Chai (tea), Paani (water) and Mithai (sweets) are the commonly used terms for tip or pourboire in Karachi. The trivial gratuitous payment is made for any favor provided by any individual at your service (e.g. waiter). But here in Karachi, the nature of tip has crossed the level of decency and morality.
A diverse metropolitan city, which is spacious enough to accommodate citizens from all around the nation to earn their bread and butter is getting messier day by day. With vital issues like increased population management, solid waste handling, water crisis, and many others, this absurd trend of chai paani is turning into cancer.
Either you are getting a car or bike from the showroom, getting discharged from a hospital after recovery or just got a cow for the ‘Qurbani’ as I just experienced, every other person you see is smiling and saluting at you, asking for chai, paani, and mithai.
Only you and your Allah knows, how expensive that purchase or that bill has been for you and for how long you have been saving bits for that, the mindset on the other side is of the opinion is that if I can pay tens of thousands for the purchase or service, I can also pay the tips which cost from Rs.50 to Rs.500 (or maybe up to Rs.1000).
Well, paying the said tip doesn’t seem much expensive technology, but the volume of the tip has expanded so much that it starts costing you a mint. For a single transaction done, 2 to 4 workers passively involved, expect you to oblige them with generous tips. With a couple of transactions like that, the small tip then becomes significant enough to affect your budget as you have a fixed salary for every month and no tips or monthly bonuses are paid to you for late sittings or extra efforts you put in.
Despite the nature of the tip, which is paid gratuitously without demand, this revised form of the tip is usually claimed like its mandatorily due and small payments are sorely rejected and returned. The evolving nature of this tip is turning into cancer for the society which expects easy money, and it is indeed a form of corruption.
The working class, which strives to earn the livelihood through legitimate ways has a very limited budget, and spend every dime cautiously to survive. Increased indirect taxes, revised utility costs, petrol raises every other month and innumerous other expenses leave us no King to oblige every other salute we receive for the money.