Prep School | The Bad Tipper | Workplace Thievery

Prep School

Dear Micah,

You wrote something one week about private school vs public school.  Do you not consider preparatory school as an educational option?  I’ve been considering whether or not prep school is a good way to give my son a safe start in life.  I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford that option.  I think it’d take him away from some of the common dangers in the school systems and provide him with a wonderful education in an environment more protected from drugs, drinking, sex, and bullying.



Dear Mindye,

In the spirit of full disclosure here, I know very little about prep schools.  I am not from, nor am I moving toward that kind of world.  In the world where my childhood was spent, we just walked down the road a quarter of a mile, and a bus came to take us to school.  I currently have my son in a Montessori school right now, and that is about as exotic and progressive as I ever thought I’d be.

My personal opinion about prep school is that unless I had a child that was out of control and I’d exhausted all of my local possibilities to bring him back to this side of crazy, I don’t think I could ever do the prep school thing.  I realize that prep schools offer a unique and advanced educational curriculum, as well as provide a deep rooted social network which could come in handy in the child’s adult years.

However, this is still a boarding school, which means that your child is under someone else’s roof during their most important years.  That deep-rooted social network I just mentioned is deep-rooted because these other kids become your kid’s surrogate family, since they are with them every day.  I want to be my child’s family, not strangers.  I cannot relate to that kind of world.  I didn’t grow up in that world.  I am of the mind where I want my child with me at all times during his childhood.  I won’t get these years back and I do not want to miss a single moment in his life.

I want to be there to help with homework.  I want to be there to wipe his tears when someone disappoints him or hurts his feelings.  I want to be the one who disciplines him when he does something wrong so that I can be absolutely certain that he understands our family’s values and morals.  I guess if I had one of those Dr. Phil kids that beat up everyone in the household or is beyond my control and I felt unsafe in their presence, then hell yeah I’d pack him off to boarding school and let professionals smarter than me whip him into shape so that he could live a responsible life– but if he’s no problem then why send him away and lose all those memories? It’s just something I can’t relate to.

That doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it just means I can’t intelligently discuss it because when I hear boarding school I just automatically think that a parent is going to miss so much.  Of course I also have to say that a parent who sends their kid to boarding school is probably a very selfless person.  I truly doubt anyone does this to get rid of having to raise their child.  In truth, they are generously sacrificing their time and memories with their child on a daily basis in order to provide that child with the best opportunity they can.  That’s a very selfless act.

So, because  I want every possible experience I can have with my child, the local school options are just going to have suffice.  If he ends up being a janitor because of it, at least he’ll have a bunch of family memories to reflect on while he mops that floor.


The Bad Tipper

Dear Micah,

This guy I’m dating is a bad tipper.  It drives me crazy.  I get so embarrassed but I don’t want to embarrass him by saying anything.  It’s a really new relationship.  What should I do?



Dear Jo,

I hate bad tippers, too.  It is embarrassing.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve had to run back to a table and throw more money down because the person who paid left a small tip on really good service.  I also used to be a waiter in my youth, and let me just say to those people out there, do not eat twice in a restaurant that you under-tipped in.  I’ve seen some things.

Anyway, Jo, I suggest that on your next date you pick up the tab.  I think that you should anyway if you haven’t already.  It’s 2012.  The Mayans are ending the world in a few months, so it’s time that the tradition of the man always paying came to an end.  You can treat him to a meal on occasion too, but I digress.

You pick up the check and pretend that you are trying to figure out the proper tip amount.  Read the total aloud and say something like, “The total is $120.  So 10% of that is $12 and I double that because tips should be 20% and that comes to $24.  That’s right isn’t it?”  Now he’ll respond.  Either he’ll reply that it is, and he’ll mentally take note that he should start tipping 20% in the future–at least around you–or he’ll begin a discussion about your tip being too much.  This will be your golden opportunity to explain to him how 20% is a standard good tip amount.  15% is minimal but you like to do 20.

You might even need to explain to him that wait staff do not get paid anything.  In my day we made around $2 an hour, all of which went to taxes.  Tips were our income.  Things haven’t changed much.  I think the norm is still a little over two dollars, so your waiter is supporting himself based upon the tips he receives.  Your new boyfriend may not know that information.  Also in my day, the restaurant had to report to the government an estimated tip they thought we received based on a percentage of the bill.  So if your date is tipping under that estimate, then your waiter is in the hole after you leave when it comes to taxes.

There are lots of little details about waiting tables and tip income that the general public doesn’t know.  You might be able to educate your date on some of these if he brings the subject up after you tally the bill.  Then on your next date, see if he follows your example.  If not, then he’s a cheapskate and you can just ditch him.  Dating is what you do when you are shopping for a companion, and no one wants a cheapskate for a companion, so cut your losses and find a generous man.


Workplace Thievery

Dear Micah,

At work we have a cabinet where we ladies all place our purses and personal things.  It’s a reasonably large office with about 20 people there.  Lately things have started to go missing.  I’ve lost some money, a couple of gift cards someone gave me, and I think I know who it is.  A few of us want to confront this person but don’t know the proper way to do it without causing a scene.  Is there a way to initiate the topic gently to see what kind of reaction she has?  How should we go about this?



Dear Lisa,

You don’t.  Unless you actually have seen this person stealing from you, then do not accuse her of anything.  I don’t know the dynamics of your office, but you might be at risk of losing your job if you just accuse a person of theft without evidence.  And the fact that several of you suspect her is not evidence.  Lots of people suspected the Salem women of being witches, and you see where that got them all.

I suggest that you go online and get a nanny-cam.  You can buy one for $40 and it can be disguised in a stuffed animal, or a pen, or virtually anything.  I once caught a thief with a nanny-cam in a wall mounted clock.  Set your camera up to spy on that cabinet and get visual evidence of who the thief is.  Then you can lobby to have her fired.  At the very least, you can confront her and let her know that you all know she’s the one.  Just get proof before you make accusations.

If you have a question and you need Micah’s advice, send him an email at

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