I work at a coffee/cookie shop that has a tip jar out by the register*. Today, a woman I helped "tipped" us her hairstylist's business card with, "Purchase one color service and get a free haircut!" written on the back. This confused my coworker and I.
I'm of three minds on the issue.
1. She's trying to drum up business for herself, since hair coloring at a salon is very expensive. It's not something my coworker or I really wanted to purchase.
2. However, a haircut is worth a lot more than a dollar bill or a handful of change.
3. My hair is getting kind of shaggy and you can clearly see where my home dye job is growing out. Was it meant as an insult? ("For god's sake, girl, fix your hair! Are you just too cheap?")
I guess the whole thing is kind of a moot point since it was very nice of her to tip us in the first place. But I've never encountered a non-monetary tip like this.
Do you think non-monetary tips are acceptable?
If you work customer service, does this kind of thing happen to you? How do you feel if you're "tipped" with a coupon?
(Obviously, this is different for minumum wage workers vs. servers who depend on tips.)
*Please don't lecture me on how outrageous it is that we have a tip jar when we make minimum wage. I don't expect tips. But if people want to tip me, I won't argue with them, especially if it means that I have $5 at the end of my shift to buy lunch with.