Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tip Jar Trends

Abby says:

When do you leave a tip?

I’ve always thought of this as something reserved for (hopefully good) service in a sit-down restaurant or bar where you’re actually being served. Or, maybe at a nice night club for someone who is playing the piano or strolling the room with a violin. I guess that theory has expanded itself somewhere along the way.

I’ve recently noticed more and more fast-food restaurants are handing out receipts that have blank lines for leaving a tip. This is disturbing to me. These folks are not even bringing food to my table or wiping it up with I am done eating. Many times, I am getting mine to go. There are no cooks or wait staff. I assume these order takers/cashiers are being paid an hourly wage. What is equally disturbing is when they display glass tip jars with home-made signs scribbled in marking pen.

For what are we tipping? I never tip in these circumstances. Often times I get hateful stares when I write “zero” in the tip amount line (or, am I just imagining this?). I need some direction.

Sheri says:

Like Abby, I tip often and I tip well. As a creature of habit, I tend to frequent the same establishments and these people take excellent care to provide quality service. I reward accordingly.

I spoke with the bar manager at one of these establishments. A great portion of his income is supplemented by tips but as he pointed out to me, there’s a huge difference between where he works and some of the businesses that just plop a tip jar on the counter and hope you’ll chip in.

I don’t mind tipping for service. I wish we had more businesses providing something that remotely resembles service. Once I’ve poured my own soft drink and pumped my own ketchup, I’m a little annoyed to see the tip jar.

Our daughter worked her way through college and law school in the food service industry. I know how important the tips were to her. But again, if you tipped her, it was because she was cordial and prompt. She brought your drinks and food. Hopefully, she made the dining experience easier and more pleasant. She did not hand you a paper thimble and instruct you on where to find the condiments.

Here’s an interesting twist. About ten years ago, I bought my husband a piano. We spend many hours around it, often with friends. One of our friends bought us a gift – a large and beautiful vase. He declared it “the tip jar.” It still sits on our piano and on many occasions I’ve strolled through the room the morning after a party and there is actually money in it!

It just proves my theory: With enough wine or beer involved, people will tip for anything.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

I found myself leaving money in a tip jar today. I hate that, but the cashier was so nice and patient with us as we tried to figure out what cookies we wanted for the kids. I felt obligated.