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Tipping - How do you feel about tip jars?

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I'll preface this post with the following:

1. Husband and I are generally considered "over tippers" We believe in good food and good to excellent service and we will pay for that. The wait staff works hard and deserves it. (Plus for some weird reason, I feel like we make up for the jerks that don't tip enough or at all). The other added bonus is once we are recognized in a place, wait staff will fight each other to wait our table and provide excellent service. (one place, we were known at, the waiter basically ignored us and we walked out - he was berated by the entire staff for ignoring us telling him, don't you know who that was??? - received a phone call from the management the next day apologizing and offering us a comped meal)

2. We tip equally well no matter if it is the local diner or a 5 star place (of course, based on the check) and we'll also add to the tip if something was done "just for us: i.e off menu

3. We will tip for good service even if the food is not up to par. It's not the wait staffs fault if the food sucks. I'll take that up with management. (Unless of course the order is completely messed up and the wait staff should have caught this - that's a whole other issue) However, I digress...

So, I'm rather conflicted about tip jars, especially in places that are "to go" places, such as Subway, a local deli etc... I'm talking - place order, wait in line, pay for food and leave (or stay) but no wait staff to get more drinks or whatever.

What's the general concensus here about tip jars? I'm curious. I almost feel like having a tip jar is a "guilt trip"

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  1. Unless the counter person wiggled her nose Bewitched-style and your sandwich or latte magically constructed itself, she is serving as both your chef and your service person. It seems a bit unfair that a person doing both roles is deemed less tipworthy than a person doing only one.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

      if the customer waits in line, or is walking to the counter to order and refill drinks, then he is doing half of the serving job. so i may tip 10% at a "counter service" place if they at least bring the food to my table, and usually 0% if it's a "pay and go" counter, like an actual Subway or fast food would be.

      1. re: kibbles

        I will tip at a "pay and go" counter like Chipotle if I see the person making my food take extra care or go out of their way to make sure it was good.

        At Chipotle, if I see them give me extra meat, they get a tip. If they spoon the meat onto my burrito and look at it and then take some away, no tip.

        1. re: 2roadsdiverge

          so if your "server" goes against their employers wishes and gives you a bigger portion(there by giving away something that doesn't belong to them), that is worthy of a (bigger)tip? do you routinely reward theft?

          1. re: nkeane

            Theft? Hyperbolic much?

            It is routine to get a slightly larger pour from a bartender in exchange for a larger tip. Why is this any different? I'm not talking about an order of "double meat". I'm saying that the counter person grabs a bunch of shredded meat with the tongs, looks at the pile and grabs a bit more to fill out the burrito.

            It might not even be more meat than they are supposed to give. I am talking about tipping for them looking at what they gave me, evaluating it, and deciding that they didn't give me enough. That deserves a tip. Same with an ice cream shop or a pizza place. Extra care with my food deserves a tip.

    2. There is a local ice cream place near me that has a tip jar on the counter. Ice cream scoopers work really hard and have to make everything themselves. I always put a dollar or two in the tip jar when my family visited the place -- until my friend's son got a job there and told me that the owners of the joint take the tips fro themselves! So unfair to all those kids! Now I make sure to ask how the money in the tip jar is distributed before I tip, or I try to had the tip directly to the person who waited on me.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Divalicias

        I'd heard of this practice (it seems really underhanded to me, because it's natural to assume the few dollars in the jar are going to the counter workers, not the business owner), but will make it a point to ask before tipping.

        1. re: Divalicias

          My daughter has been working at a BBQ restaurant/bar for the last few years while going to school. They do counter service for food and have a tip jar. The staff will bring the food to your table when ready. They have a tip jar at the counter and that plus any tip given the wait staff goes to management. They are paid minimum wage. At the bar where she does cocktail service she is paid under minimum wage but gets to keep her tips.

          1. re: scubadoo97

            "any tip given the wait staff goes to management."

            This is my problem with tip jars. Who gets the tip?

          2. re: Divalicias

            Good Lord, that's the slimiest thing i"ve ever heard of! It really is.

          3. Since this is probably the most FAQ at Chowhound, or so it seems, you might want to explore these more recent threads for opinions that might not be re-entered into this discussion:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/469370
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/366450
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/792430

            1. I believe I've only come across tip jars in places where, otherwise, nobody would dream of tipping. So I don't..

              Where I am, it would never even occur to people to tip in places like the local deli, etc as described by the OP.

              1. Tipping jars is low-key compared to check-outers asking if you'd like to donate to a charity-of-the-month.

                One could feel guilty when asked "would you like to give a dollar" when one's bill is around $100 or $200. But then again, would you have a dollar left over :-)))

                7 Replies
                1. re: Rella

                  Ugh, yes! I think those charity of the month campaigns are a sneaky way of giving the store credit for what your customers are doing. "Oh, look, Whole Foods donated $$$ to the starving children fund!" Not really, it was their customers, but WF gets the tax break.

                  That said, I do appreciate that one grocery store near me has a bin at the front of the store for you to donate to the local food pantry. I know the people who run the pantry several days a week, and I know the food is going where it's needed. Just having that bin there reminds me to pick up healthy canned and boxed things to buy and drop in on my way out.

                  1. re: Isolda

                    WF in our area donates 10 cents for every bag they don't have to provide. If you bring a bag or if you reuse a bag the charity gets the 10 cents. The food pantry I volunteer at gets some of this. It is interesting that the checkers can tell you about the charity of the month. I don't find this procedure to be a burden. In this case WF really does donate money to the charity.

                    At my grocer there is a can to donate to utility charities. THAT is totally from the customer. My grocer should not be taking too much credit for putting the cans out at the register.

                    1. re: Isolda

                      i can assure you WF doesnt get a tax break on the dollars its customers donate to a cause. that would equal major lawsuit.

                      1. re: Isolda

                        I don't appreciate being asked to donate at the checkout but I have no problem saying no. Most checkers are fine about I've gotten attitude a few times, which annoys me. There are many wonderful charities to support but ultimately it is a personal decision as to where my charitable $$ go and I will decide, not have the decision foisted upon me in a grocery checkout line.

                        1. re: jlhinwa

                          Absolutely.
                          The thing I really hate is the company that says "If you buy our product we will donate $XX to thisorthat charity." Bullshit. Lower your price and keep it all, that will leave me the money to donate to the local food bank or wherever I prefer it to go. At one point there was a local plastic surgeon contemplating doing that same thing. It's not like donating a buck at the Petsmart when you check out, why do businesses think you want to donate through them and get all the credit for the donation?

                          But regarding tip jars, I hadn't considered that the owners were stiffing the counter people and keeping the tip jar contents for themselves- it fills me with rage.

                          1. re: EWSflash

                            If you would buy the product anyway, what's the harm? The charity gets a few dollars, and the company gets a tax break. Isn't that how much of the charity gets funded in this country?

                        2. re: Isolda

                          +1 on the store getting undeserved credit! Unless the business puts something else in (and should make that clear).

                      2. Today I was in a coffee shop/salad & sandwich place I like to visit. The guy taking my order was not especially helpful. Really his attitude was a bit flip, and he didn't tip me to the special which I would have liked. (Their normal menu board was blank today.) I glanced at the tip container, and ignored it.
                        If he had treated me nicer, and made sure I knew about the special, I might have thrown in a dollar. Maybe.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: sueatmo

                          When they are flippant, the total amount of tips are reflected by their attitude; hence all workers lose. I guess they don't care.

                          1. re: Rella

                            It could have the end of a long day for him. Goodness knows I've been unintentionally rude before. But, if he or she wants tips, they should have a helpful attitude. And I'm still sort of shocked about the post upthread that informed us that the managers might take the tip money!

                        2. I can understand some places where very low wages are paid having tip jars. I read it as, 'if you can give thank you'. If it were legal for me to have a tip jar on my desk at work, Lord knows I would have one.

                          1. If I can watch the staff prepare my food, that will influence whether or not I tip at the checkout. For example, if the person making my burrito at Chipotle makes sure that I get plenty of meat, or the person at the yogurt shop fills the cup up all the way, I will drop a buck in the tip jar. I'll usually make a comment like "Now that's a burrito!" when I do it so the people know that i appreciate it.

                            1. There are two places I go to often that have tip jars. The only problem is I feel like George Constanza - I want them to SEE me put the tip in!!!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pitagirl

                                That was the "image," that came to my mind, and thank you for confirming that it was George, who ran afoul of the "tipping jar." Was not certain.

                                Hunt

                              2. The one that kills me is the local self-serve frozen yogurt place. Really? I served myself. All you did is swipe my credit card. No, you are not getting a tip.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: RobynS

                                  I go to my local fro-yo place at least 3-4 times a week. I've been doing this since junior high school! (I'm 31 now) I have never given a tip and probably never will. Their prices keep going up and up, and I give them very good business. If they were to do something special for me, perhaps. I'm sorry but I don't think that a task that takes under a minute deserves a tip.

                                2. I used to work on a food truck out here in LA, and people are very inconsistent with their tipping. Some tip generously, I've had $5-$10 tips (at most) , but on average $1-2 if they decide to tip at all. The worst is that sometimes I'd have to leave the truck to bring customers their food, and it doesn't even cross their minds to tip. Just because I work on a truck and not in a sit-down restaurant is no excuse not to tip someone who's going out of there way to serve you. People are so terrible sometimes.

                                  And on another note, normally people who make jar-tips aren't being paid much hourly, and rely on tips as additional income. I used mine for gas money, or cheap eats, and helped me out greatly. It was always so horrible when I worked a shift and not one person tipped.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: sillywhim

                                    In your truck situation where you leave the truck to bring customers their food, what tip for two people would you want and you would think is reasonable for you to expect. Would it be handed to you, left on the table, or left in a jar?

                                    If you didn't bring the customers their food, would you want them to tip you for taking their order, and would you put/leave a jar out?

                                    Persons in a hidden kitchen work hard, we don't see them to tip them. Perhaps the European way might be best to save the confusion. (Tip added to the bill automatically.) Doesn't this 15% get divied up to everyone? I wonder if that would work better for all those who are in the service industry.

                                    1. re: Rella

                                      At least $1 or 2 for sure, given to me or in the jar. Most of the time, it's the acknowledgement that I'm going out of my way to do something for them. I would say that 5-10% of the total bill is a nice tip to give a take-out server who at least greets you in a friendly manner. Like I said, it's not an easy job to do, and pays so very little, that the tips matter very much.

                                      If you can afford to tip, you should. And I understand, if you can't afford to tip, but with the prices at the establishment I worked at, there are no excuses.

                                      1. re: sillywhim

                                        Thanks for your sensible answer.

                                        In a place perhaps like "Chi Chi's" which is a buffet pizza place, one picks up and takes to the table EVERYTHING. It's been a loooong time since I've eaten there (years?), but as there was no tipping jars as I remember, we always left $2 on the table, but since there was no one else ever at the table but the bus-person at the end, I left $2 ($1 for each of us), but I never knew if it was a communal pool for all employees or just the bus-person.

                                        One is generally not privy to this information; and if asked, will one get an approximate answer; I don't know.

                                  2. I always think to a Seinfeld episode, where George (?) put money into the jar, just as the server turned away, and did not see the tip. IIRC, he reached in, to make not of the tip, but others thought that he was dipping into it, for his profit.

                                    Not keen on tip jars, though I tip well,

                                    Hunt

                                    1. This is the beginning of a rant about tipping.

                                      As someone who works in a fast-casual quick serve lunch spot in a downtown office tower, I feel trip jars are a respect. We do not make much in tips each week, some weeks its under twenty and the most I've seen it be is forty. That is total to divide each week between everyone, cashier, sandwich maker, prep person, the person cleaning and so on.

                                      Why don't we deserve tips, we work low wages to bring you the best food we can quickly. I remember regulars names, and orders and, yes, if they are tippers or not. Not that it changes service. I go out of my way to help accommodate someone.

                                      It makes me mad when a family of 4, or a group of business partners come in orders a lot of food, sit in our smaller sized lobby area for a long period of time, leave their mess and leave no tip. Just because it is not a table service restaurant, when we have time we do try to bring the orders out to people, does not mean we are not working just as hard. It makes me mad when people say places like my work having a tip jar is out of line. Its not being forced on to the customer, just a nice gesture. Like tipping your hair dresser or milk deliver person.

                                      I do not expect people to give a lot, many just give their coin change but it does mean a lot when people tip more. And I let them know. Those tips help me so I can work and go to school and pay my bills.

                                      End rant about tipping.

                                      11 Replies
                                      1. re: Greeny17

                                        Understand that, in US practice, tipping is designed to ensure that wait staff who make LESS than the usual minimum wage (that is, they are paid a significantly lower minimum wage) are at least paid the minimum wage, and their taxes are withheld on tips with that in mind.

                                        Do you make the regular minimum wage or the lower one for waitstaff?

                                        1. re: Karl S

                                          Well, the employer is still responsible for ensuring that the employee makes the standard minimum wage. The tip credit just allows the employer to take tips into account when it comes to meeting that requirement. Some states have minimum-wage laws with no tip credit. For instance, in California, an employer has to pay the employees the standard state minimum wage regardless of their income from tips.

                                          1. re: nocharge

                                            Understood, but that is the exception rather than the rule in the US, and the distinction helps explain why tipping customs in the US are drawn the way they are. Tip jars for cashiers are viewed more as a form of begging, and get the same range of reactions.

                                          2. re: Karl S

                                            EXACTLY!! If they are not a server-they are making at least-and probably more-than minimum wage. AND-the tips you give them, are not reported to the IRS, like they are with each server, The IRS basically tells each server what they have to claim on their taxes, because they base it on the amount of sales each server makes. So, if someone doesn't tip over 10% of their ticket total, that server pays taxes on money they DON'T EVEN MAKE!!!!! And-in lots of states, minimum wage for waiting tables is something like $3.12 an hour!!! I tip servers. Servers are the ones who have the knowledge of product, both food and wine, and are the frontline!! They make or break my experiance, even if the food isn't the best on that visit.

                                          3. re: Greeny17

                                            I think you make a nice case for remembering to tip for good service. I also think you have a right to your "rant." We need to hear more stores from people forced to rely on tips as an important part of their income.

                                            I would like to hear your opinion of whether we should tip if by chance one of your coworkers has fouled up an order, of not done his/her part with the order? We should still leave a tip?

                                            I also want to add something: there have been a few times in my life when I've been a repeat single customer, tipping rather well, and oddly been treated not very well. I have no idea why, but it has happened.

                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                              Sorry for the delayed response. I typed out a long detailed one, twice, and both times managed to refresh my browser.

                                              I do think that bad service should be reflected in the tip, rude employee- messed up order. But I do not think it should automatically be no tip. I can not help or prevent if the cashier is rude or if the sandwich guy left off chicken but I can try to do my best to make your experience great anyway. If that's what happens then a tip should be deserved. If no one works to make your experience better then no tip is deserved. And when I say tip I do not mean much, at my work we do not get much. The highest 44 dollars, the least under 20 for a whole week to split between 5 people.

                                              I think I can understand peoples frustrations with tip jars because they are often in places where it is convenient to tip before you receive your food. But i can assure you its not a clever plan to get you to tip even if the food is awful. It is simply the most convenient and secure place to put it. Having it placed right by the register assures someone should always be near it,and that's important we have had our tip jar stolen, not just the money the whole jar.

                                              Yes some people tip after they pay before they receive their food, some times its 5 cents sometimes its a dollar. And someone come up to the counter after they have eaten and leave a tip and typically positive comments.

                                              I like my job and work hard to give people the best service I can, some of my co-workers do not do the same and I work hard to try and make up for it. A tip, no matter the size is a good thank you.

                                              This weekend is a good example. I worked alone on Saturday (it is a slow day for us) and while I did not have to many people had a lot of big families with picky kids. I worked with the families to find or modify for something the kids could eat, produced it as quickly as one person can. And delivered it to their table (we are not typically a table service place) and bussed their tables so they would not have to(we are a self busing type of place). They all complemented my helpfulness, speed, and the food, and none of them left a tip. I feel in that situation I earned a tip.

                                              1. re: Greeny17

                                                In such situations, I usually put something into the tip jar, and then for table service, even if it is only bussing, will leave something more.

                                                Heck, I tip at the Untied Red Carpet Clubs, when I have bussed most, if not all, of my dishes and wine glasses. It is a "thank you," for good service and a clean club. Oh, and I always tip my bartender on the tab.

                                                Hunt

                                                1. re: Greeny17

                                                  Thank you for raising awareness of this issue.

                                                  Would you be insulted if someone asked you where the tip money goes?

                                                  I feel you earned a tip for your Saturday work too! It is a bummer that people complemented you and didn't follow through.

                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                    I would not mind at all if someone asked!

                                                    Unfortunately the owners of the store do not give us tips from credit cards.They say because they do not know how - or sometimes they say because they deserve some of the tips.

                                                    And I have let people know when they ask about leaving a tip when they pay with credit card (we only have them sign receipts over 25, so the people who do want to leave a tip ask where they sign for leaving a tip) that the money does not go to the staff.

                                                    1. re: Greeny17

                                                      "Unfortunately the owners of the store do not give us tips from credit cards.They say because they do not know how - or sometimes they say because they deserve some of the tips."

                                                      This is a shame, and possibly illegal too.

                                                      That saddens me, as I use credit cards almost exclusively, and seldom carry much cash on me. The exception is when I travel, as I usually have cash for the various folk along the way to my destination. Then, the cash goes into the safe, until the return trip.

                                                      In a very few situations, I have slipped cash to, either the sommelier, or maybe the busser, if they have gone out of their way for me, and then given the service crew a tip on the credit card.

                                                      Hunt

                                                      1. re: Greeny17

                                                        I will be asking more questions now when I have counter service. We of course always tip the wait person. If I found out the tip money was not going to the person who earned the tip, I would not tip!

                                              2. If workers are being paid a low wage, tipping is the right thing to do. I don't go out to eat ANYWHERE now because i cannot afford to. I shop for bargains, cook, and prepare as far in advance as I am able to. When I can afford to go out to eat, I do and I tip. I would not go out knowing that I "cannot" afford to tip. I am of the opinion that a person who can afford to go out to eat, can afford to put a dollar in the tip jar. And if you're doing this several times a week? God bless you, for sure you are better off than me right now. We can't have our cake and eat it too.

                                                1. I'm inclined to agree with cbauer that tip jars are mainly intended to pull at your guilt strings. If I deposit money into tip jars, it's more done as a random act of kindness than out of a feeling of obligation to supplement what is, usually for good reason, a minimum wage job.

                                                  I realize this isn't always the case, but most of the places I've been to that have tip jars are staffed by fairly young people who are usually a good 15 to 20 years younger than I am. It does and should suck for a young person to work for minimum wage scooping ice cream, brewing coffee, ringing up fro yo and running gallons of water through the machines at the close of a shift, etc. That's what makes them think it might be a good idea to get more education or learn a more valuable skill or trade. It's a valuable experience that should be temporary for most.

                                                  17 Replies
                                                  1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                    Have you ever thought that those young people working in quick serve places such as coffee shops, lunch spots, or ice cream joints are working there to put themselves through school. Many places like that are much more flexible with students and their school hours.

                                                    I am young, and a student, paying my own way through school. I need a flexible job to help me pay the bills. Same with many of my co-workers. Its just unfortunate that the flexible jobs out there are low wage.

                                                    1. re: Greeny17

                                                      Have you ever stopped to think that those of us who don't feel obligated to tip you realize that it's altogether possible that you're working your way through school and still don't think you're any more entitled to make more than minimum wage doing what you're doing?

                                                      I also worked from the time I was 14 and paid my own way through college. I think it's great that you're doing the same. You made a choice to work a certain low wage job because it allowed you to do something else you wanted to do simultaneously. You're not entitled to more. There are people out there who have to scrub toilets for a living and who don't have the option of going to school for any number of reasons.

                                                      Be grateful you have a job, learn all you can where you are now, and look forward to the day you won't have to make or deliver sandwiches for a living if that's not what you want to do. Expectation and a sense of entitlement are a sure path to disappointment.

                                                      PS. Keep up the good work. :)

                                                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                        Couldn't have said it better.

                                                    2. re: inaplasticcup

                                                      In our state restaurants do not have to pay minimum wage. They often pay less, assuming that the waitperson will get tips to supplement. I don't know if counter people at sandwich shops are paid minimum wage or not. Next time I'm in my favorite coffee/sandwich shop I am going to ask about the tip jar.

                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                        In Florida I know many waiters/cocktail waitresses who make $3.99/hr plus tips.

                                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                                          I'm in CA. Waitstaff are supposed to make min (which I think is currently $8.25/hr) plus tips.

                                                          1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                            I believe it's $8 in CA, but $9.92 in San Francisco. Plus tips. Here is the list for all the states:
                                                            http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm

                                                            1. re: nocharge

                                                              Thanks. Does anyone know about this heading?

                                                              'Maximum Tip Credit Against Minimum Wage'

                                                              What does it mean?

                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                It means that the employer can get a credit for tips when it comes to meeting the requirement of paying the employee the minimum wage. For instance, the federal minimum wage is $7.25, but the maximum tip credit is $5.12, so as long as the employee makes at least $5.12/h in tips, the employer only has to pay $2.13. Some states, including California, have minimum-wage laws with no tip credit.

                                                            2. re: inaplasticcup

                                                              From the Fla Agency for Workforce Innovation

                                                              " the employer must pay "tipped employees" a direct wage. The direct wage is calculated as equal to the minimum wage ($7.31) minus the 2003 tip credit ($3.02), or a direct hourly wage of $4.29 as of June 1, 2011."

                                                              So it's gone up. <roll eyes>

                                                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                Greetings from the third world!

                                                        2. re: inaplasticcup

                                                          Many years (decades ?) ago, I read a short article in some long forgotten magazine. At a military base, a jar was placed on the reception desk for that office. The sign read "Help the poor children of Israel,." and most visitors dropped something into that jar. This went on for sometime, until someone realized that the NCOIC of that office was Sargent Israel, and he was collecting cash for his kids.

                                                          Guilt can be a very strong motivator.

                                                          Hunt

                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                            That is perversely funny and creepily cynical at the same time.

                                                            1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                              That is exactly how I felt. Not sure why it stuck in my mind (having forgotten most of my calculus and thermodynamics, and I paid dearly to learn those), but it did.

                                                              I cannot look at any jar, tip, charity, etc., without thinking of that little article.

                                                              Hunt

                                                          2. re: inaplasticcup

                                                            Ditto, I too had worked since 15 with a work permit. For one thing I don't think scooping ice cream is hard work. My sons have worked at Mc Donalds, scooped ice cream and the youngest one who is now a cop worked at that silly place in the mall Hot Dog on Stick where he wore that goofy uniform (I gave him kudos for not being embarrassed by the outfit- although I regret I never took his picture now :) We were merciless with our teasing about jumping up and down on lemons. if I remember right at that age I, as well as my boys were grateful for their jobs and I never heard them say anything bad about the work. They thought it was great having money in their pockets! Working these types of jobs does build character. Most kids going to school unless they're from fairly wealthy families or on grants, do work these jobs because of the hours and their flexible schedules.

                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                              Some kids who have grants do work hard during the summer, after school, and any time they can grab a job.

                                                              I would imagine that there are even kids from wealthy families that do work.

                                                              Maybe these kids that do work have a good character to begin with, and they build upon it. Just musing.

                                                              But sometimes I wonder if there is a different kind of requirement for a noticeable attitude/character of young people that are hired in the cheaper fast-food places than in the more expensive fast-food places. Do the kids work themselves up to the fancier fast-food shops -- that is, if anyone agrees that there is such a thing as a fancy-food place -- I'm not going to give my opinion of which fast-food places rates

                                                              1 to 10 :-))

                                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                LOL. I always giggled when I saw a Hot Dog On A Stick employee do the lemonade jackhammer.

                                                                But if I recall correctly, there just weren't as many tip jars sitting around when I was 15 (20+ years ago). I'm sure someone out there has a really good socioeconomical theory as to why people have just gotten ballsier about asking for tips, but it certainly predates the recession. I think it's somehow related to the once easy extension of credit and the ensuing psychological devaluation of money on a micro level.

                                                            2. In Las Vegas everyone has a tip jar out. I tossed one on my workbench at work to give the guys on the floor a hint on who gets them out of the pinch sometimes = ) They get some big bonuses for hitting their production numbers. I am the tool maker, and sometimes I stay late , get right on a part for them, or fix the parts that got screwed up to keep their machines running, and their numbers up.

                                                              As to a food joint, I tip the staff directly, or if it is an order-go place I will toss the coin change in the jar to keep from hauling it around in my pocket.

                                                              1. Not a fan of ,like Bill Hunt I have a similar back of my mind story,guilt scam.However DH and I feed them.There are places we go the counter jar is appropriate.

                                                                Then yesterday I was at one of my local ethnic markets with a great fish counter,great selection,quality,prices and four regular counter men that are great.They have a tip jar out that I think is under fed by too many.The difference between excellent fish work,the norm and special,detailed extras is the real regulars,graciousness and the tip jar.
                                                                I take them excess culantro,hysop etc and tip.I am always rewarded with great detailed,special request service,graciously.
                                                                Came home with a 28" carp for the smoker,prepped to just put in,zero extra mess at this end.

                                                                1. Not so much a tip jar, but a tip tray. I used to tip a server at a gentleman's club back home with a big handful of cinnamon red hot packets. She loved them, and I never had to wait for a refill. I asked her if it was OK, and she said "definitely , a lot of guys will only tip $1-if at all- for the whole night, and I love these. "

                                                                  16 Replies
                                                                  1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                                    Please tell me your joking.....

                                                                    1. re: cbauer

                                                                      No joke, I worked at a candy company and we packaged the red hots for Tabasco. Whenever I went up I had plenty of candy with me. She actually looked forward to me bringing them up.

                                                                      1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                                        I'm not surprised that an act of perceived and human(e) thoughtfulness would be received with gratitude from someone who feels a little objectified all day.

                                                                        1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                                          OK, but please tell me that these candies were in addition to your regular tip. You can't pay the grocery bill with candies!

                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                            Sueatmo--Ever hear of the barter system? If things keep going they way they are headed in Washington D.C. we may be back on it in the near future = ) She loved these, and she didn't have to pay $ for them, so what is the difference if I gave them to her, or if she had to buy them? I got what I wanted, and she got something she wanted. Sounds pretty fair to me.

                                                                            inaplasticcup-that was probably part of it. I have been told by a few dancers that I'm not like the regulars that they encounter, and have had a few just hang out, and talk with me. I have been single all my life, so if a pretty gal wants to spend some time talking with me, I don't want to run her off. I treat them like I do anyone else-with respect. Hmmmm, this has got me thinking as to when was the last time I was at a club, at least 2 years now.

                                                                            1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                                              I have to respectfully disagree.. I don't think candies are an adequate tip.

                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                even if she likes it?

                                                                                1. re: crowmuncher

                                                                                  If she isn't making minimum wage, she certainly needs it. That's how I would feel if it were me. Throw a few candies in as extras, and I think you would be the perfect customer. I worked in the food pantry yesterday (my volunteer job) and I am reminded yet again that there are people who can't pay their utility bills, can only find minimally paying jobs, can't afford gas, etc. Many of these work in the food service industry. Give your waitperson a tip, for goodness' sake. As one poster here said, think of it as a blessing. And I hope you are not in harm's way today. If you are, take care.

                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                    i don't eat candy so that would not work for me; now pay me with some other good i consume and we can negotiate, but all that doesn't even matter because my question was "even if SHE likes it?" not you, not me...we must take the poster's word for it that she likes it. We can't believe the GunDr any less than me or you since we are just bloggers here. Your job in the food pantry has nothing to do with his point (or mine).
                                                                                    "And I hope you are not in harm's way today. If you are, take care." ????
                                                                                    what the H does that mean? are you trying to put a Chowhound curse on me? ;)

                                                                                    1. re: crowmuncher

                                                                                      I don't know if you live on the Eastern Seaboard. I am hoping you aren't in the path of Irene. I had just heard that Irene was threatening 20% of our population.

                                                                                      On the tipping, we just disagree.

                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                        "I am hoping you aren't in the path of Irene." Thank you for clarifying Su, since you made no mention of Irene, I thought you were trying to put some sort of curse on me with those couple of lines (now I can sleep tonight). Yes we disagree, but you disregard my point again that the only thing that really matters here is that the person receiving the candy tip liked it according to GunDr. How WE feel about it (agree/disagree) doesn't matter.
                                                                                        We've been clear of Irene here in SOFLA for a while. I am hoping you aren't in the path of Irene. If you are, take care :)

                                                                              2. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                                                bring back the barter system! F the middle man....how about some avocados for those tomatoes? desperate times call for desperate measures :)

                                                                                1. re: crowmuncher

                                                                                  Don't you mean melons, cm? :P

                                                                                  1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                    Wud love to trade for some watermelon:)

                                                                                    1. re: crowmuncher

                                                                                      I don't think that was the type of "melons" inaplasticcup was referring to =)

                                                                                      As to my waitress at the club. I asked her a few times if she would like some cash instead, but she always told me that she preferred the Red Hots. I believe that she did quite well on the other nights with bigger crowds, as she was very cute, and had a great personality to go with her looks. Sunday nights were just really slow anyway.

                                                                                      1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                                                        of course not ;)

                                                                                        Yeah like Ina said, it makes sense that it could be well received by someone who feels objectified all day

                                                                      2. I worked as a cashier in a restaurant when I was a student, and some people would tip me for take out orders. I never expected it and I didn't have a jar, but it helped me A LOT. I think a lot of people who complain about having to look at a tip jar don't realize how hard it is to make ends meet when you are making minimum wage. The $5-10 in tips that I got from a few nice people per night, multiplied by every night I worked each month was what I paid my health insurance with. I don't know if I would have kept health insurance if it weren't for that money. I honestly never cared if people didn't leave me a tip (probably because they were to small to matter individually), but I did appreciate the tips more than most people realized.

                                                                        1. I think you are reading too much into the "tip jar" thing. Tip jars don't cause guilt trips..they are there in case a customer feels moved to give the person who waited on them a little extra to show appreciation. Most employees at these types of establishments , in addition to serving food are also working cash registers and in most of these types of places if you are working a register you are not allowed to have cash on your person.
                                                                          I don't feel one way or another about tip jars. I never feel obligated to leave a tip in them..on the other hand..it's worth if for me when I walk into Dunkin's in the morning to grab coffee for myself and a couple of coworkers to see that the girl behind the counter knows my order and has it ready by the time I get to the register. I think this is well worth the dollar or two I put in the tip jar.

                                                                          1. I have no problem with tip jars.

                                                                            1. I realized today that there is a direct correlation between tip jars and the number of parking tickets I receive. I'm the guy who usually throws my change in the jar. Lately, I haven't had that change in my car's cup holder and I've rolled the dice and tried to park without feeding the meter. Well, the parking guys got me twice this week - all because of the tip jar. So now I have to keep the change and put dollar bills in the jar instead. I guess everyone but the city is coming out ahead.

                                                                              1. In response to several comments upstream - Do grown people who decide they want to be servers not understand what they're getting into? Are they not aware of the gamble they're taking if they work in a sub-minimum wage state for tipped employees that they may make less than minimum wage? Isn't there plentiful and easily accessed information regarding the tax burden you'll have if you choose to work as a server?

                                                                                I don't agree with the argument that the onus is on the dining public to both understand AND mitigate the risk that grown people undertake, and presumably informedly so, in choosing to work in a tipped profession.

                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                  It isn't as if there are a great variety of jobs for grown people to find and work at these days.

                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                    It's not as if those same arguments weren't being made when the economy wasn't in its current state.

                                                                                    1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                      Feeling that people can just get up and get another, less oppressive job, has become less valid in the last 3 years.

                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                        But feeling like other people need to compensate for the negative consequences of your decisions is nothing new.

                                                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                          Look, if you don't feel you need to tip a counter server, you don't have to. It is a free country.Your dislike of the practice is what it is, but has nothing to do with the status of the person behind the counter. Who could possibly know what circumstances lead up to this person serving you behind a lunch counter? Which is exactly the point. The person could go above and beyond for you, but if you don't tip the jar, it is the same as if he or she gave you crummy service. The actual service, good or bad, isn't the point. To your way of thinking, the point is you don't want to tip. And that is the subject of this thread.

                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                            I think you make a lot of assumptions about my tipping habits unwarranted by the statements I've made.

                                                                                            The subject of this thread is not only about whether to tip if a tip jar exists, but whether they should exist at all in certain settings. I'm happy for you if your tipping habits enable you to feel that you're a better human being than people who don't tip the way you do, but I hope you'll keep yourself open to the possibility that decent people might choose not to deposit money in a tip jar for reasons as principled in their minds as the ones that compel you to tip.

                                                                                  2. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                    I'm sure they understand it perfectly. It still doesn't make someone who doesn't tip appropriately fit to associate with.

                                                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                                                      No one said people shouldn't tip appropriately. A person can arrive at the same amount of tip you deem *appropriate* (however you define that) based on factors other than those you personally take into consideration.

                                                                                      I'm a little surprised when reading these tipping threads how superior it seems to enable some people to feel that they always tip a minimum fixed percentage of their choosing for whatever reasons they choose to do so.

                                                                                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                        I have mixed feelings about the tip jar, but I put something in it unless I'm not pleased with the service or the server/cashier's attitude. My daughter worked at a hot dog restaurant and made quite a bit of money from the tips. Kids working at fast food chains work hard and don't get to have that extra money because the tip jars are non existent. I agree that people working at these establishments are or should be aware of what they're getting into and the onus should not on the public.

                                                                                        Maybe a bad analogy, but I won't pay for an overpriced beer or hot dog at a ballpark despite the team telling me that they need the extra revenue in order to be able to remain competitive with other teams by signing free agents at inflated salaries. I'm supposed to overpay so that my team can overpay a ballplayer who makes more than enough anyway?

                                                                                        I have a friend who is generous to a fault and over tips. In part because he loves to talk and often takes up a lot of the server's time engaging in conversation. He always leaves money in any tip jar even if the service is lacking. One day he and his cousin had to drive to the Hamptons (a ritzy section in Long Island, N.Y.) to attend a wake for a relative. It was a long drive and they stopped at a deli to get a quick bite to eat. My friend ordered 2 plain roast beef sandwiches. When they arrived, he put a twenty dollar bill on the counter. He was told by the owner (who was working the register) that he was $1.75 short. He paid it and left. Needless to say it was the first time he didn't put something in the tip jar.

                                                                                        1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                                          $10 for a deli sandwich doesn't seem all that bad for the Hamptons.

                                                                                  3. I have no problems ignoring tip jars.

                                                                                    1. In most applications, I consider tip jars nothing but whoring. Sorry, but I do. When I walk into a place & some surly counter person barely lifts his eyes to take my order - sorry, I ain't tipping.

                                                                                      The only place where I ALWAYS leave a tip in the tip jar is in Japanese restaurants where I've enjoyed sushi/sashimi, etc., etc. I ALWAYS leave a generous tip in the jar whether I've sat at the bar or not.