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The Money Crasher’s Guide to Tipping

By Erik Folgate

We live in a society where service industries thrive by performing superior customer service. Because we live in a capitalistic economic system, a custom of rewarding superior customer service has developed through the use of tipping. Tipping is a controversial subject because many people disagree about who to tip, when to tip, and how much to tip. There are no set laws about these various aspects of tipping. In fact, there are not any laws about tipping at all. If you go to a sit-down restaurant, eat a meal, and leave without tipping, you won’t be breaking the law. The market correction for people who do not tip at restaurants is that they will build a reputation of not being tippers, and the servers of the restaurant will not give them good customer service. If you don’t tip when you should, you won’t receive good service. It’s as simple as that. Here are some ideas about who you should tip, when you should tip, and how much you should tip:

  • Servers and Bartenders: You should tip about 15% to 20% to a server or bartender. Tipping 5%-10% is a slap in the face, but it may be warranted if they provided very bad service and you want to send a message. This is the most common service provider to tip. My personal opinion is that you should always tip your server or bartender unless they have completely failed to provide you good service and/or are extremely rude or offensive to you. Remember, sometimes the kitchen staff is responsible for your bad dining experience. It’s not always the server’s fault when the food is not cooked right or it comes out late. Note: Don’t forget that if you are dining in a large group, the tip is often already included in the final bill.
  • Food Delivery Drivers: Tip 10% to 15%, but never less than $2.00. Always tip a delivery driver unless the food is obscenely late.
  • Movers: $10 to $20 per mover unless you’re getting a full-service move. Then, the cost of the movers is included in the hefty price. Just provide cold drinks and food for the movers the day of the move and they’ll take good care of your stuff. Many homeowners are more likely to damage their stuff rather than professional movers. If you’re really paranoid about your stuff, you might want to tip no matter what, but accidents happen whether you tip $10 or $50.
  • Barbers and Hair Stylists: Usually $2 to $5 is good for a barber while 10% to 15% to hairstylists is necessary, especially if you visit them regularly. Girls, you don’t want your hair stylist pissed off at you with your hair at their mercy.
  • Hotel Staff: $1 to $2 for doormen, bell hops, and valet parking attendants. Tip your maid $2 to $5 dollars a day if you want to ensure that your stuff is in good hands. Concierge should be tipped well if they do something extraordinary for you.
  • Taxi, Limo, Shuttle Drivers. Usually 15% of the fare is good, but you might want to do 20% if they help you with all of your luggage. Watch out, because some airport transfers and limo driver’s fees will already include gratuity, but they won’t refuse extra.

People You Shouldn’t Tip On a Regular Basis

  • Financial Professionals
  • Attorneys
  • Contractors
  • Any salesman that works on commission
  • Mortgage loan officer
  • Real Estate agents
  • Travel Agents
  • Appliance Repair Technicians
  • Computer Technicians
  • Landscaping Service and Pest Control
  • Dry-Cleaners
  • Fedex/UPS couriers
  • Post Office couriers

Tipping and Giving on Christmas and Winter Holidays

The Christmas and Hanukkah holiday season is definitely a time for giving. You may want to consider giving a gift or a tip to the service providers in your life that you normally wouldn’t tip. A post office worker, garbage man, personal trainer, tutor, baby sitter, newspaper carrier, nannies, maids, gardener, and others should be considered for a small holiday gift or cash gift. These people make your life easier throughout the year, and you should attempt to show some appreciation to them during the holiday season.

Here is a link for a more comprehensive list on tipping etiquette guidelines. It’s important to remember that tipping is still an act of giving whether it’s an unsaid requirement or not. You’re not legally obligated to do it, so it’s still an act of giving. Do it out of the goodness of your heart, but do it in accordance with the quality of service provided. Don’t limit yourself to tipping the “recommended” amount if the importance of the service provider in your life exceeds the recommended amount.

What are your thoughts about tipping and who you should tip?

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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Comments

  • http://madsaver.com Mac

    I think tipping is a required evil…I’ve never been comfortable doing it, but try to be a good tipper anyway. It’s so difficult to be an honest tipper and I usually end up giving between 15-20% no matter what (at restaurants). Even if I’ve had the worst possible service, I still find myself handing over unearned money. Thinking back, the best tip I’ve left was to the worst stylist ever at Great Clips several years ago. Nothing. She smelled real bad, acted like she was in a rush, and did a poor job. And somehow I was unlucky enough to have 3 haircuts in a row by her.

    Never went back to that place again.

    • WOODY

      WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE SIGNS SAY…’NO TIPPING’??

      • Rei

        @Mac: That’s not bad luck, that’s your decision to not set up an appointment with a stylist who knows how to do the job. You do a walk-in and you usually get the bottom of the barrel, because almost nobody makes appointments with the worst person in the shop. The only time you’ll get someone decent doing a walk-in is if a good stylist has a canceled appointment at the last minute.
        @Woody: Make sure you verbally express your appreciation at least.

      • Paul

        Well, this sign makes me nervous, knowing how severs are taxed on 15% of tabs.

        I learned this fact back when I was bussing tables during college. Basically, the IRS presumes that a server will receive an average of 15% of the tab as their tip on each check, and that amount is imputed to them as income (and calculated and reported to the IRS by the employer). Obviously, the IRS does not trust servers to report the true amount of their tips!

        I therefore feel guilty unless I leave a server at least a 15% tip, which I almost always do, unless the service is really bad.

  • WOODY

    AND AS FOR TIPPING THE POSTAL WORKER, ETC… A LOT OF THESE
    PEOPLE MAKE MORE THAN I DO…. AND HAVE EXTRA BENEFITS…

    TIP THE BABY SITTER…. THEY ARE YOUNG KIDS WHO WANT TO EARN A FEW BUCKS
    WHILE IN SCHOOL……. THE REST….NO….

    • Rei

      I’m not sure about postal workers, but I think tipping/giving a holiday gift your regular UPS or other package delivery person is a good idea if you get a lot of packages and he/she goes the extra mile for you. If he/she always makes sure that your package is safe and won’t get rained on when leaving it for you, if he/she warns you when he/she is pretty sure the package is damaged to make sure you check it right away…then I would say giving a holiday gift would be appropriate.

      Postal workers aren’t generally known for the kind of customer service that warrants a tip, but if someone goes out of their way for you (assuming it wouldn’t be professionally inappropriate to give a tip…like a doctor), a tip or holiday gift shows that person that someone appreciates their extra effort. Even just a thank you card for someone who does work that benefits you regularly and always goes the extra mile is better than nothing.

    • Erik Folgate

      I think it’s cool to tip the postal work on the holidays.

  • Bumble

    Most bartenders and servers are being paid a slave wage (4.27hr in FL) and rely completely on tips for their money. A 15% tip is an insult and an indication that you have done a poor job. 18% is standard. Don’t forget that we also tip out barbacks, bussers, foodrunners etc. from our tally. We usually only go home with about 75% of original pot. If you can’t afford to tip you can’t afford to eat out.

    • kristina

      Thank god someone here has a brain.

    • Ke

      You have got to be kidding.
      Maybe you should grow a pair and stand up to your bosses and deserve a better hourly wage. The patrons should not have to supplement their employees wages, especially when the employees can not even come close to giving good service.

      • G

        It is what it is, and it’s not going to change. The cost would just be added on to the goods and services sold, with no guarantee of good service if the employer paid all the wages. You would have sticker shock looking at a menu. The tips at least encourage good service. Servers in Utah make $2.13 an hour.

    • Rei

      I think that you guys should band together and do something about this. There are so many bartenders and servers and other expected tip-earners in this country, that I can only imagine that you guys could really raise a ruckus about the federal minimum wage for you guys if you wanted to. If I knew that my server was getting paid regular federal minimum like everyone else, I would still tip if the person was really pleasant and friendly and did a good job. Rather than just getting less tips for poor service, you would probably just get fired (which would make service better at most restaurants, btw). However, you wouldn’t risk losing out on the money you need to survive just because some cheap tool wouldn’t tip you if you saved his grandmother.

    • Dudeson

      You’re saying that 3% difference (15 to 18) takes a tip from insulting to fine? Your math is that good is it, that you’ll know the tip on a $55 tab should have been $9.90, not the insulting $8.25 they left you? I had no idea $1.65 could do so much. Talk about nitpicking. With the economy the way it is you should be happy with your 15% tip and not push it.

  • kristina

    Hey Jackass,

    Have you ever worked in a restaurant? Probably not since you think 15% is a sufficient tip. You should tip 20% unless you are unhappy with the service. 25% is the service was exceptional and more as you see fit

    • Billy

      15% is a sufficient tip. I worked in a restaurant for 6 years, “jackass.”

      I have a rule. 16.7% tip (1/6 of the bill) is my minimum, but I seldom go over 19%. 25% is just ludicrous unless the service was exceptionally fantastic. Then again, these are my arbitrary choices as I presently make $12/hr slaving at my own office job.

      Nobody should ever judge another’s tipping habits, though I will say that dipping below 15% starts to make the whole thing pointless.

      • Rei

        @Billy: Since you seem to put a lot of thought into tipping, I wonder if you do what I do. If I walk up to a counter to order and someone just drops my food at my table and never talks to me again until I get up and go to the register and pay, I usually don’t tip (I’m talking a pizza place with a few tables and no real servers, or a similar Chinese place, something like that). If this is the case, I make sure the table is ready to be cleared (dishes stacked so they won’t fall when picked up, and I take dirty napkins and the like and throw them out myself) and sometimes even return the dishes to the counter myself (if I see others doing it and know it won’t be a bother). I don’t think it’s service just because they don’t want me standing at the counter while other people are trying to order.

        I also agree with you about 25%. If I’m tipping that much, I also write a note on the back of the bill thanking them for a great experience and make sure to take any survey offered by the company (as it reveals who the server was that got the great rating). If I’m paying at the register after a meal and someone other than the server is ringing me up, I make sure to tell that person about the great service I got. Obviously, I don’t know if that’s ever caused anything positive to happen to one of my servers, but I sure hope so!

  • Paul

    Years ago I remember the protocol on tipping was that your tip should be based on the price of the food, before the tax, and before the drinks. I haven’t heard or seen that in a long time, in fact, most restaurants don’t even show subtotals for drinks anymore, but it used to be very common. What’s the consensus? Do you tip based on the total (including tax and drinks) or just the food bill, or food and drinks but not tax???

    I consider myself a good tipper. I usually double the tax and round up (sales tax is 9.75% here, so even before rounding I’m giving almost 20%.

    I think the most important thing to consider is that based on a bill of $20 per person (which is what the author of the story I read was aiming for) the difference between 15% and 20% is only $1.00 per person. Suck it up and give ‘em the buck!.

    • Ke

      The whole tipping thing has gotten out of hand. Sometimes, we the patrons experiencing an awful time at the mercy of our server and we are simply just supplementing the employees wages.
      Servers have to realize that jsut because your employer is CHEAP, and/or has no scheduling, hiring, or managment skills is NOT the patrons fault.

      I think that servers forget that the patrons are going out to ENJOY themselves. The fact that your coworkers did not show up and now you have 10 tables instead of 5, there are only 2 bus boys scheduled to maintain 50 tables, there are not enough people preparing the side items etc, is NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PATRONS. And as a server, you better be able to hide your fristration and plant a smile on your face and speak nicely to the patrons to ENSURE that they have a good experience.

      You think I enjoyed my experience when my waitress was destracted, kept complainig about her boss and her coworkers, the cost of day care, and actually pulled up a chair at our table (in a nice restaurant) and whipped out her paycheck and stub and handed it to us in the middle of our dinner???

      • Rei

        I absolutely cannot believe you had a server do that. What in the heck did you do? I would have taken her pay stub and walked up to the manager and told him/her what happened. You can say whatever you want about what she did even without the stub, but having it in hand adds absolute verity to your tale. I hope they terminated her with extreme prejudice.

    • G

      You should be tipping on the whole bill, including drinks, but excluding tax. Your server is often the one filling your drink order, or if not, forced to split tips with the bartender. Look at your subtotal before tax, and tip 20% for good service, round down as you see fit for substandard service, or more for exceptional service. Only people tipping 25% are those in the service industry who know how it is. Not required.

  • Brandy

    My grandmother used to take me out to eat, just so I would know manners. Her rule was, if the service was bad, leave a quarter. If you leave nothing at all, then the server might think that you just forgot. A tip was designed as a way to say “great service” now it has just become an obligation that I don’t feel I should have to pay. And some restaurants use it as a way to pay their employees less. I do feel bad for those that have to “tip share”. And when my kids were younger, the tip was based on how big a mess the kids made, and we usaually told the server that their tip was included on the credit card, and the cash on the table was for the person that had to clean up.

    • Ke

      You are a WISE woman. Your grandmother taight you well!!

  • Karma

    Brandy, did you actually leave a mess for someone to clean up? You are kidding, I hope. Being a diner does not entitle one to leave an unholy mess! The busboys and servers are not our personal maids…..I suggest leaving nothing you wouldn’t want to see on your own dining table.

    • Ke

      Kids make messes — they drop things on the floor, etc. Do you expect the patrons to climb on the floor in the middle of the restaurant, in a walk way, and climb under the table???
      Be reasonable.
      Kids make messes — noodles, popcorn, spilled pop, water, milk, etc.
      Because of that, good parents generally leave a larger tip.

      • Melissa

        Yes, yes I do expect you to get on the floor and clean up your child’s mess. Why would you expect someone else to have to pick up your child’s saliva drenched, half chewed food off of the floor? That’s nasty, either teach your child some manners. If they are too young to know better then clean it up yourself! Other guests in the restaurant don’t want to see that, it’s nasty!

    • Rei

      I’m with Ke. There are some things, like spilled liquids on a carpeted restaurant floor, that you simply cannot clean up as a customer. Even moms do not carry steam cleaners and Resolve in their purses. However, obviously, a large tip wouldn’t make up for letting your kids draw all over the table in crayon and/or leaving a food/drink disaster on top of the table.

    • Brandy

      Yes I have left messes for others to clean. When my children were at ages 1 yr, 2 yr, 3 yr and spilled drinks and I used 5-10 nakins to clean up the spill, would you have me take them to the bathroom trash? When my 2 yr old who is learning to eat smeared pancakes on the table, do you think I should ask for a rag to wipe the table off before I leave? No, that is part of the eating out. I am paying for someone else to cook the meal, clean the table and wash the dishes. My children have table manners appropriate for their AGE, you really can’t expect a 2 year old to not spill food on the table. And the way for them to learn how to eat out is to take them to eat out. Eating at home is a very different experience than eating in a restaurant.
      We have our favorite places and the staff always enjoys our return cause they know that as long as they give us good service, we will treat them good in the tip. And they have watched our children grow over the last 7 years. In addition, we are very aware of what restuarants participate in tip sharing. Outback and Joe’s crab shack do. So we are sure to take that into consideration when we tip. :)

      • Melissa

        Brandy
        I think the people are only nice to you because it is their job to be nice and if they told you what they really think they would lose it. I guarantee that they do in fact mind that you use them to clean up the mess you quite obviously don’t want to clean up in your own home. They aren’t learning how to eat out at age 2, they aren’t going to remember that. It’s unfortunate that you probably HAVE taught them that it is okay to treat service people like your own personal slave. They’re servers not servants. I’m glad you don’t live near me, or at least I pray not, because you are the type of person everyone dreads having to sit next to at a restaurant!

        • Rei

          @Melissa: You know what, I don’t know what happened to you in this life to make you so damned bitter, but Brandy is not the embodiment of every evil in the universe, and the fact that you are acting like she is doesn’t make it so. Get over it and yourself already.

          @Brandy: My only issue with your last comment is that perhaps a restaurant isn’t the best place to teach a kid to eat pancakes. The kid will almost inevitably end up eating part of it directly off the table and you can never be 100% on how clean those tables are (damage to the surface could mean that even a very good wipe-down might not be enough when pancake syrup can pick up any yuckiness in the tiniest cracks). Also, slippery, sticky pancakes can be challenging for a child of kindergarten age, let alone two. I’ve even had a bit of pancake or waffle slip off my fork as an adult, but thankfully it always fell on the plate. Your own dining room table which you can be sure is clean to your own satisfaction might be better for that. You can do whatever you want, and I’m not judging, I’m just putting it out there.

  • Ke

    I think that there is a group (or two) of people who need to be tipped in some way and they should be included in the list of people to be tipped.

    They are those that work in the legal environment — not the attorneys, but the secretaries, the receptionists, clerks, etc.

    How do I know. I have observed and investigated it.

    Most of these individuals work in AWFUL environments(not the beautiful surrounding that you see on TV) — they are worked to death, given few if any benefits (not even health care), verbally abused on a daily basis, treated as an inferior class (and reminded of it daily), made to skip their lunch (yet still have their wages deducted for it), given no breaks, and are seldom, if ever paid for the overtime they put in BECAUSE IT IS REALLY THEIR TIME AND EFFORT that your ATTORNEYS bills you for. The attorneys want their high salaries and bonuses, as well as their country club memberships, etc. but most do VERY little of the actual work. That is why the turnover rate in many of the firm is high but some of the people are stuck because of family or economic reasons.

    Think about these people when you complete, say your divorce — the receptionist who repeatedly let you vent about the antics of your ex, the one who had to entertain and babysit your kids when you went to court (even shelling money out of their own pockets), the secretary that had to talk you through the events and keep your apprised of everything through phone calls, e-mails, letters, etc. These are people that repeatedly helped you for HOURS and HOURS over a long period of time — sometimes YEARS. Don’t they deserve a tip . They didn’t really HAVE to help you, but out of compassion they go that extra mile for you.

    And remember, most of these employees are put in a position that they can not sue the company (regardless of the law) because when they file a complaint they are generally terminated or have their hours altered, and they can not really sue because the law firm will attempt to break them financially with continuances, and courts costs and expenses. Only a select few will ever win against a law firm.

    THOSE PEOPLE deserve a big THANK YOU and a TIP — not cash (because the attorney will take it for themselves) , but something like a Target or Wal-Mart gift card, a restaurant certificate for something in the area, etc.

    THOSE are the people that work behind the scene and need your tips..and YOUR especially your THANKS!

    • Rei

      I see what you’re saying, but if working there is so terrible, getting a job elsewhere should be a priority for people in these situations! Life is short, and working a job where every bit of your humanity is stripped away by coworkers and/or bosses is no way to live. I’m not saying it’s easy to find another job, but it would be worth it to work hard to find something better.

      I completely agree with you though, if this person is listening to you kvetch about your ex and babysitting your kid while you’re in court, you need to give them something to show your appreciation. Or better yet, just kvetch to her friends and hire a babysitter.

      I’m a little confused about tipping for keeping you up to date on your case though. Isn’t this part of the job description? If it isn’t, it should be for a law firm (because without customer service and reputation, law firms are nothing), and the employees that handle it should paid appropriately for this as well. I’m just wondering because I’ve never worked for a law firm or dealt with one.

  • Melissa

    Food servers only make about $2 an hour, depending on where you live. You should tip 20-25% unless you received truly bad service. That doesn’t mean you didn’t have a new drink right away because you sucked down the first one in 2 minutes. Most likely you are not the only table in the restaurant and your server does have to get things for other tables as well, and not always just his/her tables either. Most restaurants have a strong “teamwork” ethic which means that servers are taking food to other tables and, if needed, getting things for other servers’ tables also. Be reasonable with your expectations.

  • Melissa

    To those of you who feel like it is not your job to supplement wages, you should not eat out at places where it is expected. How is it fair to not pay someone because you are just too cheap to pay for service. Everyone knows that you are expected to pay for service at a restaurant, if you don’t want to pay, don’t go there, it’s that simple. I enjoy eating out with my kids (who have exemplory manners, btw) but if we can’t afford to we won’t go. Eating in a nice restaurant is a privilege.

  • Bumble

    I’m glad to see that I started a lively debate and Ke’s comments, although misguided, are important to the discussion. He/she shows that there is misinformation out there and that people are not educated on restaurant operations, so, a discussion like this can expose the true nature of the server to client relationship. If servers and bartenders got together to force a higher wage this would be reflected in the price of your meal. A burger that now cost 7.00 would cost 10.00 and a beer would go from 3.50 to 5.00. Be careful what you wish for, because you can bet that they would use the pay raise as an excuse to gouge the guest and make your overall experience much more expensive than rounding up on the tip to the nearest dollar.

    • Rei

      I’d be willing to pay the extra straight up and then only tip if the server was really great. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I pay almost that in tip anyhow, and I’d feel better knowing that my server isn’t working for slave wages.

  • Bumble

    You would rather line the pockets of the owners than the hard working staff. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

    • Rei

      I really hope you aren’t insinuating that I’d rather do that. That is completely uncalled for. If you think that’s would happen with the situation described, fine, but your assertion about me is incorrect at the very least and wildly insulting at the worst. I said I’d like to see them get paid full federal minimum at least like everyone else so they’re not dependent on tips so they don’t suffer at the hands of some cheap bastard who ignores their hard work and refuses to tip.

  • Bumble

    What i was trying to point out is that the owners would pad their prices and use the wages as an excuse. It was not meant as an affront to you, but rather an illustration of the unscrupulous behavior of owners, especially corporate ownership.

    • Rei

      They could try to do that, but we know they’d only be paying fed minimum. Anybody who doesn’t bother to pay attention to how much they’re paying for food almost deserves to be fleeced.

      I apologize if I misunderstood and overreacted. I’m not feeling very well today.

  • big bee

    Tipping by percentage has gotten out of hand. Why would you tip the hard-working waitress at Denny’s only $1 after you ate your “$5 Grand Slam” breakfast (20% right), while at a “fancy” restaurant with inflated prices you might spend $100, but the waiter might be terrible (horrors, how could you give him less than 15%!!). Why should I give him $20? If he waits on 2 tables an hour, he makes alot more than me!

    I believe you should tip on a sliding scale (% wise). I might give the Denny’s waitress a huge tip percentage-wise (60%-100%), but if I give the waiter at the fancy restaurant only 10% ($10), he still makes much more than the Denny’s waitress.

    Not that long ago, a tip of 10% to 15% was standard. That has now grown to 15% to 20%, and I hear some saying 20% to 25%. Somehow the service industry is beating these ever-increasing percentages into the public psyche.

    • Kristi

      You tip more at a fancy restaurant because you are not only tipping the server. You are tipping on what you purchased. However, the tip should be based on getting good service. To justify tipping a Denny’s server more than you tip a fine dining server is just ridiculous. You are tipping on quality of food as well. When you tip the server most of the time they are tipping a percentage to others that make their job possible and your dining experience more pleasant. For example they tip the food runners, the bussers, hostess, expiditor in the kitchen, and bartenders which can add up from anywhere from 30%-40% of what you tip them. So for every $10 tipped the server will only make $6 or $7. Also, the United States Government assumes that you tip accordingly and taxes the servers as if you tipped according to the standard. If you tip 10% or less the server is actually paying for your dining experience in the taxes that they pay.

      I will say again, you should tip according to quality service.

  • Gabrielle

    What about tipping Table Games Dealers in a casino. How come that wasn’t included in this article? Is there an ettiquette rule for them? I am a dealer and would like to know. Thanks.

  • http://getarealjob.com zane

    if you dont like the service industry, then finish high school and move on

    why should i have to foot the bill because you are a single mother with no taste in men,

    if i dine out and get some impressive service, then i tip accordingly, DONT tell what i SHOULD be tipping

    p.s. buy some nicorette

    • Melissa

      Wow, Zane, did you ever stop to think that maybe that single mom is a single mom because her husband DIED and she might be taking care of a mentally ill child that she has to be home to take care of and can’t work a 9-5?. You’re a serious asshole!

  • zane

    i know !! let start tipping everyone

    the trash man
    the cable guy
    the nurse at your kids school
    the bus driver
    the surgeon who ties your tubes (just a suggestion!)

    by the time i tip everyone, i will need a second job, hope fully i will get good tips

  • Paul

    WHEN is the appropriate time to leave a restaurant server their tip?

    I usually like to leave the tip on the table so that the server gets it in cash on the spot, rather than wait to be “credited” with it later by the cafe when ringing up the day’s receipts. However, I sometimes worry that if I do that possibly a busboy or some other worker (or even another customer) might swipe it off the table before the server gets it. Then there’s the awkward moment at the register (for places that pay at the register still) when they ask whether you want to add a tip to the check. I usually respond “no, I’ve left it on the table” so it doesn’t look like I’m some kind of skinflint.

    The one thing that irks me, though, are servers who come take the tip off the table before you leave the table. There is an IHOP here where the servers have a bad habit of doing just that, and I have complained before to management anonymously about the practice, to no avail. I think that behavior is just plain rude, and makes it look like the server either doesn’t trust their fellow workers, are afraid you might change your mind about the tip, or to make you feel self-conscious if you left them a small tip.

    • Erik Folgate

      Hey Paul, yeah that’s tough. I think if you’re tipping at least 15% for appropriate service, then there’s no reason to feel self-conscious, so it doesn’t matter when you leave it . I understand the thing with the busboy, but servers are usually pretty good with grabbing cash when they see it on the table.

  • not given

    I’ll tip 20% on service if I never had to flag someone down to get something i needed. They come by every so often to ask if I need something or bring me things almost everyone needs without asking.
    10% if I had to try to get their attention multiple times for a couple of different things I told them upfront that I would need and I had to wait to eat until they brought it, even having to ask a different server at a nearby table.
    A couple of times the service was so atrocious that I left 2 pennies. Once or twice I’ve left 25% for exceptional service when we asked for a lot and got it without a scene.
    If you are a server, attention MATTERS.

  • Guest

    You cheapos need to TIP the exterminators too. We bust our arses ALL year to help you and especially when you call us at 5 pm and are totally freaked out cause you have a wasp nest above your front door that has to be done right NOW! (A lot of customers don’t care that we have families that we don’t even get to see until 7 pm cause of your emergencies)! I hope you remember that and ALL the extra services at no charge that we have done for you all year long as you decide who to tip. We don’t get paid for doing extra services just to let you know. Believe me, WE technicians really do appreciate it. 20 to 50 at X mas is usually a fair amount. Thank you.

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