Siblings Used An Amazon Gift Card To Tip Their Server & TikTok Is Divided Over It


The holiday season can really put a dent in your wallet, and there’s a chance that sometimes, you might be out of cash but flush with gift cards.

That’s precisely what happened to a sibling trio on TikTok during a recent trip to a Korean BBQ spot in California.

Kaitlyn and Gustavo Lombera, along with their older sister, decided to grab some food together but found themselves in a pickle when they had no spare change left to pay their tip.

The siblings posted about the awkward moment on TikTok, in a video that shows them leaving a $25 Amazon gift card on top of their almost $100 bill.

@kaittwest

holidays left us #broke 😮‍💨😮‍💨

The caption read: “holidays left us #broke.”

To be fair, they asked the waitress first if she’d accept her tip in gift card format, the siblings told BuzzFeed. The server was totally OK with it and even thought it was funny, they said.

However, other TikTok users were torn over how they felt about paying with a gift card. Many who identified as service industry workers said they’d love to get a gift card as a tip, while others thought it was a cheap move.

One commenter said: “I’m a bartender. I WOULD HAVE LOVED THAT AS A TIP!!! 😁😁😁”

Another agreed and even pointed out that the $25 gift card was probably more than she would get in tips anyways.

“Also that $25 gift card is not taxable. You get that money all for you,” said another person in the comments.

However, not everyone agreed with the move.

One person said: “I didn’t think it was bad till I saw the bill. ‘We didn’t have money for a tip,’ you should’ve put some food down then.”

Other people also brought up the hefty bill and questioned why they were unable to pay the tip.

“Really?! The receipt says it cost $95, and he couldn’t afford to tip her $10 like wow.”

Many people came to their siblings’ defence and pointed out that tips are up to the guest, so a gift card should be more than acceptable.

“It blows my mind that people get angry at customers for not tipping them, rather than be mad at companies for not paying a livable wage,” one person wrote.

Another person joked that the card might be nearly empty. “Gift card has $0.37 in it,” they wrote.

One user who claimed to be the restaurant owner’s son even joined in on the fun.

“LMAO that’s my dad’s restaurant!” he wrote. “Hope you guys enjoyed.”





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Holiday travel bursts openly divided political and vaccine bubbles


WASHINGTON — It’s the holiday season. Time to gather with family and old friends, even people with whom you don’t see eye-to-eye politically — and this year that may have special meaning.

The geographic self-segregation that has come to define American politics (the difference between where Democrats and Republicans tend to live) is often a subject for the Data Download. But combined with the pandemic, those geographic divides have real world, public health impacts.

After 20 months of COVID protocols, many families and friends are travelling and getting together for the first time in a long time and they are bringing with them different attitudes about the virus and the vaccine. Add it up and it could mean the country is due for another post-holiday season surge.

The change in travel plans around Thanksgiving this year tells the story. More than 53 million Americans were planning to take to the road and the skies this past week, according to AAA.

That’s an increase of more than 6 million people compared to last year, before there was a vaccine and before Americans had gotten exhausted by the pandemic.

The figures show there is still some hesitancy around travel. Back in 2019, the same AAA survey found 56 million Americans were going to travel for Thanksgiving. But this year’s number still represents a 13 percent increases from 2020. It shows more people are breaking out of their community bubbles to see people from other places.

And that’s where the political/health differences come into play.

Every holiday season scores of stories are written about how to talk politics with those you disagree with, but this year those differences may well include a different COVID-19 vaccination statuses for Uncle Bob or Aunt Dora.

As of late-October, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 27 percent of American adults had not received a single vaccine dose for — about 1 in 4 adults. But the partisan divide in that 27 percent was remarkable — 17 percent of them were Democrats, 17 percent of them were independents and a whopping 60 percent were Republicans.

So, in some cases, the awkwardness of holiday conversations has risen to a whole new level. Before you start talking about Congress or the White House you might want to ask if your table mate has his or her vaccination card handy.

And it’s not just about sitting around the table together or sharing the punchbowl that provides a COVID challenge. The point of travel is to pull you out of your environment into someplace different and even if everyone at your destination is vaccinated, there is still getting from point A to point B.

The data show space between the two locations can be complicated. For all the talk of the vaccination rates of various states, the truth is just travelling a few miles can put you in a very different political and COVID environment.

For instance, consider Mecklenberg County and Stanly County in North Carolina.

The two places are less than a half-hour apart by car, but the political/COVID differences between them are stark. President Joe Biden won Mecklenberg by 35 percentage points and 59 percent of the total population has had two COVID shots. Former President Donald Trump won Stanly by 51 points and fewer than 40 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

And the phenomenon is not limited to North Carolina.

In Denver, Colorado, which Biden won by 62 percentage points, 72 percent of the population is full vaccinated. Meanwhile, in nearby Elbert County, which Trump won by 50 points, only 36 percent have received both doses.

In fact, compare maps and you can find similar patterns around the country from Tennessee to Kansas to California — “blue” counties with high vax rates near “red” counties with the opposite.

The unfortunate reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic has become politicized and this year the holiday season seems primed to show the impacts of that politicization as we emerge from our respective political bubbles and interact.

The American Communities Project recently found that urban areas that are more likely to vote Democratic are also more likely to have higher percentages of people who are fully vaccinated. But even the “bluest” high-vaccinated cities area connected by highways that run through very “red” low-vaccinated areas.

In short, even if you are vaccinated and visiting people who are vaccinated, the airports and rest stops and restaurants you visit along the way are likely to be filled with a cross-section of people holding different beliefs about politics and the virus that has disrupted life.

It all serves as a reminder that even in 21st Century America, no political bubble is airtight. We may increasingly live near and socialize with people who share our views, but the fates of red and blue America are more tightly intertwined than either side probably wants to admit.



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Traveling Through a Divided Israel


Palestinians also take inspiration from Black Lives Matter, and I asked if that had prompted Mr. Tasama to draw any comparisons between his struggle and theirs. He said he hadn’t really considered it.

In fact, his search for belonging had perhaps pushed him in the opposite direction: What ultimately sustains him, he said, is his connection, as a Jew, to this land.

“It is our right to be here,” he said. “This is the place that God gave us.”

The police knew where, though. They arrived an hour after we did, in a convoy of five police cars and a truck carrying two bulldozers, sending the villagers’ horses cantering into the desert. Lying on the sand under a tree, fiddling with his prayer beads, the aging village sheikh sprang to his feet, shouting at his son to chase the police.

“Take their photos!” he yelled.

It was a futile gesture. The police had demolished parts of the village 191 times since 2010, according to a rights watchdog; a camera had never deterred them. This time, their bulldozers knocked down two tents, then left as quickly as they had come.

“That was number 192,” said Aziz al-Turi, the sheikh’s son.

The al-Turi family is descended from Bedouin Arab nomads who crisscrossed the region for centuries, and later settled in the Negev before Israel was founded.

Israel says that most of the Bedouins have no right to the land, since their ownership claims were never recorded in Ottoman-era land registries. For decades, the government has been trying to move more than 30 Bedouin communities from their traditional grazing grounds in the Negev into seven purpose-built towns.

The most prominent holdout is Araqib. Residents showed us copies of a purchase document that they say proves they bought the land from another tribe in 1905. The state says the Ottomans never documented the sale.



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Disneyland fans divided over attraction changes including ditching ‘wench auction’ | Travel News | Travel


‘Toxic’ arguments have erupted on social media over Disney’s decision to ditch characters such as the Pirates of the Caribbean ‘wenches’. Some fans are furious at Disney’s ‘wokeness’ but others support the move to modernize the rides.

The latest row began when Bill Cotter, a former employee of the first park in Anaheim, California said he was shocked by levels of toxicity among fans.

Cotter runs and moderates a Facebook group of over 114,000 members called ‘Vintage Disneyland’ where users discuss their love for the theme park.

The former employee had asked users to complete the phrase “My Disneyland…” and found fans had a lot of anger to share.

He told SFGate: “My God, the hatred that was flying back and forth. Like ‘my Disney didn’t have whale-sized people stuffing food in their face’. What are you talking about? Body shaming is not acceptable.”

READ MORE: Teletext Holidays taken to court over Covid refunds

Some fans criticised Disney’s decision to remove a “wench auction” from the parks’ Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

The controversial attraction depicted women with a banner above them that read “Take a wench for a bride”.

The scene showed women being sold into sexual slavery and the display had been in place since 1967.

Disney have since replaced the scene with a wisecracking female pirate who is holding a bottle of rum.

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When the “wench auction” was scrapped, one fan commented: “We need to stop shielding people from history. Why don’t we give all the pirates cellphones instead of interacting with each other?”

However another fan said: “If you’re upset that Disneyland updates attractions and you mockingly call it ‘woke’ there is something seriously lacking in your life. There are more important things.”

Disney has also turned the character of Jessica Rabbit, a nightclub singer from the film ‘Who framed Roger Rabbit’, into the head of her own investigation service.

Disney said Jessica’s new role was “more appropriate to today’s culture.” Previously the character was depicted in the boot of a car waiting to be rescued.

While reforms have happened at Disney parks all over the world, it is thought most of the complaints come from US fans.

Disneyland also changed its Jungle Cruise ride to withdraw “negative depictions” such as showing “natives” as “cannibals” this year.

Jungle Cruise had been called out for distasteful imagery for several years before the change was made.

Chris Beatty, a park designer said of the Disneyland updates: “We want to make sure everyone has the best time- that guests from all over the world can connect with the stories we share and that how we bring those to life are respectful of the diverse world we live in.”

Speaking about the toxic comments, Cotter said: “What frustrates me is that you’re trying to say you want to go to the happiest place on Earth and people just feel absolutely compelled to bring the outside world into it.”

Despite the ‘toxic’ complaints from some fans, Walt Disney World in the USA was the most visited theme park in the world in 2020.

Disneyland rides are designed by ‘Imagineers’ which the park describes as the “creative engine that designs and builds all Disney’s theme parks”.

Imagineers often have qualifications in architecture or design and getting a job as one is reportedly very competitive.

Disney has been contacted for comment. 





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COVID-19: EU leaders divided over vaccine passports to allow European travel this summer | World News


European Union leaders are divided over developing vaccine passports to open the continent up to tourism this summer.

Some countries want an EU-wide approach instead of individual nations having their own certificates, while others are concerned such documentation could result in discrimination.

Leaders of the EU’s 27 countries met online on Thursday to start a two-day summit to discuss the pandemic, and while they agreed to work on vaccine certificates, they could not come up with a unified plan.

Angela Merkel said more knowledge about transmission of the virus by vaccinated people was needed
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Angela Merkel said more knowledge about transmission of the virus by vaccinated people was needed

Greece, where tourism contributes to 25% of its GDP, has been leading the call for an EU-wide vaccine certificate to ensure it can benefit from summer tourism.

Athens is in talks with Britain about using a digital “Green Pass”, which it has already agreed with Israel, that issues certificates for people who have had both of their coronavirus jabs.

Its tourism minister said on Thursday that even unvaccinated Britons could visit the country, so long as they have tested negative for COVID-19 beforehand.

Spain, Austria and Bulgaria also support the EU-wide certificate, but Vienna said it would implement its own if the EU cannot agree on anything by spring – and wants to include people who have immunity through having COVID-19 and those who have tested negative.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel doubted whether vaccine certificates of any kind could work.

“First, it must actually be clearly resolved that vaccinated people are no longer infectious,” she told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

“As long as the number of those who have been vaccinated is still so much smaller than the number who are waiting for vaccination, the state should not treat the two groups differently.”

However, she provided some hope to countries pushing for certificates and said technical work on them should be completed by the summer.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was concerned vaccine certificates would discriminate
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French President Emmanuel Macron said he was concerned vaccine certificates would discriminate

Some countries, though, including France and Belgium, are concerned vaccine certificates would discriminate against those who have not been immunised.

French President Emmanuel Macron said a balance must be found and there are still ethical questions to be resolved, adding that certificates would be unfair for young people who are at the back of the vaccine queue.

France is also beefing up COVID-19 measures on its border with Germany in the Moselle area, with cross-border workers now having to present negative PCR tests to get through.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis also said vaccine certificates would split Europeans who have and have not had the vaccine.

Other EU countries are developing their own ways of showing people have had the vaccine, with Denmark planning to launch a digital passport to document a traveller’s vaccination status, that it said will be compatible with any future EU-wide scheme.

Sweden and Finland are also planning a similar digital passport.

SANTORINI, GREECE - AUGUST 12: (EDITORS NOTE: Image processed using digital filters) A general view of the sunset in the picturesque village of Oia (Ia) on Santorini Island on August 12, 2017 in Mykonos, Greece. (Photo by Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images)
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Greece, where 25% of GDP is reliant on tourism, is pushing for an EU-wide vaccine certificate

Hungary said from 1 March it will issue a physical vaccination certificate for any citizens who have been inoculated or have immunity from recovering from COVID-19.

The UK is reviewing the use of certificates to help reopen the economy and will consider a travel certificate once more is known about the efficacy of vaccines against variants, though ministers have acknowledged the ethical concerns.

Westminster is working with the World Health Organisation and other countries on an international travel framework.



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