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.