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Tip Jars: A Slap In The Face To The Service Industry…

Why is it, these days, more often than not, when I tip a bar tender, they just throw the money in the bar’s tip jar?  I gave it to you, but I suppose it’s your prerogative if you want to give it away.

Their prerogative or not, I know why they do it.  They’re brainwashed by their employers to put all tip money in the jar.  It also doesn’t help that they’re too young to remember tipping etiquette.

Tipping etiquette is easy enough to understand.  In the service industry, one generally provides you customised service.  Service dictated by your needs rather than simply policy.  I’m sorry.  If you work behind a counter making cups of coffee, you are not a barrista, but a glorified cashier, which is not a tip-able position.  Tip-able positions include but are not limited to those who bring food to you, cut your hair, drive you around, or personalise your clothing.

Once you’ve determined a person is deserving of a tip, how do you determine how much to give him?  A lot of that depends on where you’re from.  Where I’m from, you start with a 15% standard.  That is, 15% of the cost of your services (after taxes and before discounts).  If his service is exactly as expected, then you give him a 15% tip.  However, if it’s considerably more or less than that, you will adjust the amount of the tip accordingly.  If you want to stand out, you may start with a higher standard.  I typically start at 20%.

And, here’s the part I’m absolutely sure contemporary society doesn’t get.  How do you give him the tip?  Considering a tip is personal, you always, and without exception, want to give it to the person you’re tipping.  This means ignore tip jars.  Tip jars are a fraud.  A scam.  They’re designed to steal tips from the servers.  (This explains the fraud alert category.)  Have you ever seen someone steal a server’s tip off a table at a restaurant?  Did you feel contempt for that person?  Great.  Now feel the same contempt for the company that uses the tip jar, except on a grander scale.

So, because you want to give it to the person, the best way to make sure you can do that is give it in cash, whenever possible.  This way, you’re sure you gave it to him.  You can put it on a card, if you don’t have cash, but generally that goes through his boss and might not get to him, so you should only do that if you don’t have cash.

If you do have cash, you want to give it to him as discreetly as possible.  If it’s just a regular restaurant, cab, or stylist, handing it directly to him will probably suffice.  However, in more upper class situations, pass it to him in a handshake.  It should always be his choice whether or not to inform his employer or appropriate taxing agency of the money you gave him.  By making the tip discreet, it continues to be his choice.  If his employer or co-workers see this, they might feel compelled to stop it from being his choice.

But, whatever you do, stay away from the tip jar! They’re a form of social manipulation, as pointed out by this mirror of a previously expired MSN Money article.  Even though MSN Money expired the article for non-paying members, it lives on at a few mirrors and articles that reference it.  But, don’t take my word for it.  Do an internet search.

Tip jars are a phenomenon exclusively provided by the greedy sociopath and exclusively filled by the young and naïve.  My audience is smart enough to know better, with the possible exception of some of the younger members who just haven’t lived long enough to see previous incarnations of this scam.  But, it I reach just one person, it’s done at least some good.  Keep on tipping, but leave the tip jars empty!

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