Shall we Simply Get Rid of the Counter-Top Tip Jars?
Now, if you hadn’t taken the honorable time to read more than just the head-line, you’d probably think this piece is about non-tipping.
Not so. I grew up in a tipping culture and despite all its wrongs, it sure has some benefits.
Instead, I’m arguing that we should get rid of these ‘jars,’ not because they are Tip Jars, but because they are Counter-Top Rubbish Bins. Let’s face it, none of us feel good about these -- neither the staff nor the paying guests.
These jars just sit there, tucked underneath a bulky POS screen and the napkin holders, uncertain of their role in small, quick exchanges of aloof and often painfully slow hospitality.
Their ‘tip’ hole, so small that barely anything can fit in is usually reserved for small coins, an occasional low-value bill folded 3 times, and , rare, but I’ve seen it, a very rude receipt or paper straw covering, discarded in this mistaken mini-rubbish bin.
Clearly, a staff that truly believed their service would warrant a tip would be much larger than the razor-thin acrylic slits we're used to seeing on counter-tops, no?
Unlike a tip left on the table or a bar, which are meant to be seen and discreetly acknowledged, any amount left in a tip jar – be it coins or bills, is routinely not even noticed by the service staff.
Further, how much extra cash (tips) is really being generated by these tip jars? I’ve seen instances in which the tips from Wednesday eve are still in the jar on Friday morning. The amount perhaps so little, the staff cannot be bothered to count the amount – just another tedious side task at the end of a long shift.
So then, shall we just get rid of these? If they made us feel better, if they were appreciated (or needed) by the staff, or if they were even really a ‘tip’ instead of a convenient wasteland for unwanted coin clutter, I’d argue differently.
But they aren’t.
Like a cocktail garnish that serves no purpose, they are best removed.
They simply fail to make anyone feel good and never has 3 loose coins been considered a ‘good tip.’
Justin Dunne is the founder and managing director of Evolution48. Please see "Services Offered" for a full menu of options this boutique hospitality production firm offers.