Ur­ban Diplo­mat

Toronto Life - - Con­tents - —Guilt Tip, Lib­erty Vil­lage

| Ur­ban Diplo­mat Ad­vice on how to be a civ­i­lized Toron­to­nian

I work bru­tally long hours at a start-up, and when I stay late at the of­fice, I usu­ally take an Uber home. The other night, I no­ticed the app now lets you tip driv­ers. I don’t know the pro­to­col in this case, and I worry driv­ers will start rat­ing me lower if I don’t throw in an ex­tra few bucks. Is tip­ping Uber driv­ers the new nor­mal, or is it just for over-the-top ser­vice? Lucky for you, Uber driv­ers don’t see if or how much you’ve tipped un­til af­ter they rate you. But that shouldn’t mat­ter. If you’d tip your cab­bie (and you should), tip your Uber driver. Sure, the non-tip­ping was a big part of Uber’s ini­tial ap­peal, but now that it’s well doc­u­mented how measly driv­ers’ earn­ings are, for­go­ing a gra­tu­ity— the one thing that won’t be si­phoned off by cor­po­rate HQ—is a miserly move. Of course, you can still be ju­di­cious: a road-rag­ing ma­niac who sub­jects you to 20 white-knuck­led min­utes of near col­li­sions doesn’t de­serve 15 per cent. But when your driver of­fers to let you blare your tunes over the Blue­tooth ra­dio, be gen­er­ous.

Dear Ur­ban Diplo­mat, I love my street: it’s leafy, full of young fam­i­lies and peace­ful—most of the time. Every morn­ing around 6:30, one of my neigh­bours warms up his un­be­liev­ably loud mo­tor­cy­cle. It nearly gives me a heart at­tack on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. I want to say some­thing, but the biker doesn’t seem like the ap­proach­able type, and, if our con­ver­sa­tion went side­ways, I’d still need to see him a few times a week. What’s my move?

—Hog­town Hub­bub, East York

Un­less your idyl­lic street is se­cretly home to a Hells An­gel, you have no rea­son to be in­tim­i­dated by your hoglov­ing neigh­bour. Next time you see him out with his bike, strike up a friendly con­ver­sa­tion about heat shields or crank shafts or what­ever it is that gets bik­ers ex­cited. Ex­plain the

sit­u­a­tion and sug­gest some reme­dies: mak­ing sure his muf­fler is up to snuff, push­ing back his morn­ing ride. Al­ter­na­tively, you can make a noise com­plaint to the city. They may ask you to keep a log of the racket. If you prove it’s a le­git­i­mate dis­tur­bance, they’ll tell him his sun­rise revving is both­er­ing neigh­bours with­out nam­ing you specif­i­cally. It’s not guar­an­teed to work, but at least you won’t have to risk get­ting on the biker’s bad side.

Dear Ur­ban Diplo­mat, One of my co-work­ers “for­gets” his wal­let at home every once in a while— sus­pi­ciously, right be­fore pay­day. The first cou­ple of times he asked to bor­row some money for lunch, I obliged and didn’t mind. But he’s never paid me back, and he keeps ask­ing. I re­ally don’t want to be his per­sonal ATM. How do I get this to stop with­out ru­in­ing an oth­er­wise good work­ing re­la­tion­ship?

—Loan Snark, The Beaches

In the face of such bla­tant mooching, you’re A-okay to halt the hand­outs. Stand your ground and say no, or, if you’re feel­ing gen­er­ous, tell your co-worker you’d be happy to spot him for a sand­wich—just as soon as he pays you back for the last four. If he keeps beg­ging or makes a fuss, the work re­la­tion­ship is al­ready well on its way to be­ing ru­ined, whether you loan him some lunch money or not.

Send your ques­tions to the Ur­ban Diplo­mat at ur­bandiplo­mat@toron­to­life.com

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