I ordered a bowl of veggie chile and brown rice at lunch today and it came to $8.01. I asked the clerk if he could break a $50 and he nodded that he could. As I was thinking about dropping my 99 cent “change” into the tip jar in front of me, he asked, “Do you have a penny?” I checked my pocket and said, “No, sorry.” What do you think he did next? Right; he handed me $42 in change. I wasn’t sure if he was doing me a favor, slighting the store, or was just plain too lazy to count out the 99 cents. What do you think his motive was? What do you think I did?
Okay; here’s what happened. I did not leave a tip because I considered his move to be stupid, as he made it difficult for me to tip anything less than a dollar, which was a bit high on an $8 tab. I am a big tipper, but his move showed me that he wasn’t interested in the tip and was willing to short the register by a penny to avoid counting out the 99 cents to me. Even asking me for the penny was dumb if the tip jar in front of him had any meaning to him and his co-workers.