Tipping Here, There and Everywhere

I myself have never been a server, but I know the importance of tipping. If I receive decent service, I’ll tip 15%. My definition of decent service is being friendly, delivering the food in a timely manner, asking if I need anything else, you know, the usual stuff. I’ve rarely received amazing service, but the odd times I have, I will tip almost 20%. Mind you, the server would have to go above and beyond what they normally do.

Everyone knows that with certain professions you are expected to tip. Some of these include restaurants, bars, hair dressers, spa services, taxi drivers and food delivery people.

I have no problem with giving them a tip because they are providing a service. Obviously the tip percentage varies, depending on the type of service. For example, I would tip a pizza delivery person way less than what I would tip my hairdresser. I have long thick wavy hair which is a blessing and a curse at the same time. My hairdresser seems to be the only one who knows how to cut and style my hair in a way that requires very little maintenance.

Coffee shops, such as Starbucks often have tip jars by the front cash. I rarely buy a fancy five dollar drink at Starbucks.  I usually just purchase the regular coffee. However if I did want to splurge and buy a five dollar drink, I wouldn’t tip because the drink already cost me five dollars. I do respect the fact that these baristas do go through training and it does take a bit more effort to make a cappuccino (or a no whip soy latte mocha-frappe-cappuccino) versus drip coffee, but does it really warrant a need to get rid of my extra change? Then I’d be paying MORE than five dollars for a drink.

Image Courtesy of tiverylucky/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of tiverylucky/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have noticed in the food courts that some food vendors also have tip jars by the cash.  The food is already made and right in front of you, so basically all that the employee is doing is scooping it onto a plate, just like Lunch lady Doris would in your high school cafeteria. If anything it should be the cook in the back getting a tip. But even then, isn’t a lot of the fast food  ready to cook frozen stuff or requires very little preparation?  Again, except for my brief stint as a hostess (by brief I mean two weeks), I don’t really have any experience in the food service industry so I couldn’t tell you for sure.

The same goes for gelato and ice cream places. Is scooping ice cream or handing me samples of gelato with those tiny plastic spoons really that labour intensive? Unless I see you actually making the ice cream by hand, i.e. crushing that ice, then I am just going to pay the price of the ice cream and nothing more. Sorry.

It seems that major fast food establishments are the only places that don’t have tip jars right by the cash. Perhaps it’s because they find it tacky?

So where do you draw the line when it comes to tipping? Sure it’s only loose change, but it can add up if you feel obligated to tip everywhere. In most cases (except with restaurants that say for larger parties, a gratuity is added automatically. Ok fine, but when it’s almost 20% and I get crappy service that is NOT FINE), tipping is expected, but still optional.  I find when I’m on vacation; I tend to tip a lot more than usual.

Do you feel everyone is asking for tips these days? What’s your tipping strategy?

19 thoughts on “Tipping Here, There and Everywhere

  1. Yeah, it does seem like everyone is asking for a tip these days….it’s honestly getting out of control. I think they’re actually creating positions for people that are funded purely by tipping. The one thing I NEVER do is tip just because it’s expected. I know some people baseline at 10% – even if it’s the worst service ever they get 10%. not me….if you do a terrible job, you get a big fat ZERO.

  2. Kathy says:

    We start at 20% and work our way down from there depending on the quality of service. No tips for the coffee servers at Starbucks etc. I do tip the hairdresser at 10% because the salon she works for has generous payment policy.

    • It seems a lot of people tip 20% as the minimum. I always used the tax percentage as a guideline for tipping. It used to be 15% tax (government and provincial sales tax), but now they harmonized it to one sales tax 13%. However I still tip 15%.

  3. I’m pretty much the same as you. I don’t tip at places like starbucks or ice cream places. And like Kathy said, I start at 20% and work my way down from there. Mostly though it’s 20% across the board at standard type places for tipping, like restaurants.

    • I’m always surprised if people do tip at Starbucks or ice cream places. It is one way to get rid of your change, but I’d rather use my change to pay for something I bought, not as an extra payment.

  4. I don’t usually go anywhere where I’m expected to tip other than restaurants. I know there’s an expectation there, and I know they don’t get paid enough, but that’s not my problem. If they want a good tip, they need to earn it. That being said, I’m not afraid to hand out a generous tip when they do a good job. I usually start at 15% and go either way from there.

    • It’s true that you if you enter the restaurant industry as a server, you have to have that mindset that the quality of service you give will ultimately determine the amount of tips you receive. I don’t naturally have a bubbly, outgoing personality, so I would probably make a horrible server, thus barely getting any tips.

  5. Yes, we’re such a tipping culture. I’m going to a couple cities in Asia later on this year where tipping is not the norm. In fact, it sounds like people find it kind of offensive. It’s going to be so weird not leaving a tip!

    • It’s funny that people would find it offensive. If anything, I thought they were be more grateful and appreciative of the gesture. We tipped one of our drivers who drove practically around the entire island of Santorini in order to get to our hotel. He seemed quite happy about it.

  6. Didn’t tips used to be an “extra” for doing a good job? I swear at some point that was the purpose of it. I haven’t taken the time to google the origin of tipping but that’s where I thought it started.

    But these days it’s how some people make a living, servers and bartenders make crap. They don’t make a livable wage. They survive on tips, and why? because tips have gone from being an extra to being the required commonplace.

    I wish we could just pay people a livable amount and tips could go back to being entirely optional again and based on excellent service. Also some places do things like tip pooling where the tips get split by all the servers at the end of the night so your good tip doesn’t help your server as much, and your bad tip for bad service doesn’t matter as much to your crappy server.

    No one really has a standard for what a tip should be either, that’s another reason we should get rid of it. Some people say 15%, others say 10%. I’ve even seen “tip helpers” printed on the bottom of receipts to help you calculate what a 25% or 50% tip is. Who tips 50% for anything?

    Also what about those crazy expensive restaurants that have $500 meals, did that server work any harder than the server that serves $50 meals? Perhaps… But did they work 10 times harder? Probably not.

    • A 50% tip? Really? Now that’s just greedy.

      I have noticed that at the very few high end restaurants I’ve been to (I already find restaurants expensive in general, let alone high end ones), the service is noticeably better. I can’t really think of a time where they went above and beyond though…

  7. I’m probably in the minority, and I myself have been a server, but adequate service will get 15% from me. I’ll go as high as 25%, and for truly, truly horrible service, I’ve gone as low as 5%. My thought is though, if someone is that reliant upon tips for their income and earnings, bad service should result in a bad tip, as it results in a bad time for the patrons. My average is probably around 18%, but we don’t go out to eat too often, so it’s not something I worry about a ton.

    • I think the highest I’ve ever gone for tipping was close to 20%. If we do go out to eat, it’s often for a special occasion or because we haven’t gone out in a while.

  8. I usually tip 20% with a minimum of $4.Excellent service gets more, and on the rare occasion I get a jerk I’ll tip less. Most of the time I do tip jars, but I’m not a coffee person so I don’t know if I would at Starbucks. I think the thing to remember with the service industry is that while the work may not be labor intensive, at least in the US these people are making less than minimum wage most of the time. Tips are how they pay their bills, and their jobs kind of suck. If I don’t want to tip, I’ll do whatever I want them to do myself (cook, go pick up my food myself etc.) I used to work in the service industry, and I think that perspective has made me more generous with these situations. When you can empathize, it makes you view the situation from their perspective.

  9. With both myself and my husband working in the food industry (he as a manager, myself as a server), we seem to tip a lot higher than normal. I agree with what Zee said above about tips being extra for most professions (servers excluded). For take out and baristas,tips are an extra part of their already minimum wage or higher salary, so one has to go a bit above and beyond for a tip from me. Since I’m sympathetic to the pathetic salary servers get, I tip 20% minimum unless they are horrible.

    • Perhaps baristas should look into doing flare stuff like they do in bars in order to get tips. That would be cool. Not sure what a delivery person could do to get a higher tip though.

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