Here’s a tip: Don’t Tip.

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%)?

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67 thoughts on “Here’s a tip: Don’t Tip.”

  1. I was at an event a few weeks ago and hadn’t thought to bring small change. There was a free beer for the evening, and I felt like a douche when I didn’t have anything to give the bartender after I got my one free drink. Had I gone back for a second, I would have tipped him extra for that one, but it didn’t end up happening. When I get my $1.70 coffee from the college coffee shop, I keep my $0.30 in change because I need that quarter for laundry. And I remember the first time I saw a tip line at a takeout place the summer after my freshman year of college, I froze and didn’t know what to do, but didn’t leave an additional tip and haven’t. Usually if I’m in a place with street performers, I’m on a shopping mission, so I don’t stick around to listen and don’t feel obligated to compensate them. Another big tipping category (at least for women) are massage therapists, manicurists, hairdressers, etc.

    I wonder how many people do stop and listen to street performers… a world-class violinist played outside a DC metro station and barely anyone noticed.

  2. Lets see for starters, I tip my hairdresser…and I bet GN does too! (if not I maybe I should stop?)
    I live in Japan…you DON’T tip at restaurants here! I love it!! If you leave money on your table they will literally RUN after you to give it back thinking you left it by accident. It is considered rude to tip people here, it is like saying you don’t think they make enough money to survive. So we save oodles of money by NOT tipping when we eat out now! However, since we do our grocery shopping on base at the commissary, we are expected to tip our baggers that pack our bags and take them to the car. So we normally try to do the self check out thing and then my hubby carries them out.

  3. I follow basically the same protocol at you. No tipping for take-out, no bell-hops, only take taxis when my company is paying for it.

    I also am a variable tipper for service. Every server starts at a 15% tip. Every fuck up decreases that % down to a minimum of 10% and every positive surprise raises it up to a max of 20%. If you don’t reward positive behaviors and punish negative ones, you will always receive the status quo.

  4. You should tip cab drivers because a huge majority of the fare they charge goes back to the company, not them, AND they have to be able to cover gas/maintenance on their cabs also. They’re paid shockingly poorly. That said, if it’s an airport shuttle, that’s different. And if you can pre-negotiate a fare (so the driver doesn’t turn the meter on), you don’t have to tip on top of that, so you can save a couple of bucks that way without stiffing the cabbie on his tip.

    I never tip for take-out. The only exception is at this mom-and-pop diner across the street from my apartment. It’s a small operation, and they’re always so nice and friendly. So I tip a couple of bucks. Just because. As for a bellhop, I tip them, but I’ll always carry my own bags, if given the choice. I also always tip housekeepers because, uhhh, it helps make sure they don’t rob you? Haha. So my travel guides say, anyway.

    As for street performers, I just adhere to the classic, “If you’re good enough that I stopped to watch you, then I owe you money.”

    • I definitely agree that you should tip cab drivers. My husband worked as a cab driver in Phoenix for a while, on the 6pm to 6am shift. His pay/expense structure looked like this:

      – $90-$120/night lease (paid by him to the cab company just for the use of their car and insurance coverage)
      – he gets to keep whatever is left at the end of the night

      If he didn’t get enough fares + tips to cover the cost of his lease, it didn’t matter – he still had to pay the lease, so it would actually cost him money to work that night.

      On a good night, he would get a cab fare that took him clear across the Valley – a $60 cab ride. He would make his lease after only a couple fares and the rest of the night was profit. But on other nights, he would get $5-10 cab rides from the college dorms to the street where they all go to drink, and college kids are notoriously bad tippers – he would have to work most of the night to make his lease.

      Also, a lot of the cabs have automated dispatchers – so if you call the cab company requesting a cab, you can’t prenegotiate a rate because you’re already in the system. But if you pick up a random cab on the side of the road, that’s the time to prenegotiate!

  5. I hate tipping for cab rides, but like you, I do it because I feel it is expected.

    One place I don’t tip is takeout. If I’m going to the same restaurant to eat in, I understand that I am taking up a table, someone is going to spend time coming to our table to refill our water, bring us our food and check to see that we don’t need anything. Then there will be dishes to wash and cloth napkins and tables to be cleaned. If I’m just picking up food, I feel like the same amount of food should cost just a little bit less.

    There aren’t a lot of other situations where I tip. My family has never in our lives used a bellhop. Our suitcases have wheels and it will save us a few dollars. Actually I had to carry suitcases before they had wheels when I was a little kid just to save us a few bucks….

    The holiday tip-apolooza that happens this time of year is not my cup of tea either. I’m still a student, so I’m not greatly effected yet, but I can imagine that tipping your mailman, newspaper carrier, super, babysitter, and everyone else would really take a toll.

  6. I’m with Jessica-I tip my hairdresser! Hubby tips his barber too. If I get a massage (if it’s covered under medical through my health plan) I’ll tip the masseuse too. I also have to say I’m a bit more of a generous tipper if it’s a work expense vs. coming from me (hypocritical I know).

  7. I tip my hairdresser and my manicurist; they do a great job, and I’m always happy with their services. On the few occasions I’ve needed to take a cab, I tip the cabbie as well. We don’t tip on take-out, but we do tip if we have food delivered (which is very infrequently… we’d rather go pick it up). We’ve never used a bellhop service, but if we’re staying at a hotel for a number of days, we will tip the housekeeper (I’ve never tipped if we’re just staying overnight).

  8. 2 people that should ALWAYS be tipped, but almost never are, include the mailman and the cable guy. The mailman gets a tip once a year at Christmas. This guy delivers all your packages, bills, cards, and whatever else you get and always makes sure that they are dry and safe. He should get a few bucks at the end of the year.

    The cable guy is coming to your house to perfrom a service. You may hate the company he works for, but that’s not his fault. If he is on time, provides good service, and is willing to show me what he is doing, he gets a nice tip.

    And please, ALWAYS tip the housekeepers at a hotel. They make about minimum wage and they clean up after some dirty people. I certainly leave a few bucks each day.

  9. The mailman is actually not allowed to accept cash tips. The US Postal Service forbids it. He is, however, allowed to accept small gifts like cookies or a coffee mug. That doesn’t preclude some mail carriers from accepting the generous tips of their customers, but they’d have to keep it a secret, so if you want to give your mail carrier a cash tip and he accepts it, just don’t mention it down at the local post office where his supervisor works.

    Totally agree about tipping hotel housekeeping. That job is not easy. I also like to be generous with food delivery people. It’s a tough job that can be quite dangerous, they’re out in bad weather and never knowing whose door they’re about to knock on, they get the brunt of the anger over mistakes the kitchen made, and many of them have to pay for their own gas. I like to be extra generous with them and they really appreciate it.

  10. When I was in Europe, we never tipped, as gratuity was added to the bill (something not all Americans know, and they often end up leaving a double tip!) In the States, I always tip well at restaurants I frequent, because the service you get when you return is excellent (at least in my ‘hood). I also tip my hairdresser, usually about 20%.

    I actually hardly ever stay in hotels – I can’t remember the last time I did – so I didn’t know about the housekeeping tip – but it’s something I will make sure to do when I go now!

  11. Be careful about tipping the mailman. Gifts to postal carriers are not allowed under federal law:

    As for housekeeping, I would advise putting the tip in an envelope at the close of your stay and marking it specifically for them. Otherwise the staff may be required to return the money on the assumption that it was left by the guest unintentionally.

    Cabbies? 10% minimum. See Jen and Melissa above.

    Barber? $2-3 per haircut.

    Take out that you pick up? No tip.

    Take out that’s delivered? A decent tip especially in bad weather.

    Street performers? Only if you want to. Hearing Joshua Bell play the violin at a DC metro station is the very, very rare exception. Most of the subway and street musicians in NY shouldn’t even be allowed to keep their instruments.

    End of year: Always cash gifts for the maintenance staff at my apartment complex. Extra money for my once-a-month house cleaners, for the newspaper carrier, and my barber. In short, a tip for anyone who performs regular services for you.

    That’s the USA. Europe is a whole other story that I could write whole paragraphs about. The guide books all say you don’t have to tip in European restaurants, but I’ve always been advised to round up a little and leave some change in the dish. But sometimes you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. At a restaurant in Paris once, when I put down 200 francs in cash on a meal costing 150, the owner returned 50 to me and said (not referring to the dessert), “Parfait.” When I asked for some additional change to leave the server, I was made to feel distinctly that I had committed a faux pas.

  12. I used to tip for takeout because I felt awkward not tipping, but now, I only tip for one takeout place and that’s because I know the owner and they work SO hard, even for takeout.

    I do tip cabbies, but I do it begrudgingly. I’ll tip more if they chat, ask me what I want to listen to, or don’t take the long way around. If they play their Indian music really loud while chatting on speakerphone with somebody in a different language (it makes me uncomfortable being in a car with somebody driving and not knowing what they’re saying), and take their sweet time getting me there I may only give them a little bit. I try to keep in mind that they really don’t make much and their companies take advantage of them.

    • I do have a personal rule that I will not tip ANY cab driver who talks on a cell phone while I’m in the cab. Period. It’s actually illegal to talk on a cell while driving in my province, so I don’t feel guilty in the least.

  13. A couple more (USA):

    Car wash: I tip $1 for the guys at the back, $2-3 for the guy who finishes the car at the front, $5 for a wax.

    Parking garage attendant: I tip $1-2 depending on the base cost. (And yes, you can park even in major cities like NY for as little as $10. Just start using, one of the world’s most valuable web sites.)

    Movers, painters, handymen, etc. all deserve tips for good service.

  14. The absolute worst is in some restaurants or bars that have a guy the bathroom who gives you the soap and paper towel, I can wash my own hands thanks, why must you make me feel awkward for not tipping you??

  15. Having worked housekeeping for a year back in the day I can say getting tips is nice, but rare. You do need to make sure you leave that money in an obvious spot (obvious that you left it for us and didn’t just drop it) like centered on a pillow or with a note for housekeeping, otherwise I typically left it. If it was a check out and the money was left, you could be fairly sure it was a tip, but otherwise I played it safe.

  16. I tip the Chinese take out place fairly consitantly, but then again, they are usually throwing in some extra items for me so in reality I am really just paying for it.

    In my European countires I have been to, you just leave the change as a tip (ie 39.50 Euro you just pay with 40 Euro). My wife and I did have a pleasant experience in a club with our German Friends. She would go up to the bar and order for me (since I don’t speak German) and she would tip like an American, 1 Euro a drink. The rest of the evening whenever she went to the bar, the bar tender would stop what he was doing and skip everyone else and serve my wife first. So tipping did lead to superior service!

  17. I hate tipping. My livelihood is based on tips. Because I’m on both sides of the coin, hopefully this comment will impact all you cheapskates out there, including me! All of us on the tipping end DEPEND on those tips. Those couple of bucks make such a huge impact on our lives most of you cannot imagine how much it helps. Also, that tip will cycle back into the economy when we spend it on something. So many sit back all smug and say, “that’s the job you choose so suffer the consequence of being stiffed.” Better to have a crappy tipping job than being a criminal. Look around at all the suffering that is going on in this supposidly great country. There is a school in my city which made national headlines when it was discovered that kids were stealing ketchup packets from school because they were hungry. WTF! Maybe that person you stiffed had to pay the heating bill before the food bill. Not my most eloquent post but I just felt the need to put out my 2 cents again, sorry.

    • I agree with you entirely. At the same time, if tipped workers were paid a decent living wage, the need for tipping would be reduced. Again in Europe, you may see a legend like “service compris” on your bill, which means the server is getting perhaps 12% of the charge. There are websites where US waiters detail their experiences with good and bad tippers, and name names of the rich and famous.

      • Thanks Larry. I forgot to mention the other side of the coin in regards to not tipping. I cannot stand it when I get crappy service and the service provider hustles me for a tip. Tipping jars annoy me too, but I’m beginning to loosen up and leave at least my change for them. I can go on forever on this subject but I will stop here for now 🙂

  18. Haha I thought I was the only one who felt awkward about writing 0 in the tip lines when they are watching…..but I’m not going to tip to pick up my own pizza, chinese food, etc etc. I do tip when I go to nail salons because I feel obligated, not because I think they do an amazing OMG job. Also the hair dresser because I am very close to mine. Like you I avoid places where I know I’ll have to tip like bellhops, etc. I’ll carry my own luggage thank you!

    • If you don’t want to pick up your own pizza and chinese food, you need to pay the person who is giving you that service fairly. If you’re so cheap that you can’t understand that gas prices are through the roof and those workers need compensation just to receive slightly above minimum wage, then don’t order from restaurants. You work hard for your money, so do they. Unless they are rude to you, you should tip them.

      All not tipping does is make you look like a heartless jerk.

      Btw, pizza delivery people get tips factored into their pay, so they get paid less per hour and are assumed to make it up in tips.

      You’re a jerk.

  19. I highly recommend the book “Keep the Change”. It goes into great detail on this topic and even has me more willing to tip in some instances.

    If you want to undo the tipping culture in the US, we need to stop the low wages that are paid in many of these industries. The use of tips to supplement income was an excuse to pay lower wages. The book explains it all.

  20. As someone that has spent a great deal of my working career in a tipped position I can understand both sides of situation. Unfortunately, if you decide not tip the only person you are screwing is the person that relies on that money for a living. I do agree that the tipping situation has gotten out of control and there are many positions that they do not rely on that money to make a living – it should just be a courtesy for exceptional service and not a demand.

    As far as having the tip line for take out places, etc – Unfortunately, that is the software the restaurant usees – they can’t change the print out to reflect a take out order or a table service order therefore I would say majority of service industry folks do not expect a tip on takeout. At least I never did.

  21. Since we’re on a tight budget I try to avoid places where tipping is required/expected. For instance, IF I choose to go to lunch with coworkers (which I do about once a week for my sanity) I only go on days that they hit fastfood rather than a restaurant so I don’t spend extra money on tips.

    I do tip a minimum of 15% at a restaurant though. If there is a problem that would decrease a tip, I talk to the manager. I never know how the tip will be split between the waitstaff, cooks, busboys, etc, so I don’t want to punish the wrong people. I tip more for great service, of course.

    Never ridden in a cab in my life (I know…sheltered life) and avoid bellhops and carry my own luggage. We rarely stay in hotels, but I typically don’t stay long enough to require daily service. I do leave a tip on the days that they do clean though.

    And lastly…I never tip for carry out. I don’t feel like they’ve done anything above or beyond what their paycheck covers.

    One note – there is one local pita place that ticks me off by having a tip jar. They take my order and they fix my sandwich. That’s it. Why do they deserve a tip for doing it? It’s not like they do a song and dance while I wait and watch. They just fix a sandwich. No…they are not getting a tip for that.

    • I’m glad that you said you avoid restaurants because you’re on a tight budget. I had a boyfriend who justified tipping poorly because he was on a fixed income. To which I said, “Then you shouldn’t go out for sushi and run up a $50 tab.” Honestly, it was embarrassing. He only left $5, even though the service was EXCELLENT. I wanted to melt into the floor.

      I feel that if I’m going to be kind enough to treat myself to a nice meal, I should be kind enough to leave a good tip for the person who served me.

    • I’m glad that you brought up the point about not decreasing the server’s tip at a restaurant. I’m completely with you on that one because you never really know how tips are divided up at the end of the night.

    • Delivery drivers DEPEND on tips to make above minimum wage. By not tipping them, you are screwing them out of half their income. If you don’t deem their service worthy of paying for, it must not be worth getting.

      People who work better paid jobs seem to lose touch with the reality of what barely getting by means and think they can determine who is and isn’t worthy of being paid for the work they do. Unbelievable.

  22. I love these tip articles because I like to see what other people tip. I also feel like tipping is everywhere and, meanwhile, no one is tipping me to do my desk job!

    But seriously, I tip 15-25% for dining out (on the rare occasion that I do). In New York, 20% is the standard but I will drop down to 15% for poor service and I make sure not to tip on the tax because the waiter/waitress didn’t earn that extra 9% on the bill.

    For takeout, I will usually throw my small change or a buck in a jar, if they have one, especially if I really like the place.

    Delivery, $2-3, flat rate, more for nasty weather (everyone is delivering on bikes within a mile). I’ve heard that delivery people want you to tip 20% because they’re putting napkins, utensils, etc into your delivery bag. This is ridiculous because that’s the same that I would tip at a restaurant for full service!

    The most annoying and confusing thing is definitely tipping a cabbie. Here, they have touch screens in the back of the yellow cabs that give you options on how much tip you want to add on. It used to be 15, 20, 25%. It is now 20, 25, 30%. 30%! You can add your own amount in but just the fact that they have those numbers as the recommendations is nauseating.

    I tip a cabbie like I tip a waiter/ress. If they do a good job, ie. they get me to my apt without asking me directions without taking some crazy fare-driven route and without making me fear for my life too much, I will tip them more like 20%. Anything else, and I will tip a buck (around 10%).

    I don’t tip street performers, especially on the subway. There’s plenty of tourists who will take care of that.

    • I agree with you about the 20% delivery charge being ludicrous!! My husband told me that a $10 tip was crappy for 8 sandwiches being delivered to my work. The guy made one trip to a conference room…I think $10 is decent–he certainly did many more deliveries in that hour. I also only tip $2-3 for the pizza delivery place that is 9 blocks from our place. I would tip more if it was farther.

      I live in a city where 20% is the standard tip. I’m a chronic over-tipper and I’m learning to limit my tip to 15% for crappy, snotty-hipster service. It seems like those are the people who complain most about bad tipping and don’t seem to see the correlation between their behavior and tips. I’d leave less–but that hurts the dishwashers, etc.

      I usually throw in leftover change or up to $2 at the take-out counter or coffee shop, depending on the size of my order.

      Cabs are tricky–I probably way over tip. If its an $8 ride, I tip $2. I probably on average tip $3 on every $10. I only take cabs on average twice a month and usually for $10-15 a ride at most. I feel like its worth a few extra bucks a month to have a good reputation with my preferred cab company. They keep notes on you from your phone number!!

  23. Agreed w/ the commenters above about tipping cabbies. I knew someone who was a cab driver and who split the lease with a friend – each drove the cab for 12 hours a day. Even though the car was out there looking for fares around the clock, they still didn’t make enough together to cover the cost of the lease.

    Tipping in general… I probably overtip, and I know I do so sometimes out of plain old guilt and not wanting the person on the receiving end to think I’m a jerk. But I also do it because I know how waitresses and pizza delivery dudes and yes even the cashier at the Chinese takeout place depend on those tips. And because I believe that being generous is essential for my spiritual well-being.

    I almost never stay in hotels. Like, once a year? And then I’m there for a week (vacation) so I try to remember to tip the housekeeper. One place I stayed at this summer, the housekeepers left a little hello note in each of our rooms. I thought that was very sweet, and very clever. It reminds the guest that HELLO, there’s no magical fairy scrubbing your toilet and making your bed.

    What I HATE is when I’m someplace like Starbucks that has a tip jar but no place to add a tip on the credit card slip. I don’t always have cash, so if I can’t add it onto my card payment, I can’t leave one at all. And that makes me feel like a butthead.

    Wow, after typing up this comment, somehow I have even more angst about tipping than I did before. Thanks, Ninja.

  24. I will occassionally drop a couple of dollars in a tip jar at a coffee bar or take out place if the people are friendly because when I was a barista making minimum wage even what little money we got in the jar helped a lot! I typically tip at the bagel place I go to because they are nice, remember my order, and the manager has even comped me a few times –plus I know they don’t make a lot so I don’t mind tipping there at all.

    I tip on the high end at restaraunts for good or better service. And I do live in one of those states that does not garuntee the minimum wage for servers. If I am with a group of people and and the service is good and I notice that someone else is under-tipping, I usually will make up for it.

    I try to avoid taking taxis because they are so expensive in general. When there is no other option, I usually tip $2-$5 depending on the ride.

    Hair dresser – 10% or so.

    I got out of the habit of tipping my mail carrier when I had this really terrible one who yelled at me for the location of my apartment (like that was something I could help), threatened not to deliver my mail, refused to pick up outgoing mail on a consistent basis, intentionally held my mail (I think so, anyway. I wouldn’t get any mail for days then get a ton on Saturday all bundled up in a rubberband including ads that were typically delivered on Wednesday). I even suspect her of breaking my Netflix DVDs as I had 4 or 5 that arrived broken in pieces when I was at that address. In the 4 years since I moved I have had no problems. That’s no way to earn a tip!

    However, I did generously tip a mailman that carried a very heavy computer and monitor up to place.

  25. My general rules are you only get a tip if you make $2.13 an hour or whatever it is now and if you have to clean up after me. Seems like everyone wants a tip these days, even my subway sandwich maker.

    I too also avoid services where tipping is expected, but will tip when I use the service. I hate to valet my car but when I drive to Vegas I use the valet once the whole weekend so it is worth it to not have to lug bags through the parking garage.

  26. I couldn’t afford to tip as much as I wanted to in New Orleans, and I felt bad about it. I usually tip really well, but I go into survival mode whenever there isn’t a steady income coming in (like at the present). At least here in Oregon, minimum wage is minimum wage, regardless of whether tipping is the norm. It makes me feel better when I can’t leave as large of a tip as I’d like.

    I almost never tip street performers. Few of them wow me, and the once or twice that I really enjoyed the performance, I didn’t have any cash on me to tip with. I did tip for free dance lessons though, and they were worth a lot more than I tipped.

  27. I agree with you on all points, except the hairdresser. I tip my hairdresser.

    I also don’t tip for take-out, I assume that option is just standard (for dine in) and they don’t change the settings for take-out. I would rather lug my own luggage than pay someone to do it for me. In NYC, I learned that lesson. I also learned that the bellhop would flat out tell me that the $2 tip was not enough. :S

    For restaurants, I joke that the max tip should be placed as a stack on the table (i.e., 15% – 20% of the end bill stacked using $1 or $2 coins), and then every time poor service happens we knock off some of the tip. The remaining stack of coins at the table after the meal will be the tip. 🙂

    • Oh yeah, that’s just hilarious.

      Every time you screw up at work someone takes from your paycheck until there’s just a few coins. Is that funny too?

      • It’s hilarious that you seem to think a tip is a right as opposed to be something that is earned.

        Poor service = poor tip

        And, if I sat around at work doing nothing, I wouldn’t paid. So what’s the difference?

        • In “Keep the Change”, the author reports that on nation-wide polls Americans say they tip less for bad service, but in practice they don’t. This is likely due to the perceived pressure of social norms, etc.

        • Waiters don’t sit and do nothing. If they did that, they’d get fired.

          You’re really out of touch.

          Waitstaff RELY on tips for their income. When you don’t tip, you’re stealing their income. Also, unless they did a HORRIBLE job, you should ALWAYS tip.

          You have no class. Congratulations.

          • That depends on where you live. In states like Oregon, which already has the second highest minimum wage in the country, wait staff are required to make at least minimum wage without tips. Tips are extra. I’ve talked to some people in high traffic restaurants that make $1,000 some WEEKS.

            And plenty of employees stay in jobs where they don’t do anything. They’ve mastered the art of looking busy while the important people are looking. I think I’ve only worked one job, a tutoring job, where EVERY employee actually did what they were being paid to do.

            It’s made worse by unions protecting these employees rather than putting their resources into improving the circumstances for other employees. Why should anyone pay union dues to protect these assholes?

            I’m sure you have worked as wait staff in one of those states that don’t care whether you starve. I’m sure you got low or no tips sometimes. But if you responded as flippantly to your customers as you’ve responded to commenters here, I certainly wouldn’t tip you. You don’t have to insult people (i.e. “You’re really out of touch,” “You have no class,” “you’re so cheap,” “You’re a jerk”) to make your point. I would like to participate in a community where people aren’t berated for their differences of opinion. I would also like to converse with people who don’t assume their circumstances are the same for everyone (e.g. Oregon’s tip laws, or what employees get away with without being fired).

            I feel that you owe a lot of people here an apology–not because you were wrong, but because how you treated them is. We’re all adults. We should all be treated with respect, and we should all be able to share our opinions without attacking each other. In any case, it’s a lot easier to convince people that they’re wrong if you’re not simultaneously insulting them…

  28. I over-tip my hairdresser all year long (at least 30% and sometimes as much as 50%) and thus don’t give her what some seem to expect: a holiday tip. Does that make me a bad person? Why do certain groups of people get holiday tips, anyway?
    I will not give someone a tip for handing me a bagel or a doughnut. Isn’t that his or her job and doesn’t he or she make minimum wage at least? Waiters are a different story because they often make super-low wages.
    I never knew you were supposed to leave money for the housecleaners at a hotel because my now-ex husband never tipped them. Now I always leave them some cash because I know how hard it is to clean up after people who don’t give a rip. (See “now-ex husband,” above.)
    I think you should put out a tip jar, Ninja, and see how many people drop in a couple of bucks.

  29. When planning my wedding, I learned that the bride/groom pay an automatic 18% tip on the bar tab and food service. The guests tip at the event too. How ridiculous! I was offended my guests would even be asked for tips on top of my 18%. I don’t worry about tipping at weddings anymore.

    • The 18% may not be a tip, but instead a service charge. In many places, the service charge is an extra fee for some convenience – often a convenience of spending your own money. Some people easily get service charge mixed up with a tip because it is not common. In Italy, every restaurant charged us 1-2 euro per person at the table just for the privilege of being seated – of course the customary tip is only 10% there.

      We had a big dinner for my mom’s birthday for 18 people. There was a 21% service fee. The waitress flat out told me that 15% is for her and 6% for the restaurant because we used a private room, which means she only had our one table all night. We tipped extra to bring hers up to 20%.

  30. If you don’t want to pick up your own pizza and chinese food, you need to pay the person who is giving you that service fairly. If you’re so cheap that you can’t understand that gas prices are through the roof and those workers need compensation just to receive slightly above minimum wage, then don’t order from restaurants. You work hard for your money, so do they. Unless they are rude to you, you should tip them.

    All not tipping does is make you look like a heartless jerk.

    Btw, pizza delivery people get tips factored into their pay, so they get paid less per hour and are assumed to make it up in tips.

    You’re a jerk.

  31. Everyone, saving money is great, but don’t do it by not tipping people who rely on tips to survive. If you don’t want to tip, don’t have food delivered, don’t have waiters bring you your food, and so on. I enjoy many posts on this blog, but this, unfortunately, is not one of them. This is not money saving advice, this is advice on how to screw someone over. And I see the meanness of some of this blog’s readers. Sad.

    • You need to re-read the article. I didn’t screw anyone out of anything. I said we should tip everyone except take-out restaurants. If I order a pizza and drive myself to the shop to pick it up, I shouldn’t be expected to tip for that.

      If you think I should, you’re wrong.

  32. C: Ninja is in the right here, and you have misread him.

    There is a famous story about the time the elevators went out in the Empire State Building during the Depression. (I probably don’t have all the details right, but no matter.) A group of businessmen phoned in lunch from a sandwich shop, and in gratitude to the exhausted delivery person, they tipped him $1 ($15 in today’s money), for each of the 66 flights of stairs.

  33. I tip for take-out. Someone had to put your order together – put the lids on, think about all of the sides and condiments you need, and package it up so that you have everything you need when you get home. I say this because I used to be a waitress, and we’d do these orders, or the hostess would. Maybe it’s not the 15% you’d give a server for checking on you several times throughout the meal, but someone still took the care to put everything you need in one easy-to-carry-bag!

    • I couldn’t help but laugh aloud at this comment (sorry).

      Why should the customer have to tip you for pre-packaging his/her order, though? That’s the part I don’t get – (and I don’t mean to sound harsh, but…) shouldn’t the employer pay you to do it because it’s your job?

      I mean, I don’t tip the McDonalds cashier for putting all of my food and condiments together when I order a Big Mac meal….why would it be different for a non-fast food restaurant?

      • No worries, everyone can have their own opinion.
        I probably see it differently because I was a server and had to put those orders together. I worked in state that paid less then min. wage, and there was some work put into those orders. I’m not saying a TON of work, that’s why I pay a small tip and not the normal 15%. The difference in fast food is that stuff is all packaged and they just throw it in a bag. Where I put together a salad, poured and packaged the dressing, scooped and packaged the butter, etc. And ever since I was a server, I over-tip. That’s all! Not saying everyone SHOULD, I just feel like that person put some effort out there for me. 🙂

  34. The reason you might consider tipping for a ordered-out meal at a restaurant is because (where I worked) the other waitresses would use the opportunity to take tables from you. There wasn’t always a hostess so the waitresses would have to do it. “Your turn for a table, here’s a to-go order.” or if you hadn’t finished putting the order together by the time new people were seated the next person would take the table. It was a slow dinner place so every table counted.

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