Tipping issue

A friend and I went to The Blend in the Compuware atrium on Saturday. The coffee was okay, the chocolate mousse brownie was excellent. One worker was on duty and made our drinks quickly, as it was a pretty slow afternoon.

I paid with my debit card and noticed a line for a tip on the receipt I signed. I’m not used to seeing a tip line at a coffee shop, although I’ve seen it at Starbucks before, too. My question: am I wrong for not tipping at these coffee joints?

On occasion I might put my change in the tip jar, but that’s about the extent of it. I’ll usually put a line through tip on the receipt, but I hope these employees don’t read that as I think they’ve done a poor job on my coffee.

Am I worrying for nothing or in breach of etiquette?

13 Comments so far

  1. AIW (unregistered) on August 15th, 2005 @ 12:31 pm

    Naw… I wouldn’t tip those guys…

    I do however always tip at Cafe de Troit by throwing my change in the jar. A small independant shop will get my tip/business over a chain any day.

    Starbucks? I think the coffee tastes horrible anyways, but I would not ever tip there.

  2. MGal (unregistered) on August 15th, 2005 @ 12:38 pm

    Yea what is up with the expectation of tips at coffee shops, etc. If all I do is stand at a counter to place an order why should I tip you?

    Exception is always Cafe de Troit…

  3. baliad (unregistered) on August 15th, 2005 @ 12:54 pm

    i hardly ever tip at a coffee place… but it would depend on the situation…

    on the other hand, my wife presently works at starbucks and enjoys getting tips… but who wouldn’t???

  4. Stacey (unregistered) on August 15th, 2005 @ 12:54 pm

    Okay, good. You’ve all put my mind at ease.

    Looks like the debate can get pretty heated, though…

  5. Girl.in.the.d (unregistered) on August 15th, 2005 @ 3:49 pm

    I read a few weeks ago that “proper tipping etiquette” (whatever that means) for a barista or coffee service person is spare change, and only if you don’t mind parting with it. I usually put a couple coins in the cup, but don’t necessarily think I’d do it if I had paid with a debit card.

  6. MGal (unregistered) on August 15th, 2005 @ 7:32 pm

    That starbucks site is a riot. I worked service industry when I was in high school – never expected a tip then. Why have the rules changed 10 years later? I’ll never understand a tipping jar at a chain coffee shop or fast food joint..

    Local ma/pa shops – the rules are different and I give them my spare change. Just like I tell the adorable egg guy at Eastern Market to keep the quarter “change”.

    Locals = tip
    Chains = no tip

  7. doug geiger (unregistered) on August 15th, 2005 @ 8:40 pm

    roight…tip local people, but not chains…WTF? where do you think the chains hire the guy who makes your drink?! LOCALLY

    is ‘local’ coffee harder to make? NO

    are you more hardcore if you work at cafe frou-frou? NO

    and what does the taste of starbucks coffee have to do with tipping? NOTHING…that guy didnt plant the beans.

    if you dont tip – hey…cool, its your karma; but if you only tip ‘locals’ youre being a little myopic…

  8. MGal (unregistered) on August 16th, 2005 @ 5:24 am

    Local don’t have the financial resources the chains do. Starbucks is not a struggling business in any sense of the word. They could pay employees more if they wanted to and offer benefits an employee at a local business can not get. Plus service and the coffee is a heck of a lot better at the local coffee shop than any of the Starbucks, DD, Tim Hortons I ever go into.

    Plus most often from what I have heard the tips at chains don’t go to the employees – they are given to charity or something.

    It’s called supporting a local business and its employees.

  9. Doug Geiger (unregistered) on August 16th, 2005 @ 12:11 pm

    Tips at the caribou and both Starbucks I go to go DIRECTLY to the employees. So too did the tips I got when I worked at Caribou a few years back.

    The logic that big chains could pay more if they wanted…thats a new one on me…I guess I won’t tip when I go to Outback steakhouse, they are a national chain, and they could tip more if they wanted.

    All I am saying is that when someone makes you a special drink you should at least drop your change, if not a whole buck. If you are just getting drip-brew, hey, it didnt take knowledge or effort to turn around, fill up and give you your coffee, but WHOEVER makes you a triple shot half-caff, with a dollop, macchiato should get some gratitude for their skill – green apron or not.

    I have gotten mixed service in both types (corporate and “local”) and I tip according to attitude and skill regardless. I don’t tip EVER because of the financial struggles of the guy that signs the checks – I tip because Juan or Mary operate a mean barista.

    I am not trying to jump in your s***, I am just saying that tips go to the person behind the bar, not the owner or manager – and since all workers are necessarily “local” they should be equally likely to be paid for their ability and attitude. Now if the argument were whether or not to GO TO one of the chains over local, I might be inclined to agree…but I see that as separate.

  10. MGal (unregistered) on August 16th, 2005 @ 1:00 pm

    Actually waiter/waitress at restaraunts are typically paid less than minimum wage with the expectation tips will make up the difference. Hence the tipping expectation. If the tips don’t cover the difference, management is supposed to cover it. Not so with coffee shops, where employees are usually paid at least minimum wage.

    Unless I know for sure the tips are going to the workers, I won’t tip. I’ve been told by quite a few workers they don’t ever see the money in those tip jars. It is also why I tip cash at restaraunts.

    Too many workers at coffee shops etc expect a tip which is really supposed to be voluntary based on service. And nope, I don’t get fancy drinks – just normal straight of the menu ones.

  11. MGal (unregistered) on August 16th, 2005 @ 1:03 pm

    Essentially it comes down to tip if you want to. It is completely optional and you shouldn’t feel obligated to do so – if you do, then in my opinion that is bad service.

  12. Doug Geiger (unregistered) on August 17th, 2005 @ 9:05 am

    You make a really good point about the tipping with cash thing – I read this really funny blog written by a guy that works at an upscale restuarant, and he said that that is always a good idea and is very supportive of the waiter(tress). Basically when you pay with a card at a restuarant, the establishment has to pay the credit card companies a cut of the total bill…well i guess some restuarants take this cut FROM THE WAITSTAFF instead of from their own bottom line. THis is illegal and immoral but it happens. This cannot happen with Cash tips. I never would have thought of that, until I read that.

    Hey Mgal, first coffee’s on me if we ever have a DetMet get-together ;)

  13. WanderingMonkey (unregistered) on August 18th, 2005 @ 9:20 am

    wow, i didn’t think of that. I’ll have to re-think adding the tip to the credit card bill.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.