The Gentleman’s Guide To Tipping

by Brett & Kate McKay on June 24, 2008 · 170 comments

in A Man's Life, Money & Career, On Etiquette

A gentleman knows when and how to tip those who serve him. The unmannered and uncouth do not. Tipping an individual, while not mandatory, should always be done. The only occasion you should not leave a tip is if the service was completely horrendous and the person providing the service made no attempt to remedy the situation. When tipping, you should do so discreetly. Showing off how much you tip does not impress people, but only shows you are a shallow cad. Nonetheless, gray areas in regards to tipping often exist. So read on gents, as The Art of Manliness answers all your tipping questions.

Why Tip?

The difference between regular jobs and many jobs that require tips is that they are service jobs, and they are called service jobs because they are directly serving you. They personally and intimately affect you. You do not need to always tip people like tow truck drivers or baristas, and you do not have to tip people for doing their job per se. But you might think about tipping people for the following reasons:

1) If the person went above and beyond regular service. It is just a way of showing gratitude for a job well done and going the extra mile. Some people say, “Why do I have to tip people for doing their job?” To them I respond, “Does the company you work for give bonuses after a project is completed successfully?” And what is a bonus if not just a very large tip? When bonuses are offered, people do not generally say “There is no need to give me a bonus. I was just doing my job.”

2) To show your gratitude. Another word for tip is “gratuity.” Many people in service jobs are overworked, underpaid, and unthanked. At your job when you do something right, your supervisor says “thank you,” and “job well done!” Who says thank you to the trashmen? Many service jobs are jobs we don’t want to do, and we are grateful people are there day in and day out doing them for us. Our trash gets taken away, our mail gets delivered, our food is served to us. Their pay often does not match their effort. Who thinks that teachers’ pay is commensurate with the work they put in? Tipping is a way to say “thank you” to those who rarely hear it.

3) Tipping ensures great service. This is especially true of people who perform service for you regularly. If you tip a barista at a coffee shop you frequent, or a waiter at your favorite restaurant, they will give you even better service next time. For example, I used to work at a pizza place and when an order came in, if the pizza delivery guy recognized the name, and remembered they were a big tipper, they would bust their butt to get the order out. They would even take the tipper their order BEFORE orders that had come in earlier. If an order came up for a name they recognized as a bad tipper, they would deliver that order later. Similarly, when I worked at smoothie place, this one customer would tip us very heavily every time she came in. So during her visits we were practically falling over ourselves to get her order out. We would start making it even before she paid. And we would always throw in extra goodies. So in things you do regularly, generous tipping is certainly not essential, but can guarantee you better service.

4) That person’s livelihood depends on our tipping. An unsettling number of people don’t seem to realize that many service workers in the US, like waitresses, do not get a regular hourly wage. They get paid something like $2.50 an hour. If you don’t tip, they could end up making less than minimum wage. Tipping in these cases is not optional, but necessary. I know our non-American readers will criticize a system that doesn’t pay everyone a decent wage with benefits. But such criticism will not change the current reality. Plus, if companies were to start paying everyone a living wage plus benefits then the cost of goods and services would rise. Thus, you would end up paying out of your pocket anyway. So if you deeply believe in everyone receiving a fair wage, then why not do your part to make it a reality now?

“What money is better bestowed than that of a schoolboy’s tip? How the kindness is recalled by the recipient in after days! It blesses him that gives and him that takes.” ~William Makepeace Thackeray

How Much Should You Tip?

(Note: Tipping guidelines differ from country to country. This guide is intended for those who will be tipping in the United States.)

Traveling

  • Housekeeping at the hotel. A good tip for housekeeping is between $2 to $5. Don’t just leave cash on the nightstand. It might not be clear to your maid that the money is for her. Make sure to leave the tip in an envelope marked for housekeeping.
  • Tour guide. Tip between $1 to $5 per person in your group.
  • Skycap or bell hop. $1 to $2 per bag they lug for you. If you’re running late and the skycap books your luggage to your plane so you can get there on time, bump up the tip.
  • Doorman. Only tip the doorman at a hotel if he gives you a hot tip on the best places to eat or visit while in town.

Personal Services

  • Massage Therapist. Give 10 to 20 percent of the total cost.
  • Nurses. Usually tipping nurses at hospitals is not permitted, but don’t tell that to my wife’s Italian grandma. She’s a retired nurse and believes you should definitely tip nurses and other health assistants. Any time she’s at the hospital you can guarantee she’s getting the best service because she gave her nurse “la boost.”
  • Valet parking. $2-$5 for the valet who parks your car, and $2-$5 for the valet who later retrieves it.
  • Baristas/Smoothie Makers/Ice Cream Scoopers. It seems like all these types of establishments have tip jars nowadays. Spare change is always appreciated. If the barista starts making your order as soon as you walk in so that its ready for you by the time you get up to pay, tip a little extra. If they sing a song when you give them a tip, ask them to not sing it or you’ll take the tip back.
  • Hairstylist. Tip 15% of the cost of the haircut.
  • Takeout. If you order takeout from a restaurant make sure to tip the cashier a bit. While they weren’t waiting on you hand in foot, they did have to bust their butt to get your order together and ready. If they help you take your order out to the car, tip a bit extra.
  • Car washer. $3 bucks is good for a basic car wash. If they take extra time in when detailing it, give 10% of the cost of the wash.
  • Tattoos/Body Piercings. 15% of the total cost. If the tattoo artist does an amazing job of capturing the image of your mother on your arm, tip extra.
  • Tow Truck. It depends on what services the person provides. If they jump your car or change your tire, tip about $4. If they tow it, $5 is good tip. If they are towing you away from a no parking zone, give them the finger.
  • Bagger at the grocery store. Typically, people no longer tip grocery baggers. It’s not necessary, but definitely a nice gesture. $1 is a good tip.

Delivery Services

  • Newspaper deliverer. During the holidays, give them a card with $20. My in-laws do this every year and as a result, they have their paper delivered straight to their door instead of just thrown on the driveway.
  • Pizza/Meal delivery. 15% is customary. If the weather is bad, i.e. there’s snow and ice or a tsunami, and you’re risking the delivery guy’s life so you don’t have to risk yours, tip extra.
  • Furniture/large appliance delivery. $5 per person. If they stick around and help you assemble or rearrange your furniture, tip extra.

Out on the Town

  • Waiters. 15 to 20% is customary. If they do an exceptional job, pay more. If you come in with a large group make sure to ask if gratuity is added into your check so you don’t tip them twice. (Of course, as a former waiter, I always appreciated it when someone gave me a little extra in addition to the gratuity.) Be extra generous when you’re on a dinner date with a new lady; she’ll be sure to steal a glance at the tip line of your bill to see if you are a cheap loser or a real gentleman.
  • Bartenders. 15 to 20%. Again, if they do an excellent job give more. If you come during happy hour and down 20 $.99 cent draws, don’t just leave 15%. Bartenders have to bust their butt to get those things poured for you and deserve more than just your change.
  • Casino. There are lots of people you could be tipping at a casino. First, you have cocktail waitresses. 15% is customary. Many people tip dealers when they have a successful run, ensuring the continuation of good karma.
  • Taxi. Standard tip is 15%. If they get you to your destination quickly, tip extra.

Holidays

During the holidays, it’s customary to give a little more for the everyday services we receive. Here is just a short list of people you should consider giving “la boost” to during the holidays.

  • Mailman. It’s against federal law to tip federal employees, but they can accept gifts of less than $20. But most will probably look the other way if you give more.
  • Garbage/recycling man. These guys have a dirty job, recognize their work around the holidays by giving them a tip. $10 per person is nice.
  • Teachers. If you have kids in school, it’s usually customary to give their teacher a small gift at Christmas time. It doesn’t have to be big. Here’s a tip: teachers get box loads full of body lotion, candles, and various apple themed knickknacks (no, you’re not the first person to think of giving them an apple-shaped paperweight). Give them something they’ll really enjoy like a gift card to Borders or Target.
  • Babysitter. A gift in addition to their normal pay is nice. Gift cards are always appreciated.
  • Cleaning person. An extra week’s pay or a nice gift.

{ 166 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alex June 24, 2008 at 9:59 pm

You dont mention how to properly deliver the tip. I an imagine tipping a trash man can be hard if they come at like 3am. or whether to leave the tip with the receipt or on the table

2 Brett June 24, 2008 at 10:09 pm

To tip the trashman you put some dough in an envelope and tape it to the the top of your trashcan. I’ve never tried since I’ve yet to own a home, but my in-laws assure me that they will get it.

As far as the tip when out to eat, I almost always use my credit card and so the tip is right on the receipt. When paying cash I just leave it on the table. Although I have a friend who insists on handing it directly to the waiter as he is convinced that other waiters or people might swipe the tip. It’s a little awkward to do it that way, but I guess his heart’s in the right place.

I just thought of another tip-when you use a gift card at a restaurant, don’t base your tip percentage on the bill minus the amount on the gift card. Give a tip like you were paying what would have been the total amount.

3 Remko Tronçon June 24, 2008 at 10:22 pm

When has it become a custom to give people money for being friendly to you? When did a friendly smile and a ‘thank you’ stop being enough for helping people or for doing the best you can at your job? I never ask for a tip when I give a give a tourist in the street directions to the best places in my home town. I never ask for extra money because I do my job well. And I know many countries where people give you much more information and help than you ask them for, and never expect anything in return.

The whole tipping system is flawed and inefficient IMO. If you’re “supposed to tip”, then just charge more. That saves everybody time (not having to do math every time you go and eat somewher), and saves the frustration when a tourist forgets to tip.

4 Brett June 24, 2008 at 10:30 pm

@Remko-I agree that it is a somewhat flawed system. But it is in some ways an efficient one. It’s not human nature to be friendly and smiley all day long. Tips work as an incentive to overcome the natural tendency to be flat and reserved. It’s just the instantaneous version of what other people experience in their jobs over several years. When the latter does a good job, they get rewarded with raises and bonuses. Service jobs often lack many raises or bonuses at all. So tipping acts an motivator to do your best.

5 Pete June 24, 2008 at 10:32 pm

My prediction for this post:

Those who have never worked in the service industry will bellyache about how tipping is dumb and why should I have to tip people to do their job…yada, yada, yada.

Those who have worked in the service industry will give it a thumbs up and a “right on.”

6 akumu June 24, 2008 at 10:55 pm

Hey,

I don’t know this for sure, though, I am pretty sure it is true, nowadays anyway, and, definitely in Massachusetts if no where else. Yes, a waiter/waitress does get about 2.5 dollars an hour as wage and the rest are tips, but if the waiter/waitress makes less money for her shift than would be minimum wages, the employer has to cough-up the difference up to minimum wage. So, say a waiter worked for one hour and received 2.5 dollars in tips, his wage is 2.5 dollars an hour and the minimum wage is 8 dollars an hour, the employer of the waiter needs to add another three dollars to the waiter’s paycheck for that one hour.

7 Jaye June 24, 2008 at 10:55 pm

I used to be a poor tipper, until I found out about places in the us that paid half minimum wage but were taxed full minimum wage with the expectation that tips made up the difference (or so it was explained to me by an American friend). While I wasn’t in a state at the time that had such a practice, it opened my eyes to how sometimes a tip isn’t simply a boost for a person, but sometimes important to day to day survival. Everyone tells me I perhaps tip too much, and its not like I am in a financial position to be doing it, but tipping well while maybe not making that visit the best (as it happens after I have been served) it does tend to make subsequent visits very enjoyable.

8 Gerard June 24, 2008 at 11:02 pm

I have always found the American system of tipping to be quite odd. I think my issue is more with the customary tip as opposed to tipping per se. The idea that I must tip or should tip regardless of the service is something that does not sit right with me. On the other hand, I am quite happy to tip (whether in the US or otherwise) if I believe the service justifies a tip.

9 Peter June 24, 2008 at 11:14 pm

I usually give tips, but not always – when I don’t feel satisfied with the service, or consider it expensive enough, I don’t tip. When I was an “European tourist in USA”, I felt very uncomfortable with their system of “mandatory tiping”. I consider it completely unnatural. I think tip should be something like a bonus, not a part of the basic wage.

This mandotory tiping system implies that I should be feeling guilty when I don’t tip, and I am not personally willing to play that game.

10 Kevin (ReturnToManliness) June 24, 2008 at 11:21 pm

As far as wait staff is concerned, they usually share tips with busboys and sometimes even the cooks and bartenders. The tipping not affects those you are tipping but also their support staff.

You did not address what to do if you get really bad service. I believe in tipping and even over-tipping when the service warrants, but if the service is horrible, I think the tip should reflect it. If the service involved something that was out of the control of the person providing the service, then that can be taken into account. But if the attitude is really bad, regardless of the situation, you have to help that person by sending your displeasure via the tip.

My opinion is that the tip is not and should not be considered an entitlement by the service person. It is earned and if you are a good tipper, then it will show up in the service. If you are a good server, regardless of the occupation, you will continue to be rewarded for your work. The perfect free market equalizer…

11 Algernon June 24, 2008 at 11:34 pm

Here’s my two cents (groan):

Regarding server minimum wage. This differs depending on location. In San Francisco, for example, servers are privy to the standard minimum wage of $9.36 per hour. In Ohio, the minimum wage for servers is $2.13. However, as Akumu mentioned, the restaurant has to make up the difference to meet the federal minimum wage of $5.15. This is adjusted at the end of each work week and not daily.

Tipping amounts can also vary by region. In New York, I’ve heard servers claim that less than 17% is a poor tip, while in Chicago, 15% is still supposed to be adequate. In San Francisco, 20% is closer to the norm. I try to do what Gov. Schwarzenegger did when he came into a local restaurant–pay with a credit card and tip exactly 20%. That way, you don’t risk over or under tipping.

As for the larger question, I agree that tipping is moot. As a former server, I can attest that it is inconsistent at best. Even the weather affects tipping. Bad weather equals poor tips. I’ve also received good service while abroad in countries that don’t use tips, which negates the fundamental argument for tipping.

But . . . tipping doesn’t seem to be on the decline in America, and so we have to accept it just as much as paying taxes on our purchases. Yes, it’s largely irrelevant, and many foreigners are justifiably frustrated by it, but it’s part of life in America. Foreigners won’t understand why we do it, just as we will never understand why someone would willingly put a picture of a monarch on their coins (you know who you are), but those subtle differences are the reason we travel.

12 David Pepka June 24, 2008 at 11:42 pm

An excellent topic, (as so many are on this site.) You might want to add something about tipping if you are comped. Just because you are dining somewhere and have a 20% off coupon, you should still tip the full amount BEFORE discount. Also, I believe that the word TIP should never be uttered in polite company. I would never say to a bartender or waiter, “Here’s your tip.” A simple, “I don’t need change” will do. I work as an entertainer in restaurants/bars and if someone asks me do I accept tips, I say no. Now, if someone knows the proper way, (the old $10 handshake is perfect) I smile politely, and shove it in my pocket. When I’m done working I usually stay and have dinner or drinks on the house. Regardless of that, I always tip around 25%. I’ve been told by management on several occasions that the staff considers me very classy and a joy to work with. (It even helped me hook up with a hot hostess once.)

13 Bernie Franks June 25, 2008 at 12:10 am

“Those who have never worked in the service industry will bellyache about how tipping is dumb and why should I have to tip people to do their job…yada, yada, yada.”

If people in the service industry were paid a regular wage instead of a wage dependent upon tipping, then everyone would win. And thus: I’ll continue to dislike the tipping system.

14 dadshouse June 25, 2008 at 12:13 am

Great tips. Can I tip you?

I always give 20% of the total bill at restaurants, unless the service was poor.

15 bob June 25, 2008 at 12:30 am

I tend to think that a tip is warranted if the person providing the service does anything above and beyond getting what you paid for into your hands. I work as a barista at a local coffee shop and I think the idea of tipping for coffee is insane and entirely not necessary. They pay for a drink, I make and give them that drink, the accompanying smiles and remembering their usual is part of the customer service idea. But it adds at least a $1.50 to hourly wage so I don’t protest to loudly if people want to waste money in my direction.

16 Adam June 25, 2008 at 12:30 am

Regardless of efficiency, regardless of what the server is paid, tipping is a solid way to express your gratitude.

If waitstaff were not tipped and were fully paid, I fully expect that nobody’s service would be as good because good service would result only in repeat customers–and that’s a reward for the owners, not a reward for the server. Could the owners reward good service? Sure they could, but they are not sitting at the table, and so they do not have the capability of judging services in the same way the customer does.

I have tipped around 20% for drinks and food, and I consistently have excellent service everywhere I go to more than 3 or 4 times, despite friends who I know tip poorly consistently complaining about the service at these establishments.

Tipping shows you care and appreciate what you get, and a tip-free system would be incapable of doing so. I tip because I care and appreciate what I get, and I would certainly not enjoy my meal or drinks as much if I could not exhibit my enjoyment.

Also, on a night when a couple drinks raises my mood from “shitty” to “tolerant,” I’m not going to go and say how great the service was, because I’m still pissed off (I grade papers while drinking…gimme a break)–but I will leave a 20% tip because I appreciate it.

In sum, the tipping system is more efficient because it allows for the communication of approval, while salaried waitstaff systems do not.

17 Adam June 25, 2008 at 12:44 am

First, I love this site. Great posts all the time.

Second, this topic is a huge point of contention between myself and my girlfriend. She once worked at a restaurant as a busser and then a hostess so, as you might imagine, she thinks tips are a good thing. I, on the other hand, wish I never had to tip. I worked at a big box electronics store for a few months (September-December… things got quite crazy around the holidays) and gave excellent service, but never got more than a thank-you. Now, this was perfectly fine, I was just doing my job. Also, it’s generally not customary to tip the camera salesman who spends half an hour with you narrowing down your options and giving you a good deal on a camera. How the distinction on who gets tips and who doesn’t is beyond me.

The point I make when her and I argue about it is, tipping has created this absurd level of expectation from the people on the receiving end of tips. I don’t blame the service people, I blame the employers who don’t cover their employees wages. Then again, here in Canada, there is seemingly no wage problem of employers expecting employees to earn tips and therefore being paid $2.50/hour. Many do however require that servers pay out either a percentage or a dollar amount of tips to other staff down the line. Tipping has created an often disgusting attitude. I’ve heard wait-staff moaning and whining off-shift about “cheapskates” and “bad tippers” all too often. In fact, some even went as far as to point out categories of clientèle that they use to identify good and bad tippers when people enter the restaurant! I can understand getting frustrated if someone acts negatively toward you, but getting miffed about not receiving a lot of extra money per table just seems out of line. Since when should service deteriorate based on a sliding scale of tipping amounts? I wish it was seen as a genuine act of thanks when a tip was given out, not some signal of how to treat you next time, should you be recognized and categorized as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ tipper.

Last, Where does it end? It would seem we’re expected to tip left, right, and center! I can appreciate the attitude that most Japanese have toward tipping; it is seen as a sign of disrespect through flaunting wealth.

Now, everyone is allowed to have their own opinion on this topic. If someone gives excellent service, then a thank-you via some extra money is certainly fine. I just wish it wasn’t so expected!

18 Shatt June 25, 2008 at 1:48 am

“So if you deeply believe in everyone receiving a fair wage, then why not do your part to make it a reality now?”
I do believe it. Join a union and strike for at least minimum-wage for service jobs. It’s total crap that a person can make less than minimum wage simply because that person stands a chance to make a little extra cash on the side via a tip. Espeically when employed by companies that have you sharing tips with others.

Go on strike!

19 paul uk June 25, 2008 at 2:39 am

i worked in a hotel for seven years when i was at school and college and never expected a tip, but was grateful to get them.
tips were always considered a bonus and not part of the wage, and i cant understand why employers expect clients to make up their wage bill. why isn’t service included in the price of every item? i suspect it actually is.

in restaurants i’ll tip 10% minimum if the waiter was nice, but i will never tip a barman for pouring a pint of lager.

20 Plainsong June 25, 2008 at 2:51 am

You DO tip for a tattoo in the States? That’s weird.

21 Finn June 25, 2008 at 3:42 am

“Tow Truck…. If they are towing you away from a no parking zone, give them the finger.”

How does that act fit into a ‘Gentleman’s Guide To Tipping’?

22 paul uk June 25, 2008 at 4:46 am

grocery baggers deserve a tip more than barmen do

23 Granata June 25, 2008 at 4:55 am

I’ve started tipping 20% at restaurants and will tip more if the service is good. I’ve recently changed my mind about tipping well. I used to do it begrudgingly but recently decided that it was the gentlemanly thing to do. I’ve read some stuff about money that encourages me to be more generous, most of it sounded like laws of attraction crap, but I figure, if I can afford it and it helps someone else, then why not?

I also tip my tattoo artist more than 15% only because I know he is giving me a better rate than some random club goer off the street.

24 Brett McKay June 25, 2008 at 5:02 am

Excellent discussion everyone. It looks like tipping is a controversial topic. I’m glad to see the discussion on it.

@ To all who don’t agree with the American tipping system- Thanks for your comments. You’ve raised some valid points and have done so in a civil manner. I hate it when people disagree with something on the site and all they can say “This so stupid and you’re gay for writing this.” So I commend you. While you may not agree with the system, it’s what we have going right now. This guide was meant to be merely that- a guide on how to navigate the American tipping system.

@akumu- Yep. You are correct. By law employers are supposed to pay employees who make less than minimum wage enough money to make minimum wage if their tips aren’t sufficient.

@ jaye- I couldn’t agree any more. Tipping well at a restaurant will always guarantee excellent service when you return. I’ve seen it happen both as a patron and as a waiter.

@ Kevin- Agreed. If a waiter gives crappy service, then the tip should reflect that. As a former waiter, I tend to scrutinize other waiters more than the average person. If they’re doing a crummy job, I tip them less. I have a friend who had a weird philosophy, though. If he ever got horrible service, he would actually tip the waiter more and leave a pithy note on the receipt. The idea was to make the waiter feel like crap for giving bad service. I never really understood it, but to each their own.

@ Algeron- Good point on how tipping percentages vary across the country. We didn’t think about that when we wrote this, but it does make sense. Also, I think the type of establishment you go to can vary the percentage as well. I feel like I have to tip more when I go to a fancy schmancy place than I do when I go to some dive of a Mexican restaurant. Which doesn’t make sense, because the 15% at a fancy place is going to be a hell of a lot of money compared to when I order an enchilada platter at El Chico’s.

@ David Pepka- Good call. As a waiter, I HATED when people would tip based on the amount they were comped. Just because you got a free meal does not mean you don’t have to tip.

@dadshouse- We’ll gladly accept your tips!

@ bob- I don’t think most barristas expect tips. I know when I worked at Jamba Juice I didn’t expect them, but I gladly took them when offered. Like I said in the post, when people who would tip come in, the smoothie makers would fawn over these people.

@ Adam- Agreed. Money talks.

@ paul uk- Thanks for your European input on the subject. I can see how a foreigner can see the Yankee system of doing things to be a bit odd.

@ Shatt- Solidarity forever, my friend. Solidarity forever.

@ Finn- It’s called humor my friend. Just trying to liven things up around here.

25 Mike June 25, 2008 at 5:04 am

First off, I’d like to point out that I am not alone in this. There was a recent Wall Street Journal article which discussed how the practice of tipping came about in this country, and how it was seen as, “one of the most insidious and one of the most malignant evils” of modern life.

My basic argument is this, you as a customer of a restaurant are expected to pay for a meal as well as pay the wait staff’s salary directly from your pocket. Meanwhile, the owner of the establishment is afforded a loophole wherein he doesn’t even have to pay his employees minimum wage or benefits! It’s the biggest scam going! What’s worse is that it is so ingrained in our society that if people stop tipping, they are immediately seen as “cheap.” As Mark Twain put it, “We pay that tax knowing it to be unjust and an extortion; yet we go away with a pain at the heart if we think we have been stingy with the poor fellows.”

Even if you can get past the ludicrousness of it all, an even bigger pain in the neck is the entire system of whom to tip, and how much should it be. There are no standards, and you could easily appear cheap by either not giving one for a service you didn’t know expected it, or not giving a good enough tip (How much are you supposed to tip a chambermaid ala Seinfeld). Some professions, such as postal worker for example, do actually make a real wage and tipping is an extra bonus. However, in many situations it has become a “mandatory donation” where you run the risk of sub par service if you don’t tip. If I don’t give my postman a Christmas card with some money, I run the risk of poor service in the year to come, with letters folded in half and everything shoved into the mailbox in a ball. Even worse, there is also the chance that I do tip, however it is minimal compared to what others give. So in an effort not to look bad, we fall for the “everybody says they are above average workers” fallacy. “Thus the actual average creeps ever higher. Not long ago, an 18% restaurant tip was a tad better than the 15% that was expected. Now I don’t know anyone who tips less than 20%. Soon we’ll feel the need to show our generosity by leaving 25% of the tab.” Where does it end!?

26 PB5000 June 25, 2008 at 5:06 am

I’ve worked in service positions most of my working life, newspaper delivery, bellman, valet, and now I even moonlight as a limo driver. I’ve always given the type of service I myself would have liked to receive and in turn my tips were always reflective of it. If I had been making a straight salary with no chance of tips, I still would have given high service because that’s who I am.

In a service position the customer is your boss, and so the customer should be entitled to give you a raise. I’ve never understood the “tips are mandatory” mindset, THEY AREN”T. I’ve stiffed plenty of people who’ve given me poor service and can’t imagine they were too happy about it, I wasn’t happy to leave them with little or nothing but it made the point. I think it’s much more beneficial to leave a small tip for poor service, that way you’ve made your point that you understand their position is tipped, yet you didn’t think they deserved anything over a dollar.

27 Eric B. June 25, 2008 at 5:12 am

I disagree with tipping the take out cashier. You have to come to me to get a tip. If I have to go to you, no tip.

The exception being bartenders and baristas; I rely on the good will of the former and the coffee roasting knowledge of the latter.

28 Dax June 25, 2008 at 5:45 am

Tipping your tattoo artist: I usually give 20% if it’s well done, quick and made comfortable. I’ve found with this the better you tip – the more your price goes down next time (if you plan on getting a lot of work done)

29 R June 25, 2008 at 5:49 am

Most places the $2 server wages only apply when they receive tips. If no tips, then the business must pay the rest to reach minimum wage.

Note that most don’t bother with this rule since getting the money to meet minimum wage is pretty trivial for any restaurant. AND they would have to pay taxes if they invoked this.

Tips are tax free income (not legally, just that nobody reports it), which is why many waiters are *very* upset when you put it on your credit card. Something to remember.

Also, keep an eye on the “included gratuity” in some restaurants. Lots of people forget that it’s sometimes included and generally 20%. That means some people end up leaving 40%. Waiters are happy, but they expect that next time as well… if you don’t deliver, some feel you “stiffed” them.

30 Novel June 25, 2008 at 5:55 am

My problem with the tipping system is 15%. 15%? What genius chose that nice round number? 10, 20, something easy to calculate would be nice. But with 15, they actually sell tiny cards to do the math for you. Ridiculous.
By the way, I was an English major, so math is not my thing. haha

One situation that was not answered was tipping at a buffet.
Some have a wait staff that will fill your glass, bring condiments when needed, and ask dumb questions when you come in like, “having the buffet?”
They don’t do nearly as much as a waiter at a regular restaurant. What is an appropriate tip for them?

31 Dave June 25, 2008 at 6:02 am

Great post!

As someone who worked for years as a barista, bartender and server, I know what it’s like to live on tips. You can bet that I busted my ass for the people I knew tipped well! And, because I treated them right, they would request to sit in my section, or have me pour them their drinks. When I was waiting tables I averaged 25% in total tips, and in return, customers got great service and strong drinks. Everyone was happy.

Because dining out or drinking at a bar is a social event, it helps to establish positive relationships with bartenders and servers–showing them your gratitude for good service definitely ensures good friendly service in the future. And ladies–if you leave your number, make sure you tip well, otherwise you’re not getting a call =)

32 Zach June 25, 2008 at 6:18 am

This is a good start, but I’m afraid you’ve mistaken being a Gentleman with being a basic human being. This is a guide that teaches you how to not be a cad when it comes to tipping, but a true gentleman has a few extra rules to live by.

First, a Gentleman always tips in cash. This goes hand-in-hand with being discrete about tips. Always have a few dollars on hand for tips, even if you normally pay with a credit card. If you need to fill in a tip amount on a credit card receipt put a token amount, like $1. I normally “tip” to round my credit card charge to a round number, and leave cash in the folder with the signed receipt.

Hotel Housekeeping: At least 10% of the room cost per night, more if they did a particularly good job. Leaving this on the table is fine, because you are leaving enough that it’s obvious what it is there for. I usually leave my room key on top of the tip, so there’s no confusion.

Bartenders: $1 per drink, $2 if you’re ordering for only 1 or 2 people. This is paid when you order the drink even if you have opened a tab.

Valet parking: $5 when they deliver your car, unless they are rude or slow. If the business that runs the valet is at fault for a problem and not the attendant, tip anyway and have a quick chat with the attendant.

I also agree with Eric B, you don’t tip for “services” over the counter, unless there is some skill involved in the service, or you are attempting to ingratiate yourself with the staff so you can receive better service.

Speaking of, talking about the art of “greasing palms” to receive better service in a restaurant, theater or other social setting could fill an entire post of its own. That in itself is an art every gentleman needs to master.

33 Kate McKay June 25, 2008 at 7:07 am

@Finn-Some tow truck drivers are the scum of the earth. I once parked in a no parking zone for only 2 minutes-I couldn’t even tell it was a no parking zone because the paint had chipped off. I ran in to get my friends, ran out, and the tow guy was already hooking up my car to tow it away. He had been lurking around, waiting for a victim. I tried to say, “hey, I’m leavingâ€? but he was like sorry, lady, and drove my car away. I cried and he was entirely unmoved. It cost me $250 to get my car out. My male friend yelled and cursed at the guy. It didn’t do anything but I was really grateful. In such cases, and there admittedly very few of them for a gentleman, the finger is warranted.

@Zach and Eric B-If you don’t think you should tip for to-go service than you’ve never worked at a restaurant. When I was a waitress I had to put together the to-go’s and it was time consuming. While trying to take care of my tables I’d have to take time out to bag up the food, pour sauces and dressings into little cups, get napkins and silverware together and then check the person out when they came in. Meanwhile my tables would be waiting for me. And if the to-go person didn’t tip then my pay off was nil. Of course some restaurants have dedicated staff to being just to-go people, but many do not.

@Novel-We tip 10% at buffet places. The waiters really don’t do much.

34 Geoff June 25, 2008 at 7:16 am

I have been told by grocery baggers that they are not allowed to accept tips, due to their union contract.

Baggers at military commissaries however, work for only tips. So failure to tip there is costing them money.

35 Jim June 25, 2008 at 7:45 am

Tipping the cashier for takeout? That’s a little overboard. You might even get them fired for pocketing the extra money.

36 Kate McKay June 25, 2008 at 7:51 am

@Jim-

At many smaller restaurants the takeout cashier is simply a waiter taking time out to ring you up. They certainly can accept tips.

37 Alex M. June 25, 2008 at 8:06 am

I hate when waiters say that 15% is now inadequate and 20% if the new norm. They say that because of inflation, 15% isn’t enough anymore. But guess what? Inflation makes the prices of stuff on the menu go up too, which makes the diner’s bill similarly rise, which makes 15% keep pace with inflation. I set 15% at the standard and give 20% if they do an excellent job.

38 Paul Burney June 25, 2008 at 8:23 am

Re: Hairstylist. Tip 15% of the cost of the haircut.

I think that’s a good rule of thumb if you’re getting a $30+ haircut, but for those who frequent the cheaper establishments (Supercuts, local barber shop), it just seems a bit cheap. I personally have a $4 lower limit for hair cuts and have been known to give $6 or more for the person who spends extra time making sure every hair is in place, or giving a thorough massage while shampooing.

39 Gil June 25, 2008 at 8:31 am

@Novel

15% is easy peas. take 10% of the bill (one of the easiest fractions to figure out) then halve that and add them together.

for example:
A $48 bill would be:

10% – $4.80
5% (half of 10%) – $2.40
so 15% would be $4.80 + $2.40 = $7.20

@Alex M.

Truer words were never spoken.

40 TJ June 25, 2008 at 8:46 am

Garage parking. $2 for your car. When you valet park, tip the person who brings you the car, not the person who parks it. –
I don’t understand this one, why would you not tip the person you are leaving your car with? Depending on the establishment I have found it best to tip the person who parks your car, with a minimum tip of $5+ split between the taker and the retriever. My car is usually left out front, or is brought out immediately upon request.

41 Matthew June 25, 2008 at 9:13 am

Hey,

I totally agree with you!

The whole Karma thing comes full circle here.

What you give the universe you will receive back in an equivalent form.

I just got a haircut and gave the guy $7 because he did a great job. Why not ya know?

Overseas in Europe it is not customary to tip bar tenders and taxi drivers. No one does it.
I stayed in Europe for 5 months and tipped everyone just a bit. Their services and help were truly apreciated, so I felt it necessary.

Good post!!

-Matt @ http://www.thegrowingroom.net

42 newsgirl June 25, 2008 at 11:07 am

$20 at xmas is nice, but you may not realize that newspaper carriers are independent contractors who are expected to pay for their car expenses–including gas. We are not reimbursed by the paper. When gas goes up, our “profit” goes down. When I started, gas was $1.59 in my area. Now it’s $4.19. Oil changes, tires…all of that has gone up. Please consider that when you tip your newscarrier. And if you want to be recognized for your generosity, request your carrier’s name and address from the paper, if it hasn’t been supplied. At my paper, all tips are reported on one line on our bill without identifying who they came from.

43 Jihad Jimmy, Minister of War Crimes and Chief Defender of the faith June 25, 2008 at 11:28 am

Back when the Canadian dollar was considered monopoly money compared to the US dollar, I tipped my tattoo artist $20 american on a $80 canadian tattoo in Vancouver. He was excited. His name was Jamer. Go find him.

44 Eric B. June 25, 2008 at 11:32 am

@Kate

Yes, I have worked at a restaurant (fast food.) No we did not get tips, even when putting together special orders that were called in ahead. We did not expect tips. We were paid minimum wage.

I fail to see the difference between a take-out joint and a fast food joint. Either way, the customer has to put forth the effort to order, get, and take the food to the table.

45 Kate McKay June 25, 2008 at 11:42 am

@Eric-

A fast food restaurant is different from a regular restaurant because in the former the workers are paid minimum wage by the hour while in the latter waiters are paid less than minimum wage and make up the difference in tips. Getting together a takeout order can take 10 minutes of a waiter’s time, so you pay them for that time and service. Not a lot, but a buck or two is appreciated. What is the difference between a waiter taking your order on the phone, packing it up, and checking you out, and a waiter taking your order at the table, bringing you the food, and checking you out?

But again, if there is a dedicated cashier for to-go orders than a tip is not necessary.

46 Adam June 25, 2008 at 11:52 am

@ Jihad Jimmy …
“His name was Jamer. Go find him.”
Hilarious! I mean, it’s a unique name, but Vancouver’s a pretty big place.

The consensus I seem to be hearing is that tipping buys you good service while not tipping, or tipping “poorly”, gets you bad to mediocre service. This only counts toward repeat visits as the tipping comes after the fact. If only a smiling face and pleasant demeanour were enough.

I once saw a bit of a 3rd Rock from the Sun episode where the main character, Dick, put the tip on the table at the beginning of the meal and added to or subtracted from it based on the performance of the waiter. Funny stuff, although pretty rude for real life.

47 Peng June 25, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Excellent subject for discussion! As an Asian living in NYC I find the whole tipping thing insane. If it is supposed to reward a service, why does it depend on the amount of money spent, instead of being some fixed amount for a given profession? I have the impression that the reason many people seem to love to give tips is that it reinforces in them a feeling of class superiority towards the tip receiver and an illusion of exercising certain power over them. That is why physicians (for example) don’t get tipped, since this illusion of power and superiority would be hard to attain for a majority of tippers even with a large tip.

Here are my tipping rules:
1. no tips by default
2. tip when service beyond the expected (very rare: bringing food to my table is not an exceptional service, neither is driving me to the corner of 1st and 23rd)
3. tip when I expect to use the service in the future
4. tip when under peer pressure

48 Robert J. Walker June 25, 2008 at 1:56 pm

I’ve never understood tipping in a restaurant take-out situation. I’ve occasionally tipped when the person was friendly and attentive, and particularly if they were extra-careful to make sure the order was filled correctly. But in general, I just don’t get why tipping should be expected in that situation. With no delivery and no waiting/busing a table, I don’t see how the job of the person behind the restaurant take-out counter is any different than the person at the fast food window, who is not customarily tipped. In fact, I think the fast food person has the tougher job; they’ve got to hurry up and make sure your order’s ready while you’re sitting there waiting in your car, whereas you call ahead at restaurant take-out.

While I’m at it, it seems the meal itself ought to be cheaper in a take-out situation: you’re freeing up a table (and the associated waiting and busing of said table) for another customer, thereby increasing the amount of business the restaurant can support.

49 Robert J. Walker June 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm

@Kate, re: my previous post, after reading yours: I understand the pay difference. It’s silly that things are that way, though. The responsibility of paying employees should fall to the restaurant, not the customers, so that tipping can be what it’s really supposed to be: an expression of appreciation and recognition for excellent service. Restaurants are unfairly taking advantage of their employees by relying on their customers to fulfill their responsibility.

50 BD June 25, 2008 at 2:50 pm

I’ve always wondered (maybe this is included in “Skycap”?) – if I use one of those shuttle services to/from the airport (either from the Park/Ride or the hotel), how much do I tip? I’ve sometimes bluntly asked “what is customary to tip” and the only response is “whatever you like”. I usually give them a couple of bucks, but without a good benchmark it always seems awkward.

Although it’s much less awkward when I’m the only passenger and the driver refuses to talk to me (even the most basic bit of friendliness would suffice)… the tip is easier to determine when it’s 0.

51 S Azcuy June 25, 2008 at 2:53 pm

There is a high-end restaurant/lounge we go to fairly regularly. While the bartender takes our order and makes our drinks, there is a bar assistant (he must have another title, but I don’t know) that serves us any food we order and buses the table. He has always made it a point of chatting with us and bringing us extras that the bartender (obviously busy) doesn’t. He always invites us to come back, brings us samples of new items and even has given us free desert certificates.
We always tip extra generously when he is around, we hope he’s getting a good cut. The questions: How do we find out if he is getting a tip? Should we tip seperately? Is it a practice to give a “holiday”-type tip to this particular “server”.
Thanks for any ideas or insight.

52 Matt June 25, 2008 at 3:34 pm

If you don’t want to tip, eat at McDonald’s. I don’t see what the fuss is about… in America it is and accepted custom. Giving presents at Christmas makes no sense either, but you don’t hear people complain about that.

Why would you complain about a 15% vs 18% tip? On a $20 tab, that’s an extra 60 cents. SIXTY FREAKING CENTS! An extra sixty cents… dollar… five dollars… in the long run, what does that really mean to you?

Loosen up, show some appreciation, and give an extra dollar or two to make up for those who don’t see the necessity.

53 Ryan June 25, 2008 at 3:38 pm

What do you do when you get impeccable food but bad service or vice-versa? Shouldn’t there be a system where I can direct the tip as I see fit (eg. tip cooks instead of the waiter or both)?

54 Ryan June 25, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Whats the best practice for tipping when you order food for pickup?

Few of my own guidelines… and yes i worked many years in the service sector.

Depends when i get my food, before or after bill. Always fear of spitting (or other) in the food.
PIzza – don’t tip more than 3 bucks, or usually around 10%
Favorite Regular Local Joints – usually 18-20%
Chains – I have a hard time tipping them, they generally have really poor service
Generic but great service – 15%
Coffee Barista – at my favorite place I don’t have a problem tipping 2-3 bucks on a 3-4 dollar coffee, just seems like the right thing to do.
I prefer to pay my tips in cash if I can, to minimize the restaurant taking its cut.
Barber – if its a regular place I goto, try to do 5.00 again I prefer to tip in cash

Tipping should not be expected, its really nice to tip when they don’t expect anything.

Tipping is such a North American culture thing, when I was living in NZ it was pretty rude when you tipped someone.

55 Brett McKay June 25, 2008 at 4:29 pm

@BD-That’s a great question and something I often wondered about as well. Anyone here ever worked in the shuttle biz?

@S. Azcuy-I would give the bartender a separate tip. He probably gets a cut from all the servers’ tips, but that would be a lot less than if you gave it to him directly, as a cut sometimes also goes to the hosts and the busboys. And around the holidays it’s always nice to tip a little extra in general.

@Ryan-If the food is bad and you tell the waiter, the waiter should do something to rectify the situation. If they don’t, then you should tip less. If the food is bad and you don’t tell the waiter, then you shouldn’t tip the waiter any less because he has no control over it. As far as tipping the cooks goes….most don’t get tips as they make a regular hourly wage. So if the service is bad but the food is great, don’t worry about docking the tip-it won’t affect the cooks.

56 Peng June 25, 2008 at 4:55 pm

@Matt: Funny you mention McDonalds. I have seen tip buckets there as well. And to paraphrase you, I could say: if a server doesn’t like that people don’t tip, s/he should get a better paid job.

57 Daniel Mick June 25, 2008 at 5:55 pm

I despise tipping. I always have and always will. And I have worked as a professional bartender and also food server for years. It’s an American cultural flaw. I believe this even more so after having lived in India and Japan for close to 4 years where I have received service, without tips, of unimaginable quality that I have never found in the US even with huge tips. I will be returning to the US soon and tipping is something I dread.

Tipping does NOT ensure good service. If it did, tips would be given BEFORE the service. Only regulars can be assured of consistently good service.

And as many have pointed out above, tipping is expected in many situations regardless of service, and it’s expected to be an increasingly high amount. I am a proud and professional bartender and equate my good tips above the “local norm %” with my consistently good service. But the vast majority of servers I have ever worked with (especially in food) are sullen and bitter about their tip amounts. They expect a minimum tip regardless of their shitty service and can never equate that low/no tips are a reflection of their poor service. Granted, many Americans simply don’t tip well. But every server should strive to view their tips as a reflection of their service and view it as feedback on how to improve. I hate that servers have to relie on it as part of their income though!

I of course tip well in tipping situations. How can you fight the system unless you’re an owner yourself…? Not by screwing the little guy.

58 Nick June 25, 2008 at 6:19 pm

Tipping is booty. I worked at an auto parts store and saved people hundreds of dollars by doing free diagnostic tests and then getting them the right part and telling them how to fix it, all while running a cash register and the parts counter. Unlike the majority of the guys in this business I was also friendly. I never got tipped (I just saved you a thousand dollar auto repair bill, Your Welcome). Screw waiters. Plus why do I have to tip so much more just because the food is so expensive. the waitress at a breakfast cafe only gets like five bucks for a tip after doing the same job as some douche at a fancy expensive resturaunt and I’m supposed to tip the douche more because the food was five times as expensive. screw that

59 Finn June 25, 2008 at 6:21 pm

@Brett: I’ll admit it, I did laugh at your comment. :-)
@Kate: Well if I had an experience like yours, I’d probably do the same.

60 Nick June 25, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Hey Matt
ten percent of a 20 dollar tab is 2 bucks so how can fifteen percent be 60 cents, you moron. Yo

61 Peng June 25, 2008 at 6:36 pm

@Nick: Matt meant the difference between 15% and 18%, which indeed is $0.60 on $20.

62 Peng June 25, 2008 at 6:49 pm

@Brett: One more item to add to your list. Here in NYC one of the most complex tipping conundrums are the yearly holiday bonuses the tenants are supposed to give to their doormen. Many people who live in a doorman building obsess about this topic every December.

63 Wrathbone June 25, 2008 at 8:51 pm

I fully believe in not just tipping, but tipping according to the service, not the percentage of the bill. Mostly because the friends I used to associate with were always broke so when we’d go out, they’d actually break out calculators just to make sure they never tipped over the 15%. Cheapskates…

When eating alone, I tip $3 for good service, $4 for excellent service (add $2 if I’m with someone else and I’m picking up the tab). For friendly but slow service, $2. Maybe a bit more if they happen to be really busy. If the service is neither friendly nor fast regardless of the workload, I ask to speak to the manager. If I feel that the service was so poor that the waiter/waitress in question deserves less than $2 or no tip at all, someone needs to tell them so they can improve on their job performance in the future. And the reason I tell the manager is because it’s best if the person who tells the waiter that their service was poor is someone they HAVE to listen to. I’ve had to do this only once.

64 Matt June 26, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Hey Nick,
Thanks for the math lesson.

<3,
Matt

65 Jacob June 26, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Just FYI, didn’t see this mentioned earlier. Max gift for an employer to an employee is $25, not $20.

66 Andrew June 26, 2008 at 10:59 pm

I may have misssed it in a previous post, but you have to remember that the IRS taxes an employee based on the amout of the check. Because the meal or drinks were expensive, does not mean the employee is well paid. . While you were having a good time while out, while running up a decent tab, the IRS taxes the employee on the amount of that tab. Therefore , you just cost that server money for coming to work and doing their job. Especially when they gave you good service, which is generaly most of the time. The IRS has a problem understanding that the customer undertipped, or did not tip you . The employee usually looses these unpleasant confrontations.
As long as the gov’t keeps assuming what a server makes in tips, please don’t punish the server for what the dinner or drinks cost. As far as the staff sometimes splitting their tips with others, so what?
A wise man once said, ” never count another mans money”.
BTW, yes, once upon a time, I worked as a tipped employee.

67 James June 27, 2008 at 9:09 am

I can attest to this in regards to postmen. At my previous apartment complex, there was a postman who was apparently the most disgruntled man in the universe. According to a handful of neighbors, he was rude and wasn’t fond people asking for their mail while he was putting it in their boxes or even people hovering while he was doing so. On one than more occasion, he succeeding in severely pissing off a friend mine and vice versa so that he actually was given a different route for about 2 months.

My wife and I never knew this side of him as our first Christmas at the complex we left a small pen set we picked up at target in our mail slot for him. My mail was always handed to me when I walked to him while he was distributing it and he was always civil and often cheerful to the two of us. There job, while secure in many respects, is pure drudgery. I think it really touched him that strangers had thought of him and $10 made all the difference.

68 Colin June 27, 2008 at 4:47 pm

For your caddie on the golf course (at least at a nice course), 100% of the caddie’s rate for a tip is good, more is always appreciated.

69 Oscar June 27, 2008 at 6:23 pm

As a caddy, normally I’m happy with around fifty percent more. I’ve recieved 100% before, and it is appreciated. Even then, I’d rather caddy for a nice golfer who tips badly than a jerk who tips well.

70 Algernon June 27, 2008 at 7:05 pm

@ James – I’m not sure if you’re in America, but mail carriers here aren’t allowed to take tips. I’m not saying that he didn’t take and appreciate the pen set, but he really wasn’t supposed to take it.

@ Zach – 10% of the hotel bill for housekeeping per day? Only if you’re staying at a $20-$50 hotel, as $2-$5 is the norm.

@ Andrew – Having worked in restaurants, I can definitely say that servers are not taxed by the IRS based on the food bill. We’re taxed on reported income. In fact, lower taxes due to under-reported tips has caused some recent lawsuits against servers who blatantly disregard honest self-reporting.

And a note about foreigners: I used to take taxis regularly in San Francisco without incident. However, one day I took a taxi with a friend from Israel and the driver very purposely let the meter role longer than he should have. I was angry until my friend left the cab without tipping. It turns out he didn’t know Americans tip taxi drivers until I told him afterward. The taxi driver was just running up the meter because he suspected he wasn’t going to be tipped.
My advice would be to subtract this amount from any tip if your driver goes out of the way or otherwise runs up the meter. Also, if more people learn the culture and customs of where they’re going before they leave home, American servers will begin treating foreigners with more respect.

71 Kyle June 30, 2008 at 11:23 am

The statement that waitresses, etc., will make less than minimum wage without tips is false. They get their $2.13 an hour plus tips, and if that comes out to below minimum wage, the employer is required by law to pay them the amount necessary to bump them up to the minimum wage.

That being said, I still tip skillfully. I recently spent six weeks in another town for an internship, and I visited this one restaurant about four times. By the last time, they knew my name, what I liked, and would give me extra goodies with my meal (I ordered a brownie for dessert once, and I was treated to a brownie with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream to accompany it).

However, I refuse to tip at places where the person doesn’t visit your table (e.g., fast food establishments, etc.) to take your order.

72 anonymous July 1, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Some bartenders do not deserve 20%. When a beer goes for $7 and the bartender takes forever to get to you, waiting on people who have come after you, they don’t need $2 per drink for simply opening the tap. I always base my last tip to the bartender on my first drinks. I used to wait tables, so I know how hard it can be to earn a tip. But bartenders are very rarely working as hard as a waiter, and some of them act like emperors.

I almost never go below 20% for a waiter, and rarely go above 30%. For a bartender, my range spans lower than 10% for greater than 50%, as the variability in their service has a greater impact on my enjoyment of the night.

73 Ejpierle July 2, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Hi,

I have read every post here because tipping is something that I feel strongly about because my survival depends on it. I live and work as a bartender in Waikiki, Hawaii. I see people from all over the world. I give good service every time, even though I know that many times I will receive no tip.
We are VERY lucky that the state requires that all employees, even tipped ones, make $5/per hour as an minimum hourly wage. Now, it takes, AT LEAST, double that to afford living in Hawaii, but I digress.
I know that tipping does not occur in most other countries, and that in some countries it is down right insulting. In American, however, we tip. It is the custom. In Japan, it is customary that you remove your shoes before entering someone’s house. In Italy, it is customary that you wear long pants when entering the wonderful churches and cathedrals. When you are in another country, you follow the customs, if you don’t, then they don’t allow you to participate. Quite literally — When in Rome, do as the Romans do… or wait outside.
That is how I feel about tipping in the United States.
I never solicit tips, even though without them I would be homeless and hungry, but if anyone asks about it, I am happy to educate.
When international guests ask about tipping, I explain that we make a very low hourly wage and 50-80% of my income comes from tips. They are generally outraged and say, “You mean I’m paying $30 for this steak and $5 for this beer and you only make 5 bucks an hour?!? Well, in Australia (and probably many other places,) servers and bartenders make $15-$20 an hour and I pay the same price for my food at home as I do here where you make $5. Where’s your manager, I need to get you a raise.” I smile and say, “How is the service in Australia?” “F–k all,” they say. I then say, “How about here?” “Pretty f–ckin good, I’d say.” Then I say, “Well, the difference between here and there is that we are depending on your tips and they aren’t.”
I will be the first to admit that the system sucks, but it has good intentions. We offer you excellent service, we enhance your social interaction, sometimes we help you get laid. I’m sure that you are a great person, but we do all this in hopes that you will throw down some of those all-important dollars. It’s win-win.
If you have a poor dining experience due to the server, let him know. Talking to the manager usually doesn’t help, since most managers used to be servers, so your only tool is with a poor tip. Just look around and appreciate the situation before you stiff someone. You are the most important person in the room, we want to give you good service, we NEED your money. Why would we intentionally give you bad service? If your server is running around crazy because they have too many tables, the hostess or manager is to blame.
I realize that there comes a point where people run out of sympathy and all that is left is anger. Some people just suck at their jobs and are undeserving of your sympathy, just your pity. They need to change jobs, and as much as I hate to say this, sometimes giving a good tip to a bad server just so they won’t starve this week is simply prolonging the inevitable. Not the starving necessarily, just the finding a different job.
In summary, if you don’t like/understand/feel comfortable with the tipping system, don’t support the establishment. But dining out and then stiffing your wait staff or bartender is simply hurting the people who are most concerned with your satisfaction in the first place. Dining out is an experience. If you had a pleasant experience, 15% is fine. If you had a great experience, 20% is appreciated. Servers remember the good tippers… and they talk about the bad ones.
Oh, and before I get any anger from the Aussies, know this. I love you all. You are the most genuinely good-natured, courteous people I have ever met. I have a box of names and addresses of places to crash if I’m ever in Adelaide, Wololoomba, Sydney, or a bunch of other places. I just use you as example because you have the most colorful slang. Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oy Oy Oy!

74 FingerSoup July 4, 2008 at 6:49 am

@ Matt – Tipping the Chef – if you feel that the food is exceptionally good at a restaurant, a gentlemanly thing to do for the chef would be to invite him to your table for a drink of his choice (Typically brandy, port, or liqueur). Some people will also shake hands and thank the chef, if the chef or the diners do not drink. Most Chefs make well over minimum wage, and would rather have some other form of gratification for their staff.

I’ve always thought folding and passing a bill, or “greasing the palm” of a service person to be, well, greasy, and uncouth… (It’s usually done as a bribe to try and jump the line) But in this case, near the end, or after the meal, this may be the only discrete way to pass a monetary amount to a Cook at a lower-end restaurant, with a small staff of cooks instead of an entire range of culinary staff (Chef, Sous-Chef, Line Cook, etc…)

If you think of a restaurant in military terms – you don’t give a General money for doing his job – he gets paid enough. On the other hand, the grunt workers could always use the extra cash, and would appreciate it. One must pay their respects accordingly to the type of staff you deal with. That said, I don’t think a cook would mind being treated like a chef and being offered a drink instead of a monetary tip. His drink choice just might not be as fancy as you’d expect from a chef.

75 Darryl July 21, 2008 at 6:25 pm

I’ve seen it on both sides of the coin (being the tipper and the tippee). But don’t expect me to tip anyone who is rude and ignorant! I had a bartender who was rude, ignorant, screwed up our drinks and treated our waitress like crap. so instead of tipping the bartender we all tipped the waitress. (we were a group of like 10 and her tip was well over 100 bucks) As for the bartender the only tip we gave was to complain to the owner of the club…and we never heard from him again. So people whenever you get a tip smile and say thank you…even if it’s a bad tip (and believe me I’ve got a lot of them when i bussed tables) ’cause Karma can come back and kick you in the ass when you least expect it!

76 Sue July 28, 2008 at 7:46 am

Being an independent newspaper carrier(distributor/contractor) I can tell you we really count on tips all year round. We not only have to pay for our gas and vehicle expenses, ( Some repairs costing thousands of dollars and brakes an easy $300-$600 every 4-6 months)but pay taxes on our income plus tips as they are reported on a 1099 form. I use 45 gallons of gas a week and our newspaper just started a .50 a month temp. fuel surcharge to give to the carriers. That does not even cover 1 weeks worth of gas. We have to buy our bags if we wrap the paper. I don’t know who ever came up with tipping the paper carrier only at Xmas but I know the trashman and the mailman all receive good hourly rates and health care benefits and retirement benefits and the paper carrier should not be placed with them. We receive nothing from the newspapers but our per piece rate. Please advise your readers that they should tip the paper carrier on all their bills as we depend on it to help cover expenses.

77 John August 5, 2008 at 12:08 pm

How about delivery people. Like the guys who deliver a new range or washer or dryer to your home or apartment? $5-10 each?

78 alex August 7, 2008 at 2:31 pm

i regularly eat at little places like waffle house and steak and shake in the middle of the night, some of those people ive gotten to know and work multiple jobs, i tip way more the the customary 15% i usually tip closer to 50% mostly because the meals are cheap and they work way to hard for what they make. ive also gotten tips when working retail and always try to not accept them because im just doing my job.

79 Jack Robinson August 13, 2008 at 1:11 pm

I love all these post stating: “but the employer has to make up the difference between minimum wage.” If you are a server, and your boss has to cough up money becuase you can’t make enough in tips, then you’ll be fired quite quickly. To whit, no one takes a serving job w/the expecation of making only minimum wage; no one in their right mind would want to put up with the belittling, brow-beating behaviour of restaurant patrons that I witness on a regular basis for just minimum wage. Is it “right?” Probably not. But noone ever said that American Capitalism was right, or even remotely fair. If you want someone to wait on you, you get to pay for it. If you don’t want to tip, get take-out, or cook your own food. I think the most telling part of the whole debate is this: In years of working service jobs, the most demanding customers always tipped the least. The more entitled you feel, the less you feel you should have to pay….for anything. It’s usually not poor/underemployed folks who bitch about tipping. It’s cheap (read: inconsiderate) people with no concern for the lives of others around them. Nyah.

80 John Hooper August 20, 2008 at 12:55 am

You Americans need to stop tipping as a substitute for pay. It’s a moronic condescending practice that you’re unfortunately exporting a masquerade for manners.

There’s absolutely no reason to “tip” someone for bringing you a plate of food. That price should be built into the meal and passed on by the employer in the form of a wage. That’s how real men pay their staff.

The other way is akin to begging. No employee deserves to be treated like that, and frankly, a real man would boycott an establishment that doesn’t pay its staff.

81 Greg August 24, 2008 at 12:25 pm

On tipping your tattoo artist: I have some very large, time consuming tattoos and I generally tip 10 per hour. It may sound like a lot, but remember, tattoo prices are not set in stone. For the most part, the artist makes her or her own prices, so a big tip can (and has for me) lead to cheaper tattoos in the future.

82 Halycon September 6, 2008 at 11:09 pm

>>John Hooper – and the rest of the world needs to remember that socialism has to stop somewhere. Tipping isn’t an incentive, it is a check on service. Most waitstaff remembers to be kind and courteous., but occasionally you come across someone, who for some reason, doesn’t quite get it. How do you went your frustrations then? Do you call the manager? Doesn’t that seem a bit extreme? In our situation tipping serves to reinforce the idea that the staff serves the customer, and not the other way around.

I live in Las Vegas and you tip for everything. Everything. When you get to a hotel remember to tip the cleaners, the doorman, the bellhop, the concierge, anyone who hands you anything related to food or drink, “that guy in the restroom” (yes, you do tip him anywhere between 1 and 5 dollars), dealers, cocktail waitresses, the valet (including the one who gives you a rental car), exotic dancers (some dancers pay to work, tips are their only source of income), the chef (if you eat a meal that costs over a thousand dollars ask to see the chef, palm him 10 to 25% and thank him personally), performers at a show and anyone else who does any sort of service for you, no matter how mundane. The idea that some waitstaff don’t make minimum wage is completely true.

83 Jim September 12, 2008 at 8:17 am

Thanks for the guidelines. I’ve always tipped the waitress and some others, but I never knew of any guides for how much to tip other service workers.

One thing I would add is that many service workers frequently hear constant groundless complaints and are often berated mercilessly for things they had no control over. So one thing I do is make a point of filling out comment cards and telling them I was happy with the job they did, especially if the job was exceptional. This is of course in addition to some extra on the tip. It makes them feel good, and makes them look better to their boss. I sure appreciated that when I was on their side of the counter.

84 idan September 13, 2008 at 4:30 pm

My biggest complaint with tipping is basing it on a percentage of the check. I’ve gone to a local dive where a 15% tip is $0.75 – not very fair to the server. On the other hand, I ended up at a restaurant that was much more expensive than I expected. My 15% tip for the least expensive thing on the menu was over $7 (and $45 for the table) — too much for just taking our order and bringing us food.

@Novel – If you’re in a state with a sales tax of around 7.5%, you can just double the tax to calculate the tip. Since the tip is taken off the pre-tax amount, this works out perfectly.

85 Shane10101 September 14, 2008 at 1:02 pm

>>The whole tipping system is flawed and inefficient IMO.<>You Americans need to stop tipping as a substitute for pay. It’s a moronic condescending practice that you’re unfortunately exporting a masquerade for manners. There’s absolutely no reason to “tipâ€? someone for bringing you a plate of food.<<

Another excellent point! When I was in Europe, I saw exactly what John was talking about — many of the waiters there (especially in the non-touristy areas) _did_ just “bring you a plate of food”. Hell, some of them didn’t even come by & refill my water! It was as though the customers were more of a nuisance than anything else; keeping the waitstaff from smoking cigarettes around back or something. I felt like telling some of them in advance, “hey, I’m going to give you a good tip. Just make sure I’m not dying of thirst over here!” Though I don’t know whether that would have helped.

I did have some customers who made me feel like I was begging for a living. But most of the time, I sincerely did enjoy making people happy. It’s not every job where you get to do that twenty or so times a night.

Shane

86 Shane10101 September 14, 2008 at 1:04 pm

Oops — bad forum manners! I think my makeshift “blockquote” marks made half my post disappear. Forgive me please, & let me try that again:

—————————

++ The whole tipping system is flawed and inefficient IMO. ++

It’s a good point — why should we tip people for doing their job?? I can see why you (and _many_ other people) would think that way. And, in some cases, I agree. The distinction comes down to exactly what you’ve recognized: Efficiency.

As a waiter for more years than I care to think about, I saw the way tipping can make a system more efficient (by which I mean, “better-operating” or providing a better experience for the customer.) I was very good at what I did — at making sure people were happy & had a pleasurable experience when they came into my restaurant. I made very good money by doing so, despite my base pay of only $2.13/hr.

Other waiters weren’t very good, especially when they were new. There wouldn’t have been much reason for them to improve, had tipping not been the standard.
It’s like being able to give yourself a raise — no begging the boss-man required.

However, the reason this works is because there is the potential for variance in the level of service the customer receives. In situations like car-washing, or tattooing/piercing, or — heck, I’ll go with it — nursing, when you connect the level of pay to the level of service, it makes things more fair. (Why should people have to pay the same price for poor service as for excellent service?! Why should crummy service people make the same as really hard-working service people?!)

In other cases — like the tip jar @ the cash register @ Subway, for instance — tipping is just absurd. There’s little difference between the sandwich you get when it’s made by a skillful, experienced “sandwich artist”, vs the, perhaps not quite as neatly-prepared sandwich you get when it’s made by the new guy. Sorry — no increase in “efficiency” (as I’ve used the term above) there.

@John Hooper ++ You Americans need to stop tipping as a substitute for pay. It’s a moronic condescending practice that you’re unfortunately exporting a masquerade for manners. There’s absolutely no reason to “tipâ€? someone for bringing you a plate of food.++

Another excellent point! When I was in Europe, I saw exactly what John was talking about — many of the waiters there (especially in the non-touristy areas) _did_ just “bring you a plate of food”. Hell, some of them didn’t even come by & refill my water! It was as though the customers were more of a nuisance than anything else; keeping the waitstaff from smoking cigarettes around back or something. I felt like telling some of them in advance, “hey, I’m going to give you a good tip. Just make sure I’m not dying of thirst over here!” Though I don’t know whether that would have helped.

I did have some customers who made me feel like I was begging for a living. But most of the time, I sincerely did enjoy making people happy. It’s not every job where you get to do that twenty or so times a night.

Shane

87 Dave Dragon September 17, 2008 at 7:36 am

I too believe in tipping anyone willing to Serve me & mine, and tipping well!

The service industry is just a few steps above slavery anyway and these folks that serve us, ad do it with a smile in a timely fashion, deserve a real living wage that unfortunately will not come through their paychecks.

Ride it like you stole it

88 Edward September 20, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Tipping good always led to me getting great contacts for information. I don’t drink but that never stopped me from tipping the bartenders extra for my water or soda.

89 Amy November 9, 2008 at 2:40 am

As a server in Canada, I know most restaurants around make their servers tip a certain percentage of food and liquor sales to the kitchen and bar. If you don’t tip, the server will end up paying the kitchen and bar out of their own pocket. If you tip at least 3-5 percent, at least that will be covered (with nothing or little left for the server).

In my opinion, tipping has gotten out of hand (15-20 percent should be reserved for really good service, not standard). However, keeping in mind that most servers are underpaid with the assumption that tips will make the difference, and that they have to tip those who serve them, I understand that it’s a necessary evil.

And yes, I will bust my ass for chronically good tippers.

90 Amy November 9, 2008 at 2:51 am

Also, tip according to how many times you made your server come to the table or how difficult you made the process. If you were really needy and made him/her run back and forth all night because you kept forgetting you needed just one more thing, you kept them from helping other tables (causing those tips to be crummy). If they only had to come by two or three times to bring your drinks, food, and check, they don’t need to be tipped more than ten percent.

91 Shelley December 6, 2008 at 7:47 am

I give some type of Christmas bonus to “anyone who makes my life easier.” Such as, pool cleaner, yard man, dry cleaning delivery, mail man, pharmacist, wait staff at restaurant I go to frequently….Why not? They ar making my life easier & more pleasant. Why not give them something to make their life more pleasant?

92 raukonaug December 24, 2008 at 10:24 am

Tipped labor can only be paid $2.13/hour if the hourly wage and tips add up to be more than the minimum wage of $6.55. So even if no one tips, the waitress will still make at least $6.55. Tipping can only make her get paid more than minimum wage.

93 Kristy February 21, 2009 at 2:16 am

It’s true that if you tip poorly, we think less of you. I went out with a friend, and an acquaintance. When it came time to pay, my acquaintance put down his tip and then tried to pick it up again to pay for arcade games at the movie theater. I was shocked, and demanded that he put it back. My other friend hadn’t noticed and tried to call me out- saying we left enough. The girl who served us was efficient and friendly, she deserved her tip. I made him put the money back, and refuse to even talk to him longer than a minute anymore. Especially when he wants me to set him up with my friends. Why would I want some selfish guy to scam someone I like. I even had to put in an extra dollar because he was too cheap anyway on the tip- only about 5%.

94 Kyle March 18, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Another one of these bogus articles?

Suddenly my date is going to think I’m a cheap loser because I don’t tip 20%+? Maybe it’s a good idea to drop her, than, if she’s going to be that materialistic.

I think the problem stems from the fact that the people doing these service jobs tend to be greedy teenagers trying to suck money out of anyway they can so they turned this whole tipping thing in to a bullshit guilt trip. It’s not my responsibility to make sure people are making enough at their jobs to support themselves. I have my own job and my own responsibilities. At a restaurant, if I get good service I tip 15%. If it is anything less than good, I don’t leave anything. I don’t care how many tables they have, how busy they are, how behind the kitchen is. I’m going out to eat to forget about all those responsibilities. I may as well cook my own food at home if I was going to have to take on those responsibilities.

Your pizza delivery example only enforces my opinion in regards to the people performing these jobs are typically lower educated teenagers (not low educated because they’re idiots, just because they haven’t reached a higher level of schooling because of age). People should be doing a good job regardless. Not a revenge thing. If somebody was tipped poorly and they have to serve that same person at another time, don’t you think they should serve them BETTER than last time because apparently they didn’t do good enough job before. But instead, we have restauraunts full of people trying to spit in peoples food because they tipped poor last time. This just goes to show what type of people are working these service jobs. You’re low class if you spit in someones food. Period.

You seem to be confused with the concept of tipping. “Tipping ensures great service”. Whaaat?! It’s the other way around. Great service ensures tipping. If the service was great, it should be tipped. Not if they get a nice tip, respond with great service.

And tipping the take out person? Wow.

You’re forgetting that the service is ALREADY BEING PAID FOR. What did my original bill cover if my tip is also covering it? The bill is covering the service (which INCLUDES waitors waiting on customers), whereas the tip gives an extra little “thanks” if the work was GREAT, not good or sastisfactory.

There’s also a problem with service people thinking that if a person tips bad that the customer is a cheap ass. The service worker seems to be unable to figure out that the low tip was a representation of the service, not him being cheap.

This whole tip argument is annoying. You won’t find me tipping 20%+ for satisfactory service, and believe me, I’m not cheap. I just don’t find it necessary to give my money away to undeserving people. And if you give me nothing but normal service, expect to get normal pay (your salary without a tip from me).

The solution to this problem is that customers need to stop tipping for good/normal/satisfactory service and only tip for EXCELLENT service.

95 Tyler May 18, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Good advice overall. However in the most gentlemanly states, AKA the states where the government has their s#%$ together, waitresses make minimum wage which is about 7-8 dollars an hour. The states that do no impose the same minimum wage for all workers are becoming the exception.

96 DG July 29, 2009 at 3:07 am

Cheap people will come up with any number of excuses why they don’t need to tip. The bottom line is, in the U.S. certain people get tipped and employers know this which is why the employee makes minimum wage. We are taxed on our hourly wages as if we are being tipped at least 15% in most cases which means if you don’t tip, the service worker is being taxed as if you did. This means that not only are they not making money on the job, they are in fact breaking even or even losing money while they work. That is tantamount to slavery and it’s both morally and legally frowned upon.

Telling someone to get a higher paying job means that people on the very bottom of the socio-economic scale, mostly undocumented workers, will fill the service jobs and those of us who are educated with a good work ethic will go elsewhere to earn a living. This will bring down the overall experience and service you will get at a bar or restaurant. Now if you want a 5th grade drop-out who can’t communicate as your server or bartender then by all means, stop tipping and that’s what you’re going to get because thats the only person who will work for minimum wage. If you are satisfied with the level of service you get at McDonalds or Wallmart, but from a server or bartender instead, by all means, keep your money. Notice that these workers are unable to improvise, make recommendations, provide you with much information on the product, have in depth conversations with you on a wide array of topics, or do much of anything besides take your money in exchange for a product. They may be nice enough people, but little is required of them other than showing up (they are essentially wage slaves and this too must change).

Of course if everyone collectively decided not tip, then the money would need to be made up elsewhere, namely by wages which in turn would increase the price of the item being purchased. In Europe the workers wage is included in the price of the goods and services and accordingly everything costs more. European workers are covered by nationalized health care and additional forms of social programs which prevent even low end workers from falling into total destitution. In the U.S., if you don’t earn enough, you simply are allowed to die. That’s the bottom line. That is the reason why Europeans who don’t tip are treated rudely by U.S. service workers. In the U.S. if you try to unionize you are simply fired and the government will look the other way or the cops will beat you up, particularly if you try to unionize in a large corporation or chain where bribery and payoffs to local law enforcement or provocateurs is common. Not tipping for at least adequate service is, in effect, stealing wages from largely powerless people. The U.S. is not a place where the economy is not completely socially engineered. Theoretically, people are allowed to succeed or fail based on performance. Someone who excels in their profession expects to be paid more than someone who does not. Tipping is an expression of this principal. You don’t give everyone doing the same job the same wage, because this doesn’t encourage excellence or hard work. People will only work hard enough not to get fired and if all they get is minimum wage, how hard will that be? Again, only desperate people will fill a minimum wage job. In most cases, non-tippers will find it difficult to get business owners to reprimand or fire employees for bad service based solely on the complaints of the small number of people who don’t tip and therefore get poor service. If an employee is providing bad service to tippers and non-tippers alike, sales will eventually decline on that workers shift and they will be gone soon enough. Employers in the U.S. expect their staff to work hard but they also understand that there has to be some incentive for that hard work and they would rather ignore the 10% of you that don’t tip than fire an employee who is bringing in tons of cash from the other 90%. They also don’t want to pay higher wages which means if the employee is not making adequate money through tips, they will either ask for a raise, give away drinks to make up the difference, or steal. It’s a well known fact in the bar industry that many a bar-owner gathered together enough principal to buy a bar by stealing when they worked for someone else. Employees who are responsible, earn money for the owner, and are honest are hard to come by and most business owners know this. The chances of a customer getting an employee fired in the service industry is very slim. And why would you want to be the kind of person to get someone fired anyway? That’s someone’s life, and possibly the life of their children you are effecting just for not doing something that you are supposed to do anyway? Again if you are treated rudely by a server, better to just leave than try to get even. The server could be going through some personal problem or gotten some bad news and they were unable to get their shift covered which means if they don’t work, they could get fired. Rarely do people outside of the service industry get fired if they can’t show up because of an emergency or simply because they are sick.

If no one tipped service workers, then the decline in wages would ripple into the rest of the economy. i.e. If I don’t get tipped by Mr. X on a drink, I won’t be able to afford to buy a widget from Mr. Y later in the week. Now Mr. Y is short of cash and can’t afford to buy something from Mr. X. It’s like economic Karma. If you don’t give in this world, pretty soon it will come back to you.

I have an advanced degree. The truth is that bartending pays better than a lot of jobs you can get with a masters degree because 90% of the people out there know they are supposed to tip in the U.S. The 10% of you who don’t tip or tip poorly have any number of reasons that you don’t think you should, but the system isn’t going to change here because you are in such a small minority. This is the same excuse I hear from Europeans who don’t tip at home so they don’t think they have to tip here. When I go to a foreign country, I don’t want to offend the locals so I find out what the customs are and I follow them. If you want great service you have to pay for it. That doesn’t mean you have to tip bad service provided you even know how to identify it. The best way to proceed is to tip well up front, either the first time you go to a restaurant or the first round of drinks you order. If you receive bad service after that, tip less or go somewhere else. I promise you that any server who has held onto a prominent position in a bar or restaurant will take care of customers that tip well right from the start. If I get poor service after tipping well, I take my money elsewhere. But this never happens because servers are going to follow the basic free market principal of reciprocity and help whomever is helping them the most.

One way or another, a vibrant and exciting restaurant, nightclub, or bar scene requires happy and enthused servers. This depends upon people being well payed for their work either through tips or higher wages. One way or another you have to pay for the service. In America, the service is generally not included in the cost of food or liquor. This is the system that we have in place here and the 10% of you who don’t want to play along just appear cheap, ignorant, petty, or inexperienced. Since I deal with so many tourists from other countries, young people, amateurs, etc. I rely on regulars, other service workers, and people in the know for the bulk of my salary. These people are going to be treated better in the form of free drinks, information, feeling included, treated respectfully etc. Non-tippers will receive none of this and should not expect it. Again, you get what you pay for. And minimum wage doesn’t buy much. In closing, it’s much easier in the long run to get with the program and leave an appropriate tip for adequate service. Otherwise you are marked in an establishment by the staff and other patrons as someone who doesn’t know what they are doing or can’t afford to be there. If you are truly broke, leaving something is better than nothing, but generally, if you can’t afford to tip at least a little, you can’t afford to go out.

97 Winston Smith August 28, 2009 at 10:32 am

I didn’t really have much of a problem with tipping, sypathized with the wait staff at restaurants, and was generous until servers just started expecting 20% regardless, and started saying that customers, the people who keep them employed, don’t “deserve” to eat out unless they tip 20%?!!! I can’t think of another business with this attitude to customers.

And where I live I found out that, sob stories aside, the servers actually make a min. wage of $8/hr. More than I made at the worst customer service jobs, without tips or complaining. So again, don’t feel sorry for them. And won’t give such ingrates any more money.

Moreover, percentages adjust to inflation, so why the hell do tip percentages keep going up? I’m glad I learned to cook before they simply expect, regardless, a quarter of the bill at Denny’s, since it’s apparently for the priviliged. For an unintentional look at the true unmasked loathesomeness of servers check out Oprah’s episode on “manners,” where politeness basically translated to sitting down and shutting up with servers, being their own personal cash register, accepting the crappiest table, taking whatever they gave you and liking it. You get the pic. But these little beggers don’t get anymore of my money.

And while tipping 50% at a waffle place sounds nice, it seems to give the servers an attitude about deserving that rate regularly. It is sort of like the way I can’t help but hate on those who propagate panhandling by giving the homeless their change. This makes it harder for the ordinary diners who go there specifically because they need to budget-which is why those places exist in the first place. Remember 10% was generous as recently as the 90s, now it is “unwelcome.”

98 Rob August 31, 2009 at 9:19 pm

So, how much would you tip a deck hand / deck master? Any advise on nautical tipping?

99 Colin September 20, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Taking my first train trip to the coast. It will take two days. How much do I tip the conductor or porter or anyone else I may come across?

100 Reglan Side Effects Lawsuit December 14, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I always thought that tips for pizza delivery guys be upped with percentages. I never tip under 3 even if it took a while, and for larger orders 10% is fairly standard.

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