Living with credit

Emily’s list: Credit card tipping and tip-jar etiquette

Emily Crone

The other day, some friends and I were debating whether you should tip at a casual sandwich shop. Many restaurants here in Austin have old-fashioned tip jars, but since so many people use plastic, the credit card receipts also have a line for adding a tip. I think this makes it feel almost impolite not to tip. Then again, do I really want to give $2 to the guy who just made my easy sandwich without making eye contact or talking to me?

credit card tipping etiquetteLately, I’ve been to a few places that don’t even give credit card receipts, saving me from this internal dilemma. I frequent a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop downtown, and when I pay with a card, they swipe it and send me along my way. No receipt, no signing. Easy. They don’t even have a tip jar. I mentioned this to a friend, and she said she goes to a different location where you do have to sign a receipt with a tip option. Maybe my location knows that during lunch hour downtown, it’s not smart to add an extra step to the equation.

Earlier this week, I went through the drive-thru at P. Terry’s, a local burger joint. It was packed, so they had us form two lines. A guy came out to my line with a digital tablet. He put my order into it, swiped my card on it, and was gone before I had put the card back in my wallet. No receipt or signing. And no tip jar since he was mobile.

I’m not opposed to tipping in sit-down restaurants or for stellar service. I always tip my waiters; I know their wage is based on tips. The problem with tipping at places like sub shops or other casual order-at-the-counter places is that you’re tipping based on only a few minutes of service or less, and often before the complete eating experience.

A tip jar at quick food places makes tipping feel much more optional — like an extra if you think your few moments of service were super. Having the tip option on a credit card receipt makes me feel like if I don’t give a tip, I look mean or stingy. Or should I get over it and not feel bad about not tipping? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

For other personal finance insight, read on to learn about 10 of my favorite money-related blog posts from the past week!

1. There tends to be a lot of debate about what constitutes “good debt” and “bad debt.” Life and My Finances weighs in on the topic.

2. Money Mamba wonders what gets people interested in personal finance and questions whether interest rates have anything to do with it.

3. When times get desperate, you’ll be surprised at the myriad ways you can earn money. Budgeting in the Fun Stuff shares how she just made $102 selling her hair.

4. I know many people who recently had or are about to have their first babies, and one frequent topic of conversation is how expensive kids are. Couple Money shares 15 great ways to save money on baby expenses.

5. Sometimes the solution to some of your financial problems can be solved by asking for something or speaking to someone, but those conversations can be hard to have. Broke Professionals explains how to have these tough conversations that will help you get what you need in regards to finances, work and home life.

6. I can tell you from experience that for young women, it’s not uncommon to get freebies from guys working at restaurants — especially small things like soft drinks. Yes, I Am Cheap has had the same experience, but questions whether it’s ethical to flirt for freebies.

7. Speaking of freebies, Wealth Informantic$ presents a massive list of how to get free things, from beauty samples to museum tickets to credit scores.

8. Are you nearing retirement and don’t have enough money? Mr. & Mrs. Not Made of Money list four tips for late retirement planning, one being to conquer your debt ASAP.

9. Fiscal Fizzle adapts Seth Godin’s thoughts about why we get stuck in life to common personal finance issues.

10. Is debt consolidation really the answer if you’re feeling in over your head? Funny About Money discloses the downside of consolidating debts and explains why you may not need a third party involved.

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