Tip jar etiquette

Here’s a hot tip: wet the tips. I can’t say it was my idea and I can’t say I agree with it but here’s the full story of the coin caper…

I was at a cafe and spied a tip jar full of coins floating in water. “I’ll have a half-strength long black with a dash of cold milk, one sugar and a what’s-up-with-the-penny-pool, please? “Oh that,” the waitress rolled her eyes. Clearly this wasn’t the first time she’d had a nosy coffee lover enquire about the sodden sum on the counter.

“Years ago, one of the guys who used to work here was caught emptying the tip jar into his pockets,” she said. “Now the boss keeps the tips in water so no one does it again.” Turns out the thieving employee was given his marching orders but the penny pool remains in place to prevent another employee, or customer, from taking a dip.

It was all a bit hard to swallow. Not the coffee, mind you, that was sublime.

Firstly, what of the guy who tipped the tips into his strides? I felt sorry for him as I wondered what mix of circumstance had led him to take that chance. Likewise, what of those new employees who have no intention of dipping into the tipping but still end up dripping in suspicion?

Then, of course, there are us customers. You see, we can’t be trusted either. Maybe I’m still on a caffeine high but I think the time is nigh to trust a bit more and judge a bit less. Yep, I’ll drink to that.


What’s your take on tip jar etiquette?


  • Reply April 12, 2015


    thanks for sharing your interesting posts tonia!
    loving your writing and your take on things!
    also you surely do, rock a frock!
    tips and wet coins! mmm, they could move on!
    when I was at art school in the 90’s, there was a very old pub (1800’s c) across the road,
    where we all gathered after a hard week!?! stuck to the ceiling were thousands of coins!
    interesting concept! enjoy your weekend! love m:)X

    • Reply April 12, 2015


      Merilyn, thanks for such a lovely comment. You’ve got my Sunday off to a sweet start. I love the idea of that pub with coins on the ceiling – shall we call it a rising market or a few too many coin tosses gone wrong? The mind boggles. I’d love to have seen that (and shared a drink with you) x

  • It’s sad that businesses have to resort to such measures. I prefer to be more trusting of people.

    • Reply April 14, 2015


      I’m with you Ingrid!

  • Reply April 18, 2015


    Tip theft was an issue when I was a pizza waitress many moons ago! There was always one staff member who’d skulk around the tables to try to pinch any coins left in your section while they innocently bussed the table. We all kept our own tips and when you’re earning three pounds an hour they made a real difference. To this day, if I’m leaving a cash tip I try to give it to the person who served us. I know they don’t always get to keep it but it’s a start!

    • Reply April 18, 2015


      Good on you Bex, I agree it’s nice to give the tip directly to the person who earned it. Thanks for swinging by the blog x

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