of them do, either,” I’d say ither first, then eether. Totally unconsciously.

  13. It’s not just whether in general female servers get better tips than male. For these people, they give the additional factor that Les is bad at getting along with customers. He’s good with everyone, except …. “kids, picky women, tightwad men, and cranky seniors.”

  14. Suppose the servers and dishwashers get the same base pay. Then Tiff’s question is not really targeted to the point she wants to make — if she turns over half her tips to Les-as-dishwasher, they will then be making the same total, of base plus portion of Tiffany’s tips.

    What she really needs to compare is present-Les1-as-server against hypothetical-Les2-as-dishwasher. Since Tiff’s tips are projected to be well over twice Les1’s tips,

    Les2’s total of base plus Tips(T)/2 would be more than Les1’s total of Base plus Tips(L1).

  15. Seems kind of weird for Les who is arguing against the idea, to fall into acknowledging tiffany will get three times the tips. With all in accounts, tiff’s proposal is less a trick or a joke so much as a basic common sense observation.

    Still among the three strips the scenario is clear and our objection addressed.

  16. Les stated earlier this week that the dishwasher job paid less than the server job. Hence, Tiffany has had to promise him half her tips in order to induce him to give up the server job in favor of her.

  17. The characters in the strip seem satisfied with their arithmetic, and the algebraic comments in this thread seem to agree that they might be right. However, reading these strips simply confirms that there is no reason to like these people(*), and that I really don’t need to follow “Luanne”.
    P.S. Spending $9.50 per finger for a nail job seems insane (especially for someone who is obviously short on cash), but given the rapidly plummeting purchasing power of the U.S. dollar, it’s entirely possible that this might be in accord with the current going rate.

  18. he rapidly plummeting purchasing power of the U.S. dollar

    Er, what? Inflation is under 2% currently.

  19. Yeah, but over 50 years, an inflation rate of 2% adds up to over 100% (~172%)… If you live long enough, even if the inflation rate is really low, the prices of things start to seem really out of whack, and we get the “In my day a nickel was worth…” diatribes old folks are known for (sorry Kilby!).

    I’ve recently noted that I’m entering that territory, where I don’t know the value of a dollar any more, prices are no longer intuitive; everything is just too damn expensive! I think I’ve mentioned it here before: my effective inflation rate from my childhood to now is basically that things cost 10 times as much today as in my childhood, based on the price of comics and Mad Magazine, which were 30¢ and 60¢ when I first bought them, and today cost $2.95 and $5.95 for the same titles…

  20. Here in central America, a good manicure runs 40 to 50 dollars. Truthfully, it’s a luxury that can be dispensed with entirely. That’s kind of the point with Tiff, though. She spends frivolously because she has no idea of the value of money. Daddy has always bankrolled her, and she’s getting some hard lessons courtesy of Ann Eiffel (who likely is not subject to the same sort of budget restrictions.) As to the relative value of a dollar, I have to concur with larK. When I was a child in the 1960s, the dime store had all kinds of toys and things for that ten-cent price. Now the dollar store has the same kind of selection, for ten times as much.

  21. Yeah, but over 50 years, an inflation rate of 2% adds up to over 100%

    Well, I understand how inflation works. It’s the “plummeting” that I had issue with. Now, I started my working career in 1982. There was some inflation. And plummeting purchasing power.

  22. My complaint about purchasing power is not based on any sort of comparison with prices when I was a kid. In my experience, the U.S. dollar has always been somewhat weaker (in stores) than its exchange rate (to the Euro*) would indicate. This is because exchange rates are based on major bank transactions, and have no direct connection to retail stores. However, the differential effect was markedly increased after the banking crisis. The U.S. government dumped huge amounts of currency into the economy to keep the banks afloat, and increasing the money supply cannot help but dilute a currency’s purchasing power. This is not a theoretical observation, we observed it first hand in grocery and clothing stores afterwards.
    P.S. (*) – This holds now (for the Euro), but was also true for the “Deutsche Mark”, even after the rate dropped from the very old “4 to 1” down to around “2 to 1” in the decades before the switchover.
    P.P.S. @ larK – At first I just wanted to object that the inflation doesn’t “add” up (it multiplies), but then I discovered that I could not reproduce your result (50 years @ 2% would be 1.02 ^ 50 = 2.6916, which I mistook for 269%, until I remembered to subtract the 1 (and the difference between 169% and 172% is not worth quibbling over, I assume you used a formula for continuous compounding).
    P.P.S. The rule of thumb for doubling is “70 divided by the inflation (or interest) rate (in percent)”, this gives the number of years in which prices (or an investment) will double in size (70 / 2 = 35 years, which is confirmed by 1.02 ^ 35 = 1.99989 = 200% absolute, or 100% inflation).

  23. P^n.S. The introduction of the Euro resulted in a large amount of geezer-type complaints about prices in Germany. The conservative press nicknamed the new currency “Teuro” (in German, “teuer” means “expensive”). Besides the gradual effects of inflation (comparing current Euro prices to decades-old Mark prices is mathematically irrational), the most immediate visible effect of the currency switch was seen in restaurants and bars. Since the proprietors were forced to print new menus to reflect the new currency, most (or virtually all) of them took the opportunity to implement long overdue price adjustments. In the case of beer (the German “sacred cow”), the effect sometimes added 50% or more to the per liter price.

  24. Kilby: I used an interest calculator, because I’ve forgotten more math than I’ve learned; the differences are due to how often you compound (which makes me think a complete solution would require calculus, and I’ve definitely forgotten more calculus than I ever knew 😉 — I set compounding for 365 times a year.

    If I’m understanding you correctly, you claim that even before the crisis, you feel that the dollar purchasing power was less than the exchange rate would indicate, even back to the days of 4 marks to the dollar. If that’s right, I have to disagree — I’ve always found things more expensive in Germany (and Europe in general) than in the US, until very recently (which may correspond to the crisis, I never correlated those in my mind). Only recently does it suddenly seem that Germany (and only Germany — the rest of Europe still seems more expensive) is cheaper than the US, and that’s very weird for me.

  25. @ larK – It depends on the products involved, of course. I was thinking of more pedestrian things such as food, drinks, and clothing. On the other hand, for years I bought all my sneakers and jeans when visiting the US. A pair of Adidas or Levis that might go for $30 to $50 in the States usually costs at least €100 here. I’ve also heard that big ticket electronics (smart phones & tablets) are much cheaper in America, but I’ve never considered buying such stuff there: if something goes sour, I want to get local warranty service.

  26. Organic food is the same price in France and in the US, until you remember that pounds are not kilograms.
    Clothing is cheaper, but sometimes it doesn’t last.
    Old records are cheaper in the US, I couldn’t believe it when I found Butterfly Ball for $15 in Berkeley.

  27. DanV – but in the early 1970s Robert’s dad got a raise to $8,000 and it was considered big money. It all works out proportionally – a dollar doesn’t buy as much in the amount paid to labor as well as not buying as much when labor spends it.

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