“On 66 the traffic whizzed by. trucks and fine streamlined cars and jalopies; and they went by with a vicious whiz.” -John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

In Chapter 15 of The Grapes of Wrath, a diner was associated with along with a cook and a waitress.  Al is in a white cap, “moody, rarely speaking, looking up for a moment at each new entry.” Mae is “smiling, irritated, near to outbreak; smiling while her eyes look on past–unless for truck drivers.” Al and Mae get into a conversation about truckers, and how they leave the biggest tips. Their philosophy is that “the bigger the car they got, the more they [stole]”.


     Immediately after two truck drivers walk in for some food and drinks, Mae puts on a big smile and takes their order. Later on, a man and his two boys arrive inside and asks for some water and bread. Mae, annoyed, responds that they need their bread to makes sandwiches. Al, from behind the counter, tells Mae to give them the bread and she eventually does. Afterwards, the two boys fell frozen over the candy counter, hungry and desperate. Mae notices and announces the candy a penny for two pieces. The man pays a penny and the boys leave, happy. The trucker, who witnessed the act, states that “[they weren’t] two-for-a-cent candy” to which Mae replies that she was aware. When the truckers leave, Mae checks the money they left to find an extra large tip.


      And to that, I concluded that the trucker left a huge tip due to Mae’s sincerity towards the man and the young boys. Then I asked myself, When do I leave a big tip? I leave a big tip when the waiter/waitress asks about my meal. I leave a big tip when they get my orders right and deals with my constant requests of napkins and refills. I might even leave a huge tip if they smiled a lot… or even if we get into a small conversation that changes my day. Their sincerity encourages me to give them a bigger tip.


       When do I leave a small tip?

       I leave a smaller tip when the workers are impatient… when they’re rude or even when they’re annoyed of me and my never-ending yet necessary requests. That doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, they shouldn’t expect a very big tip.


       A worker’s actions determines the tips they deserve and the reason I decided to discuss about this was because I found it interesting that chapter 15 had a scene so simple yet relatable to everyday situations in diners or even restaurants. After reading it, I’ve been more aware of the amount of tips I leave. And I’m observing the waiters/ waitresses more than I ever have. I guess this is what reading does to me.

Thanks, John Steinbeck. Tips will now be forever in your favor.


Film of the Week:

Courtesy of the photos used in this post to represent the 50s diner, check out the movie in which they came from… A Cinderella Story (2004)


One response »

  1. lexiitimes3 says:

    Agh, I love your connection to A Cinderella Story so much! It was such a cute movie and I like how it could even be connected to Grapes of Wrath via the diner. 🙂

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