A better title might be “Why Are Rich People Cheap,” but you get the point.
Here’s the deal: I patronize many of the coffee shops around The Ville. As I’ve done so, I’ve noticed the difference in tip jars around town. The differences are obvious: the tip jars in St. Matthews, Shelbyville Road, and Lyndon are all in Tip Sahara Dessert, while the ones in the Highlands are lush and flush.
It’s not amount of business. I’ve been in the Heine’s in St. Matthews on a Saturday when you couldn’t find a seat, and there’s less tips than a normal day at the Heine’s on Longest. And it’s not income level — the people I see at Highland Coffee probably make a third of the people at the St. Matthews store.
Purely anecdotal, I know — but I’ve talked with baristas around and about, and they all agree: East End people are lousy tippers.
Why? Lots of possibilities. My favorite is “never worked as a waiter.” I think if you’ve worked in the service industry, and realize the importance of tips, then you’re more likely to tip well.
As for me — I try to tip 20% most of the time, and sometimes more. Since I usually pay with a debit card, if the card software doesn’t leave a place for a tip then I can’t leave one. In those cases I either buy a coffee buck and leave that (Highland Coffee) or make a point to go in with cash and overtip (Heine Brothers).
Here’s hoping more people pay attention to leaving good tips. Especially in the East End.