Medicated Money

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Tipping Point

After reading couple of posts about experiences with retail workers, I had to add my $0.02 into the conversation.

The other night, Mrs. Medicated and I stop at a local sandwich shop on our way home from a long day of work. The shop is very similar to the set-up at Subway, but in our opinion, makes better sandwiches. Anyway, the guy working behind the counter appeared to be in his later 20's instead of the normal, teenage kids we see working behind the counter at this store. I couldn't help but think maybe this guy is picking up a second job to pay down debt or increase his savings. Anyway, the guy looked tired, but as soon as we came in, he was up and ready to serve. Mrs. Medicated is very particular when ordering, and I seem to always joke around with her about it. As she is picking out the various ingredients to add to her sandwich, the employee is hand-selecting each item. After ordering cumberers, he looks up and says 'these have been sitting here for awhile. If you don't mind, let me go in the back and cut some fresh ones!' To be honest, I was floored. Here was a guy probably on his second job of the day, about an hour to closing, offering to do extra work to make the customer happy. When he returns, he states, 'I wouldn't put anything on a customer's sandwich that I would not eat!' After finishing our order, the price came to $9 and change. I gave the guy a $20, and he handed me back a $10 bill and the right change. I used to bartend during my college years, and I know that if you expect a tip, you always give the customer small bills so they have the opportunity to give one. Yet, handing me a high bill made me realize that this guy did not expect to receive a tip for his good service, even though a tip jar is sitting on the counter. He did it because he knew the value of good customer service. I handed him back the $10 and asked him to break it for me. He gave me the change, and I tipped him $5.

He looked at my shocked that I just tipped him that much for his service. Yet, in my opinion, it was well worth it, and I wanted him to realize I appreciated the good service. I think that in this situation, many workers would just have thrown on the bad ingredients without a second thought of it. This guy didn't, and therefore, deserved a good tip. Some would argue that this much was just too much, but I don't think so. I normally tip 20% for all service. However, I am more than willing to tip much more when someone goes out of their way to make our experience much better. Maybe it is because I once worked in the service business, knowing what a good tip really meant to me. Maybe it is because I think everyone I meet or see is living paycheck to paycheck after reading so many financial doomsday articles. Either way, the guy deserved it and hopefully, it help made his job a little more rewarding.


  • Having had an awful experience recently - that I forgot about until reading your article - at a Subway, I think you did the best thing.

    I too am a firm believer in tipping at least 20%. The service workers in our society work so hard. They receive little or no recognition from the people they serve and the wages they earn are dispicable. It would be impossible to even provide housing for thier familys. Tips are the life line of their industry and their only saving grace.
    One more thing, we can't always expect them to be perfect. I am guilty of this, they have lives and issues just like me and I shouldn't expect them to know all my pet peeves.

    By Blogger D, at 4:12 PM, July 15, 2006  

  • Thanks for the comments 'd' and reading our blog.

    By Blogger Medicated Money, at 6:00 PM, July 15, 2006  

  • Wow it is great to read about good service. I agree with tipping 15 - 20 % for great service.

    By Blogger Tired of being broke, at 7:06 PM, July 15, 2006  

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