Why you should tip your budtender...
By Chris Fisher
I do not want to get off on a rant here but why would you not tip someone who just helped you out, especially if you are someone who knows nothing about cannabis? There may be some confusion on the issue of tipping your budtender so I am going to clear things up. I understand that most folks who come into a weed shop are spending a good deal of money and I am not asking you to drop twenty percent of your bill, it is not like we are your bartender or anything. When someone is spending a good deal of money already it is hard to want to throw down a little extra for the person who just helped you. The thing is, we get paid very minimally because tips are expected in this industry. While tipping is not mandatory, it is prevailing practice to leave a tip after someone in the customer service industry helps you out. For the vast majority of us, tips make up a substantial part of our income.
The government taxes budtenders on our tips just like any server or bartender in the restaurant industry. If I am taking the time to explain to you the differences of every product in the store and its effects on you it is nice to feel appreciated for doing you a service, and not rushing you through your purchase. People come in and elude to me that they are taking this stuff out of state and ask me questions that go on for twenty-plus minutes but they cannot even drop a dollar in my tip jar? Is everybody so tight with money that they cannot leave their budtender just one measly dollar after getting some help? I go to my job every day because I love it, I love the people I work with, and I love the industry I work in, but it is not like I am making tons of money back here. You, as the customer, rely on my knowledge to get you some quality products but where is my incentive to even help you out anymore if you will not even drop me the coins I give you back as change?
This issue has been aggravating for me lately because it is making me jaded towards the people I help. I want to give the best service I possibly can, I want to inform the customers who know absolutely nothing, I want to make you feel comfortable in a place you have never been but when customers cannot even drop a dollar or two as thanks for me where does my incentive go? What is to stop me from offering negative advice, or no advice at all? It does not seem to matter if I even say anything sometimes. Maybe from now on, I will start telling customers that indicas are sativa and vice versa! Maybe when someone tells me how they are anxious and need something to calm down I will fix them up with some Chem Dawg, some Tangerine Haze, or some Durban Poison. Maybe when someone tells me they need some good “work weed” I will offer them some Granddaddy Purps or Grape God. Maybe I will use my knowledge to jack up your anxiety or make you groggy at work? I am usually a very polite person and I do not wish to misinform anyone, but I have a mortgage to pay.
We live in a society that tips, that is plain and simple. People earn less for a living in some jobs because tips are part of that industry. Drivers, servers, and bartenders all get tipped because they are paid a lower wage by the establishment. That is just the way it is, you not dropping a tip for your budtender is not about you fighting the system and your dollar that I give you back does not mean near as much to you as it would to me.
If you get poor service from a budtender, there is no reason to leave a tip because they apparently did not have time for you. If your budtender is rude, if they rush you out the door, if they do not listen to what you are saying then, by all means, choose to do what you do. However, when you get quality service from a nice budtender and you feel you have been helped and guided through something you have no previous knowledge of, please leave a couple bucks.
It does not matter if you work in an industry that does not tip, if you are using a credit card, or if you are using your parent’s money and have no concept of what it is like to pay someone for their help, you should leave a damn tip! If I hear someone say, “I’ll get you on the next one” one more time I am going to reach across the counter and take your products back from you. Most of you folks are taking this out of state and that is illegal. I am fully within my right to cancel your transaction and kick you out of my shop.
Customers can be obnoxious and are usually clueless. It is the budtender’s job to see to it that each person’s individual needs are met to the best of their ability. Budtenders that try to converse with you are trying to make sure that you are comfortable and happy. Every third customer is a newbie at this stuff and requires some education, be aware of how to thank someone for that education. We establish rapport with you to find out what might best suit your needs. If you do not want to tip that is fine and you have other options. Go buy weed from your illegal weed dealer who only requires a joint of your weed and an hour of your time, stop going out to restaurants, carry your own bags, and drive yourself where you need to go. Keep all of this in mind when you are paying your bill and you consider snubbing your budtender. Remember, if you take up a portion of my time with your questions be polite and drop me a few bucks, just a few is all I ask.
Author Bio: Chris Fisher grew up in Dover, Delaware with his sights set on the wild west. Inspired by 80’s and 90’s- era ski movies Chris found his way to Gunnison, Colorado in 1999 to attend Western State College, now Western State University, and to ski Crested Butte. In this little mountain town in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo mountains Chris also found a lovely little plant called cannabis. Chris still lives in Colorado, having moved to Steamboat Springs after graduating to follow his love of skiing, mountain biking, and all things outdoors. Currently working as a budtender with 7 years experience in the cannabis industry Chris has a passion for cannabis, a desire to write, and a love for Colorado. You can follow him on Twitter at @Chrisher929