Do you tip the person who makes your fast food?

jerzeegirlApril 26, 2006

Guys, I need a reality check here. Today, I went to Subway for lunch. I ordered a sandwich; the two ladies who were working there made it. Then one of the ladies goes to the cash register to take my money. She gives me change and then I order a cookie (52 cents). I gave her $1.02 and she was supposed to give me back 50 cents. She then says: "Why don't I just throw this in the tip jar". She goes on to say that she's not shy to ask for tips; that she commutes everyday (about 10 miles); expensive gas; has to pay tolls (cue the violins), etc. I asked her why she didn't try to find a job closer to home and she said there weren't any. Very annoyed, I took my change and left the store. I vowed I would never go back again! I was so mad that someone behind the counter was panhandling for tips. I mean, they are getting paid to make sandwiches and why should I have to supplement that amount?

But then I got to thinking that maybe I'm wrong and I *should* be giving tips to the folks who make the sandwiches, the folks who pour the coffee. I think my perspective may be stone-age so I really want to try to understand if this is something I should start doing in the future.

I would love to hear your opinions on this new obligation. I am really puzzled.

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I'd report this to the franchise owner and to the corporate office.

I do sometimes put my spare change into the jar at Starbucks. One restaurant that we go to, where you order and pay at the counter, I'll tip 10%, but we know all the staff there, and they bring your dinner out to you and will do other things at a relatively self-service restaurant. But we sure get a nice welcome and extra great service.

But I'd report this employee. You don't need a reality check, SHE does!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 3:58PM
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The only tipping we do at a fast food outlet is at Sonic when the carhop delivers to the car. But I hear from DD, who works there after school, that few people tip even then.

I never tip at Starbuck's because all they do is push a couple of buttons and hand you a cup along with a little attitude. Maybe if they ran or rollerskated out to the car . . .

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 4:03PM
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Jerzee, I'm with Fairegold on reporting her. I also rarely tip at take-outs. Once in awhile I will throw some change in at the deli I frequent, for goodwill, but only maybe one out of every 6-7 trips. I never do it at Starbucks for the reasons given by wooderlander and because I know they are pretty decently paid for what they do to begin with. I might be more inclined at a place like Subway, out of sympathy for the fact that they likely make minimum wage. But I would NOT tip someone who hinted for it or outright demanded it! Outrageous!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 4:26PM
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Tip jars at fast food places are becoming more and more common where I live too, but not at the national chains, such as McDonalds and Burger King. I tip with my leftover change at the places I go to frequently and receive good service. I do not tip if the service or the attitude of the server is bad.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 4:26PM
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I always thought a tip was for service. When you're at a sit-down restaurant, the tip is supposed to reflect the waiter/waitress going out of his/her way, checking to make sure everything is ok, refilling drinks, bringing the food quickly, etc.

So how does that concept of service fit in with the person making your sandwich at Subway? Well, I suppose if you asked her for extra cheese or some such and she threw it in, or some such extra service, it might be worthy of a tip. But to have the nerve to ask for it like that? I agree with fairegold, report her.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 5:48PM
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No way! Can't believe this. I have never tipped a fast food person. I am a very generous tipper though in a fancy eat'in estabishment. LOL!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 7:44PM
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It's one thing to choose to throw something in that jar if you want to because something made you feel good about the service. It's quite another to have the employee soliciting tips. I wouldn't go back there again either.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 9:00PM
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I usually tip a dollar and my change at fastfood places. I don't tip for the service per se but for the greeting, eye contact, how friendly they are to me, etc. kwim? I am a notorious over tipper though.

I wouldn't appreciate someone asking me for a tip though. I hate that almost as much as I hate the gratuity added to the check. If they add the gratuity that is all they get from me. 9 times out of 10 I would have tipped more than they added.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 9:53PM
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10 miles? She commutes TEN MILES?!! and she's complaining? I have always been blessed with a lovely short commute (hmm, about 5-10 miles), thank goodness, but I can't help thinking of friends of mine and colleagues of my DH who commute every single day down Route 80 from Pennsy into Manhattan. Ten miles? I might have had to punch her. If she wants sympathy (or tips), she needs to change her story.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 10:52PM
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I don't know of any restaurant, cab company ect, where it's ok to ask for a tip
much less TELL YOU "oh this is my tip"!

Jerzee, Report her.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 11:31PM
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That's just ridiculous that a person working at a Fast Food joint would expect a tip. They are making wages that equate with a non-tipping job. I like to order from a place called The Canopy, where they cut your roast beast to order, and although it's carry out, I do tip there, but only b/c there's a tip jar, and I guess I feel bullied into it. However, I went to a new deli called Noah's on the Side the other day, ordered a fantastic gourmet Crawfish and Oyster Mushroom salad on a Croissant, paid $7.99 and asked where I could put the tip. It took her about 7-10 minutes to put the sandwich together. She said they don't accept tips. Huh? That pleased me so much, I will definitely be going back, as well as re-thinking my tipping policy at other carry-out places.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 9:42AM
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Ditto: those employees are making wages that equate to a non-tipping job. Certain jobs where tipping is expected, the person is making far less than the minimum hourly wage with tips expected to supplement the rest. Waitresses at bars and restaurants rarely make the minimum hourly wage, they work hard to get what tips come their way with no guaranty of how much money they will make. The waitress who waits on you at your favorite sit down restaurant works much harder and for much longer and for far less customers than someone who is standing behind a counter spending 5 minutes making a sandwich. The Subway lady is making a fair wage for her job, as are the Starbuck employees. No tips needed or should be allowed.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 10:34AM
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"I wouldn't go back there again either."

I'd be tempted to do this also, but the trouble with that approach is that the person being harmed (the owner of the restaurant) is not the person who offended, and probably has no idea that it's going on. Do you think the counter gal cares if you never come back? Puh-leeze...

The manager and/or owner needs to know that one of his employees is inappropriately soliciting tips and that customers are offended. No telling how many customers he's already lost to this employee... Of course, if he knows and approves, by all means, vote with your feet!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 11:27AM
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There is an Italian Ice place near my house that we frequent quite a lot...there is a tip jar there front and center. There are mostly high school age kids working there, and you can tell that they are miserable - they definitely act it...all last summer, we kept tipping, HOPING that they would at least change their attitudes, but no luck...we've gone twice this year so far, and I left without tipping.

Hmm. Not sure how this exactly pertains to the question! Ha...okay, yeah, I would report her to the owners, most certainly.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 2:39PM
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Thanks all for your replies. I honestly don't have the guts to tell the owner because I don't want to get someone in trouble. I know it's not a very proactive stance but there's another Subway equidistant in my neighborhood that just opened and I will just go to that one instead (when I need a tuna sub fix). I really think it's up to management to screen and monitor their employees; for all I know one of the women making the sandwiches could have been the manager! This store was already skating on thin ice because last week we tried to use a twofer coupon from the Entertainment Book and they wouldn't honor it because I got a regular tuna sub and my DH got a tuna wrap. I let that slide because I figured they were just being very "literal" about it. But getting hit up for a tip really got to me because it was embarrassing (there was another customer in the store when it happened).

About Starbucks, I don't know if anyone saw 60 Minutes on Sunday but there was a story about Starbucks. The company's philosophy (because of the CEO's upbringing - he was very poor growing up) is to really treat their employees well - so apparently they all have health insurance and other benefits. Bravo to the CEO of that company!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 4:27PM
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I pretty much believe that workers behave the way they've been trained by management to behave. And if they haven't been trained how to behave, well that's management's fault too.

Why do some stores have polite helpful workers and others have rude and/or noncaring, non helpful workers? Gotta be the training, IMO.

I worked in retail in HS & college and the store I worked for trained us and gave us periodic refreshers on how to greet customers, how to address them, etc.

If there's a tip jar at a fast food place, and the management doesn't teach the workers how the tip jar is to be handled (i.e. say thanks to folks who drop money in but don't ask for or insist on tips), it's basically their fault that the workers don't know any better.

By the same token, workers in jobs that deal with the public should be taught never to give personal sob stories to the customers. This woman's job is to make the sandwich, smile, thank the customer, etc. NOT to make the customer feel bad for her situation whatever it may be.

You know, tipping is a funny thing, there's a whole long thread about tipping hotel housekeepers on the decorating forum. I think there must be a lot of folks out there who expect tips that I never had an inkling to tip. Fast food workers are maybe just the latest ones.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 5:16PM
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I'm with you lowspark, as far as blaming the training. I'm a business owner, and the way our employees communicate with anyone who calls my business is extremely important to me. Every scenario is thought out, nothing is left to chance.

I have a friend who owns several fast food franchises. He and his wife started with one and did all the work - along with recruiting her brother and sister. Now he pays well to have excellent management.

Small franchises are either manned by an owner/operator, or by hired hands with no real manager on site. Guess which ones you get better service at? Some franchises require an owner/operator or an investor with experience in that franchise. It doesn't do all the rest of the franchises any good if there's the few that are poorly-run. People don't think it's just the one franchise. They think, "all Acme Burgers are bad!"

Jerzeegirl, please reconsider not talking to the owner. You may be saving someone their entire livelihood, as most small franchises like Subway are "subsistence" shops - they bring in just enough profit for the owner's family to live on.

The real problems are with large corporations/public companies (like certain phone carriers, department stores, gorcery stores) who don't foster good service, and there's noone to complain to and noone cares.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 5:51PM
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I commute 60 miles each way to work. I guess I should put a tip jar on my desk and ask everyone to chip in. Give me a break. I don't tip at fast food restaurants. If there is a "for charity" jar, I throw change into that. Now DH on the other hand has what might loosely be called a "tipping policy". Young, cute with a big set of "lungs" gets them a tip.

Sometime last year the Dunkin Donuts near my office got rid of its tip jar. They have a charity jar now. The employeers were ornery before and are ornery now.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 10:58AM
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