Tipping: When And How Much

I do a fair amount of domestic moving about.  In fact, I just got back from a short trip this weekend.  And for awhile now I’ve been struck by how many occasions I’m called upon to tip.  And I’m just beside myself for feeling out of touch.

For much of my working life I’ve been supported by tips.  I bussed tables in college and then moved on to a banquet server.  Later I became a bartender during school and then, in Seattle, I earned my complete living as a bartender for 4+ years.  I consider myself “in tune” with the tip’ed population but admit to now being confused.

So, here are some times off the top of my head that call for tipping:

  • Waiter/waitress – Bartender
  • Coffee barista
  • Taxi driver
  • Tipping the maid service when checking out of a hotel
  • Bell hop up and then down
  • Bell hop calling for the car valet
  • The car valet
  • Dry cleaner
  • To Go check out at restaurants
  • Bathroom attendants
  • Car wash attendant
  • Truck delivery guys when you purchase a washer/dryer from Sears
  • Pizza delivery guy

And I’m sure there’s more.

In many of these cases I’m not sure that tipping is warranted, in the others, I’m at a loss for how much to tip.  I just totally admit to not knowing.



3 responses to “Tipping: When And How Much

  1. I, too, get confused at tipping. Even frustrated sometimes. Some of these I do not come into contact with very often, but I will give my two cents…

    Waiter/waitress – Industry standard? Is it still 15%? I usually round up the check in the 15-20% range, however, I tip for SERVICE. If I have great service, larger tip.
    Bartender – I worked in this profession, also. Cash bar, I tip large to start to keep the service coming back, then lighten a little depending on the cost of the round. Of they are stupid enough to only give me 10’s and 5’s back for change, their loss.
    Taxi – very rarely use a taxi. I round up I guess.
    Maid/bell hop/etc. – When I travel I am usually only in a hotel for a night or two, and I do NOT have the maid service come in while I am staying. I leave my loose change on the counter. I have never used the bell hop service, or car valet. I’m cheap I guess.
    Dry cleaner – Nope.
    To go at restaurants – Not much. I tip for the service, all they did was put it in a bag and hand it to me.
    Bathroom attendant – I struggle with this one, after all, the dude hangs out in a bathroom all day. But really, what did he do for me? Hand me a towel? If it is a conference or something where I will see the guy several times, then I will throw him a little something. Otherwise I usually don’t.
    Car wash attendant – Nope.
    Truck delivery guys – Nope.
    Pizza dude – I usually round up to the next even dollar, but, some places tack on a ‘delivery charge’, so that leaves a bad taste in my mouth, also.

    It is probably not correct, but I do not feel as if I should be required to tip just because the industry says I should tip. As I stated earlier, I tip for the service, if the attendant/waiter/whatever is rude or not very good at their job, why should I reward that?
    I was on a business trip Pittsburgh a couple years ago, I arrived at the hotel late and needed a beer. I went down to the lounge and it was empty, the bartender had everything put away and was putting up the chairs when I walked in. Before I even asked if he was still open, he said to me “come on in! I was getting bored!” He then fetched me a beer, put the chairs that he had put up back down, and was very pleasant to carry on a conversation with. This was a young man, college age, so I was not expecting that, I just assumed he would have told they closed early and I was SOL. in this case, I gave him a generous tip, and I even told him how impressed I was with the service.
    I was in the hotel for three days, and every time I encountered that young man he said hello and called me by my first name, you just don’t see that very often anymore.

  2. I recently purchased a new refrigerator. I assumed that there would be two men for the delivery, so I prepared two envelopes. Each contained a crisp five dollar bill. After the new frig was setup, I walked the delivery guys to the front door. Before I could get the envelopes out of my pocket, both men raced off to their next delivery. That tells me that they had not expected to get a tip.

  3. I mean, I even get jazz from the gourmet cupcake folks.

    My girls like cupcakes and my wife needs gluten free ones, so I go to the store on Tuesdays to buy my usual 3 cupcakes. And each time the lady makes me wait, dutifully serving her crowd in serial, no parallel processing…you know, like asking what some folks behind want while waiting for the woman in front to decide how many and what kid she wants. Then, when she checks me out, always says to, “Sign and total the slip.”

    I get tipping, I enjoy and relate to servers who wait, but some of these extensions are just too much….

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