To Tip the Jar, Or Not to...That is the Post-Modern Question
Part of my summer routine is heading to the neighborhood donut shop and getting “two chocolate frosted raised donuts with no sprinkles.” Not for me, mind you: It’s my rising high school junior’s go to breakfast, even if she gets around to eating it upon waking at 12:30 p.m. Unfit mother, perhaps, although it’s typically followed quickly by a much more robust and nutritionally dense lunch. Honest.
The donuts are $2.38. The weekday sales person has come to know me this summer and has them ready when I get to the counter. And there, in all its passive glory is the tip coffee cup. Ethical dilemma. Does the 62-cents go in my daughter’s piggy bank? Does it go in the cup? The woman, very sweetly, hands me two quarters, a dime and two pennies. She even knows by now I don’t need the receipt.
So I ruminate: Have these tip jars proliferated because this is a remarkable service such staff members perform (the more traditional reason for a tip, right)? Or is it because in our collective unconscious we know they are not being paid a living wage? We may not take to the streets in protest, but have we quietly, morning by morning, donut by donut propelled this populist ‘fighting against income inequality’ to become ubiquitous. Does this help the staffer or enable the employer to continue to pay a minimum wage, enhanced as is it by the capricious mood swings and spare change of customers? Or is it more just a symbol of how pointless (except in this iteration) coins have become? What possible use are they? Surely no longer of value in laundromats, vending machines or public telephones, for sure.
What say you? Tip in tip jars, or no tip?
P. S. Last week's query (for what will we ever leave home again?): Driving (just the Zoom-Zoom joy of it) and Church (where else do adults get to sing out loud with each other?)