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Do you Tip Your Butcher? [Moved from the Outer Boroughs board]

Sometimes my butcher goes out of his way to get me things, pound, cut up, debone, sells just bone, etc. I sometimes feel like I should tip him but don't want to insult either. Is that just part of being a good butcher? or do should I / do you tip?

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  1. no more than i would tip the cheese counter guy/girl or the person who grinds my coffee.

    1. I worked in a butcher shop for many years and was never tipped in the store. When I was young, my customers tipped me when I delivered orders to their homes.

      1. Another sign of our "overtipping" culture.

        Aside from people who "work for tips", tips should only be for extraordinary service (that is, out of the ordinary). Pounding, deboning, cutting up...those are all things that a BUTCHER should do. It is part of the trade, and it is one of the reasons you go to a full service butcher.

        1. Heavens, NO. You patronize the butcher. That's his reward for doing his job (and those things are all part of the job done well).

          3 Replies
          1. re: Karl S

            Since I have a longstanding 'human' relationship with my butcher, I bring him a small token of my gratitude for his extra efforts on my behalf after he completes my very large orders.

            1. re: dolores

              The butchers my family patronized growing up (and we had butchers in our extended family) would have been insulted by being tipped. What they wanted was our business and word of mouth. That's no less "human".

              1. re: Karl S

                My FIL was a butcher and would not have been insulted by a token of gratitude. My butcher is not insulted by my token of gratitude.

          2. No tip but a Christmas/Holiday gift if you are a regular.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KTinNYC

              KT, I agree. The holidays can get expensive, but I make/give gifts for all the "special" people who help me on a regular basis - butcher, paper delivery person, previous babysitters, dry cleaners, hair dresser, etc. I often make foodie gifts of decorated cookies or other delicacies or cash to those I know need it. Seems like a good investment in thanking the assistance of people who help make everyday life more pleasant.

            2. Not if he/she owns the butcher shop.

              6 Replies
              1. re: scoopG

                Why not? If the person goes out of their way for you, and is the owner, why not?

                1. re: dolores

                  The Owner sets the prices and earns the profits, or decides how those profits will be used and it is the Owner who decides how to compensate employees. The Owner is not working for a tip but employees/Servers may be. The Owner should provide good service i.e. "going out of the way" as part of his/her normal "mission." At a small business, any tip the Owner receives should be shared with his/her employees. During the holidays I will tip key employees I interact with at my local butcher, dry cleaners or tailor but never the owner.

                  1. re: scoopG

                    I was referring to a butcher shop with an owner only. In that case, I would give the owner, with whom I interact, a token of my gratitude.

                    Correct, if I dealt with an employee at an independent butcher, I would give the employee a token of my appreciation.

                    I don't tip money. I give a token, such as a bottle of good wine.

                    1. re: dolores

                      I think a "token of gratitude" is far different than a tip. Apples to oranges.

                      1. re: irishnyc

                        I disagree. The OP didn't say a monetary tip. The OP asked:

                        'do you tip'?

                        Yes, I do.

                  2. re: dolores

                    In the US, at least, tipping has been traditionally verboten to owners, and sometimes taken as insulting because it implied a confusion of roles (tipping here is normally reserved for minimum wage and limited types of work - we don't tip our plumbers, mechanics, paralegals, nurses, electricians, oil deliverers, et cet.). The dikes in this custom were breached with hairdressers in the past generation, but not uniformly.

                    The way you "tip" an owner is to continue giving your business and referring more business to him or her. That is more than sufficient.

                2. no, I pay a premium per to go to the local butcher over some chain market, however I get the best meat available,great service, and other benifits for that premium price. I believe the higher prices payed make a tip unnecessary.

                  1. I expect that they set their price per pound of meat processed to include all these services and thus feel no need to tip.

                    1. It's part of being a good butcher and it's the core function of the job. My roommate is a butcher and would never expect to get a tip and I feel it would probably make him feel awkward.

                      If you're a regular customer, a nice bottle of wine or beer would be appropriate, after a big butcher day like xmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, 4th of July, etc. . . would be fine too when they have a tad more time. If he or she did something super cool, like found you a turkey unexpectedly the afternoon before Thanksgiving or opened up on Christmas morning or delivered to a party (and that's not their normal thing and it wasn't a worker that did it, who should get tipped in cash) a supplemental bottle of wine, liquor or flowers (butchers like flowers too, sometimes, and butcher's wives often do!) might be nice, along with a card.

                      If the whole shop did something great for you, you might consider asking the owner/manager if you can bring them all a bunch of beers, otherwise just a thank-you note would be appreciated.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: sailormouth

                        I agree, if I go in to my local butcher shop late enough on a Saturday(near closing time), they always invite me in back to drink some beers with them. I occasionally treat, and know I get some of the better cuts they have for this gesture.

                        1. re: swsidejim

                          Swside Jim, just curious because I know you live in Chicago (and I used to as well). Which butcher do you frequent, if you don't mind sharing? We used to go to E&M in Northbrook and have fond memories of them making Bears players stand in line like all the rest of the paying customers on packed Saturday mornings. Jim McMahon stormed out cursing the whole place one time but Mike Ditka always was sweet and had a list his wife gave him.

                          1. re: Diane in Bexley

                            I live about 70 miles south west of Chicago, but work in the suburbs. I go to a small family owned meatmarket in Ottawa Illinois that has been around since the mid 1800's. It is called Polancics.

                      2. I normally don't tip my butcher unless he goes out of his way for me or special orders something for me. Then I may give him an extra 10% or send him a bottle of wine or a something like that.