I don’t know if tipping is as popular across the globe as it is here in the good ol’ USA, but it seems like I can’t even fart without owing someone money for doing so. When we think of tipping, we typically relate it to the dining out experience. I haven’t been to a restaurant that DOESN’T allow tips. In fact, some states are allowed to pay their wait staff less than the federal minimum wage since it’s assumed the tips they get during their shift will more than make up for their two dollar hourly wage. New Mexico being one of them.
But today’s post isn’t about tipping at a restaurant. Unless you have really crappy service, you should tip. No debate there. Let’s not forget, however, that the restaurant industry is only one of the many industries where tipping is common.
What about take out? When you order a pizza and opt for “pick up” the receipt still has a tip section on it. Same is true for Chinese food and just about every other take-out place known to man. Are you suppose to tip at these places to? I don’t. Never have, and don’t plan to start any time soon. I’m already paying a mark up for the food, so why would I “tip” when there hasn’t really been any additional service included? It doesn’t make sense to me. That said, I do feel really awkward as I put a big fat ZERO in the tip line while the cashier is watching me….not awkward enough to not do it though 🙂
Or how about taxis and shuttle services. Instead of tipping a percentage of the bill (like I do at restaurants) I typically just throw in an extra few bucks as I’m getting dropped off (regardless of a $10 ride or a $50 one). I don’t know why tipping drivers is essentially mandatory though. Have you seen the markup on mileage? It can cost upwards of 8 dollars a mile for a cab ride in some cities. You are DEFINITELY paying a premium for the service, so why should we tip too? I guess it’s because a cabbies hourly wage must be pretty rotten? While I don’t necessarily enjoy tipping for this service, I do it because I feel like I have to.
I avoid bellhops and concierge services at hotels like the plague. I’ll always carry my own bags if it saves me a few dollars. That said, one of the service industries I am most thankful for is housekeeping. Leaving a hotel slightly disheveled in the morning, only to come back a few hours later to a pristine oasis, is one of the greatest things ever.
For the majority of my life I never tipped housekeepers. Probably because they are like phantoms that sneak in and out without being seen. It’s pretty hard to tip someone you’ve never physically interacted with. Now that I’m a little wiser, I do my best to leave a few bucks on the end of the bed each day to let the housekeeping staff know I appreciate their service; not to mention their willingness to clean the toilet after I eat one-to-many California Burritos.
If you live in a major metropolitan city, and frequent the downtown area, I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of street performers over the years. While their acts come in all shapes and sizes; from robots, to jugglers, to musicians, magicians, dancers, and acrobats, they all have one thing in common. They have a bucket and a sign requesting compensation for their performance.
In January Girl Ninja and I saw some pretty incredible street performances in San Francisco. But now I feel like a total douche, because I realized we only compensated one of them. I’m not saying we should tip every street performance we witness, especially if you think it sucks, but if you were entertained, you should probably throw a dollar in the hat…especially if you stuck around for the whole show. Remember, street performers aren’t performing to entertain you. They have one objective and one objective only…get paid.
Alright, those are all the industries I can think of where tipping is at least somewhat expected. Am I missing any? Do you tip for take out? Why do we tip cabbies when we are already paying a premium for the service provided? Do you go out of your way to avoid tipping (like I do when I refuse bellhop service at hotels)? What percentage of street performers do you actually compensate (I probably only do 10% of the time, when it should be more like 80%)?