What Are Your Tipping Rules?

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I thought I knew what the rules for tipping were. When I'm at a restaurant, my standard is to pay double the tax (comes out to 16.5% where I am). I'll give 20% if it was a super meal with super service (and I'm not that hard to please). I give my stylist and esthetician at least 20% because they're awesome and they're *relatively* cheap compared to others I've been to. I'll tip the car wash guys $3-$5 because I know they're not getting paid well and I hate washing cars.

I've never tipped my mechanic because I have the impression he makes a good living with his skill, but I wonder if anybody does? These days I'm seeing tip jars everywhere. Am I supposed to leave a tip for my dry cleaner??? Because there's the tip jar. Why do I need to tip for coffee?? Isn't paying $4.00 enough? Are the teens scooping ice cream for me depending on the tips to save for college? When I pick up take-out, I only leave a tip when I pay with a credit card, because the tip line is right there, and it feels wrong to cross it out or put $0. But then I realize I just left a tip for someone to put my small meal into a bag and hand it to me. Am I really supposed to pay for that service? Because I'd be happy to bag my own, thank you very much.

I posed these questions to fellow Wise Bread bloggers and these are their rules. What are yours? Tell us your rules for tipping and be entered into a random drawing for a $25 Amazon gift certificate!


Justin Ryan
I'm generally a big tipper in restaurants; I'm vegetarian, so my order is always a special order, and I generally have some other kind of specification (no X, Y, or Z on the salad, no ice in my drink, etc.), so if they actually manage to satisfy me, I generally tip pretty well.

Don't bother to tip the mechanic; they would probably like it, but they're getting paid pretty well, especially if the insurance company is covering the repairs. My dad is a retired bodyman, and when he worked for the dealerships, he made about $37.50/hr for insurance work.

I don't tip for takeout, unless I asked them to do something out of the ordinary. Otherwise, all they did was their regular job, and I did the service part myself at home. If they deliver it, then the delivery guy gets a tip.

I never go to the car wash where there are people to do it, so I don't know. I usually do it at home, or go to the power wash thing if it's really dirty.

As for tip jars other places, my thought is generally that a tip is only necessary if the staff has done something out of the ordinary, offered some special service, or is on reduced wage (servers, for example, make $2.13/hr [the last time I checked], so they desperately need tips). If all they did was made my latte, pulled my clothes off a rack, or something similar, then I don't really see a reason to give a tip.

Andrea Dickson
Andrea Dickson Being a fellow pain-in-the-waitstaff's-butt, I always tip big in restaurants. Also, I worked as a waitress in high school and college, and I STILL remember certain diners who gave me good tips. A typical family in my hometown with throw food all over the floor (also, open sugar packets and then put them back in the sugar packet holder with greasy finger prints all over them) and leave a fifty-cent tip. The occasional person who was polite and left a hefty tip made my day. I want to be that for everyone.

I tip my hairdresser well because I love her. I tip coffeeshops well because I want them to remember me. I tip my grocery delivery guy only on holidays.

When I lived in NYC, one of my friends lived in a building with a doorman. Having grown up in a small town, I had actually never dealt with one. I had NO IDEA that I was supposed to tip the guy for the 8 months that I was in and out of that building every day. I feel so embarrassed now looking back at it--he was such a nice guy.

Sarah Winfrey
Sarah WinfreyHmm...Since Dave was a server for a while, we tip based on service. Poor service gets a 10% tip, normal service gets 15%, and good-great service gets 18-20%. That's what he always wanted when he served--to get tipped based on what his actual performance was--so that's what we give others.

I tip some hairdressers. I tend to skip around, and if I like the cut, I usually tip 10-15%.

I hardly ever put money in tip jars--it depends on the place. Generally, I'm more likely to do it if the server is particularly nice or helpful, or if it's not a chain sort of place. I don't tip at Cold Stone because I don't like it when they sing.

I've never even heard of tipping a mechanic.

I tip the pizza guy at least 10%, mostly because I think his job sucks and I want to let him know I appreciate it, and because when I'm desperate enough to order pizza, I'm usually just so thankful it showed up that I want the wonderful people who brought FOOD! to have some more money. Same for other takeout.

Julie Rains
Julie RainsI feel comfortable tipping when I understand that tips are the primary source of someone’s income or the major reason the job is worth having. I like to be generous but on the other hand, I am frugal. Since I know that waiters/waitresses live off of tips rather than wages, I tip 20% unless the service is not good and then somewhere between 10% for really bad to 15% for so-so. I don’t think I am particularly demanding but do like to have enough water to drink and, apparently, go through water pretty fast. The people who deliver Chinese food generally get 15% (they are really fast and the food is great) and I pick up nearly everything else and don’t tip for pick-up.

I’ve never tipped my newspaper deliverer though he has solicited in the past by enclosing a card around the holidays. It took me numerous calls and approximately 10 years to convince the circulation department that I wanted a paper everyday (my name never appeared on some official list so whenever there was a substitute carrier, we never got a paper). Our carrier changed in the past year and he accidentally damaged our driveway during his first visit (my house is on a dead-end street and if you don’t stay on the driveway, you may land in a small ditch on the right or large one on the left; it’s not that difficult but I’m sure a bit tricky in the dark for the first time); that may be karma or just a sign that we’re even. I didn’t complain or ask for compensation because I figured that would put a dent in his earnings and it was just a first-time mistake and hasn’t happened again.

I feel most comfortable giving gifts (cash or gift cards) during the holidays (near or after Christmas or the New Year) for those service people who set their own prices.

Whenever I see a tip jar, I think of George on Seinfeld, trying to make change in the tip jar and being accused of stealing . I have put money in the jars but it’s rare. Other people who I may tip are trip guides and musicians.

Paul Michael
Paul Michael I have a slightly different perspective on this because the rules are somewhat different in the UK, or at least they were when I finally left about 7 years ago. I used to tip for great service in the UK on anything, but service comes included in every meal and the wait staff are paid a decent wage, so they would only get a good tip if they did an outstanding job.

Over here, things are very different. Wait staff rely on tips to support themselves, so I always tip regardless of service. But how much and what type of service varies. I'll generally tip 20% on any kind of food service. More if they were outstanding. I'll tip the bar staff $1 per drink on small rounds, or 20% if I run a tab.

I do my own hair, so no tips for me. On delivery food, it's usually 10% of the bill, or $1 per pizza if there are a lot of pizzas. I'll always try and drop a buck or two in the hat of a street musician, that's a tough way to earn a living. In hotels, I tip a few bucks to the doorman and room service. Again, more if they do an amazing job.

I will tip $1 at cold stone because I like that they hate to sing. I tip the newspaper delivery guy $5 at Christmas. And I'll drop tips in jars if the staff have been courteous and helpful.

Finally, I don't tip at fast food places. As Reservoir Dogs pointed out, I don't know why society deems it unnecessary to tip fast food workers, after all it's a crappy McJob.

Will Chen
Will Chen There are tip jars on every counter and it is getting ridiculous. I refuse to tip people working behind the counter at places like Starbucks or Subway.

I tip waiters because I know in certain states employers pay them less than minimum wage. More importantly, waiters are also expected to service me for the thirty minutes it takes for me to enjoy my meal. Of course, I'm fighting an uphill battle here. People at Starbucks often give me dirty looks for not leaving a tip. I'm not talking about the barista, I'm talking about the other customers! (I think Greg called me cheap once for not leaving a tip. Thanks for getting my back punk!)

Well forget it. I love Starbucks and I appreciate the people who work there. I show my appreciation with my frequent patronage, my sincere "thank yous," and my compliments for a job well done. But tipping? The line has to be drawn somewhere.

Myscha Theriault
Myscha Theriault I guess I have a few issues with the tip jars being at the counters everywhere, too. And also, if I may sound off, I don't understand why many drive through fast food places have started including a tip line on the receipt for when you use your debit card. That's almost more severe than the tip jar at the stand in line coffee counter if you ask me.

At restaurants, I like to tip well if the service was great. But if it was lousy, I don't have a problem tipping a lower percentage.

As for service people, I'm also in the "give a gift" category, particularly if they are in my life a great deal. Janitors at the various schools where I worked come to mind...

Tell us your tipping rules and you'll be entered in a random drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. Deadline to enter drawing is 7/29. Don't forget to enter your email address in the field provided and only one entry per person!


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Guest's picture

I generally tip about 10%-15% when I go out to eat. If the service is great, then I'll leave five to ten dollars extra.

When I get my hair done, I usually tip $3-$5, unless it was hhorribly done! :)

Cab drivers get a $3-$5 tip as well.

For everyone else... well, I usually don't feel that they deserve a gratuity for whatever it is they do. Though, occasionally, very helpful for pleasant service will wring a tip out of me, deserved or not. :)

Guest's picture

I'm extremely picky when it comes to tips.

My wife and I spent some time in Germany earlier in the year, and it was wonderful to know that the servers all made a decent wage, and the ONLY tipping rule was, if they gave good service, they get a tip. Also, that whole "we add the tax into the price already" was just wonderful - so easy to split meals!

I truly wish that US restaurants could be more like those in Germany. In my opinion, restaurant working conditions in the US are despicable. There is NO reason I should feel OBLIGATED to leave a tip for someone who provided poor or mediocre service. My wife, however, spent a few years in the restaurant biz as a teenager, and as such, SHE controls restaurant tips. I'm not even allowed to use the tip to round off the bill to the nearest dollar because "wait staff hate when you do that, because then at the end of the night, they have a huge pocket full of change." Yes, dear!

My basic rule of thumb is that they have to actually do something for me - I never feel obligated just because I see a tip jar. Wait staff almost always are tipped, unless the service is poor, then they get nothing, because making $2.15/hour should be MORE of an incentive to be nice! I do make exceptions when it isn't the wait staff's fault (slow kitchen).

Other than that, take-out delivery gets tips, usually a few bucks, and whoever cuts my hair gets a few bucks. That's about it.

And a side note: to me, it's irritating when your table is supposed to have a certain server, but other servers end up working your table throughout the night just because they're there... One time, our assigned waiter brought us our drinks, and then we didn't see him again until he brought the bill - another waitress working the other side of the restaurant brought the food and refills just because she walked by. So, I tracked her down and tipped her personally, because the waiter had done nothing to deserve it.

Guest's picture

Just a note about why to tip your barisa/coffee server - very often when a person is hired at a coffeehouse, they have to undergo training (or already have had to) that is sometimes as intensive as bartenders. I worked for several coffeehouses, and at my first one, learning to make all the espresso drinks on the menu and a variety of other things, including food and drink prep behind the counter - this took me about 4 months of training. I know for a fact that starbucks does not have these standards, but several other chains and independent stores do. They make sure that the proportions for your drinks are just right and that the espresso shots they are pulling aren't too fast or slow (result in either bitter espresso or muddy watery drinks either way.)

So, this is my rule - if I go in to a place that is a reputable coffeehouse where they rarely mess up the drinks and there is a tip jar, I tip what I would normally tip a bartender - $1 in the jar (like $1 on a bar). This seems fair to me, just as you would never go to a bar and not shell over $1 for your draft beer or whatever.

When I just get regular coffee and tea, I tip less, because its not as intensive work, usually just some change in the jar.

Having done these jobs for a long time, and having to depend on the tips and know I'm working just as hard as all my friends who bartend, it was INFURIATING to know that most people's attitudes towards tipping me was "its just a latte and a bagel", because its not - very often its lines and lines of people and trying to keep straight orders like "I want a double shot, no-foam, half caffeinated, latte with skim milk" when the next customer wants "a large soy cappucino with vanilla and can you make that not too hot and put an extra cup holder..." well. you get the point.

Just food for thought next time you are in a line and thinking of it as "just coffee". (also, many of these jobs are minimum wage and I depended on tips, just as waitstaff. Also very often in coffeeshops, people sit down and expect me to bring the drink over or find them and then they don't clean up when they leave. Coffeeshops don't have bussers - so yes. I did THAT too. And still no tip.)


Guest's picture

Check out the numerous tipping etiquette webs sites out there, and vertually all of them say you don't tip at fast food type places - INCLUDING Starbucks. You've got to deal with the fact that some jobs just aren't tipped. Fast food restaurant workers who are paid minimum wage are included in the group. It is a low-skill, low-paid job. To get paid more, you need to find a different job, not lobby for tips. Tipping in a restaurant is for people who deliver food to your table and keep your drink refilled. They don't do that at Starbucks, just like they don't do it at McDonalds. If you want to make more than minimum wage, you need education or training to work somewhere else. Spare us the "Barista" title. If you work at Starbucks, you basically either take orders and run the cash register, prepare the drinks, or clean the tables. You don't wait tables. All of those job functions fit minimum wage and are not tipped at any other restaurant. It is no different than a cafeteria or fast food restaurant. If you keep pushing for more tips at Starbucks, what will happen is that the position will get reclassified, and your minimum wage will go down. No one should tip at fast food restaurants, including Starbucks. Lets draw the line !

Guest's picture

I'm going to have to disagree to a point. I work for Starbucks (corporate not license) and the only thing they don't teach you is the latte art. We do time shots and go through a lot of training. I'm about to enter my coffee master program and in my district there are only two coffee masters per store (excluding manager). The program isn't just for the lattes and frappuccinos but also for the coffee beans and which coffee helps what farms, ect. But to be fair, I have only worked in one district (near a smaller city) and have been very fortunate because they uphold the same values as the local coffee shops in my area, which is the atmosphere I fell in love with.

But I couldn't have said it any better with it being more than just coffee. The same time, care and effort put into a meal at a nice restaurant is put into a coffee mug. It's still an art that I love to perfect. =]

Guest's picture

I'm a Brit so I rarely tip for anything. I usually leave 10% in a restaurant, I tipped the removals men about 10% for my recent house move and I think I once put change in a tip jar but thats it.

Tipping is just not part of the culture in the same way, it actually almost feels kind of rude to tip.

Guest's picture

As someone who relies on tips for my livlihood, I hope that you never sit in my section. I make $2/hr. and most of that goes to taxes. If a server brings you your drink and serves you your food, you should tip them AT LEAST 15%. If they make sure that everything is to your liking and are considerate, you had better tip 18% or more. If you hog a table preventing them to earn income, you should tip no less than 25% and if you are in a big party, the standard 18% is simply not enough. Furthermore, if you eat something really cheap and only drink water, take into consideration that the server is still doing the same amount of work regardless of how much your entree costs, so factor that in as well. Few other wages are based soley on performance. At your job, if you make a mistake here and there, they do not cut into you income, so have some patience with your server as well.

Guest's picture

Working in the kitchen of a pizza place for several years, and having family who has waitressed, I usually tip servers 20% unless service was really bad. Pizza delivery guys (who don't have to travel far to my place) usually get $2 - they are probably making at least as much as the kitchen staff, but they're also putting wear and tear on their own car and buying their own gas (none of the places I've ever ordered from provide a car).
Usually $2 for a haircut too - I don't know why that amount really, just became a habit (note, I usually get haircuts from $10 a cut places, I don't know about more expensive styling type situations).
I'm not often in any other tipping situations, don't even see tip jars very often (usually ignored when I do).

Guest's picture

My general rule: If you do an outstanding job or exceptional favour for me, I tip.

I tip normally 15-20% in restaurants, only if they do an average or good job. If they were truly heinous waitresses and waiters, I am loathe to tip even 5-10%, because just tipping them ANYTHING to enforce a "tipping rule" is in my mind, silly, only because then they'll still get cash at the end of the shift from patrons, and think they're doing "okay" when they're godawful. But I've rarely run across awful waitstaff, so I've thankfully never had to really do this.

My hairdresser, and anything to do with hair and body, gets a 15% tip. I rarely go to the same hairdresser as I trave l00% of the time, but I still tip. I've also never been to a spa, so...

I don't tip at fastfood places, and it irks me every single time someone tips at a coffee place (like a Tim Hortons or Dunkin Donuts), because when *I* worked in a crappy chinese fastfood place, NO one tipped us, and we did the SAME job if not worse than what the Timmies' girls used to get. I understand tipping a bit at Starbucks, but normally if I have change left over, then I throw it in the jar. If I don't, I tend not to leave anything, because I simply just don't have any cash on me.

Bellhops, maids, and anyone associated with the hotel, for exceptional service and going out of their way to do something specifically for me, I tip $1-$2. But if you just do your job,.... I don't tip.

We really do have to draw a line somewhere though, this tipping thing is getting out of hand. I feel like every time I leave the house, I have to account for almost $10 in tips alone just for daily routines (I travel a lot).

I try and just do everything myself, like open my own door, carry my own luggage, wash my own car, bring my own tea to work, etc.

Last pet peeve: I hate it when the cashier asks you - Would you like to leave a tip? And how much? Is nothing private and sacred nowadays? Why can't I write the amount down myself and sign the slip? I never go back to places that ask me that. I think that's just rude.

Guest's picture

When I'm out at a restaurant, I tip 20% or more (though it may be important to note that I just finished 3 years of law school so I'm broke most of the time and not going out for anything big or fancy, and therefore, a 20% tip isn't all that much). I'll tip 20% for good service or even for slow service, when the waiter is racing around and perhaps not getting me what I asked for right away, but clearly busy. Absolutely amazing service or something out of the ordinary will get them a little bit more. Less than great service may get someone a smaller tip, but unless the service was bad and it was the waiter's fault, I always tip at least 15%. I know what wait staff makes and I know a lot of people who really don't tip well, so I always feel that it's important.

I tip my hairdresser at least 20% because I love what she does. Same with the woman who does my facials and the manicurist, neither of whom I see as often as I would like.

I've never tipped the guy who delivers my newspaper, nor would I, as I don't live anywhere that's difficult to get to, plus he has a tendency to track mud into the building. Nor have I tipped the mailman. Again, because he's not really going out of his way and he gets paid well. (I know that there are limits to what postal workers can accept, but I also know a lot of people leave tips at Christmas.) My parents, on the other hand, always tip their postman. Of course, they live in a small town, so they know the family, but my mom finds out the monetary limit of what the person can accept and then gets him a gift certificate in that amount for him and his wife. Why? Because he does go out of his way. They live in a rural area and on a day where there is a lot of mail, be it packages or just catalogs, rather than leave the mail in a bag hanging from the mailbox, he parks his car, walks up the driveway and leaves the mail on the front porch. It's a simple gesture, but they want to know he's appreciated.

I'm not a big fan of those tip jars at places like the dry cleaners or coffee houses. I always thought that tipping was something you did for service, and while I always get great "service" at my local coffee house, it's a brief exchange while I order and pay, and the again when I get my drink. But I will tip my local coffee house, perhaps just the change from my order, or maybe a dollar if it's busy. Why? Because I'm not doing it and I don't want to be doing it. Of course, if I end up sitting at the coffee house and someone comes over to clear the table for me, I will absolutely leave more of a tip.

Guest's picture

While keeping in mind that I don't go out, much, because of the expense:

In Connecticut, the state sales tax is 6%. When I receive a service, I base my tip on triple the tax, or 18%. That number goes up or down, depending on the service. While I generally tip about 20%, my lowest tip (about 20 years back, when I was in high school) was coupons to another restaurant; I tipped 35-ish per cent when I admired a waitress's bracelet and she insisted on giving it to me. (We were regular customers, because the food and service were great, but that's really going above "serving" - wouldn't you say?) When we include takeout, we tip on the served food pre-tax amount, and round up to the next dollar; we don't tip on the total bill with takeout because all the waitress is doing for the takeout is bringing a bag. (While I'm not nuts about Denny's, it's the only place my father will go. The waitresses share their tips with the bus boys, who don't get tipped, so we will "round up" there, as well.) I've been told that, for horrid service, it's better to leave a quarter than to leave nothing, because "nothing" could be an oversight, while small change is obvious; I left a quarter for a particularly rude and careless waitress. She, however, was the exception. Former waitresses have scolded me for tipping 15%, but I'm not responsible for the local standard. I do keep in mind that I could never wait tables, since I'm clumsy and I also have very little patience. I respect anyone who can accomplish something that I cannot.

When I bookmarked the United States Department of Labor's Minimum Wages for Tipped Employees, my bookmark read:

Because tipping in restaurants isn't customary in Europe, Europeans are often surprised at the percentage that we leave as gratuities. In the United States, "at restaurants, a 15% tip is standard for waiters; up to 20% may be expected at more expensive establishments. Good service is expected, and it is sometimes acceptable for a tip lower than 10% to be applied for ordinary or unsatisfactory service." Fodor's - Tipping Guides The salary of wait staff in the United States often starts at HALF the Federally mandated minimum wage, because the tip, which is supposed to be claimed as income, makes up part of the salary. Lots of customers don't like this, and complain to the poor wait staff and to the restaurants. This is MISDIRECTED; if you don't like it, complain to the U.S. Department of Labor. The proof is on this page.

My 20% pre-tax gratuity also applies to hairdressers and my mechanic. They're performing a service. Since the gentleman who usually works on my car is my neighbor, I know what he gets paid, and it's not a lot when you take into consideration the schooling he needed to do his job. Sometimes, the owner himself works on my car. I have an idea of the owner's property taxes since the building is in the city in which I live, and taxes are ridiculous; I'll tip the owner even though one isn't "supposed to." I've also given him money to get pizza and drinks for the shop when doing so would be about 15% of my pre-tax bill (tune up and oil change with new belts, for example).

The coffee shop I usually go to has a No Tipping sign.

My massage therapist (for chronic pain) isn't covered by my insurance, so she charges me as little as possible. I've brought her breakfast when she's seen me first thing on a Saturday morning, and I just got her three books we discussed during my last session. (Used, they came to about 20% of the service.)

When I tried to leave a tip at a post office branch several years ago, I was told that they weren't allowed to accept gratuities. At the holidays, I get cookies for my mailman at home and chocolates for the mail lady who delivers to my office, and I get a mixture of cookies [and a box of tea for the woman who doesn't like sweets] for the staff at the local post office. I'm in there several times a week with work and personal mail. Their service is incredible, no matter how harried they are. (Fights have broken out in there during the holidays!) They deserve to have the bad customers countered by the grateful customers.

I truly believe that the best tip is work-of-mouth. If I'd take time to write to an owner because of bad service, I try to do the same for good service. Because I don't think that my bank tellers can accept cash, I wrote to the head of the bank to praise exceptional service. I've written to restaurants and airlines. I have blogged about my massage therapist (who will give a discount to anyone who's referred by me). I've used online "lifestyle guides" that accept customers' reviews to praise my pharmacy, mechanic, and nail salon, as well as having personally referred people to those places.

For those times I'm not allowed to tip - my primary doctor, or someone who's supposed to get a report to me at work - I send a thank-you card (as my parents taught me three decades ago), and I use my own postage for the professional thanks, as well as for the personal notes. It's sad how seldom we're thanked for doing our jobs, and it never fails to amaze me how genuinely grateful people are for being thanked.

Bottom line: I want the people who help me to feel appreciated, and I hope that they do.

Guest's picture

Get rid of the tip jar! They're everywhere! The folks at Dunkin Donuts are making minimum wage, they are not "wait staff"..they are PAID to get your coffee and donut...they do not bring it out to you, you have to go to the counter or drive thru and get it...NO TIP FOR YOU. Sorry. That's the way I feel. There are tip jars everywhere..I won't be surprised when I see it at Lane 10 of my local grocery! That being said, I am a big tipper (and not just at the bar!)...bartender usually gets a buck or 2 for each drink, my hairdresser? I love him, and have been with him for 7 years, he gets 20% each visit, and a bonus at Christmas. Estetician (did I spell that right?), she is performing a service that most wouldn't do for any amount of money, she gets 20% as well! Restaurant servers get 10% for bad service (and a mention to the manager) , 15% for "just doing the job", and 20% or more for going above & beyond. Pizza guy (I say "guy" because I have never had a female delvier my pizza , why is that?)usually gets about $3 for my regular order, more if there are more pizzas. I do not tip dry cleaner, oil change guy, 7-11 night manager, or any of those others that just throw out a jar to see if they can get some extra cash.

Guest's picture

I worked with several female delivery drivers, but there are certainly more males. I think the main factor is females don't feel as safe going to random strangers houses. Those of us who spoke on the phone to customers tried not to give away that their delivery person would be a "she" in advance if we had to refer to them for some reason. (Usual reason would be if they called back and asked how long it would be, often even when it wasn't late but some people get impatient... we would avoid saying "SHE left here x minutes ago and should be there any minute.")

Guest's picture

20% at restaurants/cafes/etc, unless my experience was utterly horrific (which has happened probably three times in my adult life). Three bucks for cab drivers, a couple of dollars for a couple of beers, and as generous as I can be for the teams of car washer guys. Those are my hard and fast rules, everything else will vary.

Guest's picture

Oh, just a tipping anecdote ... a gang of us from work went out for a nice lunch one day on the company's credit card, and my boss was finding fault with everything and really making the experience unpleasant for everyone else. This was capped when we got up to leave and instead of leaving a tip, he threw a few pieces of change into a dirty beer glass for the waiters. We were mortified, and it certainly changed the way we looked at him going forward.

Guest's picture

At a sit down restaurant, I generally start at 20% and work from there based on service. For good service, I usually won't leave less than $2 or $3 (so I just might leave a 50% tip for just dessert).

At bars, it's generally a dollar a drink for draughts or cocktails. If I order two Bud Light bottles, I'll probably only give a dollar (but I'll be back for something better). If the bartender knows how to make a Sidecar or an Old Fashioned, that's worth extra.

Another thing I'll do for good service is not put the tip on my credit card, if I can spare the cash. Part of me thinks that some of the tip will be eaten up by credit car transaction costs, but also I know that money now is better than money later. It's not much, but it's something.

Starbucks? Chipotle? Sorry. Whereas, as Will Chen noted, waitstaff generally provide service for 30+ minutes, baristas should only be spending about 5. If you leave $0.50 to $1 for a barista (who may make more than a waiter/waitress), that's over a 10% tip for around 1/6th the time commitment of a server! That being said, if I had some unique request (both of the examples are happy to take them), that's another story. Although, Bonnie, above, made a good point equating baristas' and bartenders' training and jobs, so I suppose I'm going to have a crisis of conscience!

Guest's picture

PLEASE, If you do not have enough cash to leave a good server the proper tip, PUT IT ON THE CARD!!! And something else to consider: if your food is not what you had hoped for, blame the kitchen, not the wait staff. It is not fair to deduct from the server's tip because of a mistake made by the cook. The cook still gets HIS regular pay!!!!!

Guest's picture

Many of you think you shouldn't tip a drive thru person but in fact you should every now and then. My mom works drive thru and she will make sure you get your order perfect and she's always gives extra whether it's napkins or ketchup or even utensils, you get what you need. You wouldn't believe how many times I didn't have a fork when I got mashed potatoes. What am I suppose to eat them with? My fingers. Many restaurants charge extra for a slice of cheese or a cup of water. Well she doesn't. Considering the fact that she works with a monster of a manager and she still will give a genuine smile and not let it affect your service. She works with idiots and has to do there work many times. Believe me when I say she is overworked and underpaid. Giving a dollar every once in a while will not kill even the most frugal. When she comes home you won't believe how much you made her day by giving just a dollar. Many of you who have tipped have bought our family's milk, dog food that was needed, dinner. Trust me a couple of bucks goes a long way for a family like mine.

Guest's picture

I'm pretty inconsistent with tipping since I always panic about doing math, and worry about what other people will think of me, so it's about time I develop some rules and stick to them:
-Always 20% at restaurants unless it sucked
-Only at chain/fast food places like Starbucks if I was treated exceptionally well
-1-2$ for take out, a bit more for delivery (approx. 10-15% depending on speed)
-.50-1$ per drink at bars
-Average $5 for valet, housekeeping, etc depending on amount and quality of service (on my first and only business trip I asked if I could get a receipt for the housekeeper's tip since I figured I could be reimbursed, but the staff looked at me in horror and said that no one ever asked for that before, oops!)
In general I hate "mandatory" tipping and I wish they were only used in appreciation of good service, but then restaurants would probably have to increase their prices even more to make up for actually paying servers a reasonable wage. GRR!

Guest's picture

20% at restaurants. Nothing at delis, coffee shops, fast food places and other non sit-down places. $2-$5 for cabs depending on the length of trip (distance) and the expedience of the route taken and ninja driving skills of the cabbie. $1 per drink at bars, $2 for fancy/pain in the ass to make drinks. Doormen? $0.00. There are at least 5 doormen in my building whose services I never use. Although they are all very nice, I'm not tipping anyone to say good morning to me every day. They are bumbling and flustered most of the time. Grocery delivery guy $4-$5. Other food delivery (take-out) 10-15%.

Guest's picture

My rule invovles when to not tip...As a therapist, people often want to show their appreciation at the end of our work together or when holidays roll around. But it's unethical for me to accept gifts from my clients and it often creates an awkward situation. So I want to help people understand that people who provide professional services do not expect gifts or tips. If you feel that you'd like to express your appreciation for a job well done, a handwritten note is a kind way to do so. Another idea is a donation to a charity that seems logical. At very most, an assortment of goodies that can be shared with all the office staff, as these professionals are also likely supported by an equally caring and talented group of folks who don't get a lot of recognition. The bottom line is that it's a sticky situation to put these professionals in, making them weigh ethics and the importance of not undermining the rapport with their clients. So no tips for doctors, dentists, attorneys and therapists. I'd even really extend this to teachers, as they are often innundated with candles, flowers and other items at holidays and the end of the year. Instead, consider a gift card to a store where they can buy supplies or books for the classroom, as these items often come out of their own pocket.
A job well done should be applauded, but money is not always the best recognition of this. Thoughts, words and even pictures on paper often do a better job of conveying your appreciation and don't lead to questionable ethical situations.

Guest's picture

At restaurants I tip, on average 15%, more for great service, sometimes less for indifferent service,and never less than one dollar. If I eat a cheap breakfast for $4.75 my waitperson has worked just as hard (especially if they are keeping my water and coffee filled) as if I'd had a more expensive meal. Anything less than $1 seems insulting.

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It seems to me that in the United States, tipping has become a way to put the burden of a living wage on the consumer, rather than the business owner/company. I am tired of feeling guilt-tripped because a company does not pay their workers enough. That said, I do tip. 20 percent for waiters and hairdressers, three bucks for pizza delivery, and a buck for a coffee. Fortunately, I don't have to worry about doormen.

Guest's picture

I agree with Bloggrrl. I usually pay 20% to servers because their wages are so low, since they take into account tipping and all that. I've tipped up to fifty percent for excellent service (though it was a cheap place; I am not a high roller!).

Tipping for much else is obnoxious-- none of the other people mentioned work for three bucks an hour. Delivery people get paid $10-12 per hour in my area. I've paid $40 for a pedicure. My boyfriend makes me lattes in the morning, so I don't go to Starbucks or anything, but seriously, it's not much more difficult than slapping a sandwich once you get the hang of it. Besides, Starbucks' wages start higher than McDonald's does.

Why should I be tipping all of these people? Maybe its my own inexperience with jobs like this (my early jobs were not tipped) but what makes them tippable over, say, fast food, who also takes my order and assembles food? The UPS guy, who also delivers things to my door?

I do nonetheless (using 15% as a baseline, to be pertient to the question), because I'm supposed to, but still. It definitely seems like it's to make up for the lack of a living wage. Wish I got tipped to make a living wage, but alas, I don't work in service.

Guest's picture

The sales tax where I live is 8%, so I tip 16% (to make the math easy; just double the tax) for standard service, and I add another buck or two for great service.

A waitress once told me that she loves getting cash tips because she doesn't "have to" report all of them on her taxes. After that, I always pay for meals with a credit card and write-in the tip on the bill so that there's a record, and it's added to her regular paycheck from the restaurant. If I have to pay taxes on everything I earn, so should they.

Guest's picture

In restaurants we will always start at 15% for fair service and work up or down from there depending on our experience, but never more than 20%. If we order wine by the bottle in fine restaurants, I absolutely will not tip on the wine. Our club includes service on the check but we will usually leave the server $1 per person because they don't see much of the tip anfter it gets divvied up.

They have a hefty enough mark up already. The guy who cuts my hair gets $5 and he tells me that he gives something to the shampoo girl. I'll give the shoeshine guy about $2, the pizza delivery person $1 and nothing if I carry out. Tip jars might get the coins if I enjoyed the conversation with the cashier but the Starbucks kids generally don't get anything.

Guest's picture

If I am served food in a restaurant as opposed to getting it myself at a buffet, I tip. I never tip more than 20% unless the waitress was exceptional AND I've got enough money to be generous. I try to tip my beautician, again only at 20%.

I have a hard time tipping at some buffets - Golden Corral is an example - because the only things you're "served" are your drinks, plates and maybe rolls. Everything else you get on your own. I agree with Will Chen about the tip jars - they are getting ridiculous. It all comes down to the service you receive, and if the person is working hard to provide that service, doing it well, they get a tip.

Guest's picture

I always tip at least 15% percent at restaurants only because I am supposed to, and then I feel very resentful that an industry has taken what used to be a nice gesture of gratitude and generosity and turned it into a guilt-tripped system. I particularly dislike places that add 18% gratuity automatically, which brings me to my next gripe, which is that the % seems to be rising all the time. In some places the expected tip is now 20%. I love rounding up my tips for excellent service, because it saves on the math hassle.

I don't begrudge giving people a decent wage, but I do resent having the opportunity to be generous taken away from me. I would rather have the restaurants just PAY their people an appropriate amount, and scale up their prices accordingly. By leaving the salary of their employees up to the discretion/whims of the consumer, they're giving us, in effect, a sliding scale of prices that John Wanamaker fought so hard against in the early Nineteenth Century.

I don't tip in other places where a tip jar seems suspiciously akin to begging.

Guest's picture

Default is 20%. Just move the period in the total bill and shoot from there. Above average service, I add more. Less, and I take away. I tend to drink a lot (non-alcoholic) while I'm out, so if you can keep my glass full, you earn the 20%

If I pickup my own food, no tip.

If I cleanup my own food, no tip.

Mechanic? No tip. They make 30-70+ bucks an hour. Granted, they've got to be a contortionist to do the job, but that's why their pay is so high.

Best example of customer service? A waiter at Zio's, asked my 3 year old son what he wanted to eat and drink, while getting approval from us for doing so. My son ordered mac n' cheese, and the waiter brought out a cold salad bowl to pour it into. (most restaurants bring out scalding hot mac n' cheese) Afterwards, he got a 30 percent tip and I asked to see his supervisor to let him know how above and beyond he went in treating my son as a customer, not as a tag along.

Guest's picture

@ bars its cheaper to open a tab instead of tip a buck each drink.... if your in college.....

also Never tip for takeout, they dont expect it. I worked a counter... I got tipped one time @ papa Johns....

Mechanic? you kidding?!!? every mechanic place ive ever been i get ripped off anyway.

I avoid tipping; never more than 1-2 dollars unless the food is amazing.... or the place is empty and i got at least 1 refil (prefer i was never empty.... they should be watching, its their dang job)

yes ive worked for tips several times too; And I understand service. But I've never expected a 5 dollar tip, but they sure are appreciated......

Best tip ever was on a 80 dollar pizza order... 20 dollar tip. (not to mention that we had already added gratuity.)

Also if they add gratuity, I NEVER tip. that pisses me off when they do that.

Guest's picture

I frequent a lot of the same restaurants and a lot of the time see the same servers. Normally they will comp some part of my meal; a drink, extra chips, added bacon, what have you.

Whatever they give me in a comp, I'll add to my tip. I was going to pay for it anyway, right? What better way to show your appreciation than by adding it to the tip?

If I sit at my booth longer than 30 minutes (if I want to be there, not because of late food, bad service, etc.), I'll add an extra .50 for every 15 minutes. The longer I'm at the table, the fewer tips they get from other customers.

I only give 15% if the service was very horrible. I only allow myself to eat out once a week, and I plan on how much I am going to spend, depending on the place I go, prior to getting there. Any extra money goes into my budget for next week's outing.

Guest's picture

I grew up in a very rural area and am going to college in a small city, so there's a lot of tipping situations I've never really been in.

I normally leave a few dollars on the table of eat-in restaurants; between two and four, depending on how many dollar bills I have on hand. The type of meal I eat at such places costs about $10, so that makes the tip between 20 and 40%. I try to be generous, but I'm not exactly rich, myself. I think that, once I have more money, I'll tip extremely well.

I usually put coins I get in my change in a tip jar, if I pay cash. I'll sometimes throw in a dollar or two if I order something complex and I have the cash on-hand.

Guest's picture

I use 20% as the minimum when tipping. I figure that the tipping guidelines have been around since my grandparents era, and inflation has just about caught up with the 15% rule. Tax in my area is 5% so doubling it would be 10%. Way too low now a days. I also live in the DC area so living expenses are high as well. If I get service not up to standards then I take a couple bucks off whatever 20% would be. I also try to pay attention and see if the tips go into a larger shared pot or do they go directly to my server. I try to tip the server directly if I can with a nice thank you or some other compliment. 20% is also easy to figure out too, just divide the amount by 5.

IMO: Tipping is not an area to be frugal with as your messing with another persons lively hood. Put yourself in the servers shoes.


Guest's picture

One thing I found that if you find a reliable mechanic who will build some kind of relationship with you. They tend to appreciate small illustrations of gratitude. My mechanic would take the time to explain what needed to be done and what could wait. Explain what I didn't understand, give me no tax if you pay cash deal, and let me bring my own parts (sometimes).

In return I would bring a dozen donuts or bagels, or some energy drinks or soda, whatever I saw him/her drinking. I think these tend to go further than a tip.


Guest's picture

I make $8.90/hr making bubble tea...it might as well be starbucks. I really don't mind if I don't get tips, because I rely on paychecks for most of my income, but my coworkers seem to get mad at customers who they think are "difficult" or place large orders and don't tip. As far as I'm concerned, we're just doing our jobs by filling the customer's order correctly, and we get paid $7-9 to do that job regardless. I am pleased, however, to get tips from people who have never been to our store, never had bubble tea, or asked for suggestions, because (I hope) they might have appreciated my help.

Guest's picture

I used to be a waitress, so I generally tip 20% at restaurants, unless the service is pretty bad. It doesn't take too much to keep me happy.

I tip my hairdresser 20% also. She does a great job, and she's pretty inexpensive for our area.

I usually tip the pizza guy 15%.

I hate tip jars. I hardly ever put any money in, unless the person does something exceptional.

And you can add me to the "prefer to give gift cards" category for giving around the holidays.

This is a great discussion!

Guest's picture

I tip waitstaff generally 20%. More if they did a really good job. Less if they didn't. 20% is my baseline. I just move the decimal in the bill over and double it.

Hairdressers generally 10-15%.

Anyone else... usually not. I don't go out much so I don't run into too many situatons anyway. :)

Guest's picture

On meals, my basic tip is 2x the tax, then adjust that depending on how good/bad the service was, how much the staff amused me, and how good the food was.
At bars and such, I'll usually tip a buck-per-beer, unless im in there all the time, and the bartenders are really nice with buybacks and just generally cool people.
The thing I can never remember how to tip is delevery people. but the only time I have to interact with them is when im the one stuck making the orders when im stuck ordering for all my friends, but we usually get alot of stuff, so unless someone has to break a big bill, the driver gets most(if not all) of the change.

Guest's picture

I tip 15-20% almost everywhere except Starbucks, where the $1 or 2 extra I am paying for the coffee pays for the employee health insurance they receive, even if they are part time.

Guest's picture

20% standard for restaurants if they did a good job. sometimes more if we don't order much and hang out for a while.
I always tip my hairdresser if they did a good job, but one time I had one tell me that they'd appreciate a cash tip cause the federal government takes taxes out of the tip on the credit card. needless to say, i didn't tip at all. NEVER TIP if someone asks you for it.
At the Starbucks I go to they don't accept tips, but if I'm at a local coffee house and they prepare something for me (like a toasted bagel or a sandwich) I'll throw down a few dollars in appreciation.
We also tip the guy who mows our yard, especially if it's been a while since we called him and the grass is high, or we didn't have a chance to pick up all the dog mess. Then it's always $5-10 extra.
My main rule is that tip jars in no way require a tip. Most people don't need to be tipped, but if someone does a great job for you, or you have them do something terrible, you should definately show some appreciation.

Guest's picture

Thanks for posting on this topic--I've been growling at my husband about this subject for a while now. I always go to Starbucks but never tip. The servers don't seem to like it but good grief they are doing their JOB just like the counter guy at McD's. I always tip at sit down restaurants and bars because the server is waiting on me hand and foot and spending a period of time (like two hours) catering to me. It seems like every month I see a tip jar in a new location. I guess the last straw will be when I see a tip jar in my doctors office :I

Guest's picture

... when i don't leave a tip?

Here are my own personal guidelines for tipping; a simple rule, but it makes so much sense. you ready?

I will leave as much a tip as i think the service i received was worth.

The way i see it, mandatory tipping is stupid. why should i feel obligated to tip a server/waitress/whatever that was rude, uncouth, and messed up my order? Don't get me wrong. i do tip. if i think that someone deserves it, then a tip is in order.

Most people frown upon me for this, but the way i see it, if the restaurant I'm dining in has a service charge anyway, then why should i leave a tip for lousy service?

on the other hand, i remember, about two years ago, i was out with a few friends, in a Macaroni's, somewhere near Kansas city, i forget where exactly. mediocre food, bad wine, and it would not have been a noteworthy evening, if not for our server, Charlie.

Charlie was one of the most enthusiastic servers i have ever encountered in all my years of dining out. He was on point, courteous, funny, and was all around a pleasure to be served by. he gave us the kind of service that people usually wish and hope for. my bill came up to $25 that night. I gave him 60 and told him to keep the change. my friends looked at me like i was crazy, but i knew he deserved it.

But Charlie was an extreme. on regular nights out, i usually leave anywhere from 20%-30% for good service, up to 50% for great. at bars, i never open a tab, but i do make sure to order from the same bartender, and usually pass him a tenner at the end of the night. street performers get a dollar.

as for tip jars, if it's a nice coffee house, and i order something complex (usually a caramel latte with a triple shot of espresso and splash of mint and raspberry), then I'll leave a buck in the tip jar. nothing if they mess it up. usually people toss spare change in there, but i prefer to toss that in my own little tip jar that's on top of my dresser.

fast food never gets a tip. take-out the same way. I'll pass a buck to the delivery guy. but that's about it.

i also do something that most people don't do. i tip the chef, if i truly enjoyed to food. this has happened few times in my life. we were in a place called... now that i think about it, i cant really remember the name of the place. it was in a tucked away little corner in the University of the Philippines, and i had tasted some of the best home made baked zitti al pesto that i had ever had in my life. Erie. that was the name of the place. i called the chef out, praised him for his fine work and slipped him $10 (the peso equivalent of that anyway), while i shook his hand.

Now that I'm done explaining (quite in length, now that i look on it) my tipping rules, tell me, am i so unreasonable?

Guest's picture

I generally tip 15-20% at restaurants and I give my barber $2 on a $11 haircut, but otherwise I don't tip. I don't think it makes sense to tip the person at the coffeeshop or every random person who has a tip jar out and I think it looks unprofessional. If you think your employees should be tipped, charge more and pay them more.

Guest's picture

Hm... I also am a pain in the ass orderer. Dressing on the side, no cheese, etc.. I come from a family of pickiness (my dad sits at a seat he doesn't like - we WILL be moving, Little things waiters do tick him off etc). I have always felt sympathy for those who deal with his antics - leading me to become a better tiper. If my order is as asked, I always leave at least 15%. If they go above and beyond >20% tip.
I have worked on the weekends at a local bakery and we have a tip jar - which i may never understand. Although I appreciate receiving them, I do not expect them. I get paid a salary, and I see no reason to give me more money for simply putting your bread/donut/etc in a bag. I follow the same guidlines when I go out to get coffee, or anything that requires little service - I don't bother. At Dunkin, they usually get my order wrong anyways!!
I do tip when I get my car washed or my haircut. I feel bad for the washers, they get paid dirt wages. At the haircutter's I generally feel so clueless I leave a decent one. Even if the do is not what I like.

Fast food? I never tip. I use the similar theories from my bakery job in regards to this.

Guest's picture

I was a waitress for 6 years and started in my (very cheap) hometown. I tip at least 15% unless they're rude, then I'll tip 10% and make a point of telling the manager. But with good service, I'll usually tip 20-25%. Oh, and if I stay at a table forever, I tip extra.
I tip hairdressers 20% and if I get a pedicure, I give about $10 because I think feet are gross.

And there's a cool burrito place I frequent where all the staff gets a living wage and health insurance, even if they're part-time, but I give them my change from my burrito purchase just because they're really cool people.

At bars, $1 per drink unless they're heavy pourers. Then I tip, um, a lot more than i should.

Guest's picture
Douglas Kwan

i tip based on sevice. usualy 15% for regular service and more if you can impress me. if the service is bad i might leave some pocket change on the table and point it out to them that is their tip

Guest's picture

I'm a pretty good tipper.
Usually 20% at a meal, unless the service was awful.
A dollar per drink at the bar.
The mechanic? Never heard of that.

I blame it on living in a podunk area of the south, but I've only recently caught on to tipping stylists, shampooers & estheticians. When I do, though, it's usually only $5 (I'm aware of how measly that is).

But usually I tip anywhere it's encouraged, or even asked for, and usually more than I feel like I can afford. And I continue to tip new kinds of undeserving people all the time.


Because I'm nice and I want people to like me.
Isn't that why everybody tips?

Guest's picture

At an business establishment a person has to do AT LEAST these two things before meriting a tip:

1) physically come to me to take my order

2) then bring the item to me.

If I have to stand in a line, or talk into a speaker, that is not reason for tipping.

Bars, I'll tip for the first drink. But if the bartender shows more loyalty towards the bar and not me (regarding the fill), then I say ask your employer for the next tips.

Guest's picture

In restaurants, actually, I am nerdy and try to get the total bill to come to a round number, so the tip percentage varies from 15-20%. If service was quite sucky (and by that I mean they have to be absolutely horrible ie: forgetting our table, being rude...) then I will tip 10-15% plus whatever pocket change I have, since loose coins seem to piss people off.

I admit, I constantly forget to tip at hair salons. Though I don't frequent them enough to really establish any personal relationships...

Guest's picture


Mechanic? No tip. They make 30-70+ bucks an hour. Granted, they've got to be a contortionist to do the job, but that's why their pay is so high.

I don't know where you bring YOUR car, but my mechanic earns less than $20/hr. I know the exact dollar figure, but you wouldn't believe it; I didn't when he told me. But, hey, the economy is bad and he's got a baby, and the garage is close to home so he can see his child on lunch.


very often when a person is hired at a coffeehouse, they have to undergo training (or already have had to) that is sometimes as intensive as bartenders.

I've been trained as a bartender (work I can no longer do). I had no idea that the training was THAT intense. Thank you; I will keep it in mind!

I'm generally an easy customer (coffee, room for milk, and where's the sweet n low? - that's it) but I've tipped 30% for a fancy drink because it's not much more than the actual price.


A recent tip (if you'll pardon the pun) in The Consumerist suggested that, if you're going to leave a cash tip, you write CASH or TABLE on the tip line so that an unscrupulous server can't write in a second tip. I usually tip cash so that the manager doesn't know what my server received, or so that, in a place that shares tips, my server can peel off the extra s/he earned for exceptional service before throwing the tip into the jar. (why should poor servers earn tips off the better servers? I've never understood that...)

I've heard of people who've stacked singles on the table and added or subtracted based on performance. I've always thought that that was tacky - the servers are people, and it's a mean game.

I forgot: In Connecticut, "services" are taxed. Tattoos, the service section of a car repair bill, an "escort" - all taxable.

I also tip the computer repair person. My computer is my lifeline, especially when I'm in too much pain to go out. I've got my kids' pictures and my expensive software. Where I go, the person at intake is often an idiot, but the techs phone regularly about status (my computer has a name - it's like another kid and, hey, if I name my car...) and go above and beyond every time. I'll give a low percentage before the tech starts, for dinner, and match it in cash after I get my computer back. (The last time, they felt bad that the previously repaired part broke again - two years out of warranty - that they cut the price in HALF. i tipped based on the original price and I was still about $80 ahead of the original quote, sans its original tax and tip.) It can be low - I do about 10% because, again, my budget is TIGHT. I also send a thank-you card. They are so often thanked, and so seldom tipped, that $5 on a $100 bill amazes them.

Does anyone else remember Oprah saying that health care professionals expect tips? I hope that isn't really true of any but the ones who wrote to her, because I can't afford 15% on a $2K bill.

Bringing someone a coffee or a cold drink (weather depending) is sometimes more appreciated than cash, for a tip for service. It costs less than most percentages of work, and the service people are SO grateful. I'll bring a drink for a cashier where I regularly go, and will offer the mailman a cold water in hot weather. That's not really a tip, but it's gratitude for good service.

Guest's picture

I've always wondered WHY we have to tip at all? What brilliant pain in the butt invented this?
Why do I have to pay EXTRA for my meal, the I've already paid way too much for in the first place, just because someone did their JOB???
Why don't they just get paid like $8 an hour like normal people, and save US the money?
If they do a lousy job, we can complain, and they will LOSE their job! I don't need to pay more of my precious money just to make sure they do their job right. Oooooh, that makes me so mad!

Don't get me wrong. I tip. Just because I don't want to look like a stingy mutant when I leave, and when someone does a great job, I feel bad that things are the way they are, and they make $2 an hour.....but I hate EVERY PENNY I have to give up.

I give the hair dresser $5. ($2-3 for kids cuts)
Nail salons the same.
And for restaurants, I do the 20% rule. (or less, if they were horrible.)

I just hate paying people to do their job. Isn't that what their salary is for?
Should we tip our Doctor if he does a good job? Our Surgeon?
Why is HE any different?

Don't get me started......

Guest's picture

As a general rule, I tip for exceptional service and/or if I want to be remembered well.

If a server is great, I'll tip 20%+. Average gets double the tax, which works out to 16.5%. My husband is more generous than I am, however, and he is usually the one who pays.

The guy who cuts my hair gets a generous tip because I want him to be happy to see me and give me a great cut (plus he's a friend of my brother-in-law).

I usually don't do tip jars unless I happen to pay in cash (rarely) and the change is minimal. I will tip in a jar if I get extra help of some kind.

The paper deliverer has yet to get a tip from me - I just find the envelope included at holiday time to be distasteful, but that's probably b/c our paper regularly didn't arrive at all. We've had really good delivery the last six months or so and if it keeps up til the end of the year, I'd consider giving $5 or so (especially since it was $29 for the Thurs-Sun subscription).

Guest's picture

i used to leave my change for people at places like starbucks and such.

then i became a waitress.

we work SO MUCH harder than those people who put out tip jars, that it is ridiculous. a lot of people dont even know the side work we have to finish as well during our shifts.

i've always been a good tipper, but that has gotten better for servers and worse for ordinary jobs since i've worked at a restaurant...

Guest's picture

As an American living in Australia (and soon to be on my way back to the States) nothing ticks me off more than having to tip for horrible service.

The 'tipping culture' here is much the same as in the Europe. They include it in the price at restaurants, which is fine, except when the service is poor or you get someone with a major attitude.

The minimum wage is $17 per hour and add that on top of 'auto-magic' tips, plus the fact that they don't hire many servers because of the higher wages and you get a lot of workers with attitudes and non-existent work ethics.

When I am in the States, I tip 15-20%, unless the service is poor - at which time the only thing they get from me is a piece of my mind.

At a major steakhouse in the US we had a waitress that interrupted guests, had a nasty demeanor and was absent for most of the dinner. She had the nerve to pencil in a 'suggested' 25% tip because we 10 people in our party. I gave her less than 10% (we did have a larger party, and she didn't screw up any orders) and wrote her and her manager a note of disgust with reasons why she didn't earn even the 10% minimum of gratitude from me.

I will always tip over that if I receive exceptional service. My hairdresser always gets 30%. But that level of gratuity must be earned. The tipping system is supposed to be an incentive, not an automatic right. My feeling is that if you don't want to work for tips, than perhaps you should find a different field to work in.

Guest's picture

I generally leave a 10-20% tip at restaurants (depending on which meal it is and how good the service was). I'll tip the delivery guy $3, and I'll do the same for a haircut.

If I see a tip jar at a deli or someplace similar I'll also leave my change or a $1 tip. I used to work at a deli and we didn't have a tip jar, but when customers tipped it was most appreciated.

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A lot of people don't realize it, but servers and bartenders make below minimum wage. This is legal because their tip is supposed to make up the difference (although I remember many a times when the restaurant I worked in as a college student was dead, and I made below minimum wage).

My rule of thumb is if you aren't in a profession where your salary is below minimum wage (servers and bartenders) then I don't tip you unless you have done some sort of extraordinary customer service related thing for me.

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I've never really had occasion to tip for anything other than restaurant service. For that I tip 15% unless the service was very good or very bad. For excellent service, I have tipped up to 30% in the past.

I don't tip for fast food.

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Maybe because I`m young I haven`t really got service worth tipping. At places where the service is nice, the tip is usually already included in sky-high prices. Plus, around here tipping isn`t usually even expected. However, I would consider tipping for sure if I got extraordinarily good service somewhere.

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I generally give 15-20% at restaurants, but I left nothing last year for a waitress who was downright rude, and I havn't been back to that restaurant. I've also given
50% for outstanding service. It all depends on the server. I, too, hate the system and wish we were more like Europe, but I don't think it'll change anytime soon.

My hairdresser, who I adore and have been seeing for 3-4 years now, gets 20% and is worth every penny. That's about the limit of my tipping.

Like some others here, I am not a fan of the ubiquitous tip jars and refuse to give extra $ to someone like a barista simply for doing her job, which pays at least minimum wage.
I also dislike the places that automatically add in a tip and generally do not frequent such places. I wholeheartedly agree with the poster who thinks that tipping should be an incentive rather than a right.

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I'm totally with the idea that people making wage don't require a tip on top (Starbucks, coffee, subway, etc).
When it comes to restuarants, I'm usually at 15%, although I'd like to leave a little less when it comes to bad service, but it's rare that I ever do. Outstanding of course comes to 18 or 20%. I actually have worked as a waitress, and I always wondered why people tip so high for bartenders. I mean if all they do is open a beer, how does that warrant a dollar? (Or a 33% tip on a three dollar beer).

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I teach piano and voice lessons, and although I do not reject the extra holiday money, they do make me feel uncomfortable. I am not a service worker, I'm a professional with a Master's Degree, and I charge $60/hour. And, not to be snobby, but an extra $20 from a handful of families one week in December is not going to make any noticeable difference in my finances. My husband and I are both professionals, and have similar incomes and educations to those of my students' parents.

If a family I have gone out of the way to do extra things for during the year wants to give me a thoughtful gift, that's nice. But if you have someone such as a music teacher or academic tutor for your child, what would probably really make them happy would be to ask for a handful of their business cards and urge your friends to become clients as well.

Guest's picture

There are only two times I tip.

1.) Waiters/Waitresses - I know that in my state they make less than minimum wage (although if they do not end up making minimum with tips, the employer has to make up the difference). How much I tip them depends on how attentive they are with keeping my husband's pop full (we usually go to places with free refills). He drinks maybe three glasses, so she at least has to visit the table two times before the bill. If he is without drink for a while, the waitress gets 10%. If she keeps the drink full, she gets 20%. If she goes above and beyond that (one time when my husband and I had a salad and my son didn't have anything, she noticed that my son grabbed for my cucumbers so she came back with a little container of cucumbers for my son) they get 30%. There has been one time where I tipped one dollar to a waitress because she gave us an appetizer of salsa and chips when we sat down but neglected to give us anything to drink for ten minutes. The salsa was hot salsa. Not good.

2.) Pizza delivery drivers - They normally do not make much more than minimum wage in my neck of the woods. They have to use their own car and pay for their own gas. I end up tipping the IRS mileage rate times the miles to my house and then add on $1.00 extra. I've also had the experience of delivering pizzas myself for a while, and tips helped out a lot.

Guest's picture

As a general rule I tip:
20% to waitstaff unless there's something wrong
$0 in tip jars unless something extraordinary has occurred
$4 on deliveries
$2 on cabs under $10
No car, but I don't tip machanics
$100-150 annually to the superintendent of my building (totally worth it!)

What gets me going is hotels. I HATE when I enter a room that I have just spent over $300/night on and find a "welcome" note on an envelope. I will NEVER tip for a clean room. I paid money for a clean room and will expect a discount for anything less. I will seriously consider not frequenting that hotel again when I see this endorsed by management. Just venting...

Guest's picture

Tipping is an antiquated custom that winds up irritating customers and servers alike. Like doing your taxes each year, it’s a waste of time and money. They should be abolished. Pay a reasonable wage to the servers, and pass the cost onto the meal. Give us a single price, and skip the tip, service charges, etc. Simplify the dining experience, which will make it more enjoyable for everyone.

Tipping can promote an antagonistic division between the customer (who might perceive the service as mediocre), and the server (who assumes the tip is a given). Why are the customers put this position and why are we expected to participate as a financial planner for the server ? Why is it the customer’s job to provide the restaurant’s employees an incentive to perform? Isn’t that the job of the restaurant manager/owner ? The customer’s only involvement should be assessing the quality of the food, service, and atmosphere, and determining if it’s worth a future visit. What if this insanity was the norm for every industry out there ?

People who are or were in the waiting industry are constantly making the point that “you don’t know what it’s like to be a waiter, and that anything under 20% is a personal insult”. You’ll get the usual weak arguments (or should I say misdirection and personal attacks) from those in the industry if you question any part of the process. Funny how they never seem to address the substance of the tipping issues.
• “The prices will double or triple if tipping is abolished and waiters paid an appropriate wage”. Yeah right. Supply & demand will continue to work. Prices will naturally seek a level where the customer can still afford to eat out, and the restaurant can make a profit. If there’s a niche, it will be filled.
• “It’s really hard work and low pay”. Jeepers, that can be said for a lot of jobs out there. Face it – It’s primarily menial labor with some basic people skills and memorization mixed in. It’s not rocket science. Take some personal responsibility. Either accept it, or move on to a job that’s easier and/or compensates you more. This is America. As for low pay & below minimum wage stuff, save that red herring for someone else.
• “Tipping well gets you better service”. Maybe, assuming you get the same server and are recognized as a regular high tipping customer, but then you should tip every service related profession using that logic. Let’s end the bribery and the veiled threat of inflicting poor service. In most fine restaurants, tips are often pooled and the incentive for the server to perform probably diluted. Michael Lynn (referenced above) has studied tipping habits and written numerous papers on the subject. He indicates that the biggest reason people tip is not for great service, but for social approval. For me the bottom line is simple - If an establishment wants my continued patronage it had better give me good service or I’ll go elsewhere.
• “You’re just being cheap, if you can’t afford to eat out stay home”. This is my favorite irrelevant misdirection. Just insult the person asking a question on tipping culture ethics instead of addressing the substance of the question. I can afford to tip 1000 percent on a $200 meal, but what’s that got to do with my questions on the culture ? By the way, I don’t like strawberry ice cream.

Guest's picture

I think I am a failry generous tipper when eating out - as long as the service is as expect. I always tip 20%, and if the service I recieved was good to excellent I will tip 25-30% of my bill. If the service is not so good to horrible, that generally results in a 0-15% tip and a dicussion with the manager.

I would like to know what nail technicians generally make beyond the tips they recieve. I usually spend about an hour with my nail technician and if she makes less than minumum wage then the $5 tip I give her really needs to be increased!

Other than what has generally been considered the professions that recieve tips, I do not tip.

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"PLEASE, If you do not have enough cash to leave a good server the proper tip, PUT IT ON THE CARD!!! And something else to consider: if your food is not what you had hoped for, blame the kitchen, not the wait staff. It is not fair to deduct from the server's tip because of a mistake made by the cook. The cook still gets HIS regular pay!!!!!"

The responsablity is on the waiter to ensure the food comes out perfect. Blaming the cook is like blaming the quarter back for getting tackled when he was suppost to throw you the ball as you wave your arms in the inzone. As a waiter your suppost to make sure the food comes out perfect. Anything less and it IS YOUR fault.

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I and several of my friends are servers just trying to make it thorough school and make ends meet. I am appalled by some of the things I have read on here. It baffles me that some people feel like they shouldn't have to tip or only leave a measly 10% because it wasn't their choice to get a job that pays $2.13 an hour. We are paid $2.13 an hour for a reason. You are supposed to tip! In this day and age even 15% is an insult. 20% is the new 15%. If you don't want to pay it then don't go out and expect someone to serve you! The truth is, servers can make great money when people actually acknowledge that hey, this is my job and I'd like to pay rent! Serving is a stressful, high energy job. If I wanted to sit around on my ass for minimum wage as a result of poor tippers I would work at Wal-Mart, God knows they treat their employees like crap...

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I don't understand how poor service still gets a tip. Sounds insane.

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I don't understand how poor service still gets a tip. Sounds insane.

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I'm a server at a restaurant. So I usually tip over 20% at a restaurant unless the person is rude and unpleasant then they should get out of the industry. Even then I'll leave about 10% because they have to tip out the other people there and why shouuld they have to suffer. I also worked in coffee shops before so I'll throw them a couple dollars. As for take out I'll give a couple extra same with deliveries. And I'll give a couple bucks to doormen and valets. I don't think I tip anyone else.

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I tip the people who get TAXED on their tips. Unless you live under a rock, you know who they are. Support your government or get sold.