General Etiquette > general

When you can't tip on a credit card

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My city has a number of coffee houses that pride themselves on being eco-friendly, local friendly etc.  They have a small food menu, some of which is pick up and go and some that requires order and prep.  I'm not a fancy orderer, I generally get a black coffee and something pre-made, but therein lies a tipping conundrum.   One can pay with a credit card, but not tip.  You can't even tell them to add on the tip when they are running the total.  They simply don't allow you to tip using a credit card.  I never carry cash.  Not that I live in the scariest neighborhood, but it definitely has it's fair share of hold ups and it's just smarter to use a card instead, if someone swipes my purse, I can minimize the damage. 

The coffee shop also does not have an ATM, but even if it did, I would feel a little resentful about paying a $3 fee to give a $3 tip.  When caught in the situation where I am unable to tip or tip decently because I don't have cash, I apologize profusely and over-explain myself.  The barristas are always gracious.  I go to this place about once a month, not only is it close, but the food and coffee are great.  Aside from keeping a few dollars at home that I'd probably forget to stick in my purse when out and about and in need of coffee, what can be done?  I could see if the store didn't accept cards at all, but don't understand why they'd punish their employees.  I didn't think that credit card companies charge the store more in allowing a write-in tip, but I could be wrong.  I also went to a salon that had this set up, it was really embarrassing to find out about that policy AFTER I got my cut.  I plan to send an email to the company to voice my concerns, but am I out of line for going to the shop at all knowing that I only can pay for my food/coffee and do not have the ability to tip?

I've not seen this before.  No idea why they don't allow it other than not wanting to deal with the book keeping side.  Are the barrista's maybe the owners too?  I know a local coffee/bakery where the workers are the owners and they don't accept tips. 

I personally keep a handful of singles in my purse in case of emergency. Could be anything from a tip to a helpful panhandler, needing change for a quarter machine or an honest kid who says "Excuse me, you dropped this". I can understand if you don't want that, however.

How would you feel about $5 gift cards?

Tipping at coffee shops is optional (and something you never used to see). These aren't people who are being paid below minimum wage and need tips to survive. I just wouldn't worry about it. You're a regular customer and I'm sure they appreciate your business.

My thought would be that it's their loss.

I understand that it's customary to tip at coffee houses, but I'm not going to go out of my way to do so (i.e. by carrying cash when I'd be paying with plastic, paying fees at an ATM, etc).

My suggestion is to be polite, thank them with a pleasant smile, and move on with your day.  Maybe if you catch a manager, ask them to look into adding a tip line to their CC receipts.  I can't imagine that's a difficult setting to change.


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