The Tipping App

Last year Apple was awarded the trademark for the line “there’s an app for that”, a fact that a) makes me wonder whether I need to pay to use it in my post and b) gets me a little uneasy since it is just another sentence that could happen easily in a modern conversation. Corporations should not be allowed to own basic rights. But that’s a whole other story. But lets start this story.

My friend Pascal and I were just finishing up our drinks on a lakeside patio. The hostess brings by the bill, which my dear friend takes immediate charge of. We are off to a good start as he presents his credit card and moments later receives the signature slip. Then he hesitates.

I am not surprised. Writing down the tip amount is an art form, one that cannot be rushed if done properly. The line between the waiter’s lively-hood and my service satisfaction level is thin, being rendered even more complicated by a certain social standard expectation.

But in this case I read Pascal’s hesitation wrong. He is not concerned about any of those questions but only breaks to reach for his Iphone. He answers my inquisitive look with a bright smile:

“I have an app for that”.

Now I am confused, convinced that I must have missed part of the conversation. He cannot be talking about a tipping app?

He shows me the screen on which I recognize the image of an old fashion handwritten bill. Are you kidding me? How can an app make such an intricate decision? It isn’t a matter of just calculating 10 or 15 per cent. Surely.

One minute goes by and then the next. His eyes glued to his phone, he suddenly asks:
“How much is 47 plus 16? ”

Ok, so let me get this straight: You have an app for calculating the tip amount yet you still need to ask me to do basic math? At this point I have no idea what this app actually does do, considering that the only part which I maybe would find helpful still needs to be done in my own head. I wait another minute, a second one and then finally Pascal and his Iphone seem to have arrived at a number.

Had we done it by ourselves, we would have been home by now. Half amused, half worried I watch his big smile as he starts scribbling the result on the bill. Then:

“Sorry how much did you say? 63?”

I nod and suddenly feel proud. You may have an app for that but I can actually manage without it. God it feels empowering to beat technology once in a while!

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