PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Friday, June 03, 2005

Friday Puzzler

I started thinking again yesterday about the question, "How much do you tip on carry-out?" I know I was told long ago, you didn't need to, it wasn't necessary, etc. And yet sometimes I feel guilty, and sometimes I straight-up tip, without even thinking much about it. With the increased opportunities for take-out as traditional dine-in spots add the service (e.g.,Applebee's), it seems inevitable that the etiquette experts will weigh-in and tell us to shell out more money.

I got a carry-out salad yesterday from a restaurant around the corner, and it's a mid-fancy spot, primarily a sit-down place, and I tipped a dollar & change (around $1.35) on a $7.65 order. Mostly because the bartender brought it to me, gave me a huge bag of bread & some butter (unexpected!) and he happened to be the bartender who introduced me to Patron tequila a month ago. I thanked him for that & we had a happy short conversation about Patron, including the $200 bottle I'd been shown at the liquor store a few weeks ago. He estimated the cost (in a bar) for a shot of that would be $40, and said the reason they'd never carry it in their bar is because the owners know the staff would drink it all.

Anyway. I did a search this morning to see what the guiding standard was on carryout tipping, and it's all over the place, especially if you land on some of the bulletin boards I found. Some people get really wound up over it; I don't really have the patience or energy to add carryout tipping to my list of things to get enraged and up in arms over, but I do think it's incredibly subjective. I still don't have it quite figured out - recommendations range from a little money into a tip jar (if it exists), 10%, the full 15%-20%, to nothing at all. And doesn't the kind of place make a difference? (Sonic, versus white-tablecloth-dine-in?) How much of a "regular" you are there? (Thai Place? If it's a big dinner order, I might, because it's packing it up & all; but if it's lunch &/or I had to wait/it took longer than they said, I usually don't.)

What do you do?
posted by PlazaJen, 7:05 AM