Magazine April 20, 2009, Issue

Tip Jar Nation

We can no longer afford to feel special

Here’s what just happened.

I’m in a hip coffee shop on Valencia Street in San Francisco. It’s early afternoon, and I order a double espresso. I hand over the money and get my change, which is a few bills and a handful of coins. The coins I keep: The parking-meter-enforcement Stasi in San Francisco circle the blocks with unwearied commitment. But the bills, well, I’d ideally like to keep them all, but there’s a tip jar on the counter beside the register, with one of those cheerlessly cheerful signs — “Hey! This is a Tip Jar! There’s a recession on!” —

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Rat Patrol

Illegal leaks of classified information should be treated as a serious offense. But they would be easier to prevent if less information were classified.