Friday, February 26, 2010

To tip or not to tip

"Gratuity" is a nice word. It means you're grateful. But how much does a thank you cost?

Grocery stores -
I've never noticed people tipping the bag carriers until recently. Are you supposed to? I know at some grocery stores they'll tell you they're not allowed to accept tips. And at some stores, they'll insist on taking your groceries out because they have to be the ones to return the carts. I don't want to seem rude for never having done it before, but I guess I was never told to!

Restaurants - What if you get bad service? I waited tables for about 5 years and definitely feel compelled to tip at least 15%, even if service isn't good, because I know what kind of crud they have to deal with.

Starbucks, Cold Stone, etc - I never tip at these places either. Should I? I don't hand money to friends and acquaintances who treat me nicely. What's the protocol for tipping here?

Sonic -
What about car hops? One of my good friends put herself through college and financed two different cars while working at Sonic. She made about $7 an hour (which was WAY more than minimum wage at the time) and would go home with $60-$100 on a good night.

Buffets - I have no idea how much to tip at, say, Zookini's or one of those places where you do have a waiter but pretty much do all of the "work" yourself. Thoughts?


  1. As far as tipping the bagger/carryout at the grocery store I don't either. I have worked in those positions and some have insisted that you take it and won't let you leave until you do, but you can't keep it, your supposed to turn it in at customer service. Restaurants, I have always been told to tip double the tax. When I go to places where I don't see the tax I use my best judgment and take into account how man people are in my party. Tipping at Sonic has become tricky and I'm sure the car hops have seen a decrease in them because you can use your debit/credit card right there in the stall. I know I don't tip there as often since this has become available. Buffets I do tip but nothing like regular restaurants. Just because they do keep the drinks filled and if there is anything else you need then they are happy to help.

  2. Sonic-- use the drive thru or just tell them to keep the coins !
    Buffets- Usually a dollar a person unless they were spectacular.
    Everywhere else I tip very good because I used to wait tables and I want good service on my next visit as well.

  3. Having been a Server for several years, I prefer to leave my Servers and Bartenders the best tips I can. When I was a Server, every dollar helped but now that I am a Restaurant Manager I like to think my Servers earn what they are tipped. 20% is a great tip but so is 10%, I also think that a dollar per person is fair unless it is an extremely "savage" table then a little extra is nice. As guest to a restaurant I like to think that a tip is not optional because that Server is working very hard and making less than $3 a hour from the company.

    So please tip your Servers.

    As for Car Hops, Buffet servers, and Grocery Baggers, I usually only tip them if they do an exceptional job because they receive minimum wage and do not depend on tips.

  4. Sonic - I usually just give whatever the change is, say I get a drink & it costs me $1.43, I hand the hop $2 bucks & say keep the change, whatever coins are leftover. Everyone knows coins add up. Sonic car hops do make way more than waiters/waitresses, so it is not appropriate to tip them even 10%.

    Buffets, I would say leave a buck at the table, depending on the size of the party. If you brought your family, leave extra, because they have to clean up after your kids.

    Restaurants.... having been a waitress, I myself always tip well, at LEAST 15%, if not more. If they do a specifically wonderful job, they're gonna know I appreciate it. I have also been known to give a different waiter/waitress the tip if they helped me out more than my actual server. I think that is only fair. I do, however, want to note that it is NEVER, EVER approriate to leave nothing. (ok, ok, if they spit in your food or something - ha!) But honestly, even if it's just $1, leave SOMETHING. Not receiving a tip for a $20 meal, adds up over time, especially when you are only making $2.50/hr or whatever it is these days. (when I was waitressing, it was $2.15/hr + tips).

    Just put yourself in their shoes. Wouldn't you want something in return for your service?

    Now, as far as starbucks goes. I think the real tips should go to the baristas, the ones who make the drinks, not the cashiers...or they should be split (& maybe they are...idk). Depending on how fast they get your drink out/if it's made to order as asked/etc.... that would define the amount, but in most cases, I would say this is similar to Sonic - just keep the change (not dollars, but cents :) )

    Make sense?

  5. I agree, anon@11:15. But if you do the math, you are tipping 28% at Sonic!

  6. As a fast food manager who does accept tips, I believe that any employee that goes the extra mile to give you excellent service with a smile deserves a gratuity. These days going into most businesses with no employees caring about the customer(who is actually paying their paychecks) it is discouraging to tip anyone. I pride myself on always smiling along with my crew doing the same thing(it is not an option) and by doing so most of the time we are rewarded for our kindness. Each employee is required to take the order, make the order, and deliver the order creating personalized service that is one of a kind. When done right, each employee deserves to be tipped. Most of us live off of whatever pocket change is given to us(we don't have the luxury of making over minimum wage.)

  7. Does anyone know what the policy is for tipping baggers/carryout @ Albertsons,HEB,United?I always thought it is usually just in large Metroplex areas & not custom here.I also do the double the tax method for tip,more for super service.Not enough people in Abilene know how little servers make or appreciate how difficult the work can be.

  8. I have heard you 'can' tip baggers. I don't mind tipping them, they help out with getting groceries to and in the car. Which is better than doing it myself when I have other stuff in my hands or on my mind. I dont usually tip where people get full pay, such as Starbucks. That coffee costs enough as it is. Yet I will at Sonic, my change or a buck or 2, since they weather the weather. At a restuarant, I usually do a minimum of $5 even if it is above the usual 15%. I feel this helps with their fuel or lunch. I tip a maximum 20% if they are really good. I have, rarely, but have gone over 20% when the restaurant is fully packed and the waitstaff was able to keep up with me and everyone else. Yet if they are really bad, especially if it is slow, I start deducting the tip accordingly. I have stiffed someone before though that is really rare for me to do. I have even tipped a cook before.

  9. What about delivery drivers? I work for both steak express and papa johns and its amazing the amount of people here in abilene who DONT tip ..I deliver $80 + orders to people who don't tip. I use my car to drive across town to bring you your food. Least you can do is toss something our way. Delivery Charge you might think? Guess what most of that goes to the store. We don't see it. I had a delivery today for $79. The person handed e 4 $20 bills and waited there for me to give him his dollar back. These places have a service called pick-up.If you want to be cheap and not tip come get your own food. (sorry not trying to be rude but its the way we as drivers feel) Yes sometimes your food is a little late but guess what you're not the only person in Abilene who ordered food. We usualy run 2-4 orders at a time. So be patient we're coming somtimes we get busy. To be honest the best tippers in town are the people on Dyess. If you can't afford to tip then maybe it needs to be a ramen noodle night. Not trying to be funny but we usualy speed around town to get you your food on time only to get stiffed after rushing to your house so we can get your food there without being a minute late. Also us drivers have very good memory when it comes to the people who don't tip and trust me when we're out on a delivery with 2-4 other deliveries in our car, theres a good chance you're last on the list. So be respecful and tip.

  10. Good comments, Thanks. How about tipping people in the community that serve your family and friends, ie. Police, Fire, Teachers, etc.