Brokers, investors and financial journalists around the planet hinge on every word of Bill Gross, the Newport Beach financial manager who co-founded Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO), is worth a billion and change, and in 2009 was ranked by Forbes the 32nd most powerful man in the world.
As the magic man himself put it recently, no Gross story was “perhaps more self-revealing than 'The Day
When I Gave the Waitress a Negative Tip.'“
Now, the negative tip did not come when Gross could pull endless rolls from supersized pockets. The less-than-zero tip was left in 1965, when the Middletown, Ohio, native was “young and full of testosterone.”
Looking at a $2 bill after service that a hurried Gross described as “terribly sloooww,” he decided that instead of leaving change on the table, he'd leave a napkin with this message scribbled on it: “Thanks for the shitty
service, negative tip–you owe me 25 cents.”
So that's how one builds a $1.3 billion bank account.
“I didn't stick around to
see the reaction,” Gross writes, “but I'm sure it was a unique experience for the young
Looking back, he believes his act of uncivil disobedience says more about him than the waitress: “impatient, willing to disappoint people (at least
strangers) and a little inconsiderate of some people. Maybe a little
That imagination is spreading: The billionaire shares that his 22-year-old son, Nick, recently added to Gross Family stiffness lore “with a negative $1 tip
adjusted for 45 years of inflation.”
“Tip off the old block, I'd say!”
Trickle-down douchery, I'd say!
Gross goes on to tip readers with his take on our country's investment near-future. Real growth and stability will not be accomplished until there is “a successful handoff from public to
private credit creation.” And while the Fed buying Treasury bonds is artificially keeping the economy afloat now (good), it's unclear if anyone will buy them once the Fed isn't (bad).
He sums up by shifting back to tip mode: “Fifteen percent gratuities may lie ahead, but more than
likely there is a negative two-bit or even eight-bit tip lying on the
investment table. Like I did 45 years ago, PIMCO's not sticking around
to see the waitress' reaction.”