I’ll admit something now that I’m not very proud of – I’ve never tossed coins into one of those tip cups that often sit beside the cash registers at self-serve establishments. You know, the ones that usually have a few sad nickels and pennies lying in the bottom, as if the customer just couldn’t be bothered taking back such small, paltry change.
It’s not that I’m a cheapskate when it comes to tipping. My husband usually accuses me of over-tipping after restaurant meals. I explain that it’s because I spent one summer as a waitress (a bad one) and I know what hard work it is.
It’s just that if I’m standing at a counter and minimal time and distance are involved in filling my order, I don’t really understand why a tip should be expected.
More often than not, the only tip I feel like leaving in the cup is a short note saying, “Tip of the day: Don’t make your customers feel as though they’re intruding on a personal conversation when standing at the cash register.” Okay, not so short, but you catch my drift.
My attitude about the tip cup changed, however, as I walked into a small town ice cream parlor today that clearly hadn’t seen a customer in quite a while. How did I guess this?
When I entered, the two high-school-age girls behind the counter looked so happy to see me, I glanced over my shoulder to see if one of their friends was behind me. These two – one short, the other even shorter – were practically fighting over who got to serve me – so they both did.
The shortest one performed the cash transaction while “Stretch” made my hot fudge sundae. And they were both so attentive and friendly (and very generous with the hot fudge) that I broke tradition and fished a loonie out of my wallet and let it clang to the bottom of the empty tin marked “tips” that sat beside the cash register.
They gave me a puzzled look since the sundae itself cost less than $3.00, but I thanked them for everything and wished them a nice day. The note I might have left in their cup would have said, “Keep up the good work, ladies, I’ll be back!”