Tuesday, September 11, 2012

To tip or not to tip for takeout, that is the question

I am not a person who obsesses over money. I try my best especially not to bring up matters of petty cash lest I come across as cheap or something. That said, sometimes the monetary issue at hand becomes a matter of principle and I am forced to voice my displeasure. Like when we spent almost $300 as a family to go see Cirque du Soleil at University of Phoenix Stadium and then had to pay $10 for parking even though the event was literally in the parking lot and there were no other parking options. They funneled you into this tiny section of an enormous, otherwise empty parking lot so they could steal your money. Before the show started I turned around to a dad in the row behind me and said, “Can you believe the park—” and before I could even finish he started going off worse than I would have, which made me feel better. After the show we got caught in a haboob on our way back to the car, which made me angry all over again.

But that was simply an occasion of a city or large corporation sucking the average person dry for every penny, which is … America, I guess. What I would like to question today has nothing to do with that, but is a rare instance of society being apparently unable to get on the same page. My question is this: Do you tip for takeout?

I have my own answer to this question, which is no, and which is the right answer. If we start tipping for food that we ourselves are picking up, then all boundaries of what constitutes a tip and what doesn’t are blurred. And I am already often very confused about when to tip. One time I tipped a crossing guard.

For years I lived safely and confidently under the notion that it would be absurd to tip for takeout. In fact, I can’t even say that it was a notion because it was nothing I have ever even pondered doing. I wouldn’t even be asking this question were I not second-guessing my own true instincts. Recently someone I follow on Twitter posed the question, “How much should you tip for takeout?” and I was like, “What is this person talking about?” Am I the crazy one? I’M PICKING THE FOOD UP MYSELF TO TAKE HOME TO MY HOUSE.

I have gotten takeout a few times since then, and now when I get my credit card receipt and see the line for “tip” I have this internal struggle. The angel on my shoulder says, “Don’t do it! Hold your ground! You’re steadfastness will save society!” But the other angel on my shoulder says, “I don’t know, man … what if they remember your frugality and spit in your food next time?”

So today I reach out to you. Please feel free to leave your opinion on the matter in the comments. If it’s revealed I am in the wrong, I will be willing to admit the error of my ways, but not really. What I really need is for everyone to reaffirm I am not going crazy. If you vote “yes” in the comments please specify that you work at a takeout counter. Thank you.

Note: This column appears in the 9/13 issue of The Glendale Star and the 9/14 issue of the Peoria Times.


Stephanie Natividad said...

Heck no! Here's a tip...wear a condom. Here's another, check yourself, BEFORE you wreck yourself!

mkenny59 said...

THANK YOU! And lol!

Javier said...

Agreed. When I used to work at Starbucks and we had that little tip jar up front, I never kept track of who did or didn't leave a tip. I made decent money for being in college and got health benefits being part time even. Tips are nice but in these instances, so not expected. I did appreciate the poor saps who did though :)

Don Dykstra said...

Tips are for strippers. Not for Take-Out. Unless of course worlds collide. Then. Well.

mkenny59 said...

@ Javier: Thanks! And yeah, the coffee tip jar is like a whole different animal to me, although I suppose that also falls within "takeout" technically. I'll put my change in there, but rarely bills because, ya' know ... why? One time I was at a drive-thru Starbucks and they somehow managed to get a tip jar at the drive-thru window, which I thought was the most ridiculous thing ever, and I was tempted to knock it over. But I didn't. True story.

@ Don: BUSINESS IDEA. "Strip-Out." Lap dance while you wait. Call me.

troy said...

Agreed. No tips. I think they just use the same system sit-down restaurants do, and some people saw the tip line and thought it meant them.

mkenny59 said...

troy, thanks. And yes, that's a topic I've spoken with a few people about -- obviously there's not a different c.c. system for sit down and takeout. Still, seeing the tip line always makes me feel like that's an option. When I leave my famous dash there, it feels like all eyes are on me, and not in a good way.

Don Dykstra said...

We obviously missed our respective callings.