Monday, July 2, 2007

To Insure Proper Service

Once again, a “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa” to all my peeps who have been clamoring for most posts (or for me to kill this blog.) Sometimes, even with all good intentions and planning, life just gets in the way. But alas, I have returned, with my fingers intact and ready to roll across the keyboard…

One thing that hasn’t really troubled me until recently is the “tip jar.” However, like Bob Costas, they seem to be popping up everywhere and now I am getting irritated. My sister is really anti-tip jar, and I think I am starting to agree. I set before you two examples:

First, (dunkin donuts)…so I was at Dunkin Donuts a few weeks back, and I order a medium iced coffee, with cream and two “splenda” (for those of you thinking of bringing me a delightful beverage…I also take the “venti” iced coffee at Starbucks the same way); the total comes to $2.06. I give the girl three singles and she says “thank you”, puts the cash in the register and then puts MY change in the tip cup. Doesn’t offer it to me or even look at me, but just dumps the coinage into the tip cup and walks away. Is it me, or does pouring me an iced coffee for a $1.98 plus tax warrant a 94-cent tip? Never mind the audacity of just taking my money! It’s legalized larceny! A license to extort!

As an aside, I should say that I usually load a Starbucks card and use that to pay for my coffee. By doing so, there’s never really an opportunity to drop any change in the tip jars. Starbucks is a little different that Dunkin’ Donuts in my mind, and I refer you back to my earlier postings explaining why. Especially nice is that by the time I’m at the front of the line, my Venti Iced Coffee is waiting for me. That’s what happens when you spend as much time there as I do. These “baristas”, whom I know by name, and who know mine, are a little more focused on the “experience”, and deserve a little token now and then. So last week, I ordered my coffee, paid with three dollars, and dumped all the change into the jar.

But today, the Starbucks tip cup has reached a new low. Up in Haverhill, Massachusetts, there is a freestanding Starbucks, WITH a drive-through; I had to go and see this for myself. Like moth to flame, I sought out my personal grail, the siren song of the espresso machine serenading me right into the drive-through lane. I ordered, and commented to Elayne that I am unsure how I am going to like my Starbuck drive-through experience. When I pull up to the window, I pay, but I see, OUTSIDE the window, on a shelf…a tip cup!!!! For some reason, this just seems to be a bit brash. The tip jar concept has now reached an all-time low. They might as well have a guy standing there with his hand out!

This makes me wonder who’s next to whip out a tip cup; how far will this go? Given the way of the tip cup, I have to wonder if retail clerks at places like Barnes and Noble, or Wal-Mart, will start to put out tip cups. (Sure, let me shop for myself, load my cart, put it on the conveyor belt…but of course, you deserve a tip for checking me out). Do I tip the deli clerk, because he changed his gloves between slicing cheese and slicing the turkey? Do I tip the clerk at the Exxon station when I go pay inside? How about the checkout clerk at the take-out restaurant? They hand me the food, and I noticed a tip line on my charge slip-am I supposed to tip them too?

My friend Lynne mentioned that it irritates her when she sees tip cups with “college tuition” written on it-that’s why they’re working!

With all these tip jars popping up, maybe its time for me to put one out too.

Feel free to post your own thoughts on this.

Apropos of nothing: I was in line at Stop & Shop yesterday, and the person checking out in front of me has a huge cartfull of food. The total comes to over $200.00. The person hands her $60.00 (3-20s) in cash, and says “I’ll put the rest on my debit card.” So the clerk takes the cash, processes the debit, and says “hit ‘no’ on the ‘cash back’ screen” and the person says “but I want $20.00 back!” The clerk says “Are you serious?” The person was dead serious, and took the $20.00 back.

Now, he deserved a tip for that!!!

Gratuitous shout-out: For all your auto repairs, Japanese and domestic, try my buddies Dave and Bob at “Speen Street Automotive”. Good, honest opinions and work, at fair prices. (508) 620-0005. Tell them I sent you.

You’ve been great-and now…Gino Vanelli.


Ray K. Product Development Mgr said...

$2.06 = round up to $3? Whoa...I see those tip jars and occasionally make use of them (as the whim hits me), but I have NEVER seen the level of arrogance that you describe...maybe it's just I'm used to that polite New Yorker thing :)

A more likely explanation is that, pre-caffeine, I'm just too brain dead for anything to register

Fight back: what you describe is absurd!

Anonymous said...

100% agreement across the board. Should be no tipping anywhere and businesses should pay their employees appropriate wages and charge us whatever the market will bear.

I actually saw a tip cup at a liquor store. Yet a guy comes on a weekend to fix the elevator in my building and when I went to tip him he let me know that it was inapropriate and wouldn't accept.