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Chock Full O'Nuts: Tipping not Permitted


Pan
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This letter to the Editor of the New York Times states that coffee shops in the Chock Full O'Nuts chain displayed a sign stating that "Tipping Is Not Permitted." Can anyone confirm that? Any other sit-down eatery in New York you can remember with such a policy?

Wow thats a first. The last time I ran into that was in Japan where I left a tip and as I was walking out into the parking lot the waiter chased me down and gave me the money that "I had forgotten on the table".

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It sounds vaguely familiar somehow. Of course Chock Full o'Nuts was an extremely inexpensive place to eat...all counters, no booths, really fast service, just basically coffee and five or six pre-made sandwiches available.

Could be that in order to eliminate some book-keeping chores, they just paid the servers a higher hourly wage than usual and left it at that.

Zum-Zum was a chain quite similar, but with a German slant to it....

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this is in portland, oregon, so it's not directly related to the question, but there is a small delicatessan-coffee shop chain here that apparently is not allowed to have a tip jar, or take tips. maybe it's a rare phenomenon, but it exists.

"There is no worse taste in the mouth than chocolate and cigarettes. Second would be tuna and peppermint. I've combined everything, so I know."

--Augusten Burroughs

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It sounds vaguely familiar somehow. Of course Chock Full o'Nuts was an extremely inexpensive place to eat...all counters, no booths

I remember the Chock Full O'Nuts at 116 St. and Broadway, and there may not have been any booths (that part I don't recall), but there were a bunch of tables.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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That is unusual in this town where it seems the local economy thrives on tipping. Record stores have tip jars next to the register.

I used to work for a chef in a cafe who wouldn't let our counter girl put out a tip jar. She said that if people wanted to tip her, they were more than welcome to, but having a tip jar out seems to be asking for a tip. Almost like panhandling, and it might make customers feel obligated to tip. Honestly, I agreed with her.

I used to work at a coffee shop in VA and we didn't have a tip jar. Occasionally someone would tell me to keep the change. But I wasn't a waitress, making well below minimum age. I was collecting an hourly rate and it was my job to make good coffee.

Frankly I think the tipping thing is getting a little out of hand. The guys behind the counter at Bagel Express on 2nd at 93rd are terrible (though the bagels are great) and I'll be damned if I'm going to give them my change for their exceedingly slow service. The guy at Falafel House, two blocks down, make an amazing hummus sandwich and I slip him an extra buck. But not because they have a jar - it's because he's good.

Sorry, I'm getting off topic. What are some other industries that don't allow tipping? I dont' think flight attendants can recieve gratuities. What is the rationale there? Anyone know?

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I ate at many CFNs when I was a kid, but I don't remember that sign -- not that I would, because I wasn't financially aware at the time. In any event, if it was the case -- and presumably somebody at the Times confirmed it before printing the letter -- I wouldn't consider it to be all that radical. I mean, most chain quick-service restaurants don't participate in the culture of tipping. You don't tip at McDonald's, Taco Bell, or Subway. The layout of a typical CFN was a little different in that you got something akin to table service, which is typically the threshold beyond which you can always expect tipping, but as I recall it was a somewhat abbreviated form of service where you just got a limited repertoire of stuff shoved at you while you sat at a counter.

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Never went to the CFN that far uptown, Pan. Probably the space costs were less so they could allow a bit of leeway in actually allowing a customer to have a table! The one(s) I would go to were mid-town...crowded at lunchtime but still you could eat in about the same time it would take to grab a slice of pizza and walk with it... :wink:

I really hate to think of how many years ago this was, but it must have been around thirty years ago (the only satisfaction one has in getting older is knowing that nobody else can escape it, either! :raz: )...I was a teenager working at various office jobs midtown and CFN left enough time at lunch hour to eat and then stop in one of the local junky clothes stores to shop a bit, too!

The culture of tipping was not so prevalent then. It was done by most people but not everywhere as it is now. Life and economics were just simpler, a bit.

Now I feel badly if I don't tip 20% even to baristas but then, it was not like that.

There were people who worked at CFN or at gas stations as attendees or at other (what would now be considered transitionary or low-level jobs for the average American) for years...and nobody really tended to look down on them too much for not having "it all". They were just a working part of society.

Well...I shouldn't paint too pretty a picture of those times, though. That was NYC in the seventies and you could get mugged leaving the subway as likely as not.... :wacko:

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