Apparently I’m supposed to tip baristas. And in case you’re like spell check and don’t know what that word means, a barista is the person who works behind the counter of your friendly, neighborhood coffee shop serving up the java.
Or, in my case, it’s the person who charges me $3.00 (plus tax), hands me an empty cup, and gestures vaguely in the direction of the coffee pumps, because your fancy, frothy drinks confuse and frighten me.
Now, to me, the act of handing me a cup and telling me to serve myself isn’t something which requires a gratuity. In fact, it ought to come with a discount since I’m arguably doing most of the work, so I was sort of shocked at the shock of my friend when I walked away from the counter without dropping a dollar in the “Tips Are Super Karma-Riffic” jar.
Friend (under his breath): “Dude, you didn’t tip him.”
Friend: “You’re supposed to tip your barista.”
Me: “The who? You mean the cup handler?”
Friend: “Dude, he does way more than dispense cups.”
Me: “‘Dude,’ he took my money and gave me a cup. That makes him a vending machine. Actually, the coffee vending machines I’ve used also fill the fucking cup for me, so technically he did less work than an inanimate object.”
Friend: “Well, I tipped him.”
Me: “That’s because you asked for some kind of ‘half-caff, double-shot, espresso mocha’ horror show. I think the Gettysburg Address was shorter than your order.”
Me: “So if ever I require a barista to do more than the Dixie Cup dispenser in my bathroom, I’ll tip him.”
The conversation went off in another direction at that point, but I got to thinking about it this morning when I saw someone on the Twitters make the same claim as my friend.
Look, I tip pretty much everyone in the service industry. You have to be an absolutely stupendous fuck up as a waiter or waitress for me to give you less than 20 percent when I go out to eat. Same with the delivery drivers who show up with my pizza or Chinese food, the people who pump my gas when I pull up to the full-serve pumps, and my bartenders when they actually pour me a drink.
That last bit got me in trouble with another friend of mine once.
Other Friend: “You didn’t give her a tip?”
Me: “I ordered a bottle of beer.”
Other Friend: “So?”
Me: “‘So?’ Her sole contribution to the beverage was to pop the cap off. I have a bottle opener on my keyring which can do that job. Granted, it doesn’t have an edgy nose stud…”
Bartender: “You realize I can hear you, right?”
I swear, some people.