So last weekend I went to this new spot (well, new to me) and had quite an experience. It was a juice bar/yoga center combined & was very earthy yet modern at the same time. The café was rather large & had concrete floors and open ceilings. There was some “groovy” music in the background and the place was well-lighted. There was an atrium in the center of the café & the place even had free parking (which is always a bonus in LA)!
I was there with a group of people but when it came time to eat I went up to the counter to place my order. After some deliberation and a little bit of taste-tasting, I ended up getting a bottle of organic juice served in a glass bottle for $10. (Think of a Naked juice bottle but twice as large) I’m neither a vegan nor a vegetarian and I normally don’t order organic food but that’s all that was available so I decided to give it a try. The juice I ordered had beets, apples, other various fruits & vegetables and some seasonings like ginger, turmeric and lemon. The juice was pre-bottled so as soon as I made my selection the cashier simply turned around, reached into the cooler behind him grabbed my juice and handed it to me. Before doing all of that, he took my debit card & ran it, flipped the computer screen or “register” around and had me sign for the bill with my finger. Before I could get to the signature line, a “tipping screen” popped up. The “tipping screen” had multiple options for me to select how much of a tip I wanted to leave before proceeding to close out my tab. At this particular joint, the options were: no tip, 18%, 20% and even a whopping 30%!
I was immediately turned off. Here I am buying something to drink that is already premade & I’m expected to leave a minimum of $2?! And to think that there was even a 30% tip option is ludicrous!! Of course, I could’ve selected the “no tip” option, but I didn’t want to perpetuate any stereotypes (African Americans don’t tip well) nor did I want to seem cheap. Since I was with a group & the café was letting us use their space, I wanted to support a small business owner, which is why I was purchasing a $10 pre-bottled beverage in the first place (can you say: overpriced?!). But when no work is involved and no service takes place, I don’t see why a tip is expected. Maybe their computer software is set up to automatically request a tip with any purchase, but if it’s something as simple as a drink (again, pre-bottled), that screen should be bypassed. The worst part about it all was that 18% was the lowest tip you could give, as there wasn’t an option to change the percentage or alter the tip amount at all. Tipping has seemed to take over the service industry completely, but not everybody handling food deserves it.
Normally, I don’t have a problem tipping. If I’m going out to eat at a SIT DOWN restaurant and receive service from a waiter or waitress, then that’s fine. But if I’m picking up my order or simply buying some juice (as this was the case), then I don’t see the purpose in tipping. Am I tipping because you know how to lift a glass of juice? Or am I tipping because you wrapped up my to-go container in a plastic bag & tied it up for me to carry out? Will I go back to that place again? Probably. Will I order the same thing when I go back? Maybe so. Will I leave a tip next time? I don’t think so. I’m sorry, but my hard earned money only goes to hard-working servers.
What are your thoughts about tipping? Do you tip for a carry-out meal? Do you think restaurants are getting greedy expecting patrons to tip 18%-20% nowadays?