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?