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Tipping: On The Receiving End Etiquette

I have a part-time job at a local mom n' pop joint where I work at the register and there's a tip jar right where the register is.

My question is... when someone puts a tip in there, do I say thanks, smile back, ignore them, or what? The reason why I find this sorta black and white is when I tip like that I've never heard a thanks and the workers just kinda stay silent and that seems to be the general consensus, BUT at casinos the dealer always says thanks when they get tipped and seem very gracious.

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  1. Smile and say thank you.

      1. re: troutpoint

        I would definitely make eye contact, smile and say thank you. People remember that and it will help you get more tips in the future :)

      2. You can never go wrong with a thank you! On a side-note (that may get deleted by moderators) I am often put off by the tip jars. A thank you with respect to those tips seems completely appropriate in my book.

        1. I say if you are glad of the tip, smile and say thank you. When I tip the jar, that's what folks seem to do where I go. I do sorta sneak it in at ColdStone Creamery tho' sometimes those folks sing!

          1. Definitely smile and say thanks. A Chinese take out place I go to has a tip jar, but it is really hard to reach and I almost never see people use it. The employees speak very little english, but always try really hard to understand and after about two times of going there, would see me come in, say hi (once they said, "Long time no see!" when it had been a couple weeks) and ask if I wanted my usual. The first time I went, I ordered probably $5 and maybe couple cents. When he gave me my change I reached kind of awkwardly and put it in the tip jar. He thanked me several times. Since that time, I always make sure to have a couple ones with me to put in the tip jar because of the genuinely kind appreciation they have shown. Bottomline, when such a small gesture makes someone so happy, I keep doing it because it makes me feel good.

            1. People should definitely acknowledge the giver of the tip with a thank you. I don't believe in tip jars either, so when money does go in (usually from DH), I would think he'd like to get acknowledged.

              22 Replies
              1. re: boltnut55

                We should all say thank you as much as we possibly can!

                1. re: ostracario

                  I went to Sbux today and my drink was $3.20. I gave the cashier 3.25 and she put the 5c into her tip jar. I was flabbergasted but wasnt going to look cheap by fishing it out. She did herself out of a tip cos I would have left more.

                  still it was bad manners on her part to assume the 5c was for her.

                  1. re: smartie

                    I would have fished it out, and made sure she saw me or even said something. Who looks worse? I often toss in the coin part of my change at that sort of place. I don't get into whether a tip jar is a valid practice or not. Whatever, it's not a pet peeve for me. I tend to throw at least coins in there. But if anyone ever assumed they were entitled to it in the way you described, they aren't getting anything except dirty looks.

                    1. re: CrazyOne

                      think i might talk to the manager next time I am in, it is my local sbux

                      1. re: smartie

                        oh come on. are you sure it wasnt a brain freeze?
                        i think this is the kind of thing maybe you chat about with
                        somebody as you are walking to lunch as a "hey get this"
                        kinda thing, but to call the manager?

                        it might have been appropriate to make some comment to
                        the person dropping it in the jar, if you could think of something
                        snappy ... i wont bother with example ... but fishing it out would
                        have been ridiculous.

                        i suppose i would havehad to have been there to fully read this.
                        it's possible she moved to hand you the change and there was
                        a non-verbal miscommunication etc.

                        1. re: psb

                          oh no, her hand went straight from the register to the tip box. I was not directly in front of her so she would have had to stretch out out hand to me, but she didnt she dropped the 5c in the tip box. Didn't even glance at me.

                          It was dumb because I was going to tip her anyhow.

                          It's my 5c not hers and whilst no big deal it is not her right to assume it should go into the tip box. A nice little earner if they do it with everyone and what if it had been a quarter change?

                          I wouldnt have called the manager over, she may even be the manager, but I will watch to see if it happens again.

                          1. re: smartie

                            why dont you see if you can ring up a purchase of $4.01 - $4.05 and give
                            her a $5 and see if you get a $1 back. or maybe just having her make 99cents
                            in change will be pushiment enough.

                            >It's my 5c not hers and whilst no big deal it is not her right to assume it should >go into the tip box. A nice little earner if they do it with everyone and what if it >had been a quarter change?
                            be serious. what if it had been a penny? "oh but it's the principle".
                            yes, we agree this was lame. but to read into this something about
                            o tempora o mores or escalating to calling a manager is ridiculous.

                            say you got chinese take out and they forgot your fortune cookie
                            because the counter girl was taking a social phone call while wrapping
                            up your order, would you call to complain?

                            yes, i understand the difference between the money value and the
                            principle, but i think you need to consider both when you decide
                            how to RESPOND [meaning an action like speak to the manager]
                            as opposed to just how to REACT [possible just a mental state change,
                            like getting annoyed]. do you honk at every car that does something
                            illegal ... like say a unsignaled lane change? or only when it is unsafe,
                            useful to warn the other driver, *significanly* obnoxious etc.

                            speaking of seinfeld, do you remember the episode where
                            kramer tried to get $100 from the bank with the "hello" greeting
                            policy and they argue about whether "hey = hello". who looks like
                            the lamer in that episode?

                            de minimis non curat lex ... and all that.

                            1. re: psb

                              wished I had never added this story now. I am absolutely not mean spirited and would certainly not complain in restaurants (just sold mine so I know the petty stuff that customers complain and argue over). It was the chutzpah of the action and the assumption that the 5c was for her tip jar. I think if she had SAID can I put the change in the tip jar I would have been fine with it.


                              1. re: smartie

                                smartie, no need for regret. I agree with you. It was the chutzpah and not the 5c.

                                1. re: smartie

                                  I think this is one of those situations where humor is our friend. A lighthearted "Hey, watch what you doing with my nickel!" may have lightened up the moment. It may have been she did it without thinking.

                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                    Hehe, that would be another option I guess, sure. I was a little quick on the entitlement trigger perhaps. (Wonder what I was thinking and what else I was posting about the other day? ;-)

                                    It sure isn't the money that's an issue, though. It doesn't matter if it's a nickel or a penny. No assumptions are to be made with my change. I've been seeing the same clerks in a convenience near my office store for years, and they know I generally toss the pennies right into that need a penny bin on the counter (and sometimes they fish some out of there for me to use, so it works out just like it's supposed to) or even sometimes in a hurry I walk out the door and they toss the penny in there. But they have never, ever, presumed that's where they should go. Perhaps it's just a better level of help, or at least less distracted. ;-)

                                    1. re: CrazyOne

                                      on a totally unrelated note re pennies, and i can't believe that i'm posting this; the ladies who cashier at the drive-in of an **extremely** busy icky fast-food establishment in my area will routinely hand back one-penny-short change to diners-- who the heck is gonna say anything or even check? they keep count in their heads, and as it's, again, **extremely** busy, they can get daily busfare out of it by the end of their shift, maybe with a buck or 2 left over. their families probably need the money and everybody's got some kind of hustle, and i don't eat fast food, so i don't fault them, it's just kind of interesting. i'd like to say right now that every person who serves food & bev to the public deserves at least twice what they are paid, so please do tip your server.

                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                        Your change is your change, if you wish to give a tip you should.
                                        Two recent issues came to mind when I read this topic. I was tipping for a $20 manicure & pedicure special. I gave a $4.00 tip. The cashier said oh we require a minimum of $5.00 tip because we work so hard. I gave her the extra dollar and told her I agree you work hard, however your sign should say The Special is $25.00 which includes the tip.

                                        I also like to keep some pennies in my desk drawer. Sometime I have a generous moment and give 2 cents to my coworker when they are having a difficult time with a project and I have something to say.

                                        I guess I should have gave the cashier two cents too since I gave her my opinion.

                                  2. re: smartie


                                    jfood agrees that he would have been dumbfounded with the event. Jfood would not say it was chutzpah though in that he believes the cashier was just not thinking.

                                    Should you speak with the manager. It may be worthwhile mentioning in the following manner: "could you mention to the staff that change goes to the custo, not automatically into the tip jar. Not a big deal but if they put it directly into the tip jar some custos may get upset. Just a head's up."

                                    1. re: smartie

                                      Smartie, I would have been annoyed too. I feel like had to have been an accident as I'm sure if she did that regularly someone would complain. I would try to buy from her again and see if she did it again -- with a snazzy comment all ready to go!

                                      But then, I like to honk at every car that does something illegal. If I don't teach them, how will they learn?

                                  3. re: smartie

                                    She had you standing there looking foolish expecting change that wasnt forthcoming?

                                    Ohhh, those creepy tip jars. At least you managed to escape the jar cheaply.

                                    1. re: smartie

                                      You have a right to be annoyed smartie. Don't let others who would like you to think they are loosy-goosy whatever makes the world go round types make you think any different. They're not, otherwise they wouldn't take the time to prepare the negative response you received. In the retail world this kind of behavior is called skimming. Her method was just a little more blatant. There is a Baskin Robbins I go to and my co-workers and I have nicknamed the cashier "Skimmer". Time after time she will never give back changed unless asked, and even then she "forgot".

                                      1. re: Oh Robin

                                        re: skimming ....
                                        do you think "upselling" is the same as deliberately adding $$$ to the bill?
                                        one is "merely" aggressive, as might be making you ask for your change
                                        or fishing it out of the tip jar, but that is different from deliberately giving you
                                        $13.75 in change instead of $14.75 on your $5.25 coffee+muffin purchase
                                        as you drive thru.

                                        i have no doubt your Skimmer is a worse breed than the Nickleodeaon ...
                                        and i think it's useful to see gradations.

                                        do you guys get even more bent out of shape ... or think it is "super creepy" ...
                                        when the tip jar promotes itself with a sign like "cool people tip", "sexy people
                                        tip" [seen yesterday].

                                        btw, if the bill was $3.20 and i take the trouble to fish out a quarter, i'd certainly
                                        assume the customer did so to leave exact change rather than tipping. if you
                                        wanted to leave a tip, would you just give them a $5 or 4x$1 and leave a $1 or
                                        80cents in change? i'm just curious what kind of tip the Nickleodeaon did herself
                                        out of. i suppose it could make sense based on having certain denominations
                                        of cash and coin in your pocket, but it is mightly odd to pay $3.25, pocket the
                                        nickel in change, then fish out two quarters to leave as a tip. i dont always tip
                                        at the jar, but if i do, it is either $1 or the balance of the change, if that is greater
                                        than say 60cents. i'm more likely to leave $0 than 30cents.

                                        1. re: Oh Robin

                                          This happened to us in a grocery store in Mexico. The cashier rang us through, and neglected to give us our change. Nothing. No change. :-) Luckily we speak some Spanish and were able to convey ourselves to her, but she still played dumb. We then asked to speak to her supervisor - then, and only then, did she figure out that we weren't simple touristas who could be taken advantage of. It wasn't as though it was just change (coin) either - she owed us 50 pesos ($5)! But hey, in some less-priviledged countries they look at tourists like we're walking cash machines. We're on holiday, therefore we must be rich. If only!!

                                2. re: smartie

                                  I get my coffee every morning at a local shop. It's $1.63. I give them $2 and toss the change in the tip jar. Last week the guy at the register tossed it in himself without thinking and was obviously embarrassed when he realized what he had done. I laughed with him and said he knew it was going in there anyway and it's was no big deal.

                                  1. re: smartie

                                    I like it when cashiers (so glad you didn't call her a barista!) figure out their own tip like that!

                                    1. re: smartie

                                      If any cashier/server took the liberty of assuming that my change is destined for the tip jar and just dropped it in there without asking, I would immediately tell the server "You forgot to give my change."

                                      What happened to you was totally rude. Bad form all around by $Bux.

                                3. this is a no brainer, say thank you.

                                  1. yes, you should smile and say thanks, it does show appreciation for the gratuity & promotes regularhood (and tipping regularhood) among the joint's patrons-- so it's part of your job to be appreciative for the business establishment, and part of your job with the people who split those tips, to help increase them.

                                    ignoring people when they tip only leads them to think crazy things, like your family must not be dependent on their tip money, or that you must be working for fun!

                                    1. I'm trying to figure out ... why WOULDN'T you say thanks and give 'em a smile?

                                      1. I think if the person at the counter sees you leaving a tip they'll generally thank you for it. It seems like they often don't notice you putting in the tip, though, which reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where George put money in the tip jar at the pizza place, but they didn't notice, so he went to fish it out to put it in again so he'd get credit, but of course they did notice him taking money out....

                                        1. Here in Philly there is an ice cream shop where the workers seem to go out of their way to hand you your change directly over the tip jar. I mean, if you are standing over slightly to the side some of them still hold the change out not directly to you but rather near the jar by the register.

                                          There is (was) one time in a bagel place where in the middle of a transaction, the clerk produced the tip jar from nowhere and actually pushed it towards me.

                                          I wish there were a "negative tip" etiquette in these situations -- sorry, you are penalized one dollar for overly obvious tip solicitation!

                                          1. You should smile and thank EVERYONE. If they all stop coming in, you're out of a job.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Scottus

                                              Of course you should say thank you!

                                              1. re: Rick

                                                i agree with the answer of course you smile & say thank you BUT the place i goto never does! i goto a local bagel shop 2-3 times a week and there is a tip jar on the counter. (which in my opinion i dont agree with either ) i used to put either my change in the jar or a dollar bill in but i never got a smile or thank you EVER. makes me nuts. i never put in anything anymore.

                                            2. Say Thank-you!!! I always feel appreciated when thanked for tipping at a coffee shop, bagel cafe, smoothie joint etc.