Charm School: Tipping Etiquette
An anonymous commenter brought up the subject of tipping in various situations. I answered her the best I knew at the moment, but I realized this is an area that truly should be addressed. Emily Post does not fail to note this area of good manners and so I will share what I learned in reading this week.
I recall watching a long ago episode of Third Rock from the Sun, in which the alien Dick entered a restaurant, laid down a stack of $1 bills and added or subtracted based upon how well or poorly he felt the waiter was performing at the moment. It was hilarious but it is hardly the way to go about tipping. The following is the correct way to tip.
Appropriately, Mrs. Post notes that courtesy should always be your first and foremost response to anyone who serves in any capacity.
20% of your total bill is standard although the rather dated information in the book suggests 15%. I would say that 15% would be for below standard service and I do mean truly below standard service, not just a minor mistake or error in serving. Do not dock a waiter or waitress for orders which are not cooked properly. They have nothing to do with the cooking of a meal. Their job is to place the order and bring it to you from the kitchen. Poor service would be if they do not bring requested condiments, fail to bring drinks or to refill, act surly when you make a request, etc. It's rare but there have been a few times when we've truly received poor service.
If service is exceptional by all means feel free to increase your tip accordingly and by as much as you would like to.
If you are eating at a buffet in which a waiter merely brings drinks to the table and perhaps might remove trays etc., 10% of your total bill is considered standard.
Generally one does not tip Host or Maitre 'd unless you arrive without a reservation and he manages a table for you on a crowded night.
Takeout food should not be tipped for. If a tip jar is on the counter, it is merely a suggestion and to be used if you would like to tip. If however, you are placing a very complicated order then by all means tip at least 10% to the server who assembles the order.
Delivery food service people should be tipped 15% of the total bill, and the suggestion per Post is that pizza should be $2-$5 but I think 15% is more appropriate.
Bartender: $1-$2 per drink, ditto for the waitress who brings the drink to the table.
Valet Parking: $2-$5 at time car is returned to you.
Skycap $2 for the first bag, $1 for each bag after the first.
Doorman: "Thank you" when he opens the door, $1 for hailing a cab with an increase to $2 if it is raining.
Bellhop: same as Skycap for bags. $2-$3 for deliveries he may make to the room and other services.
Housekeeper: $2-$5 per day with a note that says "Housekeeping - Thank you". I must share that we have been good about this one but we tended to tip at end of our stay. I'll correct this with our next stay and make sure it is done daily.
Taxi: 15-20% of the fare, $1 at the very least. $2 for first bag and $1 for each additional bag.
Salon/Spa: 15-20% for each person who serves you in a spa. So if you have multiple services be prepared to tip each one.
In a hair salon 20% to be shared between those who served you. I find it far easier to tip $2 to the shampoo girl and then deduct that from the stylist's portion.
I hope that these tips will help you meet tipping situations with aplomb, confident that you are tipping correctly.
at May 29, 2017
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