It is sad that so many in our society are actually dependent on the tips that they receive to survive. In fact, many of those who work in the food industry only receive a fraction of the minimum wage. It doesn’t stop there, however, since others — like cab drivers and hair stylists — are also dependent on tips in order to procure a decent hourly wage. To top that off, they are then required to pay a predetermined percentage (above what they claim as an hourly wage) for taxes on those tips, whether they receive them or not. This means that their livelihood is dependent on the service that they provide and the resulting tips paid to them for their service.
So what do you do if you are at a non-sit-down restaurant or a bar? I know that we have all found ourselves in a situation where we only have enough cash to cover the bill (or we are using a gift certificate) only to realize that there is a tip jar on the counter. Of course, you look at it only to see that there is some loose change at the bottom of the tip jar along with some bills of various denominations. The intent of this jar and the money inside is often referred to as salting. This is a common practice since the theory is that others will add more tips once they see the money that has already been added.
So now they have hooked you and you want to add to the tip jar (or give a tip to the bartender), but the problem is that some of us no longer carry cash or change in our pockets or purses. Don’t worry! One company has solved this problem by coming up with a product called DipJar, which offers a customer the ability to leave a tip with a credit or debit card.
Any of us who rely on tips to support ourselves and our families, or know a friend or relative who does, will be thankful for this device. I know that one of our nephews worked at a chain restaurant that, while it paid him a basic wage of just $2.90 an hour, he could make much more if he provided quality service. Unfortunately, this is no longer guaranteed, yet people are still required to work for less and pay taxes on what the government presumes that they make in tips.
DipJar can be used to ensure that those who wish to tip are free to do so. DipJar is unique in the way the hardware functions, since cash or change is not needed. Instead, DipJar uses a scanner system to read a credit or debit card and then leaves the specified amount to the person who has waited on us.
We know, however, that the company that manufactures and controls DipJar is in the business to make money, but it tells us that it will only receive a 20% surcharge for maintaining and running the machines. Then the remaining 80% of every dollar received will be sent to a data company that will distribute the funds.
There are two ways that one could look at this. On one side, the employee only gets a percentage of the tip, with the question then being: is a 20% surcharge too high? On the reverse side, would the employee have missed out entirely on receiving any tip if DipJar had not been available? I believe that the answer is in how you perceive the question and your attitude. Is the glass half empty or is the glass half full?
So the advantages to the employee are fairly obvious, but what are the advantages to the patron and the employer? Well, the consumer will find the device easy to use and won’t even have to take the time to sign a charge receipt. The employer will find that they may have more on-the-spot employees (since they are hoping that the consumer will leave a tip) and that the installation and maintenance of DipJar is completely free.
On the questionable side is whether NFC will take away the advantage that DipJar currently offers. In other words, could it develop an application for your cellphone that will provide a better alternative? It’s up to you. Is the glass half empty or is it half full?
What do you think? Comments are welcome.
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by Dave Dugdale