Tipping at counters

Increasingly in the U.S., I find that when you get take-out food, or order something at a counter like ice cream to eat in the shop, are served at the counter—and are paying with a credit card—you are asked on the electronic-payment pad if you’d like to leave a tip. Sometimes the lowest tip you can leave is 20%. This practice seems to have arisen only in the last few years.

This feels coercive to me, and always puts me in a bind. I always presume that the workers in such places are paid a decent wage, and aren’t, like servers in restaurants, dependent on tips for their income. On the other hand, the counter people do do you a service—but so does someone who helps you order a pair of glasses at Costco.  But of course there are also the cooks, who are probably paid very little.

In restaurants, taxis, and the like the minimum tip I leave is 15%, but it’s almost always 20%, and more if the service is especially good. But when faced with one of these “would you like to leave a tip?” pads, I feel like they’re playing on one’s guilt to make extra cash. (You do not face this dilemma, by the way, when paying with currency.) Sometimes I leave 10%, sometimes 15%, and sometimes 0%, but it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Does this make me a bad person?

I note that in places where I go often, and where they know me, I leave a tip in the tip jar every second or third visit. But why should they have to know me? I don’t do that to get any extra service.

The solution, as always, is to pay servers a decent wage so that tips are not expected, and where one tips as a thank-you for especially good service: as in New Zealand and (to a lesser extent) France. I would gladly pay higher prices for my food so that servers, cooks, and other workers could make a decent wage, for then one would not be faced with the dilemma of how much to tip. In France, for example, the gratuities are included in the price of food, and that’s stated on the menu. In such cases, as in bistros, I leave a few Euros—pocket change—as do the French.

Everyone would be much better off if servers were paid a decent wage and anything you leave them wouldn’t be an obligation, but a genuine “thank you” for good service.

 

168 Comments

  1. XCellKen
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    But the belief in the industry is that those who would NOT wanna pay the higher prices would stop patronizing those businesses. So you are expected to tip.

    Most leave a decent to excellent tip. Some leave little or no tip. The employees pay the price. The owners get more business.

    Win for the owners, a pain for everybody else.

    • Trevor Adcock
      Posted July 7, 2019 at 2:46 am | Permalink

      In empirical microeconomics it is old wisdom that most breaks from the theory are a result of either price discrimination or tax avoidance. Tipping checks both boxes

  2. XCellKen
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Something y’all should know:

    If you save your Starbucks cup, and go back and ask for a refill, you will be charged the princely sum of 54 cents. At least for a tall Pikes Peak in Houston, Texas. Give the server a dollar, tell them to keep the change. The server just received a 90% tip. If you keep returning to the same location, the staff WILL remember you, and give you preferential treatment.

    And lately, the servers throw away my old cup, give me new one, and STILL charge me the refill price. That way, the cup is always new, and you don’t hafta worry about the seam blowing out while you are using it. Which tends to happen after six or sever uses. Yes, I am THAT cheap lol

    • Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      If you use your Starbucks card to pay for the initial cup, refills are free.

      • XCellKen
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        I did not know that. Thanx.

        Of course, I don’t have a Starbucks Card. I don’t purchase coffee that often from Starbucks. Would it be worth it to get one if I only go there once in awhile?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          You can use the app on your phone and won’t have to worry about remembering the card.

          • XCellKen
            Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

            Thank you

    • gscott
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      And if you’re a really cheap b*stard like my brother, go into any McDonald’s and ask for the ‘Senior Coffee’ (doesn’t matter how old you are). It’s about half the cost of a normal coffee – of course, it still tastes like crap, but some people love a bargain….

      • XCellKen
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        I drive for a living. You haven’t tasted coffee til you you’ve had some coffee from a low rent gas station in a low rent neighborhood in the middle of the afternoon. That stuff has been on the burner for six to eight hours.

  3. Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Here’s a humorous take on a tangent topic. (Trigger warning: Foul language. Lots of foul language. But it’s funny 🙂 )

    • Gasper
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      My sentiments, exactly!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Eloquent in its scabrousness.

      Plus, Starbucks’ coffee sux. Never eat or drink anything from a chain franchise if you can avoid it, is my motto. Much rather spend my do-re-mi at a mom’n’pop shop.

      • Posted July 6, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        I’m with you, Ken. I travel much in Europe and Mexico and the funny thing is, there’s a local coffee shop a block from every Starbucks charging half the price for the same beverages. And the Starbucks is amazingly busy. At times like that, I find myself viewing Howard Schulz with a weird mixture of admiration and horror 🙂

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Hear hear! In my SE England town, we have examples of the three biggest coffee chains in the UK: Costa, Starbucks and Caffe Nero. We also have quite a lot of independent, mostly local coffee shops/cafes. Without exception, the latter are infinitely better than the former. Indeed, I cannot understand why anyone in their right mind would voluntarily go to Starbucks instead of one of the independents.

        But maybe they had no choice in the matter…

  4. Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Basically, I put coins I get in change in the jar. I’ve never added a tip to a credit card charge on take-out.

    Convention is strange. If someone brings the same food to a table, we feel compelled to tip even though bringing food over to a table is a small part of the total service.

  5. Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    “. . .but a genuine ‘thank you’ for good service.”

    This raises a totally different point of contention that I have at counters here in Portland, OR. Increasingly, coffee shops are posting notices at the cash register to the effect, “Please inquire what pronouns our employees prefer to be called before referring to them.” I find this so off-putting that when I say “Thank you,” I will sometimes add, in a tone suggesting that I’ve just been caught masturbating in public, “Oh, I’m sorry!—Is it all right if I call you ‘you’?” Sometimes the person gets it, but mostly not.

    Does this happen only in Portlandia?

    • Filippo
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      “Please inquire what pronouns our employees prefer to be called before referring to them.”

      Instead, how about making it easier on everybody by staff wearing a badge clearly stating their preferences?

      It puts me of a mind to ask staff what their area manager, or CEO, or any given investor (assuming there are investors) prefers (just in case I should run into them).

      ‘“Oh, I’m sorry!—Is it all right if I call you ‘you’?” Sometimes the person gets it, but mostly not.’

      Right. When would one use any pronoun other than “you” when directly face-to-face talking to someone? Has someone somewhere come up with a second person singular (or plural) alternative to “you”? I know of nothing to stop anyone from doing so. Perhaps it simply hasn’t occurred to anyone (yet).

    • Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, what?

      The word “you” is completely gender neutral. Why would “you” ever be a problem?

      • Pelmon
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        “You” is othering.

        • Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

          I guess if a barista is offended by people othering them with the word “you” they can be somewhere other than serving coffee.

      • Posted July 6, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        “The word ‘you’ is completely gender neutral.”

        German has 7 different words for “you,” (du, dich, dir, ihr, euch, ihnen, Sie) and they’re all gender-neutral. Does anyone know of a language with words for “you” that distinguish between genders? Seems like it would be useful, but apparently not.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted July 6, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          Arabic and Biblical Hebrew have a gendered “you.” Arabic also has a dual that I don’t think is gendered, but the plural is. And I don’t think Hebrew uses the dual.

          • Posted July 6, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            That is what I love about this site. Someone always has an answer to the most esoteric question.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted July 6, 2019 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

              The threads here are like vines of cherry tomatoes hanging over your computer screen. Bite into one, you never know what direction it might go squirting off in. 🙂

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

                Great metaphor.

              • merilee
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

                Yes, +mucho

              • rickflick
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

                I was about to say…great metaphor.

            • Frank
              Posted July 7, 2019 at 4:29 am | Permalink

              Perfect use of the word ‘site’.

      • Glen Tarr
        Posted July 8, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        > Why would “you” ever be a problem?

        I think that was the point. “You” is a personal pronoun, and the notice says “Please inquire what pronouns our employees prefer …”. So by the terms of the notice one should ask before saying “thank you”.

        • Posted July 8, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

          Well just say “thanks” then.

          • GBJames
            Posted July 8, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

            Wouldn’t that be ambiguous? Maybe the thanks are being offered to The Deity instead of the waitstaff?

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      It hasn’t yet happened in SE Englandia. I suspect that any emporium trying that trick ’round these parts would be laughed outta town.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Tipping at the counter does seem a bit extreme. We know that food service workers in general are the lowest paid but working for tips is kind of a lowly occupation whatever it is. They should add it to the prices of whatever and then make sure the the one doing the work gets it. Tips make sense at the barber shop where, if you go to a real barber, you will quickly know the difference between that and a super lousy haircut. Just thought I’d throw that one in.

    When I start paying tips for that box of chicken or that fast food sandwich, things are not right. If I pick up the pizza there is no tip. If you deliver it, that is a different story.

    • Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      I almost never get food delivered (maybe twice in my life) but did tip for that. But I see no difference between ordering a taco to go at a local Korean taco place, picking it up at the counter and leaving, and getting a McDonald’s hamburger.

      And yes, I give my barber (I think they’re called stylists now) 20%.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        I think in the pizza business the delivery is more of a thing, although others do it now to an extent. The guy out there fighting traffic all day delivering pizza should get something for it and many just live on tips.

        If you go to a real barber shop where I live, they call them barbers and have barber licenses. Most of them tell me the folks at the pro-cuts or whatever they call them, super cuts, are just beauticians. No so good.

    • Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      a super lousy haircut

      Do you mean “bad” or “infested with lice”. I guess it probably depends on how badly you tip.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Every time I see combs soaking in barbicide, I think, “what did the barbers do to deserve to be put to death”?

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        That was just a joke on the names of most of the franchise joints you see all over the country – super cuts, pro cuts, you name it. What you usually see in these places are female hair cutters, very young and with the old fashion electric sheep trimmer with 10 different attachments to try on you. Your best move is to get the hell out of there.

        • Posted July 7, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          And my joke was a play on the fact that “lousy” has two meanings depending on how you pronounce the “s”.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Do you mean “bad” or “infested with lice”[?]

        Made me think of the opening passage of Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. Maybe ’cause the first time I read it, I’d never heard “lousy” used for anything but “bad.”

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted July 6, 2019 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          Wow! I’d forgotten that. How to get down to the funk and be profound at the same time; that’s Henry. Inimitable.

  7. rickflick
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Here’s my tip story: My daughter was working tables in a restaurant in Colorado. The owner was not well liked by the staff. A customer left my daughter $100 for serving at a large table. The owner confiscated the $100 and the entire staff walked out.

    I too am annoyed by the obligation to tip. I always do. Almost always.

    • Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I think there were many restaurant owners that would routinely confiscated waitpersons tip. Which I think is outrageous! Don’t know if lawsuits to stop that practices were successful or not.

      • Posted July 6, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        The only cases I know where that happens is when the owner then distributes the tips to all the staff.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Petit-bourgeois pig! Sounds like an instance of actionalbe theft to me.

      • rickflick
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        You’re hired.

  8. Liz
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I have the same dilemma in this situation. I tip a solid 20% everywhere else. In these cases, I draw a line through the blank tip space, write the amount I was charged, and sign. Cash is the easiest. I think some places will say that they just need the signature because it makes customers feel awkward. If it’s a place that delivers food and you are picking up, I don’t think a tip is expected.

  9. GBJames
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I, too, feel coerced. But I also think that the counter people are likely underpaid.

  10. Mark R.
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m a good tipper, and even tip when the service is so so. That being said, I don’t think workers’ wages should be discretionary. It seems capricious when tips keep you out of poverty, and I don’t buy the argument that servers won’t perform well unless they have the incentive of a tip. Some states like Washington and Oregon pay their servers over $9/hour and allow them to keep their tips. Most states however only pay servers $2-3/hour and without tips; this to me is unconscionable. In 2018, the food and beverage lobby spent $29 billion to make sure their slaves servers stay poor.

    • Mark R.
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      …without tips they’re destitute.
      didn’t finish the sentence.

  11. Steve Gerrard
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I recently got one of my cats a “lion” cut at a local cat boarding place that also does grooming. I paid by card, and the option to tip popped up, just before signing with your finger.

    I got the feeling that it was built into the tablet software, and not easy to turn off. They don’t normally ask for tips there, and don’t have a jar on the counter. The guy running the card just said tap something to keep going. I’m not sure they even know who leaves a tip that way and who doesn’t.

  12. Gasper
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Don’t be ninnies. If your service is nothing more than the completion of a business transaction, DON’T TIP! However, if your service was especially pleasant and went beyond your expectations, then tip handsomely.
    Don’t worry about underpaid workers. If they really can’t make ends meet. They should dump their employers. Isn’t that what free enterprise is all about?

    • Filippo
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      “Don’t worry about underpaid workers.”

      Right. As it is written in holy capitalist theory, they are merely “capital” and “resources” to be exploited. (I note it is hard for David Brooks in his columns, when he refers to humans, not to refer to them as some kind of “capital.” (E.g., “social capital.” I doubt that he refers to his own children as “capital.”)

  13. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Canada, as a;ways, is a hybrid. We don’t tip as often as Americans and our restaurant staff are paid higher wages than in the US (though it is arguable if that is a living wage) but we tip in restaurants. I tip my hair dresser as well even though it’s her own business as her prices are quite low compared to elsewhere. I don’t tip when I go to massage therapy but I hate the machine asking me to. It slows down the whole process for checking out and I think that is why they haven’t enabled tap. I usually pay with my phone so it’s even more slowing down as I get my card out of my wallet. And they only have one machine so people are waiting behind me.

    • Posted July 6, 2019 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      The only people I tip are musicians and only when I consider them competent and to have enhanced whatever environment I’ve encountered them in.
      Otherwise I never tip.
      I live in New Zealand.
      I regard it abhorrent that whole sections of a workforce to rely on gratuities in some countries.
      Pay proper and decent wages, end of story.

  14. Mike Anderson
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m not crazy about this relatively new tipping for take-out food trend, but I don’t like to dwell on it. Maybe I’ll tip 10% for take-out.

    For traditional tipping situations (bars, restaurants with servers, taxis, Ubers, etc.) I tip traditionally: 15-20%.

  15. Laurance
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Between 1984 and 2000 I lived in the Ithaca NY area and I regularly had lunch at Moosewood. Oh boy, I was a happy Mooser! Moosewood! I loved their food! And back in those days they did it European style – no tips. They included a service charge and what you see on the bill was what you paid, and the workers got paid.

    I liked that and wished that all restaurants would do that.

    But even that has changed. Some years ago I was visiting in Ithaca and I went to Moosewood, and by golly, they’d dropped the service charge and figured customers would tip the way they are expected to do everywhere else.

  16. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    On a similar subject, I saw the other day the number one fast food place was Chick-fil-A. Kind of surprised me but they have been first four years in a row. At first I though it hard to believe, they just do chicken sandwiches and that’s about it. But they are a notch better in the service area at every step, so maybe that is it. The place is always clean, there is plenty of service, never short. Everyone is well trained and they hire handicap folks to walk around, pick up trays and ask you if you need something. You do not see this in other fast foods. I think they hold managers to a higher standard and that is key in this business.

    • Filippo
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Nor does one hear there, booming into the farthest reaches of the dining area, loud ululating and cackling of the staff as one does at other fast food eateries.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I went into a place here called Freddys the other day. The noise was so loud in there you could not hear orders being called. It was insane. If a nut job had come in and shot the place up you would never know it.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

          As curmudgeonly as this sounds, I hate the constant singing and claoping for happy birthday.

          • rickflick
            Posted July 6, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

            I’m with the curmudgeon.

          • Posted July 6, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

            Singing and clapping is minor.
            What is worse is when you are sitting in a restaurant and some party at another table has arranged for a stripper to come in and do a show at their table. I’ve encountered that twice and regard it quite insulting toward other patrons.

            • Jenny Haniver
              Posted July 6, 2019 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

              What sort of restaurants do you frequent that people can arrange for strippers to perform at their table?????!!!!! Never in my life have I heard of something like that, except perhaps the at Playboy Club.

              I have gone to some fancy-schmantzy Middle Eastern restaurants, usually with cushions on the floor and servers in some traditional garb; and while you’re eating, belly dancers circumambulate the room. Maybe I’m just an old fuddy-duddy prude but when I go to a restaurant, I want to enjoy the food and good company, not watch scantily clad women (or men)clacking cymbals and undulating their pelvises while I’m eating dinner. I find it extremely off-putting and rather offensive.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 7, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

                My thoughts exactly.

    • GBJames
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      There are other reasons to avoid Chik-Fil-A.

  17. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I agree that it would be a better world if servers were paid a living wage and didn’t need to rely on tips.

    But I worked in the restaurant business off and on from the time I was 15 until halfway through my second year of law school, so
    always (over)tip — servers, cab drivers, bell-hops, bartenders, bag boys, barbers, pretty much everywhere for anything to everyone, unless the person might be insulted by the gesture.

    I think a good rule of thumb for servers is 10% for take-out, 15% for delivery, and 20% for dining-in. I almost always pay in cash and throw in a few extra bucks (but that’s just me maintaining good will around town at the joints where I’m a regular).

    Whatever you do, though, never go full Mr. Pink, man, never:

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      I do draw the line, however, at tipping tollbooth attendants, unlike Paulie the waiter in The Pope of Greenwich Village:

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      That is why he went into the wood chipper in Fargo.

      • merilee
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        ✔️

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        😂

    • rickflick
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      I dunno. Makes a lotta sense to me. Youknowudimean?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Hell, long as I’m doin’ mobster movie clips about tipping, I think the comme il faut, according-to-Emily-Post etiquette for tipping was demonstrated by Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) in Goodfellas:

    • BJ
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, the way I see it is that the world isn’t a fair place, but it’s been a hell of a lot more fair to me (at least monetarily, but likely not when it comes to mental health) than it has been to the person behind the counter, or driving a cab, etc.

      If there’s a tip jar, I put a 5 in it. Sometimes I’ll put a 10 in it. Sometimes the person’s eyes light up and I know I just made their day. Unless they’re some high school kid who only has the job because their parents made them take it to teach them about responsibility, the person is likely barely able to live on what they make. I won’t feel that five or ten bucks leaving my life, but they might damn well feel it coming into their’s, especially if a lot of people followed suit and started tipping like that.

      If you can afford to travel the world and see great places, remember that the person behind that counter will probably never get to take a single trip like that in their life. There’s a good chance they’ll never even see the inside of an apartment as nice as yours if you live in a city, or a place as nice as your backyard if you live in the suburbs. Maybe they’re an illegal immigrant, at risk of getting extorted by their landlord or living with three other families in a small apartment.

      To me, this is the same as giving to charity, just on an individual level. Every dollar means more to that person than it does to me, so long as it’s a reasonably small amount.

      I tip 30% at a restaurant (unless it’s a cheap restaurant, in which case my floor is always $15, even if that’s what the meal itself cost). My floor for a cab driver when I lived in the city was $5, and I tipped 50% otherwise. I could tell it often made them feel much better and I remember working at Shop-Rite, when just a nice conversation with a customer made the next couple of hours somehow feel far better.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        Good for you, Beej. Your strength, like that Tennyson’s Sir Galahad, is as the strength of ten, because your heart is pure.

        I, OTOH, do it just to maintain my bon vivant rep around town. 🙂

        • BJ
          Posted July 6, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

          Shiiiiiiit, I’m not trying to make myself out to be some great guy — I’ve offended plenty of people, I’ve rudely ducked social engagements, I’ve been in a fight or two, etc. — but I’m just trying to explain why people should maybe view tipping in a different light than they largely do. I don’t think most people deal with the nuance of this type of daily interaction the way they might with, say, a political policy, like raising taxes for more social benefits throughout the country. The stakes seem higher when we’re considering something that affects more people, but the stakes are the same for each individual. Perhaps if we thought through these matters a bit more, we’d come to the same conclusions we often do with bigger issues.

          I guess my comment must have come off as tooting my own horn because someone else saw it that was as well, but I promise that wasn’t the intent. Sorry, everyone.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 6, 2019 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

            Hell, I agree with you, BJ; I was just funnin’ ya again. 🙂

            • BJ
              Posted July 6, 2019 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

              It’s getting tough to tell with you. You have a great digital poker face!

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

                That’s why I’ve taken to using smiley-face emojis, BJ.

                Time was, I thought I’d never do something as fruity as mark-up my copy with smiley faces (especially after the smiley face was used in a meta-fiction novel as a reification of our cultural debasement through hyper-commodification — or at least I think that’s what said novel was getting at; who can even tell?). 🙂

                Anyway, I’ve obviously changed my tune, in recognition that not everyone gets my sense of humor. Better to be fruity and safe, I always say, rather than misunderstood and sorry.

                Hell, on occasion I’ve even slapped a pair of smiley faces on a single comment, just to be doubly sure I wouldn’t be taken seriously — the emoticon equivalent of a two-condom program of prophylaxis. 🙂

              • merilee
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

                Hey, maybe “fruity” is not the best expression in Pride Month (or was that June?).🤓🍉🍐🍊🍋🍓

              • BJ
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

                I know, right? I feel like such an asshole when I put a smiley face on something, but I also have a really dry, sarcastic sense of humor, which I’ve already significantly toned down for this forum (the only forum I post in besides a fantasy hockey subreddit), and I still need to put in smileys. I feel like a douche doing it, but it must be done

                😀 😀 😀

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

                😏🚿

              • BJ
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

                Did Diana just post an emoticon charade of me getting douched in the face?!? That better have been sarcastic!

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 7, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

                Haha I was doing an emoticon as douche-y because you said using them made you feel like a douche but I’m glad the douche part came through because I didn’t know if it would with the shower emoticon.

              • BJ
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

                You know, Diana and Ken, this is what I love about (some of the people in) this place: we may disagree, often vehemently, about some things, but we respect each others’ differences in opinions. If only our whole country could learn from our absolutely wondrously exemplary conduct.

                We would have a great time having dinner and drinks together, no matter our disagreements or age or sex or race or gender or whatever other differences. At the end of the day, we respect each other and can get along because, hey, we cool.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 6, 2019 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            I mostly tip because I’ve worked those jobs and I know what assholes they deal with daily and that they aren’t paid enough to deal with that shit especially if their corporate makes decisions without considering the front line staff.

            • BJ
              Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

              I’ve never worked in the service industry, but I go out enough to see how they get treated and have certainly known plenty of others who worked in that industry and heard their stories. If you work at a lower-end place, you deal with abusive people. If you work at a really nice, upscale restaurant, you still deal with abuse, but just of a different kind (though you make a hell of a lot more money. I knew someone who worked at a place where a meal for two with drinks would usually go for about $200 and she lived very comfortably. But the level of service you’re expected to provide is much higher, you’re running around a lot more, etc.). And what people don’t know is that you don’t just have to deal with the abuse from customers, but the emotional toll over eight or ten hours of being in a constant state of rushing. Many of us find the rush to get ready for work in the morning to take a toll, but working at a restaurant is like that the entire time.

              • Filippo
                Posted July 10, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

                In high school in the early 70’s I waited tables at a “family style” restaurant in a tourist resort area. (Three meats and four vegetables on a tray – sometimes one of the vegetables was apple sauce dyed a pretty crimson – I thought that a bit chintzy – but otherwise it was excellent food, and for a time the price included dessert from a variety on a tray. And of course Sundays offered top-of-the-line.).

                My third summer a “gentleman” and wife and two children (I estimate ages two and four) came it. I happened to notice that he was driving a late model Lincoln Continental (Dark red Ohio plates, 1970. I remember such useless piffle).

                He expeditiously (expeditedly?) announced that they wanted “two family styles,” i.e., the two adults, making a point to tell me that they had fed the kids earlier or at the motel or some such thing. Immediately that was something of a red flag to me. (Methought he protesteth too much.) As it happened, they fed the kids some amount. Certainly a nominal amount as compared to the adults. (But how many kids may one presume to bring in and claim to have fed earlier?) And had it been from the not unbountiful tray proffered for their delectation, I would not have thought much more about it. But they sent me back three times for refills. (I don’t recall that the restaurant advertised itself as “All You Can Eat.”) Three times! Egregious exploitation! Ah, but The Customer Is Always Right, eh?

                So, I wrote the ticket up also charging for one child. And I notified the manager/owner of what was going on and what my intentions were, and asked him to come out at bill-paying time and back me up if and when necessary. If he didn’t agree with that, he needed to tell me prior to my presenting the bill. This was quite out of character for me at that tender age, as I was generally quite forbearing and conflict-averse and inclined to do backward double somersaults in order to “Keep The Peace.”

                Well, he retreated to his inner sanctum and I got an earful from the “gentleman.” He said, “I wouldn’t tip you if you were the last . . . .” I can’t recall the end of the sentence. I asked him, “Did you feed the children and send me back three times for more food?” I can’t recall his prevaricating, mumbling, Philistine answer.

                I did not get fired over it. (I gather that a server in the enlightened 21st Century quite likely would get fired.) I suppose that technically I was acting out of my jurisdiction and what authority if any a waiter/server/servant/serf/slave has. But I will “pick dirt (to clean up the old saying a little) with the chickens” before I will submit to being treated like that.

              • rickflick
                Posted July 10, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

                …and it all ended happily, with the mamma bear, the papa bear, and the two little cubs, waltzing out the door, whistling a cheery whistle, and with the waiter’s head tucked neatly under papa bear’s arm.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 6, 2019 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          I see BJ more like Monty Python’s Sir Galahad.

          • rickflick
            Posted July 6, 2019 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

            Not exactly, but pretty close:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXT_IOt81Xs

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

              That’s exactly the scene I had in mind.

            • BJ
              Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

              Well, I could stay a bit longer….

              That’s who I want to be, but, if there’s a god, it won’t let me get cockblocked at the last second. And they shouldn’t get spank-blocked! Or oral-sex-blocked!

              That’s not fair to anyone!

  18. nay
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Like 11-Steve, I think it’s just part of the charge card software. I’d be interested to know if it shows up at clothing stores or auto-body shops or is only in restaurant software. At take-away places, I leave my coins in tip jars or Feed the Children-type jars (CVS has removed their jars!) to lighten the load in my pocket. For counter service and restaurants, at least $1 per person (when 10% is less than a dollar) or 15-20% for decent service, 25-30% for outstanding service, or just throw out the suggested tip card and pay what you feel for going the extra mile (like that $100 tip-which, by the way, I’m not sure is legal for the manager to confiscate unless it’s a share-the-tips restaurant where all servers split collected tips).
    My understanding is that service personnel who don’t interact with customers (cooks, bushelp) are paid more than waithelp because they don’t get tips.

    • Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Do you tip the counter people at McDonald’s?

      • Liz
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        I would never unless it was customary in a different country. Sometimes when driving to Michigan, Maryland, Maine, Florida, Colorado etc. it seems like McDonalds is the only thing to find along the way. No tips.

  19. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I tip with my poems, sometimes a few lines of prose. I’m a very non-materialistic person, I make a point of telling anyone who serves me at a restaurant this.

    The look on those hard-working waiters and waitresses faces when I slip them a few lines of my avant-garde beat poetry makes eating all their food worth it. They appreciate it so much more than if I’d coldly handed them a lump sum of money, and simply said thankyou. How turgid and unimaginative.

    • Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      I’ve had lots of little cards printed with gems like “get a job that pays better” printed on them. Wait staff seem to love that. Indeed one waitress, after spending a hard two hours serving a party of twenty of us, was so overcome with emotion on receiver her card that she spontaneously burst into tears.

      Slightly off topic: is it normal that, with advancing years, food in restaurants tastes more and more like cigarette ash?

      • rickflick
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        * pulls card out of shirt pocket and squints to read…*
        It suggests you quit smoking. 😎

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted July 7, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        Reminds me of the apocryphal story/joke about legendarily-despised part-time restaurant critic Michael Winner.

        He visits a restaurant and orders his favourite chowder. Immediately the kitchen staff prepare to masturbate into it.
        Unfortunately, an overeager waiter takes the chowder to Winner before they get the chance to ‘infuse’ it.

        Anyway, the punchline is that Winner sends the chowder back, complaining that it tastes ‘funny’.

    • Liz
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      This sounds like a wonderful idea. I’m not sure if you’re kidding or not but it really does seem lovely. I thought I read that you compose your own music so that would be a gift. Maybe next time I get my hair trimmed at Great Clips (because you have more control over the stylists so that they don’t use their creative licenses to style your hair) I will play them “This Land Is Your Land” on my recorder (plastic flute) which is the only song I know on the recorder. I’m sure it would go much better if I wrote a poem. I would appreciate your music. I’d love to hear it. I played violin and piano but it’s been a while.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. I wasn’t being serious, no. I have heard of people who tipped with their work but they tended to be people, as Ken suggests below, whose work was recognised as having some kind of definite monetary value.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Reminds me of JSG Boggs, the artist famous for his hand-drawn bank notes. He used to pay his restaurant tabs with his drawings — always simply at face value, even though they were worth much more (sometime hundreds or thousands of times more) on the open art market. Waiters and waitresses loved them some Boggs!

      Now, that’s “performance tipping” I can get behind.

  20. uommibatto
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Our favorite coffee place (Peet’s, much better drip coffee than Starbucks, IMHO) just started this tablet payment off of cards as well. It suggests dollar amounts for tips, so when I refill my app, I throw in $1 on top of my $20 app load-up (only a 5% gratuity).

    It’s not much, but their workers are great. Also, my daughter works in the food service industry, and tips are much appreciated by her, so indirectly I feel like I am tipping her.

    If anything, I like this electronic tipping better, as it happens when I give them money, and not when I return the next day to use the app to get another coffee. Then, there is no money changing hands, so there’s less of an expectation to tip. Not unlike Jerry, this amounts to giving some kind of tip every 3rd time or so.

    And, if the server/barista does something extra nice, thoughtful, or friendly, they still have the old-fashioned tip jars for tips as well.

  21. centrificalfusion
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    This crafty penurious subterfuge (the obligatory tip jar is a ploy by corporate America to get customers to subsidize paltry wages. Why should employers pay full value or offer a raise if the customer will pay their employee wages? And why would an employee ask for a raise since they are being generously subsidized? I will not patronize establishments that have a tip option for counter service. It makes my blood boil.

  22. Caldwell
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    in New Zealand

    A little internet research shows that NZ waiters make slightly less than waiters in the U.S. (NZ$16/hour=$10.56US vs $11.27/hour).

    • phoffman56
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      However, to be really scrupulous, you must compare all of: minimum wages, costs of living, and typical wages in other jobs, between the two or more countries.

      The minimum in NZ is actually more than you stated, and is virtually inapplicable to waiters in U.S., IIRC.

      So it’s tough on nervous tourists, especially those who read about as frequently as Drumpf, or who believe all of what their internet tells them.

      Iceland: tipping almost unheard of.

      Norway: same thing there 50 years ago, now it’s begun somewhat. Wages are well over $20/hr., but cost of living high.

      Sweden: As Norway I think, but less experience there for me.

      Australia and N.Z. : Min wages between $15 and $20/hr., cost of living mostly less than U.S., and tipping is pretty much unexpected.

      U.K.: Even 50 years ago, servers at bars would typically be told “Have one yourself” maybe every third round. (How did I survive all that beer?) Now tipping (and idiots running the country) are getting much more like U.S.

      Canada: Wages for waiters are around $10/hr., less than the usual minimum wage but better by far than most USian waiters get before tips. However tips are pretty much the same as U.S. I’ve not noticed any tendency towards tips at the fast food/coffee places yet.

      U.S. : Did they used to tip their slaves?

      • Posted July 6, 2019 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        “Australia and N.Z. : […..]., cost of living mostly less than U.S.,”

        Really? Have you a reliable source for that?

        From personal observation I doubt it very much. I understand anecdotally that c.o.l. is higher in NZ than UK and whenever I’ve made back of envelop comparisons of consumer costs between the USA and NZ I’ve (I’m Kiwi) always been rather envious of the lower costs USAsians enjoy. For example, building costs are much, much higher in NZ.

        • phoffman56
          Posted July 6, 2019 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

          You are probably correct. Sorry on that, I was just using my most recent trip about 10 years ago, and even there maybe badly remembered. If near UK costs, they are more than US. Here I’m assuming you account for the decrease in these currencies rel $US over that time.

  23. Pelmon
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Tipping has been studied for a long time in economics. It is a mechanism that separates the rewards for good food from those for good service. This is perfectly sensible actually, and we do it routinely in other contexts. If I have roofing tiles installed I don’t pay the tile manufacturer a flat rate including installation, I hire and pay workers I think good. My parents hire a lawn service, and tip the workers who do a good job. Some did a poor job and got know tip.
    If you think through the inventives here thatseems like a good way to ensure better service.

    One example https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1536-7150.1997.tb03460.x

    • merilee
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes I feel reluctant to tip because the food is crappy, but always do because of the waitstaff. Maybe there should be two different tips?

      • Pelmon
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Well, the “tip” for the owner is part of the price. There have been times when the food was so bad I complained and the meal was free; in such cases I would still leave the same tip.

        Counter staff are different from wait staff of course. I see little need to tip counter staff in most cases, like McD. I do tip at my favorite coffee shop, as they do things like rinse my mug in hot water.

    • Filippo
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      “Tipping has been studied for a long time in economics.”

      This gets me to thinking how economists’ performances are evaluated. Anyone know? Are they evaluated on their “productivity” (no. of papers published?), or “effectiveness” (whatever that exactly is)?

      I subjectively perceive that economists – by virtue of being economists – are qualified to pronounce from on high about anything.

    • Filippo
      Posted July 10, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      I think economists should work on a tip basis, especially the Milton Friedman types.

  24. Laura
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with everything in this post. I always feel guilty if I don’t tip for counter service and foolish if I do. Takeout from a nice restaurant, carefully packaged, is worth a tip in my view, but a sandwich from a walk-up counter? That tip jar is not necessary. I did notice on a recent trip to San Francisco that many restaurants there are now including an 18% service charge, making tipping similar to what is done in Europe. I wish it was like that everywhere.

    • Denise
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      I wish the waiter were paid by the hour like everyone else. Why should his pay be a function of how expensive my meal is? He does the same amount of work whether he brings me the sandwich or the filet mignon.

      Unless of course his job is to upsell me and the service charge is really a sales commission.

  25. Brujo Feo
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I used to link tipping more to quality of service than I do now. I used to begrudge a server a bad attitude; I don’t know whence the epiphany, but one day I realized that maybe they’re just having a really shitty day for reasons I can’t fathom, so I generally tip well even if the service isn’t great. And maybe that extra couple of bucks is going to make more difference in their life than in mine.

    One thing I learned from my daughter and son-in-law, both of whom are chefs and know the serving aspect of the business quite well–even when you pay with a card, ALWAYS leave the tip in cash. When you hand the cash to the server, you have some idea where it’s going. Put it on the card, and it will at least get delayed, if not outright stolen. See https://www.workingamerica.org/fixmyjob/compensation/stealing-tips.

    Last thought…when you stay at a hotel, leave a few bucks on the pillow for the person who cleans the room.

    • Filippo
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      “I used to begrudge a server a bad attitude.”

      As compared to a customer with a bad attitude? Or does that matter?

  26. Stephen Barnard
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    In my humble opinion, tipping in any degree is a bad custom. It’s demeaning to the worker. Do you tip your doctor, your attorney, your dentist, your banker, your children’s teachers? Of course not. It signifies that the service provided has little intrinsic value to the employer, and that the server is dependent on the arbitrary, capricious good will of the customer. Another problem is that the custom varies widely from country to country.

    I tip, usually generously, because it’s expected and because the poor employees depend on it, but I don’t like it as a custom.

    • Pelmon
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Of course I tip my doctor, it is done under the word “fees”.

      When I eat at a restaurant I pay the owner for the food and the facilities under the term “check”. I pay my server separately under the word “tip”. I have no objection to calling it a service charge.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        In that case, why not call what you pay the doctor an inevitable service charge. You are going to pay the doctor whether you get any service or not. If he kills you, there is a charge for that too. Maybe you call that an afterlife charge.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 6, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          No, that charge is for the morticians.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted July 6, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

            While we normally prepay that part I suppose a tip would be good for a smaller ash pile. Like the executioner is would be prepaid.

        • Pelmon
          Posted July 6, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          I thought the point was obvious. I guess not, to some anyway, so let me spell it out. There is an incentive for good performance. With a doctor or a mechanic the incentive takes the form of return business, or referrals. With waiters it takes a more immediate form. The presence of an incentive is important to reward good performance, and it is not demeaning to be paid for good work.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        It used to be the custom to tip your executioner to ensure a clean beheading. Tipping is extortion. If you frequent a place where tipping is customary, and you don’t tip, you can expect poor service.

        • Pelmon
          Posted July 6, 2019 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

          Indeed you will, as perhaps you should. Under the current social norm, where tips are expected to provide nearly all of the waiter’s income, a refusal to tip is a demand to be served for free. Even Trump tips.

          • Stephen Barnard
            Posted July 6, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

            The custom varies widely.

            • GBJames
              Posted July 6, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

              It does vary from country to country, Stephen, but you specified “if you request a place where tipping is customary”. Under those circumstances if you don’t tip, not tipping makes one a bit of a free-loader.

              • Stephen Barnard
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

                I didn’t write that. Please quote me correctly. “If you FREQUENT a place …” It was a hypothetical.

                I’m not saying don’t tip when tipping is expected. You should tip, generously if the service is good. I’m saying that the CUSTOM of tipping is fucked up, demeaning to the employee, and inconsistent. Employers should pay people for their job performance, and fire them if they don’t perform up to expectations.

              • GBJames
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

                Heh. I didn’t write that either. I blame autocorrect for the error.

                FEIW, I agree that the custom is bad. But it is how the world works in a great many places. Some people (not you) use the fuckedupedness of the system to stiff the people doing the work. That’s worse, IMO, than the system itself.

              • Stephen Barnard
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

                Autocorrect replaced “frequent” with “require”? LOL

              • GBJames
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

                I certainly wouldn’t do such a thing. If it replaces “request” with “require”, perhaps yes. Certainly you wouldn’t make such an error.

              • Stephen Barnard
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

                With all due respect, you’re trying to wriggle out of this. I never used the “request” or “require” or any similar word. Your misquotation utterly changed the meaning of what I actually wrote. Man up (person up?) and admit the error. 🙂

                No big deal, really.

              • GBJames
                Posted July 7, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

                Perhaps you’re just feeling a bit grumpy, Stephen.

                Greg’s misquote: “if you request a place where tipping is customary”

                Stephen’s misquote of Greg’s misquote: ‘Autocorrect replaced “frequent” with “require”? LOL”

                Sometimes people make typing errors. Sometimes autocorrect transforms incorrectly typed words in curious ways.

  27. insidephotos
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Agree, agree, agree. But the trouble is that here in the USA it is perfect legal in many states, perhaps all, for so called tipped workers the have minimum wages that are tiny fractions of the mythic $15 00 per hour. That has to change.

  28. Vaal
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, agreed with your take on counter-tipping!

    It drives me nuts and now it seems to be everywhere. No matter what food I purchase, outside of a McDonald’s, I have to navigate the tipping coercion on the card reader.

    Of course the brings up the whole debate over tipping on take out food. For most of my life neither I nor anyone I knew tipped on ordering food for take out. It wasn’t as far as I know expected and has never felt intuitively “right” in any case.

    When it comes to ordering food, it feels more like I’m doing them the favor. I’m giving them my business, I’m humping it over to their restaurant to pick up the food and drive it home. They are just cooking the food for me and handing it to me. That is a given, and those basic necessities of running the restaurant should be incorporated in the price of the food.

    If I’m dining in, being served by a wait-staff, well then I’m taking up space in their restaurant, using their tables, chairs, utensils, being waited on. There is a lot more to do and specific diner problems to navigate as a waiter/waitress in terms of “value added” to the experience then merely packing and handing some food over the counter. They can make or break the experience of dining in.

    Now, if I were putting additional demands when ordering for pick up, say asking for alterations in a dish or other departures from their routine, then I can see adding a tip. But just ordering food and picking it up? No.

    (I’ve seen the counter-arguments to this; I don’t find them convincing, having worked both behind the counter in fast food places, and having been a server/waiter at several restaurants).

  29. Posted July 6, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    If you are not planning on returning to an establishment, the decision is easy. No tip.

    • Posted July 6, 2019 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but that’s if you tip to get better service in the future. Sometimes one can tip, even when it’s not required, to ensure that people get a decent wage.

      • Posted July 6, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        FWIW, I ignore that consideration. Underpaid workers is not a problem I think I can make a dent in, except through political action. My philosophy is to separate charity from day-to-day market transactions. So when the Krogers clerk asks if I want to round up the bill for this charity or that, I say no.

  30. Steve Pollard
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Pretty well all Italian restaurants now include a service charge in the bill, as do most French ones. It’s becoming more widespread in the UK as well. I’m all in favour, as it makes the whole transaction much simpler – provided one can be sure that the staff really do get to share the benefits. There have been a number of recent cases in the UK where the inbuilt service charge has been pocketed by the management and not passed on to the workers. The only answer to that practice is to name and shame, and/or to insist on tipping staff direct rather than through the card.

    How much? The usual amount here seems to be around 12.5% (an eighth), which is at least fairly easy to work out (although not necessarily after a couple of bottles of wine).

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      I should have added, in response to our host’s original question, that tipping at counters is almost unknown in the UK, at least in my experience. I do know one or two places that keep cups on the counter, but customers are not necessarily expected to put coins in them except for table service. For instance, I often drop into our local artisan bakery for a loaf of bread (cor blimey, so hip at my age!); but I wouldn’t put anything in the pot unless I was stopping for a cuppa as well.

    • Posted July 8, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      I was told (when visiting) that in Denmark a
      15% service charge is automatically added by law where service is applicable and that it is rude to give anything beyond that.

  31. gscott
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen those credit-card machines where the minimum suggested tip was 20%, but there’s always been a ‘custom’ option where you can select the amount.

    Sometimes the printed credit-card slips will give you a table of tip amounts at various percentages. These can be useful, but the one I got the other day started at 25% and went up to 40% or so!

    And another gripe: there’s a coffee shop I sometimes go to where you can serve yourself a cup of coffee from the pot (in your cup or theirs). And there’s a sign next to it telling you to remember to tip! I always generously tip my server: ME!

  32. BJ
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always seen tip jars at pick-up counters, so I think they started adding that line to card charges because a lot of people out there don’t carry cash anymore and thus can’t contribute to a tip jar.

    The way I see it is that the world isn’t a fair place, but it’s been a hell of a lot more fair to me (at least monetarily, but likely not when it comes to mental health) than it has been to the person behind the counter, or driving a cab, etc.

    If there’s a tip jar, I put a 5 in it. Sometimes I’ll put a 10 in it. Sometimes the person’s eyes light up and I know I just made their day. Unless they’re some high school kid who only has the job because their parents made them take it to teach them about responsibility, the person is likely barely able to live on what they make. I won’t feel that five or ten bucks leaving my life, but they might damn well feel it coming into their’s, especially if a lot of people followed suit and started tipping like that.

    If you can afford to travel the world and see great places, remember that the person behind that counter will probably never get to take a single trip like that in their life. There’s a good chance they’ll never even see the inside of an apartment as nice as yours if you live in a city, or a place as nice as your backyard if you live in the suburbs. Maybe they’re an illegal immigrant, at risk of getting extorted by their landlord or living with three other families in a small apartment.

    To me, this is the same as giving to charity, just on an individual level. Every dollar means more to that person than it does to me, so long as it’s a reasonably small amount.

    I tip 30% at a restaurant (unless it’s a cheap restaurant, in which case my floor is always $15, even if that’s what the meal itself cost). My floor for a cab driver when I lived in the city was $5, and I tipped 50% otherwise. I could tell it often made them feel much better and I remember working at Shop-Rite, when just a nice conversation with a customer made the next couple of hours somehow feel far better.

    • BJ
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, when I said in my last paragraph ” I could tell it often made them feel much better,” I meant to say first that sometimes I would just give a cab driver who seemed really nice or who had clearly recently emigrated to this country a $20. It was sort of a “you’re welcome here and I care about you. I hope you have a great night.” And that was clearly how they usually saw it too. Tips aren’t always just about money, but sometimes about showing someone that you appreciate them as a person, or that you appreciate how difficult their life might be. That can mean a lot to someone.

    • Kate Vincent
      Posted July 6, 2019 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Thank-you for this comment. I’ve spent a great deal of time convincing my family and friends that a small (like $1) amount of money buys a great deal of happiness.

      And to the folks who wish it were a different system, remember that if it were your dining choices would also be very different. Even with the incredible price hike in food and drink most restaurants and bars would likely go out of business. Either that or they’d just pay people under the table. I’ve waited tables in both Australia and Ireland and both times got cash in hand. Even when I was legal to work. That was fine there since my healthcare was covered but here in the U.S.A. I’ve never even been offered healthcare. After the ACA was passed most places are careful to keep their employee count under the legal limit or only schedule 30 hours a week so they don’t have to offer healthcare.

    • Posted July 6, 2019 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      You are so generous. So do you tip $15 on a $2 big mac?

      • BJ
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        Funny you ask that. The other day, I went to a Mcdonald’s for the first time in probably fifteen years because the kids I was babysitting wanted chicken nuggets. There was no tip jar. I tried to tip the cashier and she said she wasn’t allowed to take tips.

        I only tried to give her a five, but I think it’s pretty clear from my comment that this would count as pick-up, not restaurant service. I mentioned dropping a five or ten dollar bill in tip jars (in other words, places where you’re just dealing with a cashier). When it comes to someone who is waiting on a table, I use the $15 floor, and I’ve never seen a meal that costs anywhere close to $2, even at a diner.

      • BJ
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        I get the feeling now that you were being snarky with the “you’re so generous” remark (if not, please disregard the following). If that’s the case, I’ll say the intent of my post wasn’t to point out my generosity, but to say to other people that, if life has been good to them in finances, they should try to spread the wealth a bit. If you’re willing to vote to pay several thousand dollars more in taxes so everyone can have better healthcare, why not try to do this on the much smaller, individual level?

        • Posted July 6, 2019 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          I probably was. I apologize, BJ.

          • BJ
            Posted July 6, 2019 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

            No worries. I can see how my comment seemed sanctimonious. It wasn’t my intention, but it clearly came across that way. No need for an apology.

            • Liz
              Posted July 6, 2019 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

              Are you in the United States or England and are you 75 also?

              • GBJames
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

                Isn’t everybody 75 or so around here?

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

                I feel like a middle aged woman trapped in the body of an 88 year old so 75 is probably about right. But my sense of humour is that of a 12 year old boy.

              • Posted July 6, 2019 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

                I figure if it’s okay to choose one’s gender or ethnicity, it’s okay to choose one’s age too. I’m 25.

              • BJ
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

                That’s why you and I get along so well, Diana. No reason adolescent humor can’t occasionally be — a shit, what’s the word I’m looking for? Sorry, I’ve had a couple of whiskeys and am watching the UFC card. Um….Smart?

              • BJ
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

                Intellectual! That was the word.

              • Liz
                Posted July 7, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

                Thanks for sharing. I appreciate it. I feel fulfilled in a way I don’t find often from connecting with so many people on here.

            • BJ
              Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

              I don’t want to give away too much info about myself, but let’s just say that I’m both young and have been considered “old” since I was about 21 years old. Once I stopped doing drugs, I just wanted the kids around me to turn down their darn rap music to I could enjoy my tea and read my book.

              And I am in the US 😛

              • BJ
                Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

                Sorry, this comment was for you, Liz.

              • Liz
                Posted July 7, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

                The above comment was meant for you and everyone just above. Thanks, again : )

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted July 7, 2019 at 11:23 am | Permalink

                … and have been considered “old” since I was about 21 years old. Once I stopped doing drugs, I just wanted the kids around me to turn down their darn rap music …

                The depravity to which abstemiousness will bring a person.

  33. Steve Gerrard
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    If you really want to get into the weeds on tipping, read Jay Porter. He ran a “no tipping” restaurant in California for 7 years. This link is to page 3 of one of his blogs, with an article on how tipping produces bad service:
    https://content.jayporter.com/dispatches/page/3/

    The gist of it: servers benefit from number of guests served, times amount spent per person, times percent tip.

    They can try to improve service to increase percent tip, but drawing a smiley face on the bill does as much as anything, and most guests don’t lower the tip that much for poor service.

    They can try to get you to buy more, such as drinks and desserts, to increase amount spent per person. This leads to the pouring of all your wine as soon as possible, and such.

    Or they can try to serve more guests, by getting more tables or scooting you along to get another party seated. This will lower their quality of service and tip percent, but not by much, and often they end up making more that way.

    Porter’s view is that tipping incentivizes bad service, which does not align with the interest of the business or the guests.

    He also has some discussion on the degree to which tipping incentivizes discrimination, with everyone except middle aged white men getting less attention because they are stereotyped as poor tippers (and which tends to make all those others unhappy with their service so they tip less).

  34. Mickey Mortimer
    Posted July 7, 2019 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    “I always presume that the workers in such places are paid a decent wage”

    Why would you assume this? I’ve worked at a hotdog shop before where we served at the counter and made minimum wage to a maximum of 50 cents over minimum wage.

    “But of course there are also the cooks, who are probably paid very little.”

    The cooks are often/usually covered by dividing tip money between all employees. So by tipping, you’d be helping everyone at the restaurant.

    “Sometimes I leave 10%, sometimes 15%, and sometimes 0%, but it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Does this make me a bad person?”

    Since the people being tipped have no control over the design of their payment machines, if you tip less based on the machine settings, you’re punishing the wrong people. Having worked in retail a lot, it’s funny/sad how often customers think anyone working at a store (waiters, cashiers, managers, even the occasionally visiting district manager) has ANY say in any policy or design of that store.

    “Everyone would be much better off if servers were paid a decent wage and anything you leave them wouldn’t be an obligation, but a genuine “thank you” for good service.”

    Indeed, but that’s not the world we live in, so it wouldn’t make sense to pattern your tipping behavior on this hope/assumption.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 7, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Until the world is perfect, treat it like it’s snot.

  35. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted July 7, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    On Sat, Jul 6, 2019, 18:46 Why Evolution Is True wrote:

    > whyevolutionistrue posted: “Increasingly in the U.S., I find that when you > get take-out food, or order something at a counter like ice cream to eat in > the shop, are served at the counter—and are paying with a credit card—you > are asked on the electronic-payment pad if you’d like to l” >

  36. Glen Tarr
    Posted July 8, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    This tipping trend at lunch counters is really unfortunate. It’s classist; it allows employers to pay lower wages and supplement with an unstable income source; it suggests lunch counter workers are somehow more deserving than your local grocery clerk or bank teller; and it involves paying extra for services you haven’t received yet.

    Luckily they still don’t ask for, or expect, tips if you just pay cash.


%d bloggers like this: