There's perhaps no aspect of etiquette more confusing than tipping. It's a gesture that shows our appreciation for great service and some workers depend on tips. But in some instances, tipping is completely unnecessary. To avoid some common mistakes, here are a few tipping do's and don'ts.
Tip Jar Etiquette
Tip jars are everywhere these days, but that doesn't mean you're obligated to give up your change. Save gratuities for people who go above and beyond. Senior Editor at Real Simple magazine, May Kate McGrath, says it's appropriate if you received extra service. If you get a free refill, for example, she says definitely tip but not for the standard service of someone just doing their job.
Don't Discount Tip
When dining out we know that the standard tip is about 15% to 20% but if you use a gift card or a daily deal voucher, remember not to discount tip. Leave gratuity on the full amount that you ordered, not the reduced bill. And if you want your server to get the entire gratuity, it's best to leave it in cash. Waiters typically take home cash tips at the end of their shift. Credit card tips, however, are paid at a later time and can end up inaccurate due to bookkeeping errors. Some establishments even reportedly deduct the credit card swipe fees from servers' tips.
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Okay to Forego a Tip?
What if your service was less than acceptable? Your impulse may be just to forego a tip, altogether, but remember that wait staff typically give a fraction of their tips to bus boys and bartenders. Your actions won't just impact your server. "If you've experienced bad service, it's not the time to just not tip," says McGrath. "You can still tip about 10% to 12%, then talk to a manager about the service."
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Remember to tip bartenders about 10% to 15% of the bill when paying by credit card and at least one to two dollars per drink when leaving cash. It's also kind to tip a couple bucks if you're just ordering free water, especially if you're taking a seat at the bar.
Delivery Do's and Dont's
As for takeout, when picking up your food, there's no need to leave a tip unless they throw in some extra sides. But if food gets delivered to your door, tip about 10% of the bill or at least a few bucks even if there's already a delivery fee. Your tip will go straight into the deliveryman's pocket, while delivery charges usually go to the restaurant. Also, consider the weather, speed and how often you order food from that restaurant when tipping.
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Hotel Tipping Etiquette
No need to tip for room service unless they went out of their way, as gratuity is almost always included - usually as much as 18% or 20%. As for housekeeping, you should tip between two to five dollars per day depending on the size and mess of your room. Leave this tip daily since it's often a different person cleaning your room each time.
Gas Station Service
You don't need to tip the attendants when filling up your car at a full-service gas station. Unlike servers, they receive at least minimum wage. Still, if the weather is extreme, they'll appreciate a few dollars for their efforts.
Another service that requires no tip is furniture delivery, unless the store offered the service free with your purchase or the delivery team made an extra effort. For instance, if the elevator is out and they have to take the stairs, a tip of $10 to $20 per person is a nice gesture.
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Thank those that keep your beautiful by tipping your hairstylist, aesthetician or manicurist 15% to %20 of the service charge but McGrath says no need to tip the owner of the salon or the proprietor of any business because owners typically don't work for tips. Instead they receive the overall profit of the business. If you're ever unsure of how much to tip or who to give it to, just ask the receptionist.
Finally, no need to tip people throughout the year who you reward generously during the holiday season. This includes babysitters, dog walkers and paperboys.
As always, we want to hear from you. What are some of your tipping tips? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh, using the hashtag #finfit.