Tips on Gratuity: Jump into it, or Around it?
We've been to a lot of birthday parties recently. People snicker and talk about "New Years Babies," but it is true. Our schedules are more booked now than they will be the rest of the school year or next summer. Many of the parties we've attended have been not in the person's home, but instead at a local bowling alley, pizza place, laser tag gig, or an "inflatable party zone." In the case of the latter, the entire party gets the run of a warehouse filled with slides, jumping pits, and other insanely fun things. (Insanely fun for the kids, just insane for the adults.)
All in all, these parties end up being worth their cost since there is no clean-before or clean-up afterward. My sons have had their parties at the same location several years counting. I know the drill. I even bring a basket of socks for party guests who forget so that they don't have to purchase the overpriced variety at the counter. But there is one thing that catches me off guard every time: the large box for gratuity.
I realize that when we're in "the zone" we are essentially the only clients. Really, there is one group in the warehouse and the other in the pizza room. Then a new group goes into the warehouse as we go into the pizza room. Realistically, two groups are there every three hour block. The party "hosts" definitely have a lot to do - the clean up in particular, plus serving cake and other "waitress-like" duties in the pizza room. And then they do some "supervision" in the actual jumping zone - although the parents tend to do more supervision than they do. (The kids are required to watch a safety video before entering "the zone" and yet the employees are usually breaking the rules by jumping headfirst down the slides. They also tend to rile up the kids for better or for worse. Oh, and then why is it that the male employees are the ones who get to jump around and have fun while the female employees are doing the domestic stuff over in the pizza room?)Continued on the next page