Tips on tips

The other day Drew and I were at Safeway, and the woman ahead of us was taking a long time to get through the line. She was dressed kind of like I always picture Jen Lancaster – black capris, slides with a heel, some kind of top, and then a lime green scarf thrown over one shoulder. (Just over one shoulder, like a purse strap.) When the cashier asked pseudo-Jen if she would like some help out, she said, “Yes, actually,” and then the bagger finished loading her groceries into her cart and they began to leave the store.

After Drew and I had paid for our 2 or 3 items, we started to leave, except we couldn’t because she was kind of blocking the whole aisle while she clasped some other cashier’s hand and told her how she’d been thinking about her. I’m sure this was a lovely gesture to the clasped woman, but I don’t think the customer waiting enjoyed it as much. Pseudo-Jen then proceeded out of the store, followed by the bagger pushing her shopping cart.

They got to pseudo-Jen’s SUV, and she just stood by while the other girl loaded her 4 or 5 bags of groceries into the back of her car. By this time, we were pretty much back in our car and headed out of the parking lot, but I still tried to watch what was going on. I wanted to see pseudo-Jen give the bagger a tip.

I just thought this was weird. I know you never know people’s stories. But it seems like “help out” should be reserved for people who really NEED help out, not just anyone who doesn’t feel like pushing a shopping cart 250 feet to their car. Also, if the store offers help and you accept it, should you tip the person who helps you? It seems like you should. But then what’s an appropriate tip? A couple dollars? That would make sense if the store employee was spending all day helping people out, and they could then collect, like, $15 over the course of a day. But how often does that happen? If it only happens once, then a couple dollars seems cheap. But $5 seems like too much, and patronizing or weird.

This is why I just carry my own stuff to the car. If I can’t get it to the car, I shouldn’t have purchased it in the first place. Also, I can really use the three bucks.



Filed under "Other people", Being a girl, Dollars, Drew, Nonfiction

2 responses to “Tips on tips

  1. Karen

    You actually are not allowed to tip baggers, at least not when I used to do it. I was offered money several times but we have to refuse it. But I totally agree on the pushing your cart out thing, there are a lot of lazy people who can’t be bothered to do menial tasks such as that. Glad I don’t do it anymore!

  2. justine135135

    Where I live in South Africa, we almost don’t have a choice sometimes when it comes to letting someone help you get your things to the car and unloaded. There are people who watch your car whether you want them to or not, and then they help you unload your stuff whether you want them to or not, and then you kind of feel obliged to tip them whether you want to or not. We don’t have self-help check-outs either. With our unemployment problem, the jobs are very needed. Your story sounds very unreal to me, sitting on the other side of the world.

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