Since I’m totally on the subject of my heinous crime of eating out too much this week, I have further thought on the matter. Further thought that greatly disturbs me. Regularly.

First, let’s start with some analysis.

There are 5 types of restaurants in the world, in descending price order:

1. Fancy-Schmancy – these are all of the places that serve the MOST delectable food in the world, but are quite proud of it. You crave to go to these all the time (or at least I do – especially The Melting Pot – constantly – I can’t help it if Newbie happens to like fondue), but typically can only justify the price for a special event.

….or a new baby in your belly that makes you puke unless you feed them Fondue.

Included in this category: The Melting Pot (obviously), Ruth’s Chris, Shula’s Steakhouse, and whatever you would consider out of normal price range.

2. A Normal Restaurant – You know, the typical places of the world. The Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesday, or local places in the same price range. The sit down, order from a menu, and tip your waitress type places.

3. Casual Dining – You order at the counter, hopefully paying slightly less than you would at category two, take your food, desperately search for your own table and get your own refills. If you’re lucky, the staff might bus the tables rather than placing obvious “Bus Yourself, Lazy” trash receptacles at every corner.

Included in this category: Moe’s, Qdoba, Firehouse, Zoës, Taziki’s, etc.

4. Chick-Fil-A – Because it is, quite deservingly, a category in and of itself.

5. Fast food – All other Fast Food that isn’t lucky enough to be Chick-Fil-A.

Today, the subject is Category #3.

I often visit these establishments, especially for lunches out with friends. We also go to these at night sometimes, because they usually have just as good of food as category #2, but at a less expensive price, and with quicker service.

So I guess you’d say that C3 is my favorite category.

But I have one bone of contention with C3. Burning Questions that I need answered.

The tip line on the receipt.

You order at the counter, with the cashier staring you down as you sign your credit card receipt, and there’s almost always a TIP line, just glaring at you, waiting to see how decent of a human being you are.IMG_9615 copy

Maybe I’m the horriblest person in the world, but for the life of me, I don’t understand why they have a tip line. They don’t bring me my food, they don’t refill my drinks, and they usually don’t even take away my trash. What, exactly, would a tip be for in this scenario? The guilty stare-down that the cashier girl is giving me??

I really am a good tipper at C1’s and C2’s, but I just don’t get C3 Tips.

Because it makes me nervous to leave a tip line blank (but not nervous enough to tip), I make a habit of eavesdropping on my friend’s receipt signing at C3s, and I am always quite relieved to find that my friends are not C3 tippers either.

So why oh why oh why is that line there???

The angst and guilt that it causes me, fearing that the cash register girl is about to break out in tears because she’s not going to be able to buy milk for her baby because I didn’t tip her for ringing up my order very nearly makes me cry. I just can’t take it! The torture must end!!!

So, if you know what the purpose of the C3 tip line is, please enlighten me. And, Please reassure me that it is totally normal, acceptable, and not judged-by-the-cashier-at-all to leave a C3 tip line blank. Please.

And if you’re a C3 tipper, well, feel free to judge me. Because you know I’m already judging myself.

24 thoughts on “TipAngst.

  1. The line is there because the restaurant owner was too lazy to program the register correctly.

    I never leave it blank. I strike through it to ensure my card isn't overcharged (and yes, it's happened to me before).

    No table service, no tip. I mean, you don't tip at the drive-through, do ya?

  2. I never tip at those places. I think it's just how the cash registers are programmed. You think too much about this stuff, Rach :).

    I do, however, sometimes feel guilty for not tipping at Chick-fil-A. Well, not really, but their service is better there than at a lot of sit down restaurants I go. They always carry my tray for me since I'm loaded down with kids, get all my straws, napkins, condiments, come back later and ask if I need a refill, etc. I love that place!

  3. I don't tip at C3's either. I just line through. With one exception if on the rare occasion we order lunch from the local sub here that delivers then I tip because that poor delivery guy comes out in all kinds of weather to bring us our lunch.

    But if I actually go the place I don't tip.

  4. We definitely don't tip at C3's. They aren't doing anything tip worthy, and if they are in it for the tips then they should go work at a C2. :)

    I always figured that line was there b/c of how the the computer prints it, not b/c they actually need a tip.

    And I am SO jealous of your proximity to Chick-fil-A. That is always one of our first stops when we reach the southern half of our great country. Someone needs to bring them up here! At least we have Sonic. :)

  5. Buffets are like that too, except that some of the really classy ones will bring/refill your drinks. I do guilt tip at tip-questionable places when my children have created some horrible and horrendous mess that is simply unclean-able with merely a few paper napkins.

  6. Speaking as a person who has worked in a C2 restaurant for about 6 years now, I still don't know why they have a tip line there either. :)

    I will, on another note, say that "takeaway" at places like Outback is different. I wait tables but I also work takeaway on occasion. It's the whole take your order on the phone, put your condiments/dressings together, box your food, bring it out to your car when you pull up deal. We don't get paid hourly. Some people aren't aware of this, and we obviously aren't allowed to tell them, so when we get stiffed, it does affect us. Because otherwise, we don't get paid.

    Anyway, done with that soapbox :)

  7. For #3's – Casual Dining – Here's how I determine if I leave a tip or not:

    a) Am I eating in or ordering out? If I'm eating in, I'm more likely to leave a tip — especially if it it is one of those restaurants that allows you to leave everything on the table and they bus it for you.
    b) Kind of related to point a), but it also matters to me if I have to come back to the counter and pick up my food or if someone brings it out to my table.

    Why do either of those things matter? Because, typically both of those things require employees who are paid a lower salary based on the fact that they will get tips. If you don't give a tip, they don't get paid a living wage.

  8. I may be oversimplifying here, but why don't you just pay cash? Then you wouldn't have to worry about that dadgum tip line.

    On a similar note, what about Sonic? Do you tip there? And if so, how much?

  9. ok I don't tip at C2's either, but I HATE going to Sonic because I don't know, am I supposed to tip them or not? I usually do like a dollar and the loose change they give me, because I mean they DID bring it to my car, but I still get nervous everytime I go!! I mean are Sonic employees like bag boys who aren't allowed to recieve tips for taking and unloading my groceries from the cart to my car? If they are, they sure don't tell me like the bag boys do! Anyway, I'm just glad some one else wonders the same things I do sometimes!!

  10. The tip line is there because usually in a place like that the tips are split throughout the entire place. I worked at Fellini's eons ago and at Fellini's you walk up, order your food. If you order a salad you carry it yourself. You carry your own drinks. If you order pizza we bring it to you, but if you decide to order more later you have to stand in line again. At the end of the night the tips were combined and then split evenly between all of the staff, from the dishwashers to the guys making your salad, to the person opening your beer bottle to the lazy chick behind the counter taking your cash. It was just a little extra in appreciation for the work done.

  11. This one bugs me too!! I'll tip if it's a local place that I frequent often and know they are in for the love of what they do but I will NOT do it for chains/franchise places.

  12. Oh! I know what you mean. Same deal with the tip jar at the Starbucks drive thru window! I always get plain jane coffee. OR when you get take-out but you pick it up yourself. I think they leave it on their for schmucks like me that tip a couple of bucks just because I feel bad leaving it blank and, um, I'm afraid they will spit in our food next time. Ewwww….

  13. That line has always puzzled me too, but I don't feel guilty about not leaving a tip to some one who did NOT serve me!
    I always strike through the line.

  14. I'm a very good tipper at regular restaurants, but not fast food joints or ("order at the counter" places. I do hate it when I'm with people who leave crappy tips at actual restaurants though. I have a friend who does it on purpose because "I didn't get good tips when I was a waitress." Seriously? She didn't even work at a regular restaurant, but she does not discriminate between the two senarios. It's embarrassing, not to mention unkind. She knows how I feel, but is still very adament about it, including getting angry when her husband tries to leave a decent tip (not even a good one, but a decent one). It's to the point where we avoid eating out with them, because we feel like we need to leave extra to make up for her. Okay. End rant.:)

  15. I don't ever tip at those places either. Usually the person behind the counter is getting minimum wage, and not server wage (which is $2.13 an hour in Texas). And I don't see any point in tipping someone who took my order for all of thirty seconds.

    Make sure you put a line or write 0.00 on the tip line though, just in case somebody wanted a tip that you didn't give them. You never know.

  16. Oh I am SO WITH YOU on this… including Chik-fil-a being in its own category :) I only have one little meat and 3 place locally that I consider a C3 place that I will tip at. This is only because I go there with my sweet grandparents and my granny cannot stand long enough to wait to go through the line, so they ALWAYS take her plate to her after I have told them what she wanted, and they come and clean the table for you. So in other words – only C3 places with exceptional service will receive a tip from me :)

  17. I'm not a C3 tipper but I also draw a line to be sure I'm not over charged although sometimes the line makes me feel guilty.

  18. I especially have this guilt about buffets…but my real reason for commenting is to say THANK YOU for making Chick-fil-a it's own category….totally appropriate!

  19. Ok, I feel the exact same. Even more so at Sonic! I'm always so conflicted because I'm like it's fast food & I don't tip at Mickey D's but you are greeting me over-cheerfully and with a smile…WHAT TO DO?!?! But at typical C3's I do the strike-through and just have to remember that $3 is allowing ME & MY family to buy milk that week…but I will agree, it always throws me if even for a moment.

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