Eating Out

The "tip line"

With all the controversy surrounding the latest Served columns, I realized I had a question about tipping. I posted it under one of the comments sections, but it (understandably) got lost in the flood of comments.

At normal restaurants, I tip 20% unless the service was exceptional, in which case I leave a little extra, so I am not an intentionally stingy tipper. Anyway, I often go to bagel shops and buy day old bagels, where you can get a dozen bagels for $3-5, depending on the shop. They're always pre-bagged and are sitting on a shelf in the corner of the shop. These shops also make made-to-order sandwiches and serve coffee and whatnot, so the receipt has a line for tips on it (and on the rare occasion I get a sandwich, I do leave a tip). I realize that at some point someone had to prepare and bag the bagels, but I've never tipped, since I just figured I was picking up a bag and all the cashier had to do was swipe my credit card. But now I'm worried that I'm really in the wrong, and should have been tipping all this time. What do you say, Serious Eaters? Tip to pick up the bag of day olds, and if so, how much?

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