Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thank You Very Much: Proper Tipping Tips

I tip my waitress extra. Every time. Unless something goes horribly wrong, I give more than the average customer. This is because I work as a waitress when I'm not away at school. I know how awful it feels to not do anything wrong-- or to go above and beyond-- and receive a terrible tip in return (or worse: a verbal tip). Waitresses aren't the only service workers getting shafted, though. We actually interact with a lot of people on a pretty regular basis that would really appreciate-- and in fact absolutely should receive-- our monetary gratitude.

How to tip your....


I know I may be a bit biased, 20% is always the way to go. Many people think 15% is acceptable, but in my experience the standard has shifted toward the former. Here's what you have to realize: waiters and waitresses make a server's wage. Employers are allowed to pay as little as about $2.00/hour (depending on where you live) due to the fact that servers are expected to make most of their money from tips. I think a lot of customers don't know this if they've never served themselves. So remember: your generosity is what your server is paying the bills with. If you're not prepared to tip 20%, don't go out-- and if you're using a gift card or a discount, tip on the original price. Extra Tip: if you frequent a certain restaurant, find a server you love, take down their name for next time, and give them a large tip. Next time you come back you'll get even more spectacular service (and be prepared to tip accordingly).


Your bartender also makes less than minimum wage. They rely on tips for most of their income, so it's only right to give something in return. As a rule, you should tip at least $1 for any drink (even if they only opened your beer), and at least $2 for a mixed drink. If you're ordering several drinks, tip 20% on the bill. Also, factor how busy the bar is into your gratuity, especially if you order something elaborate on a busy night.


Baristas make minimum wage, so tipping is not actually imperative. However, tipping is nice and a great tool for improving the kind of service you're going to get. Even if you just drop the change from your latte into the tip jar, it will be noticed. Perhaps next time you run into your local coffee shop, you'll get your drink even faster and with a little extra love and care.


20% seems to be the standard with hairdressers. If you had to have anything adjusted (as in, say, you got highlights and then had them change the color because you didn't like it), I'd give a couple extra dollars for their time. Don't forget anyone who helped who isn't your hairdresser! Some salons will have a person shampooing hair as well, and the consensus seems to be that $5 is usually a good tip to leave them with.

Delivery Guy:

It doesn't seem like all that fun to be a delivery person. It actually seems pretty high-pressure and you have to drive really far sometimes and then you can't find the house and what if the pizza got cold?! A lot of us forget this, but you should tip these people like you'd tip a waiter or waitress. Consider factors like weather conditions and your distance from the restaurant you're ordering from when you give your tip. I mean, these guys have to pay for their gas and often use their own cars to get you your food, not to mention deal with the aggravation of traffic and the risk of getting robbed. Give your delivery person a big, fat tip and a hug for goodness sake!

Cab Driver:

Apparently cab driver is the 10th most dangerous job in America. I'm not really surprised, considering that cabs are full of cash and often operate in big cities, where crime rates tend to be higher. For your cab driver, consider how long you made them wait (try to be ready for the cab if you call ahead-- time is money, and making them wait is rude), how far they had to drive you, whether they were friendly, road conditions, and how safely they drove. Generally, I give the fare plus no less than $2, but I usually don't travel very far. According to the internetz, 15% is the standard.

Pedicab Driver:

Generally there's no minimum fee to ride in a pedicab. It's technically "free," I suppose. But how do you tip when the initial cost is nothing? Tips are a pedicab drivers only source of money, so it is only appropriate to treat the ride like you would a cab ride. Estimate how much it would cost to go from point A to point B in a taxi, and that's the tip your driver should receive.

Overall, remember that giving to others is important. You're going to make someone's day by treating them with kindness and respect, and in a lot of these service-type jobs, those things can be extremely difficult to come by. If anything, remember that what you give is going to come back to a zillion-fold in both karma and the quality of service you receive in the future.

Are you a good tipper? Are you a worker that receives tips? What was the best/worst one you ever got?


Anonymous said...

The thing about tipping that always confused me was the fact that some companies don't allow you to tip. I can't think of any particular company right now, but for example if some kid helped get your fast food order right after it had been screwed up, and you tried to give him an extra couple bucks in thanks, he'd be required to give it up.

Vanessa said...

I know you can't tip at Market Basket, as I have some friends that work there, and I know the US Postal service has a whole list of conditions under which employees can accept gifts. I've always wondered what the big deal is, though, with places that don't allow you to tip. I suppose I figure if you WANT to tip someone, what's the big deal?

Kelly said...

I've never worked for tips (unless you count two days at Churchill Downs) but I try to tip 20% as a general rule. At the salon I round up a tip just a little more because that person holds my beauty in their hands and I want them to like me and not rush future jobs!

amanda said...

I totally tip 20%+, but I also learned that you're supposed to tip pre-tax amounts? And subtract bar drinks from a restaurant tip? Or was the person that told me this totally screwing with me and is a total miser?

Vanessa said...

Amanda: generally, unless you got your drinks directly from the bar and gave the money to the bartender, you're still expected to tip on drinks. Why? Because at the end of the night, servers have to tip the bartender a percentage of the alcohol sales (except for bottles of wine). If you don't tip on the alcohol as well as the food, the server is going to kinda get shafted.

The tax usually doesn't amount to much, so taking it off the top when tipping fine.


Related Posts with Thumbnails