Thursday, May 6, 2010

DID YOU KNOW: It's considered an insult to tip in Iceland?

It looks like Kyle T. Sims is the first to receive, and tweet, my thank you note and his new copy of Songs for Staying In. It's a good one.

If you can't read it, this is what it says:
I've always hated writing thank you notes but I haven't minded these. Probably because, usually, these things have to be so proper, like for wedding gifts from relatives you barely know. But with these, I can say whatever I want or do this: PENIS PENIS PENIS, and no one will scold me. Thanks for buying our EP. Taylor & QC


So, today, I've promised to rant about tipping. First off, let me say that I have no problem tipping waiters/waitresses in a restaurant where they are constantly serving you. I understand that in that situation, you are paying one price for the meal, and then compensating the waiter/waitress for their services with a tip.

A gray area is a place like Sonic. Recently, my boss and I were at a Sonic and he pulled out a few dollar bills. I said "You're not going to tip the Sonic girl, are you?" He said he was, so I asked "why?" This is a valid question because, to me, they are not wait staff. They carry your food, at most, 50ft and then you never see them again. They have essentially added one useless middleman to the drive-thru experience. Surely, I thought, they are not paid like wait staff, as my boss suggested. We decided to ask. Turns out, they ARE paid like waitstaff, and rely on tips, but it's not exactly like that. They all pool their tips and then the company fills in the gaps to guarantee them all at least minimum wage. I kind of felt like an asshole for having never tipped Sonic girls, but not really, because I'm more than happy to walk the 20 or so feet and carry my own food to my car. They're not doing me any huge favor, really. So I'll still not be tipping people at Sonic and still think its ridiculous that they're considered wait staff, but I understand if people want to tip there and will no longer chastise them for doing so.

Now pizza delivery is a bitch. If I'm charged a delivery fee then you're getting nothing from me, because I've already paid for the delivery. If it's a "free" delivery, then I may throw in a few bucks if my pizza arrived in a timely manner.

The thing that really blows my mind is haircuts. There is a place in Cedar Park called Two Hotties haircuts. It's completely geared towards men and, one day, this man needed a haircut and the other place I go was really busy, so I ventured in. There was signage all over the place about tipping. "Be a big tipper!" "Join the big tippers club! etc..." and there was even a sign by the door that said "If you didn't tip, please tell us why." It made me really uncomfortable, because I cannot think of one good reason to tip for a haircut. Can you, really? The haircut is the product, the product costs $15, I pay $15 for the product, end transaction. Why would I pay $18 for a product that cost $15? If you think your haircut is worth $18 then charge $18, don't try and guilt me into tipping you. They haven't provided you with anything extra, they've only provided you with the service that you have paid for. So why tip? It's not like a came in for a shampoo and they threw in the haircut. Ridiculous.

Can you think of any other situations in which tipping is expected, though, completely ridiculous?

Also, I wrote a little something about Leah for Mother's Day on Offbeat Mama, if anyone is interested.


  1. I can sort of see your point... but your going to be paying for their service one way or the other. Either your going to be charged more without a choice, or charged less with the expectation you will choose to tip. If the system changed, the business sure as hell won't be the one absorbing the price. I think you probably have the better end of the deal here.

  2. Have you ever worked in a job where how much you make is contingent on tips? I can kind of see where you're coming from, but I think until you've been on the other side you can never truly understand tipping. Because the people who are working the jobs are the ones getting shafted by both the company they work for AND people who don't tip. And, granted, they have the right to not work for those companies, but it's hardly ever that black and white. I don't know. I waited tables for YEARS, so I am sensitive about tipping.


  3. Yeah, guys, kinda feel like I went out of my way to say that I understand and don't mind tipping wait staff. With wait staff, you're paying one price for the food and another price for the service. I get that, and when I'm in a financial situation that allows me to be, I like to be a generous tipper. But for things like a haircut, what is the tip for? I paid for the haircut. The act of cutting the hair, and doing it well, is what I'm paying for. The service is the product, there is nothing more or less to warrant additional money changing hands.

  4. I think at places like barber shops you tip the barber because they only get a portion of what you pay and the rest goes to the owner of the shop.
    AND, as someone who delivered pizzas, I think it’s ridiculous when people don’t tip well. I understand the logic that a waiter is with you throughout your meal, but a delivery person drives to your house. You get food delivered to your door. It’s a pretty sweet deal and seems worth 15-20%. Lots of delivery people make minimum wage, have to supply their own car and pay for gas.

  5. Liked Offbeat Mama! Disliked thank you note!

  6. I think it's no longer a tip when they start pressuring you or basically forcing you. WTF at that hair place.

    In lots of other countries, gratuity is included in the price, which is convenient, or tipping just isn't expected at all unless the service is especially good. American entitlement issues maybe? I dunno.