Back in the day, Bill Gross was just a regular 21-year old, non-billionaire, like the rest of us.
And from his experiences during those glory days, the PIMCO chief has some tips on tipping. Or rather, how not to tip, in his latest investor letter.
At a cafe, post-meal, back in 1965, the time came for Bill to thank his waitress monetaril. Instead, he left a piece of paper with a message, instead of some coinage:
The Gross family legend is rather full of Paul Bunyan tall tales passed down over the years but none perhaps more self-revealing than “The Day When I Gave the Waitress a Negative Tip.”
Admittedly I was young and full of testosterone but the service was terribly sloooww and I was in a big hurrrryyy! Finally presented with a $2.00 bill, I took two bucks and wrote the following on a nearby napkin: “Thanks for the sh…ty service, negative tip – you owe me 25 cents.”
I didn’t stick around to see the reaction, but I’m sure it was a unique experience for the young lady. I was, of course, like any 21-year-old, in the business of establishing a repertoire of “unique” experiences and this was but one notch on my Paul Bunyan Axe.
Bill knows what this event said about who he was as a person, in his youth. He was “impatient, willing to disappoint people (at least strangers) and a little inconsiderate of some people.” Though he suspects that it also showed he was a tad imaginative at the same time.
Then he gets somewhat academic-y, and explains that the primary reason people tip, is for social approval — it’s “a power tool, a financial weapon” he explains.
He also proudly proclaims that his son was following his compensatory footsteps: “Recently my 22-year-old son, Nick, carved a notch on his own Paul Bunyan Axe with a negative $1.00 tip adjusted for 45 years of inflation. Tip off the old block, I’d say!”