Would you ignore the tip jar in these circumstances?

We stopped at a new place yesterday – basically a clam shack, with burgers and such as well. You order at a counter and pay, get a order number receipt, then find a seat at one of the picnic tables around the side. After a while they announce your order is ready. You pick it up from the counter, carry it to your table. After you eat you bus your trash to the nearby trash bins.

Incidentally, all the drinks are individual cans/bottles, so no waitresses running around with free refills or anything like that.

Basically, other than taking your money/order and shoving the tray over to you, you get no ‘service.’

BUT of course there’s a big tip jar beside the register.
So, in those circumstances, do you feel like you need to tip? And if so, the ordinary amount (whatever percentage you feel that is) or just a token buck or two?

Pretty much every little non-chain fast food joint I’ve been to is like that. In which case I might tip, I might not. Usually if I pay cash I might just dump my coins in there.

In places like that I usually dump my coins that I get for change in the jar so I don’t have to fool around with them. If I’m only due a few cents back I’d probably throw in another $.50 ( if it’s just me) or a dollar (for 2 people).

I usually ignore such tip jars. It’s not like the people that work there don’t realize that they’ve done nothing to earn a tip.

My experience is that in those situations, the tip jar grew out of people like enalzi. When I was a register monkey, quite often people didn’t want their change if it was only a few cents so they’d tell me to keep it. I couldn’t keep it in the cash drawer because the count would be off and continually slipping money in your pockets is a good way to get noticed by management in a bad way. So a cup gets designated the change cup and then people for some reason decide they should put tips in it and all of a sudden you’ve got a tip jar in a totally random business because a couple people didn’t want their 20 cents in change.

Me, I am totally comfortable tipping or not depending on my mood. If I’m at a coffee shop or something and the barista did something nice for me like an extra shot or a size upgrade, I’ll throw a dollar in or even if I have an extra dollar and am feeling nice, I’ll put it in for no reason. I’m totally willing to blow by it, though and I reject the comparison tip jars on principle.

I’ll usually toss coinage in a jar like that, but it depends on how I feel about the joint. If everyone’s friendly and the food’s good? Sure, they can have up to an extra $.99 from me.

I have correlated question: How does one tip at an all-you-can-eat buffet sort of thing? There’s the buffet Chinese food place I go to every once a month or so where once you sit down, there’s no real wait-service, just a guy bussing your empty plates. I just don’t feel like giving the guy 15% for that. Am I being a skin-flint?

Agreed. However, if I’m a regular or semi-regular I’ll occasionally toss some money in there. At my gym there’s a counter where you can get a protein shake, breakfast sandwich, chicken salad, etc. On some days I’ll stop there on my way out to get a protein shake. About every 3rd or 4th visit, I’ll drop a buck in the jar.

Even if there is no “out front service” you can still tell between the people behind the counter who are a bunch of clueless slackers from the folks that are on the ball and appear to be doing the best they can. Yeah, it’s a little more complicated than the full service places but still.

Bad attitude? Spends more time chatting on the cell phone than trying to take my order. Seem’s grumpy? Can’t tell me the difference between the number 9 special and the number 32? Slaps the crap on the tray and turns away to continue on the cell phone?

No TIP for you!

Nice attitude? Ready to take my order efficiently? Yells back the cook (who answers promptly) if I have a question they can’t answer? Points out any specials or combos that might make more sense for me to order? Makes sure everything I need is on the tray and preemptively asks if I need anything I might have wanted but didn’t say I did (because I could have well forgotten to just ask).

Yes, a tip for team efficient and customer service oriented.

I usually throw something in the tip jar, even at Subway. I don’t feel at all obligated to do so. However, these people are underpaid generally (or maybe more precisely stated, paid a low wage). If I’m getting a cheap meal, I’m happy to throw a buck or two their way.

A lot of people just throw their change in those jars. The people are probably not paid well and will appreciate anything left for them. Don’t blame the player, blame the game.

New place, good food, and you’d like it to stay open so you can eat there again? I’d tip.

Only if the food is freaking amazing and quick, or if I need a special order. (something that is so rare in occurrence as to be almost non-existent.) Even then it’s only the change in my pocket or a buck or two.

Given things like this, I’d rather toss in my change than be fussy about it. It’s unlikely the person who served you is making a liveable wage. Giving them a little joy and collectively giving them a little extra help costs a few coins. I’d rather err on the side of generosity than going through life “keeping score” on everything.

There’s a frozen yogurt shop near me. It’s a self-service thing. You pull your own yogurt, dump on toppings of your choosing, and put the cup on the scale at the register. All the person does is ring you up and occasionally mop up messes.

They have a ginormous tip jar. I walk past that thing every time. Minimum work = minimum wage. Tipping is reserved for people who actually serve me, sorry.

Well said.

I don’t want OR expect to be kowtowed to, (either at a greasy spoon or a 4 star splurge, as I am uncomfortable when people make a fuss over me; I guess I am somewhat self-conscious in certain social situations) but I do expect to be treated with a certain level of politeness and attention to the task at hand, so when you get a person taking my order who makes it clear with their body language, comments or overall nasty attitude that they loathe everything about their job, it’s not going to inspire me to leave anything as a gratuity, be it 23 cents or the better part of change from a $20…

That said, I think I am typically a fairly sunny personality, and usually people tend to meet a friendly smile back with the same, so the unpleasant attitude from a cashier doesn’t crop up too often around me.

The way it works at our deli is you order at the counter, then we bring your food to your table and refill your tea and check on you. Almost every one tips, but not always a full 20%.

I didn’t want to put out a tip jar, but my first few customers insisted and boy I’m glad they did.
It’s adding to our income and helping us out a lot more than I realized it would.

I wouldn’t tip in the situation you describe though.

I’d only tip if I got extraordinary service. If someone is just handing me merchandise and taking my money, that’s ordinary service. What you describe is service like one would get at a fast food place, the only difference is that it might take a bit longer to cook some foods.

And that’s another situation where the tip jar is something I would use. Let’s say I go into a deli. And I can tell it’s a mom’n’pop type operation. And let’s say service is just okay. Not great but not bad either. But the food itself is great or the food is fine but the price to volume ratio is amazingly low. I’d tip not because of the service per se but because I think they are undercharging for what I am giving. And I know the people that are responsible for this are the one’s I am rewarding for that.

This is essentially a “me too” post: I tip if the service is exceptional, like the girl steered me away from the nasty fish, or threw in some extra hush puppies or if the service is so polite and cheerful that it’s put me in a good mood. Then at least my change goes in the jar, and maybe an extra buck.

I do a buck a diner if I’m feeling good, and nothing if they’ve spent the entire meal scowling at me. And at places like Sweet Tomatoes, where they sometimes make suggestions or small talk, my rule is as above: if you’ve made my meal a better experience, I’ll tip, but not as much as the 20% I tip a full service restaurant.

I have a family member who used to be crew at Five Guys and I think all Five Guys have tip jars.
It definitely supplemented his income and put him in a better mood when people decided to tip. I’d say it’s a nice thing to do if you can spare the extra money (if you make more than like $8/hr, the extra cash you throw in the tip jar will probably make more difference to the guys working at these kinds of places than it will to you), but if you’re on a tight budget I doubt they’ll hold it against you if you don’t.