What is it with the ubiquitous tip jar these days?
For some reason, I’m expected to tip someone for getting my latte, making my sandwich and more. I even saw a tip jar at a 7-Eleven store the other day. What could possibly warrant a tip for a 7-eleven retail clerk? Getting a pack of cigarettes? Putting a week old hot dog in a bun?
Tip jar mania is bad enough. But retailers and restaurants are now guilting customers into tipping. I was at Equinox (my gym) the other day. It’s a really nice fitness club with a great reputation and is a tight-run ship. Yet at the little café there was a tip jar with a handwritten note that said, “Tips are good karma.”
That sign was indicative of the state of tipping today – I’m going to be struck down by God if I don’t give them a tip since my karma will be ruined.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Get rid of the tip jars if they’re not relevant to your business.
Last time I checked, servers and bartenders were the only people whom you tipped (and housekeepers at hotels in Europe and other parts of the world).
People get paid to do a job yet somehow, those employees feel they can and should make extra money by asking for tips.
Just say no.
That said, the tip jar mentality is so ingrained in retailers’ heads that sometimes it makes sense to retain the practice for employee morale. So if you must have a tip jar, here’s a few ways to make it respectable.
- Have a good looking tip jar. Too often tip jars are created from an old bottle, glass or jar that’s found on the very top shelf way in the back stockroom. Don’t use it. Find a tip jar that fits your store environment and your brand.
- No handwritten signs. Don’t let employees drive the signing of the tip jar. You’ll end up with a black sharpie written sign with peace signs and stars on it. Create a professional looking sign and print it out of your computer. You can include an inspirational quote if you feel the need – Just don’t threaten customers with the evil eye curse if they don’t leave a tip.
- Acknowledge customers who tip. I’m a believer in tipping when an employee goes out of their way to make my experience special (which is rare these days). Make sure you train employees to thank customers who tip. It’s common courtesy to thank someone when they give you something but the number of times my tip has gone unacknowledged far outnumbers the times it’s acknowledged.
Leave the tipping for restaurants, bars and places it belongs. Your customers will thank you for the guilt-free shopping experience they deserve.