Last night I was watching presidential candidate Hillary Clinton prattle on about some weighty policy matter. I wasn't tuned in, though. Every time I watch her I see an empty tip jar.
In terms of her candidacy for the Democratic nomination, I'm out. What politicians think about, say, legalizing marijuana or the China trade imbalance tells you something about how they think – which is important. Whether politicians tip minimum wage workers tells you something about who they are – which is even more important.
Tip-gate blew up 10 days ago, when Bloomberg reported that Mrs. Clinton and her entourage left an Ohio Chipotle restaurant without tipping, after ordering a chicken burrito bowl, a chicken salad, a blackberry Izzy, and a soda. The tab came to about 20 bones, meaning a tip of at least $4 – make it an even $5 for a wealthy politician who's running as the people's champion.
Since then, I've heard a lot of lame excuses for Mrs. Clinton's behavior. Like someone else paid for Mrs. Clinton. So what? It's still her food. Maybe she doesn't carry cash is another excuse. Well, then put the tip on a credit card. Better yet, carry some cash. In a presidential campaign, it pays.
I usually pay for meals on plastic, too, but I carry enough cash so that I can tip with paper. I figure whoever waits on or serves me prefers it that way. You'd think someone who's running for president would have figured that out. Even gangster John Gotti knew the public relations value of heavy tipping, reportedly dropping $100 tips for waitresses.
I'm sure, like me, Mrs. Clinton supports raising the federal minimum wage. It would be nice if restaurant and food workers made the living wage they deserve and didn't have to rely on tips. But until then, customers should show their appreciation, especially if they're doing all right. Getting waited on or served is a privilege, even if it doesn't always feel that way.
I'll give a tipping pass to people who don't make more than the person they're supposed to tip. But I damn sure won't to multi-millionaires like the Clintons.
For them, it's no tip, no vote.