Tipping as a General Practice by Sarah Toler: Part One


The Ultimate Tipping Guide: Your Guide To Tipping Etiquette By Sarah Toler 

This article sent in by Rhonnie Scheuerman

If you’ve ever walked out of a restaurant under the heated eyes of the glaring wait staff, or exited a cab while the cab driver sped off in the midst of an undecipherable rant, you are most likely in desperate need of a tipping guide.

Gratuity began as a purely complimentary practice (after all, Merriam-Webster.com cites the meaning of the word as “unwarranted or unnecessary”), but it has evolved into an expected one, with many nuances among the varying professions.

Unless you have worked as a waiter, taxi driver, hairstylist, massage therapist or other service profession, it would be difficult to know the standards of tipping in each industry.

If tipping etiquette leaves you baffled, or even uncomfortable, consult the following tipping guide before your next outing.

Tipping as a General Practice

You may be confused about how much to tip because, throughout your life, you’ve been exposed to several schools of thought on the issue.Members of older generations may have expressed opposition to the whole practice, expecting service at a flat rate.

While it’s no use to try to convince Grandma that times have changed, do not, under any circumstance, let her set the standard of tipping in your mind.

The amount of gratuity depends on the service being provided and is usually a percentage of the total bill.

If a service is already expensive, and you cannot afford to tip the proper percentage, then you cannot afford the service.

Tipping Guide for Restaurants or Bars

The acceptable tip for food servers, cocktail servers and bartenders is 15 to 20 percent of the total bill.

On average, the American waiter or waitress is paid an hourly wage of $4.38 by their employer.If about $175 for a week’s worth of carting food and beverage back and forth from grumpy kitchen cook to whiny customer sounds low to you, that’s because it is.

The National Restaurant Association explains this disparity by citing the federal minimum wage law which allows employers to pay employees who receive tips only $2.13 an hour.

Employees who are tipped must earn gratuities to supplement this minimum wage..

You may feel that paying your waiter’s salary should not be your responsibility, but the truth is, it is no secret that if you are eating out you will need to tip.

Keep this tipping advice in mind: If you cannot afford $20 for your meal and tip, you probably cannot afford $15 for just the meal, so stay in tonight.

If affording a tip is not an issue, but you are hesitant to tip because you received bad service, do not skip out on gratuity; instead ask to speak to the restaurant manager.

Tipping your server even though he provided poor service will not only win you a few good karma points, but it may brighten his mood enough that he will provide the rest of his customers with the service they deserve and that includes you the next time you return.Dining out is what comes to mind when most people think of tipping etiquette, but tipping your server and bartender 15 to 20 percent will not get you through every dining experience.

Some less common restaurant positions are also commonly tipped.

Tip your buffet server 10 percent if anything, including beverage, is delivered to your table.

When picking up restaurant food to-go, tip 10 percent to the person who packaged your food (usually the bartender).

Upon restaurant food delivery, tip 10 percent to the driver.

No tip is required for a restaurant hostess unless you ask the hostess to go out of her way to secure you a table.

Tipping While Traveling

When hiring a taxi, limo or shuttle, it is common practice to tip 15 percent of the total fare.

If the driver spends more than a few minutes loading or unloading your bags or helping you in or out of the car, 20 percent would be appropriate.Once you arrive at the airport, keep your bills handy as the tipping bonanza continues.

If a skycap checks your bags, tip $1 for each heavy bag in addition to the normal fee.

If hitching a ride through the terminals on an electric cart, tip the driver $2 per person.

It is never necessary to tip your flight attendant, but if chartering a private plane, you may tip the pilot at your discretion.

Upon arrival at your hotel, you may leave your car with the valet without tipping. However, when the car is returned to you, tipping a couple of dollars is appropriate.

If a doorman transports your luggage from your car to the hotel lobby, $1 a bag is an acceptable tip. Double the tip if he carries the bags to your room. He would also appreciate a $2 tip when hailing you a cab.

Bellboys are accustomed to the same tipping standards.When requesting dinner reservations, event tickets, or general advice, expect to tip your concierge anywhere from $5 to $10.

Gratuity is usually attached to hotel services such as room service and spa treatments, so look carefully at your bill. If no tip is added, tip 15 to 20 percent.

Maid service tips can vary from $1 to $10 a day, depending on the mess you created in the room.

Daily Tipping

Chances are that you will not dine out, take a cab or stay in a hotel every day of your life.

However, because it is a practice in American culture to tip most service positions, it is likely that most days you will come into contact with someone who deserves a tip.

Not sure who that someone is?

Think about your hair stylist, car washer, barista or massage therapist. If you appreciate the service, let him or her know with added gratuity.Still unsure who needs a tip or how many singles you should fork over? Print out this list and tuck it in your wallet.

  • Barista – $1
  • Car detailer – 15 percent
  • Car washer – $2-3 for a car; $3-5 for an SUV or truck
  • Coat check attendant- $1
  • Emergency locksmith – $5
  • Furniture or appliance delivery person – $5-10
  • Hair Stylist or Color Specialist – 10-20 percent
  • Manicurist, Facialist or Aesthetician – 15 percent
  • Massage therapist- 20 percent
  • Pet groomer – 15 percent
  • Pet sitter – 15 percent
  • Restroom attendant- $1
  • Shampoo or other styling assistant – $2-5
  • Shoe shiner- $2
  • Tattoo or piercing artist – 10-20 percent
  • Tire changer – $4 – $5
  • Tow truck driver – $5

Now that you know the drill, poor tipping etiquette can be a thing of the past.

When you are provided with excellent service, feel free to tip over the maximum guideline.

When you are faced with poor service, do not be stingy. Instead, think of the last time you had a bad day.

Whether your day was ruined because of a speeding ticket, pesky in-laws or a death in the family, wouldn’t your day have been improved if a stranger went out of her way to be courteous to you?

A small gesture of a few dollars could have a great impact on the life of someone in the service industry at a very small cost to you. With your tipping guide in hand, you are now equipped to provide good service to those who labor to provide good service to you. Shopping IQ: Do You Use Common Cents?

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