The Chainlink

I was wondering what the etiquette is on this. From what I've read, they don't make a lot and online searches don't give any consensus.  What's the standard in Chicago and if it's expected, how much?  What about tipping on work that is done under warranty?

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Not everyone knows "good service" this is true but In my experience the good bike shops give you recommendations, have open shops where you can fix your own bike.

The more expensive retail shops make money off people who either don't want to get dirty, don't want to learn how to fix or just take the bike out for weekends in the summer and need a tune up, new brakes, new tires, oil...

 

I don't make a lot of money and neither do a lot of people so I'm confused as to how tipping a person getting paid to a job (other than service industry who's wages are lower because they receive tips/gratuities as a standard)

 

Now if you have a favorite mechanic who really helps you out then tipping is a way to say thanks keep it up.

Good question . . . I've been asking it myself, especially when the service was exceptional, like at the little bike shop on the LFT near Addison, or at the South Loop Kozy's. Next time, I'll just ask a mechanic himself. I can always claim an ignorance of local customs, being an immigrant ;)

. . . On a different note, sometimes I wondered if I should have paid at all for "services" provided, like when the brake pads fell of next day after my bike was tuned-up in one of the shops.

After getting to know my LBS and they getting to know me, I drop in from time to time with a 12er. I don't do it to get anything in return but I have noticed better service and product discounts.

I always tip my bike mechanics, especially if they are fast, allow me to watch and answer my questions about the repair.  I hope to become self sufficient when it comes to basic bike maintenance, and watching the mechanic always helps.  

 

Each bike shop I have (ever) visited (in Chicago) always has a tip jar, so I am not sure where the idea that it wasn't ordinary to tip mechanics occurred.  I think tipping is great way to show appreciation for a job well done.  Plus, anyone who gives TLC to my Michelle (my bike, don't get any ideas...) deserves a little some some.  LOL!

There's a consensus nationally that any job should pay at least a certain minimum amount.  The presence of a minimum wages nationally as well as higher levels in certain states should be confirmation.  If someone is desperate enough, yes they might be willing to work for $2 an hour but that's just taking advantage of their desperation.  It's a similar situation to merchants that jack up prices of bottled water and other necessities after a natural disaster.   I'm fine with tipping a mechanic and that's really up to the person receiving the service, but to make it an expectation is counterproductive.

 

The problem with the Austrian school is that it's more of a philosophy than economics per se. Starting with a few axioms and then deductively working towards conclusions may work for math but it's a poor way to model human behavior.  That's probably the biggest reason why it's out of the mainstream economic thought.  Don't get me wrong, I think the rational choice theory is horribly wrong but it might be applicable in the aggregate in certain circumstances and there's been work on coming up with alternatives.  In the meantime, it does allow some work on mathematical economics to continue and is useful in that regards as long as everyone understands that things are based on a flawed assumption.



James Baum said:

I feel that if someone isn't getting a "living wage" they should find employment elsewhere.  Nobody is forced to work against their will in this country.  Whenever I hear the term "living wage" I usually just roll my eyes and shut my ears.  The speaker merely has an agenda that runs counter to my own.  Sometimes, when I look around at my fellow members of the riding community, it is shockingly clear that the concept of Austrian Economics is anathema to the progressive agenda of most bike activists.    

 

I guess well have to agree to disagree.  But I'll reserve the right to tip or not tip whomever I wish on my own free discretion.  If that upsets anyone's apple cart that is something they will have to deal with personally...


No one is a logical actor.  To pretend otherwise is bury your head in the sand.  Assuming that's the case lets you do some work and might give you something that is applicable in certain instances but in general will probably lead you badly astray.  If your theory makes assumptions that are fundamentally flawed without admitting it and working with the limitations due to the flaws then the problem is your theory and not with the world.  

 

To build on your thermodynamics analogy, classical statistical mechanics results in the ultraviolet catastrophe being predicted.  When this result came out, physicists didn't run around claiming that because it didn't happen in real life, it was the world's problem.  They worked on figuring out what was wrong in the theory.  (If it matters, turns out quantization of energy reduces the vibrational modes and that solves things).


James Baum said:

I don't feel it is my problem if someone isn't a logical actor.  Life is harsh...

If a shop has a tip jar (in my experience a lot of them don't), I usually drop something in, the amount varying greatly depending on the circumstances.  It's both appreciation of good work and also doing my bit to keep the salaries of good bike mechanics high enough to keep them around.

 

Absent a tip jar, though, I'm kind of uncomfortable with walking up to somebody and handing them money in that kind of situation. The tip jar sort of eases the social uncertainty or something.

 

Also, to go back to the original post, I think work done under warranty is a bit different.  Something outstanding might deserve a bit extra, but in this case you've really paid for the work upfront. I think I'd be much less likely to tip well in that situation.


April said:


Each bike shop I have (ever) visited (in Chicago) always has a tip jar, so I am not sure where the idea that it wasn't ordinary to tip mechanics occurred.  I think tipping is great way to show appreciation for a job well done.  Plus, anyone who gives TLC to my Michelle (my bike, don't get any ideas...) deserves a little some some.  LOL!

Amen, Cameron!

Cameron Puetz said:
Agreed, personally I hate tipping. The salary of the person performing the work is part of the cost of a service and in my opinion should be included in the upfront cost of said service, not tacked on by the customer in the form of a tip. When I perform work my expected pay is declared upfront and I would hate to be in the position of people who work for tips where after I did some work, the client paid what they thought was good.

That said I still tip the service jobs where it’s expected because I don’t want to take my frustration with the system out on somebody who’s just trying to make a living and is really the tipping system’s biggest victim. Although I’d much rather business pay their employees properly and charge a price upfront that included labor rather than count on customers taking on a little extra to make up for low salaries.

Wow!  I didn't realize I was walking into a political socioeconomic discussion about wages and the ramifications of such!  I thought we were discussing the ethics of tipping bike mechanics. 

 

Damn skippy skilled bike mechanics should be paid well for their time and we should lobby our leaders to ensure a living wage for all skilled service providers.  But regardless of the laws, that wonderful person is providing you with a needed service. It is generally accepted as socially responsible to tip hairdressers and taxi drivers who are also paid a wage for their services. So why wouldn’t you tip the person who is ensuring that the vehicle on which you depend on to get from point A to B is fully functional? That to me is much greater service than a single ride or a haircut. We can hope that the person doing work on our bikes is paid a fair salary, but in this corporate controlled, dog-eat-dog, lay off your workers when your company feels the pinch world, it isn’t guaranteed. 

 

(Side note: If we want to support a living wage for skilled mechanics we should sure as heck be getting our work done at local mom & pop bike stores and not the corporate-owned chains!)

 

Unless you are truly broke, or the mechanic was less-than skilled or was rude or something, I see no reason why you can’t show a little monetary appreciation for one of the most important service providers to cyclist community.

I think people should be free to tip or not tip whomever they wish.  

 

Consensus-schmensus.  I'm a voluntarist.  I don't bend to peer pressure bullhockey. 

I tipped my mechanic in money when he went above and beyond and helped me out greatly. Otherwise, we take the shop homemade cookies once a month (on average). They love it and don't roll their eyes too hard when I pop in because I've broken something I was trying to fix (again. :D). I love my LBS guys.

A bicycle mechanic is a skilled tradesman and I'd no sooner tip one as a matter of course than tip a car mechanic or a roofer or lawyer. I was a tradesman for 35 years and I didn't work for tips, I worked for my wages and benefits.

However I do tip tradesmen when I've received special consideration. When it becomes a personal thing rather than business as usual duking is in order.

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