Tip jars: Message in the bottle

Posted Feb. 01, 2013, at 5:38 a.m.
Last modified Feb. 01, 2013, at 11:21 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — They make a lot of coffee and they make a lot of sandwiches, but the folks behind the counter probably aren’t making a lot of money.

One sign of “counter intelligence” is an interesting tip jar. A humorous note attached to the jar almost always tips the scales in favor of making a little more dough.

(A tip jar with a note mentioning karma, on the other hand, almost always leaves the customer with a bad taste in their mouth. Who likes being guilt-tripped into tipping?)

While you can’t always judge a shop by its tip jar, it does seem the less pretentious the place, the more fun they have with their jar.

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Like a woman at a Munjoy Hill sandwich shop said, “When you make minimum wage, you’ve got to be creative.”


An earlier version of this story requires correction. Both the Beavis and Butthead and skeleton tip jars are located at Spartan Grill in Portland, not Other’s.

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