Friday, August 29

An Open Letter To Milio's Sandwiches.

I walked into your establishment and bought a Veggie Sub; the same thing I've been buying there for years now.

The sandwich was made, the cash was exchanged and the transaction was completed. I said 'thank you,' and made my way to the door.

As I got halfway back out into the street, I could hear the voice of the kid behind the counter scoffing under his breath:

"Hey man, thanks for not tipping."

I wanted to go back in and explain to him that it's not customary to tip at an over-the-counter establishment, like a sub sandwich shop.

I wanted to go back in and explain to him that I never carry cash on me.

I wanted to go back in and explain to him that I used to tip at Milio's like crazy, until I noticed that I was being incorrectly and retroactively charged each time I put a tip on my debit card, eventually determining that it wasn't worth the hassle.

I wanted to go back in and explain to him that, for all intents and purposes, you don't deserve a tip for doing your job. You don't make a waiter or waitresses' wage, you don't have to wait, bus or monitor tables, and there's nothing ordered that cannot be made in less than 90 seconds.

I wanted to go back in and punch this douchebag in the face for being a classless moron that will probably be making my sandwiches for the next 25 years. I also wanted to tell him that he kind of hurt my feelings.

Instead, I walked back to my car, and never bought another sandwich from there again. This was about two years ago.

Considering that I used to buy six lunches a month from Milio's, and each lunch cost me anywhere from $11 to $21 (delivery charges are a bitch and those guys deserve to be tipped), I'd say that I've successfully managed to keep around $2500 in my pocket and away from the asshole that insisted I leave him an extra dollar for a job well done.

Well, job well done.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend. Post #800 arrives Monday.

I've always been puzzled by tip jars at sandwich shops and coffee places.

Like you said, they're not making server wages (well below minimum wage) and it doesn't take a whole lot of extra attention to just, well, do their job.

I think I should get a tip for not stealing their tip jar.
I cannot believe you would pay $21 for a piece of bread w/ cheese and a bag of chips.
The chips were salted with diamond dust.
I go to Little Caesar's near my house somewhat frequently, and last time I was there, I noticed a tip cup. I had to keep myself from laughing because the high schoolers who work there suck so much at their jobs that they should be tipping me for allowing them to make me a pizza.
HILBELINK - Heck, I think you're being generous allowing them to call their food "pizza."

Actually, the one in my old neighborhood wasn't bad, but the one close to my house now? I could make a better tasting pizza out of an empty box and cheez-in-a-can.
JT - You're a Doctor of Pizzology. I like that about you.

And yeah, if you pick your food up at a counter, chances are that tipping isn't necessary.

HATHERY - A 16" sammitch with a large soda, chips, cookie, tax, delivery charge and tip really adds up fast. I don't do it anymore, though.

HILBELINK - Right. Typically, the level of unprofessionalism and apathy that comes with most employees of these establishments makes me want to start punching neckholes.
JT-I will pick up some cheez in a can at the grocery store. I am sure there are several empty boxes around my house I can use. I may as well save myself the 5 bucks. :)
I have to say though, that for $5, me and the Missus have indulged in the Little Caesar's many a time.

I did it all for the Crazy really is crazy!
Well, here is what I have determined to be roughly the same recipe:

One old cardboard box
One large can of Spaghettios
One can of cheez-in-a-can

Liberally spread the sauce from the spagheetios can across the cardboard box. COver in a haphazard manner with cheez-in-a-can, making sure to leave large areas of sauce exposed and cheez-less.

Place in the oven to bake, but forget to actually turn on the oven so that the pizza comes out cold, soggy, and useless.
Our Little Caesars is absolutely delightful! The pizza is made by thugs. They make the best pizza. I fear for my life every time I go there, but it's so worth it.
I worked at a deli in college, and when I started there was no tip jar by the registers. Then one of my co-workers, a surprisingly enterprising stoner actually, spent a good half hour decorating a foam cup over lunch one day. I was skeptical, but he was all, "Dude, you just put this by the register and people will give you money! Can't miss, man." And it did kind of work out. I'd say we averaged about $8-10 a night split between two people.

Free money is all nice and good, but we'd never have expected a tip, and we did a bit more than just counter service. It was mostly used as a receptacle for unwanted change.
i agree, that guy was a total douche for going and yelling at you because you really can't expect to get tips at a sandwich shop.
but i will say, having worked at counters such as those (namely a coffee shop and a mediterranean restaurant), that is pretty awesome when people DO tip. i always always tip counter folks. while they don't make 2.33 an hour, they certainly aren't rolling around in cash.
JT - Bam it up a notch. I bet your Village Idiot pizzas were the bee's knees.

HATHERY - Much like sub sandwiches, the best fast food is cooked by criminals.

WALLROCK - Yeah; I'm not against Tip Jars (again, I used to tip them all the time), I'm against the employees that think it's mandatory to tip, so much so that you insult a longtime customer for no good reason.

What an asshole.
Good point, Daniella. I do normally tip, it was just the unnecessary circumstances of the situation.

Also, you bring up the issue of small, local businesses. I know that Milio's is a Midwestern franchise, but I don't place it in the same category as singular coffee shops and whatnot. Those places deserve tips far more, and it's expected that you tip there a little more often.
Yeah; I'm not against Tip Jars (again, I used to tip them all the time), I'm against the employees that think it's mandatory to tip, so much so that you insult a longtime customer for no good reason.

I'm glad you clarified that, because I was all ready to roll in here and chew you out a little bit. :)

I used to work for a coffee shop that was run by passive aggressive and weirdly ambitious hippies--meaning they also required their staff, often working alone, paid about $7/hour, to not only make the fancy coffee drinks, but also prepare and serve sandwiches and wraps with homemade hummus and curry (goddamn did I hate doing that). I never asked or expected people to tip, but damn if we didn't deserve it.

But yeah, that kid sounds like a douche.
Yeah, this isn't about whether or not you should tip in a little coffee shop or bagel place (you should, considering your have cash on you).

It's not even about tipping at a rather large franchise of sub sandwich shops (really though, you wouldn't tip at Subway, would you?).

It's about a classless douche doing something that was completely out of line, causing me to incorrectly think that I was a bad guy for the next few weeks for not mandatorily tipping. You should have seen me; I must have asked 50 people if I deserved that, mainly because I honestly didn't know.
Is the dude in that picture Big Mike/Milio, or is it that guy who keeps trying to sell me cleaning products on television?
By the by, as a result of partaking in this blog, my use of the word "douche" has gone up tenfold. I need to watch that when school starts. I can just imagine me calling someone a douche because he does not turn in his assignment.
That's the King of Infomercials, Billy Mays. I've had this picture for months now, and was looking for an excuse to use it.
'Douchebag' has made a huge comeback in the last few years, and I'd like to think that I help assist that movement.
I had a dream last night that I was at a diner, and there was a little girl at the table next to me eating with her grandma. She kept loudly remarking that the guy at the table next to us was a douche, the people walking buy were douches, and just excessively was using the word. Then she spilled her glass of juice on the floor, and I looked right at her and said "Only a douchebag would spill their juice on the floor." She looked stunned, but then smiled.

Yes, I hear the word so many times a day that it has actually manifested in my dreams.
You called a little girl a 'douchebag?'

I love you so much right now.
I wish there weren't any tipping. I'd be a lot happier if places just paid their employees the right amount of money and, if necessary, charged more for stuff.

I've worked service jobs and have a bunch of friends who still do, and I always either tip or tip well. Even at sandwich places where there are three people in an assembly line throwing them together, I'll give them a dollar on general principle.

But I don't like it. I don't like any of it. I don't like feeling the need to overtip the folks who really deserve it because I know they probably got screwed by someone else that night. I don't like cases where I'm not sure how much to tip.

I also don't like that tipping is an inadequate feedback system. If I'm at a bar and the bartender ignores me for a few minutes and serves other people who got there first, and I tip him less because of it, will he think "Oh, I should have served that guy who was waiting for a beer for five minutes" or just "What a jerk"?

I suppose making tip comment forms where you can rate your server and explain the quantity of the tip wouldn't be particularly reasonable, would it.
First off, that picture is great.

I don't usually leave tips unless they really deserve one, or I got some spare change in my pocket. What that kid said was totally unprofessional. Reminds me of GTA4 after you go into an internet cafe and as you leave the guy says "There's a tip jar jackass!"

It's kind of like how Arby's has that bell you ring if they gave you great service. Last time I was in there, it took them 15 minutes to get my food even though it was just 1 person ahead of me. Haven't been in an Arby's since.
I worked at Subway and at a local restaurant as a waitress all through college. I'm vehement that people need to leave good tips for servers and bartenders, but I always felt weird and awkward when people would tip me at Subway. I always kind of thought, "Do I look like I need the money that badly?"

I disagree that the size of the place makes a difference in how much you tip. In my experience, private shops are more likely to pay their employees better because they are getting corporate mandates about pay with no regard to the performance of the actual employee. I very rarey tip at counter places: it's simply not something that needs to be done. I mean, where do you draw the line on tipping then? I guess I also just know what it's like to work in a counter establishment and really, what we do there does not merit a tip; I don't care how hard you're working, it's not the customers' responsibility to make sure you're getting paid enough for that work in that type of environment. I think this trend got started because some probably undeserving employees decided to put out a tip jar in places like this and now people like you feel like that is an indication that they must tip. Bullshit.

But I always tip at least 20% in restaurants (unless the server was REALLY terrible).
MICHAEL D - All great points. It sucks that tipping even exists.

Back when I worked at a hardware store, I always, without being asked, would carry large items to the cars of customers. 50-100 pound bags of stuff just because it made sense. I never got tipped and the thought of being tipped never crossed my mind for a second.

On the last day of work, by some sheer act of ironic coincidence, I was tipped by the very last guy that I helped out.

IZZY - I haven't been to an Arby's in years, but this bell system intrigues me. Besides, I've been meaning to go in there and get 5 Curly Fries for $5.95.

BERRYJO - Great comments from someone in the know. This is an issue that always bothers me, because I need to know that I'm not being a jerk when I don't tip.

Restaurants are a no-brainer, though. 20%, all the way.

WALLROCK, BERRY JO, MICHAEL D, IZZY - If any of you have a blog that's currently linking to the CDP, let me know so I can add you to the sidebar. As semi-regular commenters, you deserve the posh luxury that only the CDP Network can provide.

Same goes for anyone else that I've forgotten.
Oh hell, I might as well be the first one to say this out loud:

Sarah Palin is hot! She looks like Tina Fey will in 10 years. Damn; this changes everything.
"Details of Palin's personal life have contributed to her political image. She hunts, eats moose hamburger, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles, and owns a float plane. Palin holds a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association. She admits that she used marijuana when it was legal in Alaska, but says that she did not like it."

She's everything that I am not, and I love it. Instantly smitten, I am.
I've got your blog linked on my blog, I'm still working on a new one to put up. Thank you very much.
I'm known as a great tipper around town. I like to pay for service.

If all your 'service' is handing me my sandwich at the counter, you don't deserve anything.
If you find my house in almost perfect time (I kinda live off the beaten path and inside a giant maze), you deserve a fiver and a pat on the back.
IZZY - Done and done.

CAVEMAN - This. There are things that you tip for, things that you tip optionally for and things that you never tip for.
I have nothing to contribute to the tipping/no tipping issue, except the point that Europeans generally pay their restaurant employees a decent hourly wage so that tipping is not expected anywhere, and I've seen waitstaff attempt to give tips back to Americans who didn't know any better. This was several years ago, though, so it is possible that gratuitous tipping has pread to Europe now, too.

Also, my husband and I used to work with Billy Mays. A nice guy, but his personality is very similar to what you see in the commercials (loud and animated), it's just amped up a few notches for the sake of tv.
The headline I viewed reads, "McCain Taps Alaska Governor for VP." Perhaps not the most effective word choice.
MAUS- you worked with Billy Mays? That rules!

HILBELINK- that is fricken' hilarious!!! I gotta think someone did it on purpose.
I was ordering two six-inch sandwiches at Subway (one for me, the other for a friend) and on one sandwich the mayo girl clearly wrote "eat" on one and "shit" on the other. I could read it, even though it was upside down to me. She then nudged the pickle girl and they laughed.

I gave the shit sandwich to my friend.
Fun with Mayo :)

I got tipped a few time at the grocery store (completely inexplicable) and quite often at the corn stand. At least at the corn stand it made sense, because sometimes I bagged their veggies for them or picked out their corn. One time a van of people came up to the stand, one quickly ran out of the van and snapped my picture, then they all drove away without buying anything. I'm still not sure what that was all about.
MAUS - We need to get Carrot Duff in here to sort this matter out. Considering how spectacularly they tax stuff over there (and Canada, too), I'd be curious to see how the custom works over there. I can't remember from the last time I was in the UK.

Have you ever written an essay about working with Billy Mays? Because that would be an absolute must-read from this Informercial-obsessed man (his performance in the Quick & Brite commercial was my favorite).

HILBELINK - It's my assumption that the headline was supposed to be a slight pun concerning tapping for oil, but yeah...

I'd totally tap it.
LOTT - Even Pickle Girls need a little enjoyment during their work day. Funny stuff; she must have worked hard to perfect the art of mayo handwriting. A true Sandwich Artist, indeed.

HATHERY - At least they just took your picture and didn't just decide to take you, instead, much like I did years later.
I am now kicking myself for working at Subway for so many years and never thinking of writing obscenities with the condiments.
This whole conversation reminds me of the scene in Reservoir Dogs in which Mr. Pink, played by the illustrious Steve Buscemi, rants about his philosophy on tipping.

I always tip well at a place in which I have an actual waiter/waitress, but at places with just a counter, I just put my change in the tip jar if I pay in cash, and only if the place is a local, non-chain establishment.

Oh and CDP, you are dead on about Sarah Palin. That crafty devil McCain may have just swung my vote, solely on the possibility that Palin would get more TV time. Original Maverick indeed.
Sadly, I have no humorous fast food hi-jinks stories to tell. However, my siblings used to work at an A&W in a mall, and boy howdy, the stories they can tell. I'm amazed they never got sued, or that the place stayed open as long as it did.

I'll break it down like this:
*grease penis
*mob money
*spitting in burgers
*faking seizures to scare away customers
*smoking pot in the storage room
*flooding the downstairs business
JT - That was a potential comedy goldmine.

E RICH - I think we're in agreement here on tipping; good to know I wasn't way off.

Me and Sarah Palin would hate each other, but it would be a fun and violent affair while it lasted.

EMILY - So that's why there's so few A&W's around nowadays!

I want to start a band for the sole purpose of naming it 'Grease Penis.'
CDP - If you start the band, I will purchase a theremin and move to Wisconsin solely to be in your band.

EMILY - We smoked pot in the freezers at Subway. Something about the exhaust filtered out the smell.
CDP - Also, I was listening to my local college radio station this morning, and they have a punk show called Mediocre at Best.
JT - I pay my theremin players 40% over scale; it's a sweet gig. Oh, and I totally got to play one of those in college.

Naming a punk show M@B? INFRINGEMENT! I still get royalty checks, for Christ's sake!
I worked for the tv retail channel that was founded on selling informercial products 24/7, so I have stories I could tell. The only think I can say about Mays is that he was reputed to be kind of a skirt chaser.

Over the five years I worked there I did shows with Richard Simmons (he liked to hit on the men on the production crews), Lauren Hutton (psycho who didn't like to wear undergarments and was nasty as all hell to the female members of the crew), Suzanne Somers (nicer than people gave her credit for...the husband could be an overbearing dick, though), Wolfgang Puck (every other word out of his mouth was an obscenity - his brother was the quiet one), and Susan Lucci (the most frail looking petite woman I've ever seen in my life, and never seemed all that with it).

I also worked on shows with Sylvester Stallone's wife, Tony Little, Mr. T, Stephanie Seymour, Rhonda Shear, Andrew Lessman the vitamin guy, Jack LaLanne, various comic book writers and illustrators (my absolute favorite shows to do, because the rep would bring us stacks of comics and goodies) and a bunch of people no one has ever heard of. I kind of miss it, actually, and it was a lot more interesting than what I do now (number crunching, bleh).
MAUS - That's fascinating stuff to me. If the CDP ever gets a Hall of Fame, Tony Little will be there. My faith in that man has been well-documented.

As an insomniac, I feel like the 24/7 Home Shopping networks were a large part of my adolescence. The YouTube clips are hundreds of hours of entertainment, especially the Mike Rowe stuff, and I think I have a cassette tape in the basement of me and my cousin MST3K-style riffing on an HSN broadcast from when we were 12 years old.

Tony Little and Mr. T in the same room is a recipe for Pain.
So many to choose from! I'll probably go with "Drummers for Obama" though.

Also, Jack LaLanne could star jump his way into my heart any day.
I think Barack with the MySpace hair is my favorite.
Jack LaLanne was one of the sweetest little old men I've ever met. And by little I mena TINY - he was like four feet tall, no lie!

And I forgot to mention the one exercise equipment show I did where Lou Ferrigno was in studio. That was kind of cool.
Maus- you have the coolest life ever!
That's a niche of celebrity I can really get behind.
Well, it used to be cool, although the job was really, really stressful (which is one of the reasons I had to get out, as much fun as it was at times). Life's been pretty dull for the last four years - it's been that long since I stopped freelancing.

I'd like to get back into doing some production work locally - I've done some stuff for my husband's radio gig, and one of my former coworkers is trying to get his own production company off the ground - but I lost a lot of contacts for potential tv and movie side work when I left my old job. So I kick myself for that, since I was working on additional training in audio, graphics and fixed cameras (which was my favorite) at the time I decided to jump ship. I traded the creative field with no stability (and potentially limited future) for the stable field with no creativity (and potentially limited future).
Yep--not a whole lot of stability in the creative field. :(
I can't decide if that lack of stability in creative fields is what leads to crazier creative people, or if it just tends to draw them in more in the first place.
I consider myself a somewhat-creative person, but I am all about stability. I can't imagine how I'd survive if I didn't know exactly what I was going to be doing tomorrow. I suppose there's a difference between 'crazy creative' and 'OCD creative.'

I am drunk, by the way. Brandy Manhattans have replaced Jameson and 7up as my drink of choise.
What a great Saturday night gig. By the way...those $5 footlong subs are a great deal but I'm not sure if they have a veggie on the list.
I can't decide if that lack of stability in creative fields is what leads to crazier creative people, or if it just tends to draw them in more in the first place.

A few years of working with some seriously amazing but totally insane people makes me think it is a little of both, but a lot more of the latter in many cases. In my case, working in production reshaped part of my personality. There's no way you can be shy when you've got to deal with a tv host, producer, five person crew in the booth, floor crew, and a set supervisor. You could tell within the first two weeks if a new member of the crew was cut out for the job or not. We had a lot of turnover and walk-outs. I'd see the stress just break people.
I am drunk, by the way. Brandy Manhattans have replaced Jameson and 7up as my drink of choise.

Was that intended to be funny?
I worked for Milios for four hours and quit on the spot. Why? Their delivery area spanned 5 miles... Each delivered sub was assessed a 65 cent delivery charge... Example - a company orderes 10 subs and pays $6.50 in delivery fees. The driver still only gets $.50 in gas money! Street pimps take less of a cut! I'll never work for them or buy any food from them ever again.

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