Lee’s story of being a frugal traveler, never taking advantage of expenses, takes a turn when his integrity comes into question.
Embarking on a Corporate Journey
About 15 years ago, OP set out on a corporate journey, landing in a customer quality engineer role for a certain company.
A Varied Role
The job involved monthly customer site visits, product analysis, and frequently dealing with irate customers.
He Was Responsible for Travel and Budgeting
Since their corporate branch was relatively small, OP was responsible for planning all travel arrangements, searching for the most cost-effective options.
OP would choose the cheaper car or hotel option, even if the savings were as minor as $2 a day.
An Exceptionally Troublesome Trip
One particular trip stands out in OP’s memory, a voyage marked by discomfort and unease.
Hotel in a Sketchy Area Meant He Barricaded His Door
The rental car was deplorable, and the hotel, located in a less-than-ideal part of town, was unclean to the point that OP moved a couch to barricade the door while sleeping.
He Got Ill but Persevered for the Good of the Company
To add to the hardships, OP fell ill.
Under normal circumstances, OP would’ve cancelled the trip, but the company’s ongoing quality issues had customers on edge, necessitating OP’s presence.
Seeking Comfort in Familiarity
Despite the challenges, OP found solace in a ritual: dining at a local Outback Steakhouse during every trip.
The comforting familiarity of the place and the amicability of the staff provided some relief from the stressful job.
They Took Amazingly Good Care of Him
During the aforementioned difficult trip, the employees at Outback took exceptional care of a visibly sick and exhausted OP.
They offered a comforting fireside seat, served tea, and even arranged for a non-menu item – chicken noodle soup.
A Big Tip
Overwhelmed with gratitude, OP tipped more than 100% on the modest bill of under $10.
His Generous Tip Is Disputed
Back home, OP submitted the expense report only to be berated by the director over the “excessive” tip. Corporate policy permitted only 10-15% tipping, and OP had far exceeded that.
Their Nit-Picking Undermined His Loyalty to the Company
This reprimand, over a total bill of $20, damaged OP’s allegiance to the company’s financial frugality.
They Wanted Rules Followed to the Letter? No Problem
Deciding to follow the corporate travel policy to the letter, OP requested the document that outlined all the rules, including tipping.
He Was Done Saving Them Money
No more choosing the cheapest options: now OP would enjoy mid-range cars, convenient flights, and pleasant hotels in safer areas.
Thousands for the Sake of That Ten Dollar Tip!
The cost of OP’s trips escalated, often doubling or even tripling, resulting in thousands of extra dollars spent annually.
Despite this, OP ensured strict compliance with the company’s tipping policy.
Isn’t It Ironic?!
Ironically, the company’s policy did include provisions for recognizing “exceptional” service with an additional gratuity, as long as it wasn’t habitual.
It Could Have Been Avoided if They Knew Their Own Policy!
Furthermore, a per diem of $50 was allowed, and the receipt was only mandatory if it exceeded that amount.
Therefore, the tipping incident that sparked this rebellion was actually within policy, just misunderstood.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ground Picture. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.