Gratuities: Optional or Not?

Since I'm back on my strict diet (as part of my New Year Resolutions), I eat at Subway quite a bit. Another reason I eat there is because they have improved their menu. I eat there about two or three times a week now. It's a change for me and, like I say, they have improved their menu. I went there yesterday morning for the second time this week. They always have a container next to the cash register that has a sign which says “Tips Appreciated.” Sometimes I leave a tip if the service is fast.

I got a foot long sub combo with a chips and a couple of chocolate chip cookies (ok, sometimes I have to make an allowance on my diet) and a 32 ounce drink. It came to $11.22. I gave the Subway server a $20 bill expecting $8.78 in change. Well, I got the $8.00, but she kept the $.78. Now, I've seen this before. But, not at Subway. I told the server she still owed me $.78. She said, “That is my tip.” I told her that it is up to me to 1) decide if I want to leave a tip and 2) how much that tip will be. Now, it wasn't the money at all. It was her arrogance and the principle involved. I know she doesn't make much money. But, that was all beside the point. I told her I wanted the rest of my money. She pulled open the cash drawer and threw the change up on the counter with most of it landing on the floor. I told her that if she didn't pick up the change and hand it to me, I would be reporting her to Subway. She said, “It's your money, like you said. You want it, you pick it up.” I picked up the money and went out the door. Of course, after I got home, I called Subway Public Affairs. I told the Public Relations person about what happened. She said it is customary to leave tips. But, that the server was out of line and would be reprimanded (reprimanded???). I said if it is “customary” to leave tips, why isn't it just added to the cost of the meal itself? She said then it would not be a tip. A tip is voluntary, she said. I told her it is not voluntary when your own employees are taking the money without asking the customer. That is not a “customary” practice of any business I have ever associated with in my life. She didn't have much to add to that. She just said the employee would be dealt with about this “incident.”

I won't let this keep me from going back to Subway, of course. Subway has some fine people working for them, especially this couple from India that own a Subway a bit further from my home. I will be going there from now on to get my Subway sandwich. It just seems that if there is a jerk to be found anywhere in the world, he or she will somehow walk into my life these days. I just didn't expect to walk into that jerk in a Subway Sandwich store.


Who are her parents? The attitude of being owed something that seems so prevalent these days. And I fault the parents for not raising their children with any morals or values. I do not intend to make that mistake with my children. What the cashier did was stealing. How she can not see that is beyond me.


Where we live, there are multiple Subways. I would never go in that particular one again.


Kristine, as I said in my blog entry, if there is one jerk, they are going to find me. Yes, it was stealing and I told the Subway PR rep that very thing. She agreed with me.

Paul, the only reason I went to that Subway was due to proximity of my home. As I said in my entry, there is another Subway owned by a married couple from India who are the absolute nicest people you will ever meet. It is a bit further. But, I will be going there from no on. Thanks for your comment and come back again.

Wow. I didn't know things like that happened. That's the first time I've ever heard of a service personnel keeping a part of your change as tips.

I've never heard that it is customary to tip my sandwich maker.

When I was waitressing (of course that was about 20 years ago), my tip was dependent on the service I provided. It was also optional. I provided exceptional service so people would want to tip. However, I would have never taken change or anything else for a tip.

I don't know that I would tip a sandwich maker unless they went out of the way to make me feel special. Taking their tip from my change would NOT make me feel special.

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