Tuesday, March 17, 2020

When You Overcome Shame

Fortune smiles on us. Today, Miss Manners prints another letter that shows clearly what happens when members of a community take the idiotic therapy culture advice and overcome their feelings of shame. 

It is not quite as bad as sexting. It is not quite as bad as failing to pick up the social cues that are telling you to adopt a more polite and decorous tone of voice. But, surely it is bad.

The problem lies in a sign that has appeared in a doctor’s office. Or better, in the massage therapy room that belongs to the doctor’s office suite. The sign tells grateful patients that the massage therapist will be happy to receive tips. 

Of course, you might ask what kind of massage parlor the physician is operating. Miss Manners politely ignores the implication. She has a better approach.

Anyway, here is the letter:

To treat my chronic pain, my doctor has prescribed massage therapy once a week. The doctor's office contains all the treatment rooms necessary, including a massage room.

On the bookshelf in this room is a small sign reading, "Tips accepted gratefully, but not required."

Am I missing something here? When I was raised, back in the Pleistocene era, one did not tip medical personnel. Has this changed?

As a rule, and as defined by custom and tradition, begging is shameful. Receiving tips for service is not shameful, but only when it is part of the service contract. We normally tip waiters and waitresses, cab drivers and building porters. We tip for services rendered. And we tip during Holiday season. And sometimes we tip at massage parlors, but certainly not at those that offer massage therapy.

Miss Manners sees it as a sign of a culture in decline. She answers tersely and correctly:

What has changed is that solvent people now feel no shame about begging.

Miss Manners abhors the tipping system for many reasons, but acknowledges that it is necessary to supplement workers who do not otherwise earn the wages they deserve. Doctors are not normally perceived as suffering financially without extra largesse from their patients. Self-respecting practitioners do not solicit handouts.

If one were suffering from a mind warp, one might add that physicians, normally well compensated, are preparing for the arrival of universal health care, system that will reduce them to penury and will drive the best practitioners out of the field.

1 comment:

UbuMaccabee said...

Nice, a story with a happy ending.