Friday, January 19, 2007

I hate tipping

It gives me great anxiety when I don't know if I should, or how much, or if I realize later that I should have and I didn't and that's why I got a dirty look from the guy.

Allow me to illustrate.

Restoration Hardware is having tremendous sales right now. I find myself in my car, driving to Kierland Commons to buy more stuff from RH on a regular basis these days. Today, I bought this much-needed beauty:

They had none in stock, and none in the warehouse, so I bought the floor model, though it wasn't on the floor, it was on a shelf up very high. Isaac jumped on the ottomans and tested all the lotions and pushed off the towels and Norah fidgeted and fussed and the rich Scottsdale women smiled upon us sweetly and sympathetically while we waited for about 30 minutes for the guys to take down the display model and wrap it in bubble wrap. The check-out dude asked if my car was close and since it was, said they would bring it out for me.

This fireplace screen is very, very heavy. I would not have been able to carry it while pushing the stroller and keeping Isaac from dashing in front of moving vehicles. But it never occurred to me to tip the man who carried it on his head and put it in my trunk, until he walked away with a dirty look. I'm kind of sassy and don't let dirty looks go unanswered, so I asked, "Is everything okay?" He said, "Yeah," and walked away and then I realized. Shoot!! I should have tipped him! I wish he would have answered, "I would usually get a tip at this point for helping someone to her car." But he didn't. And I didn't. And now I'm feeling bad about it. I don't want to be cheap!!

Tipping further becomes a problem because I very rarely carry cash. Ought I to always have some cash on hand just in case I might need to tip someone? I live in Phoenix, not NYC. If I carry cash, I end up spending it on frivolity--usually food of some sort--and then I don't have the cash anymore.

Also, how do I know when to tip? When someone helps with carry-out service from the grocery store? No, store policy forbids it. What about from Costco? I don't know. . .Costco employees in my experience are decidely unhelpful and I've never been offered any help in getting heavy things into my car there (even when 9 months pregnant. . .so rude!) What about somewhere like Crate and Barrel or Restoration Hardware? Apparently, the answer is yes. I don't begrudge them the tip. I just honestly don't know these things.

Please impart to me your tipping wisdom.


n said...

if you're not making a +tips wage (say, 2.32/hr), you're in no position to be making faces.

Jami said...

Are you supposed to tip the scout leader????

When will it end?

I had no idea you're supposed to tip the RH employees. Maybe the guy was just having a bad day.

Suzie Petunia said...

I don't think you should have to tip the RH guy.

Hey, I make less than 2.32/hr. Just think how much money I could make in tips from my own kids! Alas, they are terrible tippers.

pepper said...

I do begrudge tipping. What ever happened to helping out for common decency's sake? Tipping should be when someone has gone above and beyond the call, and no nasty looks should be thrown out to make anyone feel bad.

sarah said...

The RH guy needs no tip. Palease!!! How rude of him to expect that. What have you been buying or eyeing at RH? The fireplace thing looks cool.

nie nie said...

tipping shmipping

Becky said...

Definitely that guy did not need or deserve a tip(if he's really throwing around dirty looks). I would set this incident aside and allow it to furrow your brow no longer!

Emily said...

Okay, thanks everyone, I feel much better. Seriously, I never know if I should. You've given me great encouragement that I didn't embarass myself.

Jami, you tip the scout leader all the time. Just today, I had a delightful blend of herbs on my toast and cream cheese, and was grateful for your "tips".

Sarah, I bought a really pretty Christmas wreath there last week for $20, and the ornaments are all 70% off. I've been eyeing a puppet show they have, and I'm dreaming of new bath towels (currently 20% off).

Becky, is that you? Are you starting a blog?! I'm so excited for your first comment on my blog! (As far as I can remember.)

Next question: what about tipping at places like Cafe Rio, where there's a line for it on the credit card receipt?

Emily said...

Also, Stephanie, I think we should get together soon.

sarah said...

negative on the cafe rio. unless i feel like the servers were particularly pleasant and went out of their way for my picky children.

amye said...

I bought gift certificates at Olive Garden recently, at their bar. The transaction took less than 30 seconds. When I went to sign the debit card receipt, I was taken aback that there was a space for a tip. I hastily added $2, and then was kicking myself all the way back to the car. There was no service there. It was a 30 second purchase!

marathonmommy said...

I am with you on this one. I have NO idea who to tip and when. I never have cash either. I don't think you deserved dirty looks, though. You could just pass on the word to his manager that he was extremely helpful. Not tip worthy, in my opinion.

AzĂșcar said...

As someone who has worked both in retail and in the service (read: TIPS) industry, that guy does not necessarily deserve a tip. What he did was customer service to keep you coming back to their store. The idea of tipping Restoration Hardware people makes me laugh--their prices are high enough already.

I always read these tip articles on MSN and I think, "These are written by East Coasters!" We don't routinely tip people out West.

Sometimes, I will offer, if I felt the person really did something amazing to help me out. I will straight out ask, "Should I tip you?" Most of the time the answer is something along the lines of "No, happy to help."

I do tip for take out service, even if it's just a couple bucks. I remember being a server and having to spend the time assembling the take-out order (putting soups into containers, assuring that it was all there, adding cutlery, etc) when I could have been helping a tipping table. It's not even close to 20%, of course, but even a couple extra bucks is worth something.

I WILL write a letter to a manager or a company for outstanding service, however, since I know that employees are recognized for those kinds of notes.

Emily said...

Azucar, thanks for your input!

I also have been known to ask, " Do you work on tips?" or I'll ask another employee if I should tip the person assisting me. Usually they say no.

Does anyone tip serviceman who come to your house?

Natalie C. said...

And should you REALLY tip the haircutting people 15-20%? I wrote my hair dresser guy a check for $35 last time & I thought, "this is ridiculous. this is more than my husband pays for the entire haircut."