Why how nice! Both my Washington Post distributor (a Mr. Iqbal) and my Wall Street Journal distributor (a Mr. Mejia) included holiday cards with the newspapers they delivered to my door this past weekend.
Oh, but wait, what's this? They also included envelopes addressed to themselves. And just in case we didn't quite understand, Mr. Mejia's card says "thanks for your tips," right below "May your Christmas be filled with laughter and fun!" (Hmm, nothing about our Chanuka.)
Now, it's true that if we had a freckle-faced old-fashioned paper-boy who we saw pedalling his bike past our house on an occasional afternoon, and who happened by to collect our subscription fee every now and again, we'd probably give him a little holiday tip.
But, we've never seen or met either Mr. Iqbal or Mr. Mejia. We know that both are businessmen, independent distributors who, presumably, do this for a living. We're no more inclined to give them a "tip", or a cash holiday payment, than we are to give one to all those reporters, editors, photographers, copysetters and everyone else who makes sure the Post and WSJ gets to our house each day.
And, frankly, we resent the way our newspaper distributors so brazenly stick their hands out expecting a "tip". Do these guys report those to the IRS? We doubt it. They're not tipped employees in the traditional sense, and they're not service workers with whom we have personal interaction.
We're sure they're perfectly nice folks, just doing their jobs. So, to Mr. Iqbal and Mr. Mejia: Happy Holidays!
(Remember, we are the Curmudgeon.)