“Which button lets me quickly clear the screen after I don’t leave a tip?”—New Yorker
The Associated Press reports, “As more businesses adopt digital payment methods, customers are automatically being prompted to leave a gratuity — many times as high as 30% — at places they normally wouldn’t. ‘The onus should absolutely be on the owners,’ one barista said. ‘But that doesn’t change overnight. And (tipping) is the best thing we have right now.'”
While I’m happy to tip for sit-down restaurants and drivers, I feel no guilt clicking “no tip” for counter service or other non-customary situations. If consumers stand their ground, underpaid employees will eventually bolt for better paying jobs, and underpaying owners will be forced to raise their wages.
Am I wrong?
Part two in my Awkward Tip Etiquette series
I stiffed my take-out waiter for the first time this weekend and got an ugly look for it.
Normally I tip receptionists a buck for boxing my meal and carrying it all the way from the kitchen to the reception desk. (Excruciating work, I know.) But this time I grew a pair and followed my wife’s example: Don’t tip a restaurant worker for putting carry-out in a bag for you.
Again, I’m fine tipping someone that actually “waits on you” in a dining room. Servers don’t get paid a minimum wage. They’re normally hard workers and/or are struggling to make ends meet. So I’m happy to throw a few Washingtons their way for good service.
But I’m done tipping for carry-out, since the person handing me my food doesn’t add any value to my patronage, nor do they serve. I don’t care if it’s the bartender, the host, or some other receptionist. And I’m not going to let awkward attempts to “serve me” a bag or ugly looks deter me. Unless, of course, you can convince me otherwise.
Do you tip for carry-out food? If so, why?
I got a bone to pick with cheap employers, of which there are several in my resident state of Utah. Here’s what they do.
- They don’t pay competitive hourly wages for jobs that don’t require significant waiting on the customer, like a server does in a restaurant.
- They then put up signs saying “please tips our workers,” because they’re too cheap to pay a decent hourly wage.
- They seemingly lure in prospective employees with the promise of tips.
- Everyone ends up confused, from the unsure consumer to the under-paid worker.
My car wash does this. My car gets run through a machine, then an hourly worker rubs it down with a towel in less than three minutes. When done, they look at you while standing next to a ginormous sign asking for tips. Fast food restaurants have begun doing this too.
I have no problem tipping upwards of 20 percent for good service where standard (i.e. restaurants, cabs, bag boys). But when hourly workers start doing it, it feels lame on principle alone. Or maybe I’m just a cheap skate (what’s an extra few bucks to me).