I seem to have touched a nerve with my column in Thursday's ExploreLI food section, “Should you tip for counter service?” You can read the story here.
While I tried to express my philosophical ambivalence about the ubiquitous tip jar at coffee shops and delis, most of my readers stated their opinions with enviable certainty.
“I think it’s deplorable that tip cups are now everywhere,” commented chicks20 at newsday.com. “I feel cheap after I pay for my pizza knowing that the cup exists and I’m expected to drop my change or a dollar in the cup. ... My local bagel store has a tip cup and I got a dirty look last time when I pocketed my change. I haven’t been in there in 2 years.” But chicks20 also noted that “waiters / taxi drivers or anyone that does anything in my home gets 20 to 25 percent.”
Shocker1956 draws the line at the restroom. I “always tip at the counter. My beef is the bathroom attendant who hands you a paper towel and expects a tip. I always do but I don’t like it.”
For bobanero, “the car wash is what makes me crazy. Just charge me for the car wash and pay the workers the corresponding wage,“ he wrote. “Forget the tips unless I ask for something special. I never know how many different people to tip, or how much.”
It was an email, though, that took the cake. “I wanted to share a beef,” wrote my correspondent. “There was a tip jar at the counter of not one, but two different self-serve frozen yogurt stores! All they did was ring up what I had prepared myself!”
This is what I believe Plato referred to as chutzpah.