Monday, June 14, 2010

Enough about the baby...

We now return to our regular, petty blogging.

I have a question. It's a biggie. And I'm betting that most of you have an opinion on this subject, some of you quite a strong one at that. I know that topics of this importance and sensitivity are risky to bring up, but that's the kind of fearless blogger I am.

Here we go.

Should Sonic carhops get tips?

Some of you may not be avid Sonic-goers, or (horror of horrors) may not even live near a Sonic. But around here, Sonic is not just a fast food joint--it is an addiction with a cult-like following. Their food is good, but most people worship Sonic for their freakishly delicious sodas and drinks. The ice, the styrofoam cups, the precise carbonation-syrup mixture--these folks know what they're doing. And every day between 2 and 4, drinks are HALF OFF. Sometimes you can barely get in the parking lot.

I digress.

Sonic is different than other fast food places in that it does not have a dining room. Instead, you pull your car into one of many parking spots, order over the handy speaker, and have your tasty goodness delivered via a cheerful carhop, who is occasionally on roller skates. This creates a unique hybrid of counter service and full service, which is a grey area that creates the tipping dilemma. I know people who are staunchly on both sides of the issue.

I have contemplated this for some time, and I think I fall into the "Don't Tip" camp for a few reasons:

1) If you pay by credit or check card (which I almost always do) you are not given the option to add a tip onto your card. Surely if the powers that be at Sonic wanted you to tip they would set this up.

2) Carhops make a full hourly wage--not the half-minimum wage that servers at restaurants get. So tips are just icing for them.

3) Most of the time, my order at Sonic is only a couple of dollars. Tipping etiquette says that a 15% or 20% gratuity is good. So I'm going to tip the kid a a quarter? Or during Happy Hour, fourteen cents? This seems silly.

Now with all this said, if I happen to be paying in cash, I usually let them keep the change if it's not a lot. I'm not adamantly opposed to tipping the carhops, I just don't think it's necessary. But I realize that it's theoretically possible, though highly unlikely, that I could be wrong, and so I want to open it up for discussion. Are there reasons I have completely overlooked that I should be making an effort to tip every time? Or am I accurate with my analysis?

Okay, all this talk has got me craving a Diet Dr. Pepper. Lucky for me Sonic's open late!


Jennifer said...

No tip. They don't make waitress wages. They don't come refill your drink or wait on your in any other capacity other than bringing you food (usually). Plus, when you're at, say McDonald's, and you have to pull over because they don't have fries made and someone has to bring you your order, do you tip them too? Tip jars tick me off, too. I guess maybe I'm just cheap =)

Cori said...

No tip! I have never tipped the carhops... Since they may a normal hourly wage and don't refill my drink, then I don't tip! HOWEVER... The day that Sonic starts refilling drinks, I might just have to tip!

Patty said...

I've so missed your blogging! Glad you are back! No tip for me! It's still fast food, not a sit down restaurant. If it's too stressful to decide, use the drive through!

Melanie said...

I'm like you...I usually don't tip but every once in a while I will (like once when I had a heavily pregnant carhop bring me my order on a hot day). I never thought about it, but your reasoning about not having the option with the card reader is a good one. And I agree with Cori too...they start bringing me free refills I'd be more than happy to give a tip!

Lindsey said...

Whenever I pay with my debit card, I don't have the opportunity to tip (unless I have cash/change on hand). But whenever I'm paying in cash, I try to always tip. I used to tip down, sometimes I still do. But for the most part as long as the service is decent, I tip. If it's overly good, I tip A LOT. And I LOVE Sonic.

Aidan and Zachary said...

No tip. The lovely folks at Chick-fil-a (I could go on and on about my lovely Chick-fil-a) that bring me my food when I have to get kids set up and refill my drink don't get a tip-they just do it because they are that kind of joint. I think the carhops at Sonic are not expecting a tip.

Lacy said...

No tip!!! They are not doing a waitress job, like already said. I was also told by someone that had a relative that worked at one several years ago that they make well over minimum wage! I've actually found myself using my debit card lately so I don't have to deal with it!!!

Katrenia said...

I always tip 50 cents, no matter what I order. I figure to me it's a measly 50 cents, but it might make a carhop happy so it's worth it.