Is it me or are tip jars everywhere now? Remember the days when tips were the province of restaurants and bars? Okay, yeah, you tip your cab driver, the guy who brings your bags into your hotel, your doorman on the holidays. But now it seems like you're supposed to tip everyone. I mean EVERYONE. I've seen tip jars in drug stores, hardware stores, rental car places, even a doctor's office. Are you kidding me??!!

I just went to a major food franchise and at the register was a big plastic tip jar. It read, "Have the Courage to Encourage a Tip."

Yeah, how about the courage to pay your employees a living wage? This is the kind of food chain where the cashiers are merely ringing up your prepackaged salad or sandwich -- they don't make anything. And if you want soup, drinks, condiments, or even utensils, you get them yourself too. In other words, you do all of the work, but the cashier gets a tip merely for ringing you up. Hell, cashiers don't even count back change anymore. They don't even look at a price tag anymore. They just put the item under that little scanning thing, it goes bleep, and then they stare dully at you. Half the time, you have to say, "How much?"

Nor do I appreciate the subtle hint that I'm not "courageous" if I don't tip. Hey, I'm courageous enough to say, Screw your tip jar!

Yes, I get it that people in these types of jobs don't make much money. How is that my problem? The sandwiches are expensive enough. The CEO no doubt took home millions last year (this is a major worldwide chain), so why isn't he sharing his profits with his employees? How is it I have to pay $8 for an overpriced sandwich (we're not even talking one with meat) and then root around to dig up yet another dollar for a tip?

The first place I remember seeing this is Starbucks. Five bucks for coffee and you still have to tip? But at least at Starbucks, the servers make somewhat complicated drinks.

And, yes, I know what it's like to have jobs like this. I worked at a pizza joint. I worked at a major chain pharmacy. I've worked at restaurants. Sure, I would have enjoyed a tip, and in some of the places, I did. But I would have better liked a livable wage with some health insurance. Keep your tips if it means getting that.

This tip jar thing has officially gotten out of control.

Have you seen a tip jar in any strange places?

 

Image via Marcin Wichary/Flickr