Dear Tell All: Tapped Out wrote you to complain about the proliferation of tip jars in Madison restaurants, coffee shops, etc. ("I Hate Tip Jars," 9/12/2013). He sounded angry about the expectation that he leave a tip for people who, for example, just reach into a pastry case to get him a muffin. But let me offer the perspective of someone who works in the service industry. There is no requirement that you give money. Any guilt you feel about tipping is your own problem, not the fault of the business.
That said, I think the Madison-area service industry could learn a lesson from a tourist town like Las Vegas, where everyone from the waiters to the desk clerks bends over backwards to make sure you have a pleasant experience. That's the way to earn your tips.
Dear Tell All: I'm on Tapped Out's side about tip jars. A person reaches into a case and gets you a muffin and expects a tip? No way! The counter person is doing basically the same job as a clerk in a retail store, and we don't tip them, right? If a person wants a tip, they have to do a lot more than fetch a muffin. I am disappointed in your answer, Tell All.
Also Hate Tip Jars
Dear Tell All: Tapped Out brought up something that's been irritating me. I have no problem with tip jars, but I really hate when restaurant wait staff ask me "do you want any change back?" Maybe I do, maybe I don't... but can't you just bring back any change and let me decide then? And, yes, wait staff are horribly underpaid.
Dear Tell All: I agree with Tapped Out, who resents the sight of tip jars at local businesses. It might help if the employees there would just be honest about it and replace the jars with tin cups and a sign above that says, "Our employer is paying us substandard wages, so we are forced to beg for money."
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