Would You Tip Your Cashier?

Portrait Of Cashier Smiling While Working

Photo: Getty Images

During the pandemic, we were asked to offer tips to more and more people, and now it may be expanding -- to store cashiers. The state of Colorado is set to enact a law that would encourage tipping at big-box stores like Wal-Mart as well as neighborhood joints. The move is intended to help those earning minimum wage, which is $13.65 an hour in the state. Right now, stores can reprimand, or even fire, employees who accept gratuities from customers.

Let me begin by saying I have nothing against cashiers. I've worked the cash register before. I've had four different retail jobs; a small independent pharmacy, a grocery store, a record store and at Walmart, and I served as a cashier at three of the four. Never once did I say to myself "Gee, I wonder "if I smile more or do my job faster, will I get tipped?" Of course not! I come from a generation that demands that you perform your duties with way more than just the bare minimum effort. For example friendliness and speed are prerequisites for being a good cashier. You might be surprised what additional skills or talents make one a good cashier, but that's a discussion for another day. Positions that get tips, such as a server or bartender in a restaurant, generally have a very low (sub minimum wage) hourly wage and the tips, hopefully, make up the difference. Being married to a woman who has worked her entire adult life in food service (in addition to more than three decades as a radio announcer) I know how this works and how important are tips.

Help me understand. Things are rough everywhere for all of us. If I tip you for a service that traditionally does not get tips, that works out nicely in your favor. But then that create more expenses for me. What am I missing here? I suppose I should be glad, since I and other members of my family have held such a job, that a cashier/clerk can make a little extra from these tips. From a customer's standpoint though I'd be like "Oh come on! Aren't I already paying enough for these groceries? Now I gotta tip, or feel guilty for not tipping you, for the same service you performed without a tip last month?" I would love to hear the case presented to Colorado lawmakers that led to this law being enacted.

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