Anorak News | Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay

Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay

by | 16th, August 2002

‘TIPPING is a notoriously difficult business – at least, that’s what we are always being told by newspapers keen to create still more anxieties among their troubled readership. Yet for those at the top of society’s pile it is simple.

”I gave her a few tips, Gawd bless her”

The Queen Mother was one lady who could always be relied on to ”make it look so easy” (as Sir Alastair Burnet memorably remarked, while watching her unveil a small plaque). So it is no surprise to learn that she had a typically no-nonsense attitude to tipping.

”Can’t pay, won’t pay” was her position, as newly-released government papers reveal. ”Queen Mother quibbled over half crown tips,” says the Telegraph, reporting that when visiting Tunisia in 1961, she refused to cough up for the daily expenses of bandsmen, stewards and other staff. The total cost came to a mere £762 11s 6d, which is the equivalent of about £5,000 today, hardly a king’s ransom.

Nevertheless, five thousand pounds is five thousand pounds, as the QM might say if she were still with us, and five thousand pounds buys a lot of gin. Of course, the QM didn’t pay for her gin either, preferring as she did the free stuff sent in lorries by the manufacturers.

But the point is that, like Mrs Thatcher, she knew the value of money, and she understood the importance of never spending it. And if more people shared her frugal instincts, the country wouldn’t be in such a frightful mess today.

Posted: 16th, August 2002 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink