I wish I could remember the blog -- I read so many -- that had a long interesting discussion via the posting and comments on the practice of putting tip jars out for services one didn't necessarily think a tip would be required -- say, at the counter of a deli, or a fast-food restaurant where you place your order, or the drive-in lane at Starbucks. (What's next? The dry cleaner or movie ticket booth?)
So I was interested to read in the latest issue of The Atlantic magazine this little item written by Jeffery Goldberg in his 'What's Your Problem?" column:
Q: Have you noticed that food stores, delis and the like, have started asking for tips for their employees? I ordered a sandwich at a deli the other day and handed over my credit card and when the receipt came back, there was a space for a tip. I always thought tips were for waiters at sit-down restaurants. These demands are creating anxiety for me. Are the employees behind the counter now working for tips as well?
A: This is indeed a disturbing trend, but not one that should cause anxiety...Food service workers who are not waiters must be paid at least the minimum wage, so they do not, in fact, work for tips. (Waiters are paid a base salary less than the minimum wage, and are expected to report their tips as income. "Expected" as in "not expected.") If you are a kind and considerate person, you could ask the clerk serving you at the counter if he does, indeed, work mainly for tips. If he answers yes, leave him a generous gratuity and report his employer to your local tax authority.
Well, what's your stance? I leave left-over change or two-bits in the jar, usually, if the service person is pleasant, especially if I'm a regular....but it certainly isn't mandatory.