Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When and How Much To Tip

Billy Joel sang about the tip jar “They sit at the bar and put bread in my jar”. These days seems piano men are not the only one’s with tip jars. They seem to have cropped on every counter from coffee shops to restaurants to ice cream take out and many of us wonder when we should put money in the tip charge and when we should not.

Tipping is one of those things that we as customers are often unclear about. Tipping is intended to reward good service but when to tip, to whom and how much is appropriate is often the question going through our heads as we pay the bill at a restaurant, hair salon or pick up that latte at the coffee shop. I consider myself a good tipper. I always leave at least 20% to the server at a restaurant unless the service is very poor and I always leave 2 bucks on my pillow in my hotel room for the cleaning staff.

According to a report from CNN Money, when it comes to servers in restaurants 20% is suggested for excellent service, 15% for adequate service and you should still leave 10% for poor service and $2 to $5 per night is suggested for those cleaning your hotel room.

They also suggest the following guidelines for tipping:

Bartender: 15% to 20% of the tab, with a minimum of 50 cents per soft drink, $1 per alcoholic drink

Pizza delivery: The site suggests: 15% for normal service, with a $2 minimum; 20% for excellent service; 10% or less for poor service; at least 10% for orders of $50 or more.

Hairdresser: 15% to 20%. (It is now acceptable to tip the owner)
Shampoo person: $2
Manicurist: 15%
Spa service: 15% to 20%. If service is provided by owner, no tip.
Skycap at airport: $1 per bag if you check-in curbside; $2 per bag if skycap takes bags to check-in counter.
Hotel doorman: $1 per bag for help with luggage; $1 per person for hailing a cab
Hotel bellhop: $1 per bag for bringing luggage to your room (a $2 minimum if you have just one bag)
Hotel concierge: $5 for getting you tickets or reservations ($10-plus if they're hard to get). No tip required when you ask for directions.

So what about the tip jar? CNN Money suggests no tipping required for staff at coffee/food establishments with tip jars. It’s entirely optional. Sure, there are guidelines for tipping but it is entirely up to us as customers to determine the amount we will leave for a tip and to whom. I say tip generously when you receive good service. Maybe I’ll set up a tip jar myself. If you liked this article - leave a buck!

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