So, I’m actually sitting at a local Starbucks as I type this, waiting for an appointment. Since I had a little bit of time, I thought I would get a few things done. Of course, I’m paying for the opportunity, based on my very non-frugal, nearly $5 purchase of a drink and a snack.
That’s $5 without a tip. I have to add this comment because, you see, there is a tip jar here right at the place where you order and pay. It was filled with a few dollars and quite a few coins when I noticed it was sitting there, so clearly there are people who feel compelled to spend more for their purchase. Interestingly, soon after I noticed online that there was a story on CBS News regarding a controversy about tip jars at this very chain!
You can read the article itself to get details about that controversy. Now, I don’t have an opinion on that particular issue. But the idea that there is that story out there – along with my own observations about this and other tip jars I’ve seen at a wide range of different businesses – leads me to write this post unrelated to that specific issue. My own topic I’d like to discuss the notion that tip jars are ridiculous! I don’t see the need for businesses to have tip jars!
Really, I don’t recall them being so prevalent in days gone by. It seemed as though tips were generally given at restaurants, where someone actually served food to you. Or, perhaps at a bar. But at a place where you ordered at the counter and picked up your own food, there wasn’t a tip. You paid, got your food or drink, and went to sit down afterward.
It seems logical to me that for a job, there should be a set level of pay. Why is there a tip jar at places where the people are simply doing their jobs? It seems like quick-serve restaurants or coffee-shop type of places tend to have more of these, but here are some other places I’ve seen tip jars:
- Ice cream shop
- Shuttle bus
- Bathroom (yes, there was an attendant)
- Dry cleaners
What has changed, to make these jobs within the realm of tipping? Is the burden of paying their wages being indirectly shifted to the consumer?
I feel bad saying this, but I don’t want to contribute to tip jars anymore. I’ve written about this before, discussing that how much you should tip in given situations has seemingly changed. As in, upward.
At restaurants, I’ve been tipping 15% to 20% these days. I feel like that’s fair, and I realize that servers don’t have easy jobs and are getting paid very little. I’m not jaded, despite my encounter with the crafty waitress some years ago! If their wages are set up in such a way that tips are really expected, then it’s only fair to comply. But not every job warrants a tip, right?
My Questions for You
What are your thoughts on tip jars?
Do you think that what’s become “tip-worthy” has changed in recent years?