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Putting money in tip jar, but server has turned away

I got takeout lunch today for the office from a place I don't usually pick up from (someone else does). The staff are good, hard-working women with a great attitude and provide good service. There is a tip jar at the register, which I intended to contribute to. So one woman rings up my sale, I pay her, and she gives me the change, then turns away to tend to other duties. The other women were all busy taking care of other customers, so not nearby. I wanted to give a tip, but I wanted her to KNOW that I was giving a tip, because in addition to it being the right thing to do, I think it generates good will. So of course I put the money in the tip jar, but I was disappointed that no one saw me do so. I actually thought about waiting until she turned around but thought better of it. She didn't turn back to the register for at least a minute or two, which would have been a ridiculous amount of time to wait. (I paid in advance so that I could take the food as soon as it came out, so I was waiting anyway.)

So my question to you all is, would you have waited? Or do you think it's irrelevant whether someone knows you've tipped them?

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  1. Would have saved the money on that trip and then tipped double the next time when she was looking. You'd be a hero (in her eyes).

    3 Replies
    1. re: JohnE O

      Wasn't this a Seinfeld episode? Yes, yes it was.

      1. re: janetms383

        I knew I got the idea from somewhere when I posted earlier today.


        1. re: janetms383

          Most etiquette questions have been adressed by Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm. Sample abuser, anyone ?

      2. Since the REAL point of tipping is NOT to generate good will, I think we all know the answer. But, yes, human nature is such that we do crave that recognize, don't we??? :) So tip then.

        15 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          I must say, I felt like a bit of a putz even having that thought, which is why "right" one out (quickly) in the end. It was such an odd moment for me, I had to ask what everyone else thought.

          1. re: lisavf

            I don't tip in tip jars since they are usually at places I don't believe in tipping, but if I did I would have waited until they see me do it. Like if one was on a bar and went to all the bartenders, I usually make sure someone sees me throw in there.

            1. re: rockandroller1

              I don't think I've ever seen a tip jar on a bar.

              I'm curious. What are the places where you don't believe in tipping? I didn't use to put money in tip jars figuring well, it's not like I'm sitting at a table being served. But when I got to thinking about how little people in those jobs probably make, I decided to tip after all. Not 15+% but something.

              1. re: c oliver

                We have them here in bars, usually in small/independent establishments.

                I don't believe in tipping wherever the employee is making at least minimum wage.

                I don't think minimum wage is a good, working wage and I do plenty with letters to my congresspeople and senators to support change in that area, but by law, those making less than minimum are expected to make up the difference via tips. Others are not. I get minimum wage working at a retail store and I work damned hard there, certainly as hard as anybody at a starbucks counter if not harder. Everyone is different, but that's my reason.

                1. re: rockandroller1

                  We'd be a whole lot better off if the government would enact a maximum wage!

                  In concept, I agree with what you're saying but how do you know if the workers are making minimum wage?

                  For example, generally speaking bartenders make minimum wage, if not MW, then at least more than the floor servers. But, I know of one establishment where the bartender makes the same amount hourly ($2.35 I think) as the waitstaff.

                  The justification is that the staff tips out the bartender at the end of the shift.

                  The 2 flaws I see with this is 1) people ASSUME that the bartender is making more than the server because that's the norm 2) when the bartender has to take time away from his customers & waitstaff to prepare a take out order - he gets no tip. His tipping customers get ignored and his waitstaff gets behind on drinks, potentially reducing the overall tip they receive and therefore, the overall tip that the bartender receives.

                  I stop into one small place where their son comes in after school to put together take out orders, bus the few tables that they have, run food if needed, roll silverware, etc. A really hard working kid. They don't pay him AT ALL - every thing he earns for this, he earns through tips. Personally, I'd tell my parents to go pound sand, but hey - that's just me. I know this because he is one of my son's friends.

                  I agree that it's different at a fast food place - however, there is still no way to know for sure what they are paying their employees, especially independent places.

                  It's just impossible to know who makes what these days. For me, the bottom line is that if I get good service - I'm willing to throw in a $1 or $2 or .02 ;-)

                  1. re: rockandroller1

                    I think there must be exceptions to your policy of "I don't believe in tipping wherever the employee is making at least minimum wage." Severs in the state of California make minimum wage, and the expected tip in L.A. is still 20%. I imagine you'd give a tip if you lived here or visited. But I don't tip in tip jars either.

                    1. re: Nicole

                      There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. When in Rome, I do as the Romans do. But the point of my position/post isn't talking about rare and few exceptions due to a cultural or legal difference in a state on the other side of the country or in another country or whatever. We're talking about our normal, every day practices and what we would or wouldn't do in a normal situation. I don't tip at a fast food counter, I don't tip at a retail store, I don't tip the pharmacist at the drugstore even if he "hurried up" and filled my prescription right away, they are all doing their jobs and are compensated at a certain rate for them, and aren't paid less than that because they are "expected" to make up the difference in tips, and thus I don't tip at Starbucks or similar locations either for the same reason.

                  2. re: c oliver

                    I don't "do" tip jars either, and it's not because I'm a bad tipper in general. I fully support proper tipping for waitstaff (yes, even when paid min. wage as cited above). I do not support tipping at the ice cream shop, coffee shop (counter take away, not service), fast food (saw one at Five Guys yesterday), etc. If you're getting minimum wage or more, you're not getting a tip from me.

                    1. re: irishnyc

                      I tend to agree with you on the tip jars for counter service. I worked several of those types of job in college and even then I didn't feel right putting out a tip jar. Kept me at odds with my co-workers.

                      But there are exceptions as usual. I always tip at the coffee shop I stop at during the weekends. The staff knows me, always friendly and knows my order. I walk into the place and my order is automatically started up and placed in line before I even order and pay.

                      That kind of quick friendly service is worth throwing in an extra buck in the jar for me.

                      1. re: irishnyc

                        In general I'm against tip jars. There are two places that I frequent w/ some regularity (once every couple of months) that I put money in the tip jar though. One is a diner down the street from me. The women behind the counter actually operate as servers, they come out to your table, take your order, bring your food to you, etc - but you pay/etc at the register and they have a tip jar.

                        The other is a local burrito joint that's nestled in the back of a gas station. The woman is *super* nice, everything is painstakingly assembled w/ care, etc. And if that weren't enough, the area she's in has massive rents, so I figure a little bit extra can only help her.

                        1. re: irishnyc

                          Funny, I've always held the same position as you, but recently I read a piece in The New Yorker about David Chang. He was talking about how he was trying to come up with a 3rd restaurant concept. At one time he considered not having servers at all, but rather letting the cooks also serve and get all the tips. He said, "Servers are such greedy bastards,” he says. A server at Ssäm Bar could bring in seventeen hundred dollars in a week working thirty-two hours; a cook working the same hours would earn three hundred and fifty."

                          I gave thought to his statements and it dawned on me that he is right. I waited tables for many years and worked in the resto biz in many different capacities and servers always made more money than everybody else in the restaurant (sometimes even management). They put in less hours than everyone else and often were whiney and demanding (which kind of explains the usual turmoil between front of the house and BOH).

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            That's kind of a horrifying attitude to me. I never worked harder than when I was a server, and believe me, a lot of people screwed me out of decent tips. I would have been livid if someone had called me a greedy anything. Pay your nontipped employees decently!

                            1. re: Parrotgal

                              Servers do work hard, generally speaking, but my experience has been kitchen staff works much longer shifts and harder than servers and for less pay. Let's face it, if the pay wasn't good and the hours weren't flexible, we wouldn't have done it. It was the perfect job while I was in college and even after college - I enjoyed it. Once I started my "career" outside the resto biz I missed the resto culture so much so that I worked a couple of night shifts waiting tables just to stay connected to it.

                            2. re: lynnlato

                              Why take that out on the servers? If he's the owner, isn't the solution to simply pay the cooks more??

                          2. re: c oliver

                            My husband doesn't believe in tipping maid service at hotels. He thinks it encourages the practice of underpaying and that the service is part of what he pays for in the price of the hotel. I've convinced him that although I agree theoretically, in reality he needs to tip them. They're underpaid and our little rockstars trash hotel rooms. We need to show a little appreciation.

                    2. I tend to shy away from the "tip" jar in general. The establishments that put the "tip jar" on the counter pay their by salary or by the hour. Here in MA, waiters get paid a miserly hourly rate and so tips are necessary for their income yet I feel like I'm being "shaken down" at the coffee shop after paying $4 for a latte. I must say though, when I am out at a restaurant I have been known to tip upwards of 30% of the bill if the food and the service are extraordinary.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Lenox637

                        At a counter service/take-out spot, what are you tipping for? You order, they take your money, make change, hand you food. Do you tip at McD's? The tip "jar" is the commercial equivelant to a person on an on-ramp with a card board sign.........

                        1. re: nkeane

                          In this case, it's a small restaurant, mostly known for its hot dogs, and my understanding is that the tips are shared by all the servers, since they all pitch in for the takeouts, which is the biggest part of their business. Although at the moment I was paying, the other servers were taking care of seated customers or doing other duties, for the five or six minutes before that they were all very busy filling the orders - assembling the hot dogs to order (buns, dogs, toppings, wrap it up, etc.), assembling all the other parts of the order. They worked as a team. They spent as much time taking care of my take-out order as they would have had I sat down and eaten at the counter. In other words, they were working their butts off. And I think they take turns doing different jobs. So no, I don't tip at fast food places or Dunkin Donuts or the like, but in this case it seemed appropriate.

                      2. I completely understand where you are coming from! Let's face it - most people don't tip for carry out - it's a fact. I personally want the recognition - not that I tipped, but that I appreciate the work that goes into preparing a carryout order.

                        I had a similar experience just today! I stopped into a little pizza shop to get a cheesesteak to go (thanks to a tip from a fellow ch'er). This was the first time I've ever been in.

                        The order came to $7.02 - I had $8.00 in my hand and started to dig for the .02 in my wallet. The lady behind the register said - don't worry about it.. So I handed her $7, as she was putting the money away, I dropped $1 into the tip bucket. Well, I was already working on digging out the .02 so I decided, "hell, I'll just put that in too". Well, don't you know........know what she saw me doing? Dropping .02 into the bucket - I felt (feel) like a complete horses behind.

                        The cheesesteak was great and I'm glad I found this little place - but next time when she rings me up, I'll hand her the money and tell her to keep the change. That way SHE can put it in the bucket.

                        And I guess I'll have to tip like $5 to make up for today's incident......LOL

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: chicaraleigh

                          Oh, man, that's even worse. What can you say? "Uh, by the way, I just dropped a dollar in there, too"? Ouch.

                          1. re: chicaraleigh

                            Ouch for me too. Guess I'm not THAT non-recognition seeking :) Better to have her wonder if you left a tip than to think that you left (your) two cents (worth).

                            1. re: chicaraleigh

                              LMAO, I once accidentally threw a $10 bill in a tip jar at a bar. The bartender didnt see me do it, and when I realized what I did I momentarily thought about grabbing it back. Thank god I didnt! He turned around exactly when I would have had my hand in the jar and handed me my drink. Silver lining, he looked in the tip jar, saw the $10 sitting right on top and deduced that it was from me(only person standing there). lets say the rest of the night went great.......

                              1. re: nkeane

                                lol! now that's a seinfield episode for George!

                            2. As others have mentioned, it's nice to be recognized for your generosity....

                              What I do is always leave the tip on the counter near the jar if I am not able to put the money directly in the person's hand......or, lets say the final amount is $4.00....I'll pay with a $10 bill and say to give me back just a five..... this way they know the tip amount and there are no awkward moments......a la George Costanza.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: fourunder

                                I should have added that there are times when I decide ,whether it is for good service or whatever, to leave the change for the server, in these cases I just say "Keep the Change." with a smile even though there may be a tip jar, this way the server knows right away that I valued the service or the smile or what have you.

                                1. re: fourunder

                                  Good point. I've done that in the past as well. In this case, the total came to $14 and change, so I handed her a 20 and the change. I wanted to give a $2 tip, but I only had one $1 bill, so I needed the other $1 I knew I was getting back to make the $2. Maybe the moral of this story is to carry more small bills!

                                  1. re: lisavf

                                    lisavf and lenox637,

                                    It's obvious you are both of the tip camp for service rendered......if you already know you will be leaving something, being prepared and leave something before the person turns away is the lesson learned. And (lisavf), if you already have the small bills on person, fold up one or two and when the server gives you your change, hand the gratuity (bills) directly to her then.....this method works better for the mathematically challenged out there and shows the instant recognition of the person's efforts and your generosity at the same time.

                                    1. re: lisavf

                                      A lot of people don't even carry cash anymore. I wonder how the introduction of debit and credit card machines in counter service establishments has affected the amount of tipping done?

                                      At my local Tim Horton's (Canadian Dunkin' Donuts equivalent), they've cleverly put the tip jar on a counter behind the staff, which means that if you give the cashier a tip, he or she must acknowledge it, then put it in the jar, to be divided equally (hopefully) amongst all staff at some later point. Of course, this means that you aren't really rewarding the individual who gave you the stellar service, but it does encourage a team effort to deliver good service consistently, which I think is really lacking throughout the service industry these days, particularly in big Canadian cities (I don't want to speak for anywhere else, just in case).

                                      All that said, I have a hard time digging deep to tip at chi-chi coffee bars when my coffee beverage comes in at $5+. I shouldn't be punishing the servers because I chose to order a pricey beverage, but I must admit that I have an easier time leaving the change from $2 if the total for a coffee comes to something like $1.58, than leaving the change from $6 if the total for a huge latte were something like $5.02 (random totals, BTW).

                                      1. re: 1sweetpea

                                        I'd be inclined to leave $0.25 for the cheaper coffee and $0.50 for the more expensive one. I wouldn't be rounding up to the nearest dollar.

                                        I think it's interesting that counter help ALL get paid at least minimum wage. Do people think that or do they KNOW that? And as for retail sales people, do you have the opportunity for commissions or bonuses? I'm just asking cause I want to know. This is all giving me food for thought.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          No. No commission or bonus in any retail job unless you work in a large department store and only in shoes or men's suits for departments, pretty much across the board.

                                          In some stores, there is an opportunity to earn some kind of store credits if you get store charges opened, like a couple of dollars you can spend in the store itself for each store charge opened or frequent customer card application filled out, but it's not like a bonus or commission. And you DO have daily sales goals you have to hit; and if you don't, after a certain amount of time, they lower your pay. After 3 consecutive pay-lowering reviews (you are reviewed every 3 months where I work, for example), they can fire you for not making your sales goal.

                                          Edited to add: the only other job I know of, and this may be strictly local, where they are "allowed" to not pay min. wage because the workers are "expected" to make up the rest in tips is the people who drive the carts around inside the airport to aid those who have trouble walking long distances. NOBODY knew they were not getting paid min. wage for a long time; they're not allowed to talk about it and not allowed to ask for or indicate they accept tips in any way, there was a big stink about it a few years ago in the news. I don't use those people but if I ever have to, I would definitely tip them.

                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                            If someone is making minimum wage in retail, how can their pay be cut? Now I'm REALLY confused :)

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              Sorry, I am mixing my job descriptions (I have had over 35 jobs as I always work 2 if not 3 jobs at once, so it gets hard to remember). The job where I have had my pay cut due to not making sales goal was about 5 years ago, in a large department store in the purses and jewelry department (not fine jewelry), and I didn't start out at min. wage there, which was one of the reasons I went to work there.

                                              I started at min at my current retail job (which is only a PT job) but have had merit increases three times, so it would be possible to have my pay decreased here as well. It's also at a department store, but a different "anchor" store than the previous one. I work in the fine china department.

                                              The smaller, independent stores I've been at, like Sam Goody or Ups and Downs (women's clothing retailer) or the WB studio store Lerner/NY all start you out at min. wage. When I applied for the job I have now at the anchor store, I applied all over the mall and also places like target and everything and nobody would even consider you for more than min. to start, several managers told me so. I picked the store where I am because it was larger and thus offered more scheduling flexibility than a smaller store, although now most of our department has been let go because of company restructuring, so there is less flexibility.

                                          2. re: c oliver

                                            Right, inmy case today, the servers did double-duty to serve seated customers as well as take-out customers, so I am assuming they get paid as servers, i.e., less than minimum wage. I'm not sure how I would know that for sure, though, short of asking outright (which I would never do).

                                    2. I work in the service industry and a large amount of my income is from tips (and I pay taxes on tips based on my total money ring). I like people to know when I tip. There is a place I go for take out sandwiches that is very busy. They have quick service and sometimes hand out free cookies to people waiting in line. There is a tip jar at the cash register. I try to have my cash ready with the tip included. When I hand the money over, I say "Keep the change". If I need to get change back before tipping, depending on the situation, I might try to get eye contact while I am dropping the tip in the jar, or I might even hand the tip to the counter person if it is a big tip.

                                      1. You have to figure that they're used to it. Unless you want a medal for your tip, don't worry about it. This also goes to stories like the one above which mentions being "caught" tipping "only" $0.02 - it probably happens to tehem so frequently that they don't even think about it.

                                        1. Personally, I tip whether or not the person is there at the time. It's not important that they know I tipped, only that at the end of the day they take home more than the meagar wage owed them.

                                          Making sure someone sees me tipping is akin to stopping to help a stranded motorist because it is the right thing to do, then telling everyone I know “I stopped and helped someone today”. It demeans and belittles the act.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Demented

                                            I'm with you on this. There are only a couple of tip jar places here - a little family Asian food restaurant buffet and the bowling alley that I recall. I generaly put the change in there and something before I leave, but I don't check to see if anyone is looking. I consider it "pay it forward." Karma and all. Also, workers may see more than you think (-:

                                          2. This has nothing to do with the seeing vs. non-seeing issue, but I once worked at a coffee shop/wine bar where we would bring food/wine/coffee to your table but all ordering and paying was done at the counter. My boss paid us as waitresses ($4 an hour, I think), but since the customers paid up front, all we had was a tip jar. It was miserable. In retrospect, clearly I should have stopped working there once it became apparent how little the tip jar actually produced, but it is never that clear in the moment. Point is, I am sure I did not work for the only shady employer who paid his employees as such under the justification that they were "waitstaff." Yeah, you know large companies like Starbucks are paying their employees normal wage so a tip is just extra, but at some little places where the owners are busy trying to turn a profit don't assume the workers are making at least minimum wage just because there is counter service.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Cebca

                                              Yeah, and then there are the places where the pooled "tip jar" tips are kept by management, which has also been the subject of some news stories where I live.

                                            2. Since this is a place your office takes out from regularly, I understand your desire to be seen tipping - its always nice to establish a relationship with a place you are planning to do repeat business with. The solution, I would say, is to offer to go pick up the next time you order from there as well, and try to be seen again - in addition to leaving the unseen tip as you did this time.

                                              1. I always tip at the counter.
                                                When I'm signing or paying cash I put the tip along with it on the counter.
                                                The person always knows what I've done and they do whatever they want with it.

                                                1. http://www.seinology.com/scripts/scri...

                                                  You'll have to scroll down a few times, as this issue comes up a few times...

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: KevinB

                                                    Ha! I scrolled through the whole thread looking for the Seinfeld reference!

                                                    "get out. Don't come back EVER".

                                                  2. "So my question to you all is, would you have waited? Or do you think it's irrelevant whether someone knows you've tipped them?"

                                                    Whenever I'm in doubt, I ask myself "what would George Costanza do?" In this case I would have taken 4 quarters *out* of the tip jar.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                      And be banned from Calzones Forever!

                                                      1. re: janetms383

                                                        But what will I tell Mr. Steinbrenner?!?!

                                                    2. I have to say your issue is beyond petty. If you want "credit" for your tip, hand it to them. If you want to use the jar, be sure to throw some change in with extreme force!

                                                      1. Just to add a perspective from the other side of the counter . . .
                                                        I have worked before as a waitress and I have worked in many a coffee shop.
                                                        I NEVER look at a who tips or how much. There are two reasons for this: I don't have time, and also because I fear it would make me into a bitter, unhappy person. I give every customer great service - or at least I try to - why ruin it by thinking, man, and they didn't give me their change, or man, they didn't tip me 20%. I think it's wierd when customers force the issue - do they want me to thank them extra special? Is the genuine smile and fern on top of their latte not enough? Do you want me to pat your head, too? Or what? Tipping doesn't make you a hero: it just makes you a nice person who has an extra quarter. Luckily, I'm nice to all of my customers either way, so what difference does it make?

                                                        For all of you folks who "don't believe" in tipping: it doesn't matter to me, because I have no idea who you are. The change that gets thrown in the tip jar comes out to about $15 a day in some places, more in others. It is pocket change for us. We like it, we appreciate it, there are weeks when it's all we have in our pockets, but I can't see why anyone would get so worked up about a JAR. Why bother saying you do or don't believe in a JAR? I thought that beliefs would be reserved for important issues, such as god, war, and fidelity. But that's just me.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: pigtails

                                                          LOL yeah, give 'em a pat on the head and a doggie biscuit!!

                                                          P.S. when you say "fern on top of thier latte" do you mean drawn in the foam?

                                                          1. re: pigtails

                                                            Hmmm, I have also waitressed and coffeeshopped and I always checked out my tips . . . but also, we had a pooled house and our managers always calculated our tip % at the end of the night to make sure no one was way behind, which sounds kind of ridiculous now but was totally normal at the time. This was a fine dining place so it was rare to get an average tip% for the night below 18. But anyway, point is, I always did a mental calculation when I picked up the receipt. That never made me nearly as bitter as rude customers.

                                                            1. re: pigtails

                                                              Good post pigtails. To shed some light on the why get worked up about a jar, I think because it's like begging, and it's bothersome in it's inequality of use. I don't get worked up about "tipping," I get worked up about the fact that some people in some places think they deserve tips for doing their job as stated and put out a jar begging for spare changes, whereas the rest of the people just doing their jobs don't get tipped for it.

                                                            2. This reminds me of Sinefeld when George was picking up calzones for Yankees Steinbrennerm he placed money in the tip jar as the server was turning around, then he went to take it out in an attempt to put it in again when the server was looking. He got caught when the server turned around when George was taking the money out of the jar and was banned from the place.

                                                              1. You could always make sure that there are coins in your tip and put them in w/ enough velocity so that they make noise.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                  Yes, when Jerry says to George, "So, I guess you don't give money to the blind," (or something like that), George answers vociferously, "Not bills!"

                                                                  1. re: queenscook

                                                                    Makes me think of like when I go to sit-down restaurant, how I ALWAYS hand deliver my bill WITH the TIP inside of it (I always pay cash; CC to unpredictable with fees) before I leave. It doesn't bother me If I have to sit in my booth for another minute if the waitress is in the kitchen dealing with something; I know she will be back out to deal with table next to me or for something and I can HAND-DELIVER her TIP (as well the bill). Makes me feel so much better.

                                                                2. They know because sometimes they have to make change from it, feed a parking meter or kick in some $ if a customer is short.

                                                                  1. You should just have made sure that the sound of your change hitting the jar was really loud. Or you could have yelled "Thanks ladies, here's your tip!!"

                                                                    1. I usually put something in the tip jar but it varies. I don't think I wait for the person to see me tip but its human nature to want to be acknowledged and I might be deluding myself.

                                                                      However this thread got me to thinking of what it would be like to be the cashier next to the tip jar and I think I would definitely be finding something else to occupy myself with during the tipping moment. I think I would just feel rude looking at the customer like I expect them to give me a gift even if I do. Not looking its between them and God or Karma or whoever. If I did happen to see them tip then I would have to thank them and that might sound rude if it was a pathetic tip. Better not to look.

                                                                      Edit: Also what would you do if you were the cashier, your back was turned and you heard the clinking of change into a jar? Should you turn and thank them? Did they want you to know they left a tip and clanked the jar or are they just putting in what they have left and a thank you might make them feel cheap? Decisions, decisions....I'd avoid eye contact as I'm sure I would have thanked them for their purchase in the first place and let the rest ride.

                                                                      1. I always try to make sure the counter person is aware that I am putting something in the tip jar, especially if it's a bill or two that won't click on the way into the jar.

                                                                        It's not so I will get a warm fuzzy feeling inside. It's so that when I come in next time (or when someone who looks like me comes in next time), that counter person might just give me a little bit better service than they would have otherwise. (And perhaps they'll even be nicer to the next person coming into the shop after I leave that day.)

                                                                        1. As many here I'm not a big fan of tip jars. Personal example. My daughter works at a BBQ restaurant that has walk up service and they bring the food to your table. She does get tips but the management keeps the tips since they pay her $7.99/hr. They keep all the tips even for catering. For cocktail waiting at the same restaurant she makes the lowly $3.99/hr and gets to keep the tips

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                            "She does get tips but the management keeps the tips since they pay her $7.99/hr. They keep all the tips even for catering."

                                                                            That is insane! I don't know what state you are in, but I would look into your labor laws. I would venture to guess that this is an illegal practice. I know it is in NC, and PA possibly. And if they are keeping tips, are they claiming them as income? I'll bet not. Sounds to me like some shady practices. Call your local labor board and inquire.

                                                                            Here is a link I found. It's from a food writer for the Albany Times Union, but it cites NY Labor Laws wherein it is states that it is prohibited for an employer to accept or demand "any part of the gratuity received by an employee"...


                                                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                              Foul ball. That is wrong.

                                                                              The couple of places where I see tip jars here, I'm sure the right people get it.

                                                                              In this kind of case, I would put it right in your daughter's hand and quietly and say, "This is not a tip. It is a contribution to your college or future or to help on a cute coat you've been watching at the mall."

                                                                              1. re: CyndiA

                                                                                How would you know that the servers don't get the tips? It's not like it's advertised.

                                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                  I live in a small town. It would get around. That's why I'm sure the jars I do tip go to the servers. These are people I see around and talk to.

                                                                                  Out of town . . . I would not know.

                                                                            2. The Seinfeld episode was a bit different. I believe this is where George is buying a calzone for Steinbrenner (played by the inimitable Larry David) and actually makes change in the tip jar and is caught.

                                                                              On topic, I would no doubt just leave the tip on the counter and let the clerk stuff their own jar. I have a little pizza joint where I grab a slice for lunch on occasion, and they wont even bring it to the table. I do not tip and they do give me the hairy eyeball. Don't make me walk the six steps and earn a buck. They even ask that we clean our own table.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: DallasDude

                                                                                Nope. George puts a tip in the jar and sees that the pizza man has his back turned so George takes the money back out so he can tip the guy when he is looking but he is "caught" taking his own money back and is accused of stealing.

                                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                  Ahhh yes, absolutely right. And he is banned from getting future calzones. However, I would not put it past George to attempt to make change. It is a very George thing to do. I will double my next tip as punishment for getting it wrong.

                                                                              2. We split the tip jar at the end of the month between all the employees so even if no one saw you I would still feel good about helping out. An extra $75 cash can really help out someone making $1000 a month.

                                                                                1. people that work for tips KNOW who tips and who dont. Call it a 6th sence but when a tip is put into the jar she/he knows even if she/he doesnt see it directly. and while it is nice to have your contribution accnowleged it is appriciated. Please know that sometimes when we get busy it is hard to take the time to show our appriciation. Working for tips is diffrent than working for a paycheck because servers are expected to show thier appritiation constantly thu out the day and can become mundane at times.

                                                                                  1. I wouldnt worry about it; the gods in charge of restaurant karma know of your good deed.

                                                                                    1. I go through this trauma everytime I go thru the Starbucks drive through...the transaction is such a quick one that normally by the time they've run your card and hand it back to you they've walked off to get the drink, and then once they have handed you a drink, they close their little windows, so now (unless service is awful, but usually never is) I make a point to hand them my dollar or two when they hand me my drink, it's instant acknowledgement! Although I've def tipped without it being seen for the sole fact that it all counts at the end of the day... ;]

                                                                                      1. when in doubt tip. it makes a small difference in the cost of my meal, but added up the tips make a big difference in the life of the server. seems like a win win to me, especially once you become known as a decent (if not generous) tipper at the places you usually go, tip jar or not. If you are afraid they might not notice your tip...just leave your money on the counter, chances are no one else is going to touch it for fear of being caught.