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.
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!