I’m a great tipper. I appreciate the effort it takes to serve hordes of unappreciative people. If I’m at a restaurant I include a little card with my generous tip thanking my server and letting him/her know that I’ve prayed for them.
Tip jars are everywhere. Around here they started in coffee houses, then spread to independent order-at-a-counter restaurants. Now I see them in places like convenience stores. According to Emily Post you are under no obligation to ever place a tip in one of those jars. I often place tips in tip jars. If someone personally makes my iced mocha or my favorite pizza, I have no trouble rewarding them. I’ve known too many people who relied on those tips to help fill their gas tank or their fridge.
Still, I don’t always toss coins in a tip jar. I certainly don’t tip at convenience stores. If all you did was tell me my total and take my money, I don’t think you’ve earned a tip.
There’s a small place, sort of a convenience store/video rental/tanning bed place, not too awfully far from my house. I had stopped in the other day to grab a soda out of their cold case. As I was waiting for my change, I noticed a tip jar with a sign. The sign said, “Please tip. The boss pays lousy.” In case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t tip.
That was over a week ago, and I’m still thinking about that tip jar.
Part of the reason I tip well at restaurants is that I know most of the servers make well below the standard minimum wage. Tips are considered a normal part of their wages. My son, who works at a high-end seafood restaurant, makes $2.15 an hour. Employees at places with tip jars make the regular minimum wage. I tip at the places I mentioned because I feel like I get personalized service. Often the people I deal with are fun and add a bit of pleasure to my day. I like to reward that.
Back to that local place with the tip jar and the snarky sign. First, it borders on begging. I don’t like that. Second, it is rude and disrespectful. If you want a tip from me, insulting your boss isn’t the way to get it. Giving me a smile and a little extra service is. That’s my tip for today.