Wednesday, November 30, 2016

No Tip For You

I consider myself a good tipper because I've been fortunate and I like to pass it on to those perhaps less fortunate. Those that receive tips are generally working minimum wage jobs or less and are providing with me a dining experience so I don't have to cook or do dishes myself. Occasionally I have tipped in other situations like to the fellows who moved me into this hot on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year. In all cases, they have provided a service and done it in exceptional circumstances or done it exceptionally well. But this one has me scratching my head wondering if he was just being an ass or if I am just out of touch.

My daughter participates in school reading challenges which (much to my delight) aren't much of a challenge to her since she reads more than the required amount each day. The teachers get burnt out holding these challenges so they don't occur very often, maybe once or twice a year. As her reward, my daughter gets a certificate for a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut.

Despite living next door to one of the largest Pizza Hut franchise owners in the country, I really don't care for Pizza Hut pizza anymore. I prefer to just make my own at home. But because my daughter won the award, I felt obligated for her to redeem her certificate so I ordered her free personal pan pizza along with one for the other daughter and one for the rest of us at full fare. Even with the free pizza, I was still paying almost $24 which I felt is quite high and perhaps another reason why I prefer to make pizzas at home for a tiny fraction of the price.

Normally we have always ordered at one of their sit down restaurants nearby but due to hard times, it went out of business since the last certificate my daughter won. So this time I ordered from a place downtown that is strictly a delivery or pickup location. There is no dining in option there. They slid the pizzas to me on the counter and I handed them my credit card to pay. The worker gave me a receipt to sign which included a line for a tip.

I didn't give a tip. I have never given tips in situations like this where I'm picking up takeout and the person behind the counter didn't provide any service to me other than take my money and give me the product. Had they delivered the pizzas, I would have gladly tipped generously and in a restaurant where they not only wait on me but I use their resources for clean tables, dinnerware, restrooms, etc., I would have tipped. But I have never tipped when I have picked up takeout food and have never had anyone say anything to me until this time.

The man told me snidely when I handed back the signed receipt, "I should have made you cook your own pizzas."

Kind of in shock, I just chuckled as if he made some sort of clever joke and walked outside with my daughter and pizzas. But as I drove home, the more his words stuck in my craw. I thought I was doing him a service by ordering two other pizzas (at full price) that I really didn't want and didn't have too in order to redeem the certificate. However, I realize that as someone who doesn't go out much or pay others to perform services for me, perhaps I am out of touch with reality and it is expected to pay for takeout food these days.

What say you my readers?


Vince said...

To be honest I think it kinda depends.
I expect that the employer pays their staff enough that a tip is a bonus. I don't expect them to be some sort of subcontracting middleman between me the diner and them the restaurant. I feel if for a business to be a business it must have as a part of it's plan paying the staff, not expecting you to do it, twice. Once to the business and then for the service.
Here though, I feel the guy is on min wage. Or perhaps less. For I do know the hourly rate game is a bit of pure abuse. Yes, you might be getting the minimum hourly rate, but you may only be getting 15 or 20 hours. So when you crunch the numbers, you are little more than surviving, if that.
I tend to think of it this way. A cop or a teacher in the first few years of their employment have what is considered the bare minimum. They certainly aren't over paid to the conditions prevalent in that area, but are deemed to be an active economic unit. Now, how much below that hourly rate are the pizza guys.

Bill said...

I never tip in that situation either, and it annoys me that there is a line for a tip on the receipt I have to sign. It makes me feel cheap not to fill it in. But in that situation there was no service of any kind so no reason to tip! Like you, I'm a generous tipper. I know what servers have to put up with and they earn and deserve good tips for their work. But picking up take out simply doesn't call for a tip, in my humble opinion. I think you handled it perfectly. But honestly that rude employee deserves to be fired. Just my two cents worth..

sage said...

I'm with you on not paying for picking up. From my understanding, waitresses generally make less than $3 an hour (which mostly goes to pay taxes & Social Security) and are expected to make their living from tips (which, depending on the restaurant can be quite good). But the person at the register nor the people in the back paid a sub-minimum wage (although they are not well paid, either). I always tip the driver who delivers, too.

Ed said...

Well thus far it sounds like I am not out of touch with society. I feel for the guy if he isn't making enough money. I really do. But I just can't bring myself to subsidize his job choice of taking my money at a cash register. If he gets a tip, everyone working a cash register would expect one. I think the next time my daughter wins one of those coupons and I have to go redeem it, I will have to ponder ahead of time of a response if he makes a similar comment. Perhaps a response like, "I understand you are probably not getting paid enough and therefor want tips for taking my money. Can you point me to your manager so I can put in a word on your behalf."

Kelly said...

I think the man was acting like a jerk and was totally out of line in what he said. Or maybe (as I always told my kids when we encountered rude people) he was just having a bad day - we never truly know what's going on in the lives of others.

Back to the subject at hand... I never tip in a place where I pick up my own food. I have to consider the cost of preparing the food (as in cooking that pizza!) is factored in. Now if other services are rendered, yes... I'm often overly generous.

That must be the same program my kids use to participate in when they were young. If I remember correctly, I often just ordered their free pizza, then picked it up through the drive-thru - therefore no money ever exchanging hands. At least you ordered more food at regular menu prices.

Ed said...

Kelly - They do have a drive thru. I think perhaps the next time I just order the free pizza and go through the drive thru and be done with it. That is an excellent solution!

Bone said...

That tip line is a bit awkward, isn't it? Though I've never had anyone make a snide comment to me if I don't leave a tip on take out. I've seen a lot of take out type places (Five Guys, for instance) place a tip jar on the counter, for whatever that's worth. And a lot of people tip at Sonic (I sometimes do). I think it's entirely personal preference.

I will say this... When I worked in a grocery store in my teenage years, we bagged groceries and offered to take them out and put them into the customer's vehicle as well. This was our standard service and while most people didn't tip, for someone making somewhere around $3 an hour, it sure was nice when someone cared to tip a dollar or two.

Bob said...

I agree with you no tip is indicated in a situation as you describe. I'll sometimes do it but I've never thought it was expected. I sure wouldn't leave one for this guy. I always tip car hops (e.g. at Sonic) because they're providing a service, but seldom at a drive-through.

Ed said...

Bone - I have tipped from time to time in tip jars on the counter, especially when they do a little bit more than required. For example, once a chinese place got my order wrong and went right back and got the correct food, gave me some more to boot and let me keep the wrong item. Mistakes happen but they went above and beyond and so I gave the fellow a good tip. I also tip at Sonic when they bring food out to the car.

Bob - What got me down this path is that at least up here, tip jars are everywhere these days from the dry cleaners to the clothing shops. I have rarely seen anyone use them other than perhaps during this month when holiday spirit is infectious, but I don't shop often and don't know how often they are emptied so I thought perhaps I was out of touch.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

That little line on the credit card receipt for that kind of thing irks me and makes me want to pay by cash. As said above, that little line makes me feel cheap even thought it isn't customary to leave a tip for the MAKING of the food as that what the price is for. I know, as someone who did wait tables and bartend through my high school and college years, those who make tips don't usually make minimum wage because of those tips (at least that is the case in California and Massachusetts). The counter workers aren't really doing a service in the same respect. If it becomes customary to tip the cashier at the Pizza Hut then why not the checker at the grocery store for ringing up my groceries or at the bank for depositing my money.
It was a terribly rude comment and I also would have been irritated.

Ed said...

Pumpkin Delight - that little line "makes me feel cheap" too, especially when the fellow was looking down at the receipt while I was filling it out and signing it.