So, here's what happened. I was in line at the car wash, waiting for my turn in one of the hand-drying spots, when I saw the dude in front of me roll down his window to "direct" the kid drying his Volvo SUV. He then got out of his car and followed the kid around as the kid is hand-dressing his tires. I turned down my music and rolled down the window, the better to eavesdrop on what the guy was saying, because it is highly unusual for anyone to get out of their car at the drying stations and follow the car wash employee around their vehicle - back seat drying, as it were. When the kid finished - apparently to the guy's satisfaction, the guy pulled a stack of bills out and peeled one off, which he handed to the kid. The kid beamed and started thanking the guy quite profusely. The guy was getting back into his car at this point, but the kid's effusive thanks made him stop, do a double-take at the bill in the kid's hand, and then he reached over, snatched the bill back with a loud "Whoops!" and pulled his wad of cash back out, replacing whatever he had given the kid with a single. Then he climbs back into the SUV, slams the door and peels out of the lot without another word to the kid. The kid was red-faced and clearly embarrassed by the entire transaction, which made me feel for him, especially as I was the next one in his lane. It also made me wish I had something larger than a buck with which to tip him.
Now, I didn't see the denomination of the bill, just that it was multicolored, which means it was at least a $5. Could it have been a $50 or even a $100 bill? I suppose, given the guy's clothing and vehicle, not to mention his wad of cash. However, given the guy's general a-holeness with the whole getting out and the bossing the kid around on the drying and tire-dressing of his car, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a measly $5. The kid's reaction made me think it was probably a $10 or a $20, it wasn't the full-on shock of a much larger bill, like a $100, I think that would have warranted more of a jaw-drop, you know?
Obviously, that's what got me wondering about what I'd do if I had inadvertently overtipped someone. I'm a generous tipper by nature, and I think that unless it were a $20 or greater (not that I ever carry anything larger than a $20!), I'd let it go. In any event, the customer could definitely have used a bit more grace in the way he handled it. Yoinking the bill out of the kid's hand without so much as an apology just seemed so rude.