Tipping Adventures: The Car Wash
Does it seem to anyone else that tip jars are showing up in more and more places these days? While I generally have no problem giving a tip to someone working in the service industry for a job well done, it seems harder and harder to determine when you’re in a situation where a tip is acceptable or expected and how much of a tip is appropriate. In an effort to share information and help us all, I share with you my tipping adventures.
A few months ago I had my van detailed after the smell of crab legs had seemingly been ingrained into the interior of the vehicle. One of the employees walked me through what they had done and invited me to look around inside the vehicle, which I did. My van was immaculate and smelled brand new. It felt like a situation where I should give a tip for a job well done. The problem was, there was a crew of at least four people that had worked on my van. Do I tip all of them, or just the person that was walking me through the results? I felt uncomfortable, so I just got in my van and drove away.
I didn’t tip for the service, because it wasn’t clear how to do so.
In retrospect, I could have asked the person at the counter, or even the person that showed me the van whether tips were accepted. But quite honestly, I feel that the path to tipping should have been made clear by the business.
These sort of things tend to work their way into my stream of thought when I’m not busy. So when I went back to the same car wash for a simple wash and express interior service (vacuum and wipe down) I was more observant about what was occurring around me.
As I exited the waiting area and approached my van, I noticed a container attached to a pole with a sign that basically encouraged tipping the staff for their hard work. I don’t know whether it was present when I had my van detailed or not, but I was happy to see that the path to tipping was clear. But I wasn’t ready to put my money in just yet.
I didn’t tip immediately, because I hadn’t seen whether the job was done well.
Even if a tip is socially expected in many instances, I still believe that at the core a tip is for a job well done. Before deciding how much of a tip I would need to see the interior of my van.
The van looked and smelled great. The dust was gone from the dashboard, and it was well vacuumed. I could tell by the shine that the interior had been wiped down.
I exited the van, walked back over to the tip container and dropped in an appropriate tip. As I walked back to my vehicle, the employee thanked me and wished me a great day.
When I had my car detailed it was out of necessity due to the smell of crab legs. The interior service I had done this time was purely a time saving measure as we prepared for our trip (normally I’d do it myself). These aren’t services I have done every day, therefore tipping in these situations wasn’t something I normally deal with. By staying observant, and and ensuring the job warranted a tip, I was able to adhere to social norms and stick to my principles.
Do you tip for car wash services? Do you wait until you’ve inspected the job done before handing over a tip? Have you ever been in a situation where you weren’t sure whether a tip was appropriate or not? What did you do?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock