In waitressing, we called it "the verbal tip." Here's the rule: when someone on their way out the restaurant door makes a point of catching you and telling you what a great job you've done, 9 out of 10 times they've left an awful tip, or none at all.
This morning, all faculty got a message from our chancellor, talking about the "many challenges" we face, the prospect of disappearing programs, larger class sizes, and delayed building repairs and equipment purchases (the staff and faculty cuts, and three-plus years of salary freezes, plus a year of furloughs, plus and the prospect of a big and permanent pay cut looming on the horizon are left unspoken).
The rest of the very long e-mail goes on about how we will remain committed to students, and how it's all down to our fantastic faculty and staff who helps students succeed, and how we are "mak[ing] high-quality, affordable education accessible to all citizens." The message seems to be that people who are really dedicated to students don't let something as petty as filthy lucre get to them.
So yay, us, for being awesome folks who provide excellence without money.
But on the whole, I would have preferred a tip.