March 10, 2013, - 6:48 pm
This is not a left-right or political issue (or perhaps it is), but it’s something that’s been bothering me and making me wonder, ever since someone told me I was cheap for not tipping on the rare occasion I get takeout food from a restaurant. I never tip when I order takeout (and maybe I’m wrong for not doing so). Does this mean I’m a cheapskate? Are you really supposed to tip for takeout?
I pride myself on being generous to a fault, especially when I’m at a restaurant where patrons are served by waiters and/or waitresses. I always tip at least 20% of the bill like you’re supposed to. And often, when the bill is low, I might throw in an extra dollar or two. I just think it’s the right thing to do. But when I order takeout from a restaurant (and, by this, I mean that I drive there and pick it up–this is NOT delivery), I never tip when I pick up and pay for my food. Am I wrong? A woman I know who is a waitress told me I am and that the wait staff work to put together the order, so they should be compensated for their work in connection with the meal. Until she said that, I never gave it a second thought, but I disagree with her, and here’s why:
When you order takeout, you are not waited on. You don’t partake in the linens and silverware. Instead, if you’re lucky, you get a paper napkin and some plasticware with your food. The same goes for the containers and presentation. Your takeout order comes in plastic or paper or foil. You don’t eat on ceramic or porcelain plates, so no one has to clear your table (except you) or do the dishes. There’s no water, bread, or refills. And the waiter/waitress doesn’t keep circling and approaching your table to make sure the food is okay. You’re stuck with whatcha got when you get home and open the disposable containers. You just don’t get the full service–or even a fraction of the service–for which the tip is meant to reward.
For me, it’s not about trying to save a few bucks. I believe in tipping well for good service (and, to be honest, it’s not really a belief in tipping so much as it is a belief that I’m obligated and it’s expected of me in our society). But this is about principle–the same principle that keeps me from ever putting anything in the “tip jar” at Starbucks or any other of the myriad of places where they have these things on the counter. I already paid. You didn’t do anything extra for me. Stop putting your hand out for more cash from me that you neither earned nor deserve. To the woman I know who is a waitress and complains about the extra work for takeout, I say, so what? We all have to do extra work that is part of our job but for which we are not paid extra or even at all at some times. Deal with it. It’s not work that you should get a tip for.
So, that’s why I don’t tip for takeout. Does this make me cheap? Unclassy? Am I wrong? Should I re-think this and start tipping on the rare occasion that I order takeout?
Do you tip for takeout? Why or why not?
I also learned in an etiquette class I took as a kid–and from my parents–that you are not supposed to tip the owner of an establishment who waits on or otherwise serves you, whether it’s at a restaurant or a hair salon. But a few years ago when I was at a restaurant, a friend of mine tipped the owner who waited on us. I told him she was the owner so she shouldn’t get a tip, but he said it was unclassy not to leave a tip. Then, I felt like a cheapskate for saying anything.
Who was right?
Tags: do you tip for takeout?, etiquette, restaurants, takeout, takeout food, tipping, tipping etiquette, tipping for takeout, tips, tips for takeout, waiters, waitresses