Tipping: What’s The Deal? Or, To The Guy At California Pizza Kitchen: Sorry for Stiffing You The Other Day
The other day, I ordered some food from California Pizza Kitchen’s Curbside Pickup Service. If you are unfamiliar with this service, it is basically a kind of time-optimized version of ordering food “to-go” from California Pizza Kitchen. You order from your phone at home, and then go pick it up at the restaurant, where there is a little kiosk outside the restaurant and the guy will come out and give you your food and take your payment, etc. Nice service, since I am super lazy and hate getting out of my car. Also, because I rather enjoy the Miso salad they have.
So anyway, I don’t know about you, but it is generally not my practice to tip people for getting my food ready to go. Even if I’m ordering from a restaurant. I’m not sure if this is standard practice or not, but usually the hostess is the one who takes your payment and hands over the bag of food, right? And we don’t ordinarily tip the hostess, as far as I know. I guess I just feel like a tip is paying the waiter/waitress to go schlep stuff back and forth from the kitchen, and clean up after me. And deal with all the crap Mini leaves under his chair when we leave. So, if we get the food to go, it seems like there shouldn’t be a tip. And actually, this comes up a lot these days because we’re in a limited restaurant capability stage with Mini.
On the other hand, when you order food to go and pay with a debit card, they always put that little “tip” line in like they do on all restaurant checks. Maybe they just put it in because that’s how all their checks are done, I don’t know. That’s what I’ve always assumed. But it’s always an uncomfortable moment when I kind of ignore the tip line and just rewrite the total amount, and sign it. But I do it anyway, and always feel slightly guilty, and then reassure myself that this is the right thing to do. Probably.
Well, back to CPK: the dude brings the stuff out, which is admittedly much more than the usual to-go situation. Still, I’m in my usual “they-don’t-get-a-tip-at-McDonald’s-right?” stage, so I don’t leave a tip. And the guy kind of brusquely takes the check from me, and says, “Have a GREAT day,” kinda sarcastically, so I know I fucked up! Damn! I didn’t mean to stiff him, I just don’t know the protocol. I came home and asked Mr. Right-Click, and he claims that OF COURSE I should have tipped him, and I should always tip the to-go orders that the hostess puts together, too! Well, color me surprised. What do you guys think? What is your rule for tipping in these kinds of situations? Do you find it equally confusing? Or am I just a dumbass?