my name’s Jordan Cox and I work at WFP and also help with a bit of tumblr in Italian

Tipping Abroad

11th April 2014

Italians go to the U.S. and grumble about tips: there’s no need for this silly ceremony back home, in Italy servers are paid a decent wage, tips are awful and weird.

Americans/Canadians go to Rome and we whine about the lack of tips, and in Roman restaurants I have surely found myself saying: I need this ceremony, I am going to feel weird and guilty if I don’t leave a tip, what exactly does ‘spare change’ mean, I will just put this money here secretly and quietly.

Our local hosts push back on this: no, you Italians abroad, you need to leave a proper tip, you can’t just walk out like this. And you Canadians in Italy, stop calculating, put the bills back, leave some spare coins like a normal person, what are you.

The nice solution here is to follow the local customs on tipping! Italians abroad can enjoy the variety of food, the flexible opening hours, the overly chipper servers who won’t make fun of you, the normal tips you are required to leave as part of the whole enterprise of eating out.

Much as it seems, tipping isn’t all about reward or punishment for quality of service, so let’s not fuss about how awkward that part is. It is a very imperfect system! Leave your 15 or 20%, you awful misers, then it’s back to complaining about how spicy things are.

And those of us in Italy: let’s relish the lack of tips, the lack of worry that someone will get mad at you for not leaving anything. Yes, the Roman servers are definitely making fun of you, of everyone. Don’t worry if they’re making a living wagethey probably are not, but you are still a piece of human garbage for thinking your huge tip will solve anything.

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8th April 2014

Ian Bogost:

Much like tobacco had flourished after the arrival of Europeans in the Old Americas, so computerized attention flourished after the arrival of the Internet. The economy reconfigured itself around attention provisioning, and game studios proved particularly suitable manufacturing partners for attention speculators. Industry had reoriented overnight for military manufacture during World War II; now it quickly repositioned itself to access exchanges of citizen attention. Game developers had a new job: to fill the time between microtransactions.

6th April 2014

Former South Africa president Thabo Mbeki on how money leaves Africa:

The widespread perception is that governments are among those mainly responsible for the illegal activity?

That’s not the reality. The main culprits are international corporations. There is money that leaves the continent as a result of theft by Africans, whether by government or private sector people. But the bulk of the funds that flow out of the continent is taken by big corporations. This poses a particular challenge, because they have got capacities which African countries don’t have - capacities to employ the best lawyers in the world, the best accountants in the world. They know the ropes.

5th April 2014

This was a very fine essay and one of many reasons the awl is still maybe my favourite site:

private business creates narrow spaces. Grabbing a croissant and an americano every morning from the same group of downwardly mobile performer-bohemians is the perfect test case for the creative class’s ideal of semi-anonymous community. After a while working these jobs, answering the same class-baiting questions day after day, it starts to feel more like playing a set piece than anything else.

Source: The Awl

4th April 2014

Here is a really nicely done essay on gluten by James Hamblin, I promise it is worth your while and has smart things to say about fads and science and the internet and research and will probably not enrage my non-gluten-eating friends THAT much:

Even as someone who was seriously skeptical of Perlmutter’s story, after reading his 336 pages—and watching his whole YouTube channel and most every TV appearance—I have found myself hesitating around grain. His message is so ardently and unwaveringly delivered. That is how one-sided pop-science works.

Source: The Atlantic

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