Tipping -The Gift of Appreciation
What is a Tip?
A tip, or gratuity, is a small amount of money given voluntarily for a service rendered - universally expected when dining out. It is a gift of appreciation, a way of thanking for good service. Typically, the amount of a gratuity is a percentage of the total paid for services; this percentage varies, depending on the quality of the service and the industry.
Who Gets a Tip?
It seems that everyone expects a tip these days. No longer limited to waiters, waitresses, delivery services and hair salons as we are accustomed, tipping has expanded into in a broad range of services. Today, tip jars are popping up everywhere, from fast food restaurants to the cleaners, making it more confusing than ever to know when to reach for your wallet. So how do you know when and when not to tip?
You must keep in mind that tipping is discretionary, so if you don't feel tipping is necessary in a particular situation, then don't tip.
Being uncertain about tipping protocol can be stressful. It can make you very uneasy when a waiter approaches with your check or a parking attendant with your keys. The stress only escalates when you are outside of your normal environment. Before traveling, it may be a good idea to research the tipping etiquette of your destination, otherwise it can be a mystery.
Recent studies in the psychology of tipping have revealed that the most prominent reason for tipping is not a gratitude issue, but more of a guilt issue. Everyone knows that tipping is expected, and if we don't tip, we run the risk of angering the service provider. Anyone who has sent food back to the kitchen of a restaurant has felt the fear of retaliation from the kitchen staff or server. Some tip the normal percentage just to avoid tension while others leave a small tip or no tip at all to show their displeasure.
How Much Should You Tip?
Tipping is the traditional way to say “thank you” and show your appreciation for services rendered throughout the year. Unfortunately, there are no global rules on how much to tip. It can depend on:
- the standard where you live - amounts are usually higher in large cities, lower in small towns
- your relationship with the service provider and how long you have known them
- the quality of the service provided
- the frequency of the service provided
- how much you can afford
With proper tipping etiquette, the percentages of your tips remain the same regardless of the cost of the service. For example, if you go to a walk-in hair salon, tips average 10-20% of the cost of the service. But, if you go to a more expensive salon, then it is assumed that you can afford the higher fee charged plus 10-20% for the tip. If money is a decisive factor when choosing a salon, make sure you figure in the total cost with tip included to choose a salon within your budget. Also keep in mind that tip etiquette is changing – once you were not expected to tip the owner of the salon, and now you are.
See Tipping Guidelines Chart for additional tipping standards.
Gifts for the People You Tip
During the Holidays it is not always necessary to tip with cash. Remember that tips can be given in the form of a gift such as a Gift Card. Gifts are appropriate for your hair stylist, babysitter, housekeeper, nurse, dog walker or postman. In fact, some U.S. government regulations allow carriers to accept gifts worth up to $20, but not cash. For other service providers, such as garage attendants, personal trainers, newspaper deliverers, the handyman, garbage collectors and lawn service workers, it is appropriate to give cash.
Remember that your tip is a gift. Because every situation is different, the ultimate decision in when to tip and how much to tip is yours and only yours to make. Relying on common sense, your sense of appreciation and the spirit of giving will guide you.
- When you Should Give a Gift
- Gift Cards
- Giving Money
- Etiquette for Office / Business Gift Giving
- International Gift Customs
- Tipping in Australia
- Lagniappe - That Little Something Extra