I don't know if you have a "Taste Of _________" (with the blank line inferring wherever it is you live), but I am a big fan of them. Especially since we're still a bit new to the area, it's nice to get some of the different places to eat in one place where you can try some of their best offerings.
You buy tickets for the event as you would for rides at a carnival. Only instead of handing them over to a guy named "Buzz" (who does not, by the way, have such a haircut but instead resembles a backup bassist who couldn't make it into Steely Dan) in order to ride something very fast and spinny that was assembled in the dark the night before, you trade them for food that has been rated at various quantities of tickets. Interestingly, someone at one booth will rate a burger at 6 tickets whereas another will choose to only ask for 4.
In any event, that is not really what I want to talk about.
Why are there tip jars in places where there shouldn't be tip jars?
You know what I mean, right?
It probably started back in the day when people would play an instrument or perform a street act and hope that they might gain a buck or two on the way to superstardom. Or maybe it was the guy in the cowboy piano bar who was playing his heart away in the midst of John Wayne punching out some other guy and figured that was worth an extra silver something. Actually, I'm not sure where it started but I'm guessing it made sense.
Not anymore, though. Now you find tip jars in places where people are getting paid full wages for what they do and yet have somehow taken on the idea that an extra buck or two or four is well earned and deserved. Maybe it is... I don't know.
But I see it at the counter of ice cream stores, beauty salons, and gas stations. This isn't to benefit the kid who scooped your ice cream, the gal who cut your hair, or the dude who pumped your gas (because I'd get it otherwise). No... these are apparently for the people who ring you up and are already making an hourly wage.
Now, before you assume me to be a bad tipper, I would like to declare that I enjoy tipping 20% versus the standard 15%. Having been a waiter and a valet parking attendant, I get how important tips can be when you don't get paid any regular wages.
However, what I am referring to involves the sales of a product or a self-service activity that traditionally required no gratuity from the purchaser.
In other words, "tip violations."
How does this work? It's a scam sometimes. You'll know it when even if you are the first customer of the day you will see the tip jar with some currency inside. Did the tip fairy visit the previous night? Of course not. Prior to placing the jar out the worker put a few bucks inside to have customers believe that tipping is acceptable at a non-customary-tip establishment.
Again... it's often a scam.
At "TIPPING ETIQUETTE," the author lists the following suggestions for tip jars:
- Star bucks - Nothing.
- Any fast-food restaurant - Nothing.
- Buffet-lines or cafeterias - Nothing. If there is a person who comes around and keeps your tea glass full, tip him personally $1-2.
- Donut, bagel or coffee shop - Nothing. (This one I disagree with because I know how hard my wife works. Then again... she does get an hourly wage, so...)
- Sports arena concession stands - Nothing.
- If you get the idea that tip jars are inappropriate at any food-service establishment that does not actually bring the food to your table and keep your drinks refilled, then you are correct.
- Laundry service - Nothing.
And the guy who invented the Smoothie.
Which brings me back full circle.
I was standing in line to get my tickets at the Taste Of Kalamazoo. The sign said each ticket was fifty cents, so I handed over my money and waited for the trade back (which took no more than 6 seconds to actually happen). I glanced down and saw a small glass jar with white paper that had been crudely Scotch taped to the outside. On it in large Sharpie marker block lettering read the word, "TIPS."
And yes... there was a single dollar inside.
By the way... feel free to let me know what you think of this article via my Paypal account. The email address you'll want to use is firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to convert your out-of-state money into Michigan cash.