Don’t be a Tacky Tipper

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When you go out to eat, order curbside pick-up at the neighborhood restaurant, check your bags at the airport, take a cab, have your luggage brought to your room or use valet parking, are you confused about how much to tip or even whom you should tip?  Trust me, it is a complicated issue.  In difficult economic times, it is all the more challenging.

The first thing to keep in mind is that tipping was intended to be for the service rendered.  Tipping varies from culture to culture.  In the US a tip is expected in most service industries. In other cultures, it is not an expectation, but a pleasant surprise.  In rare cases, your tip may be a violation of the norm or even an insult.

So where does that leave those of us who struggle to understand how the gratuity works in the US?  The time-tested rule for tipping in the US used to be 15 or 20%, depending upon the service and the establishment.  For example, servers in upscale restaurants expect more than those who work in moderate eating places.

Today it seems that an appropriate tip when dining out has risen to 18% .  For those of us who dislike doing the math at the end of the meal, the odd number creates a greater challenge.

When tipping in the US, keep these points in mind:

  1. Tipping is expected. Most service people depend on tips as part of their income.
  2. Tipping should be based on quality of service. The better the service, the higher the tip.
  3. If you choose not to tip or to leave a lower amount than expected, you owe someone an explanation and the opportunity to do better the next time.

In these challenging economic times, most Americans are proving to be more generous with thier tips.  As a business etiquette expert who believes that manners are about courtesy, kindness and respect for others, this is heartening news.  We need to take care of each other.




2 thoughts on “Don’t be a Tacky Tipper

  1. Cora Bullock

    One of the realities behind this is that good tippers get good service, which is very important in the restaurant industry. Remember that these people are handling the food you eat! So, if you can afford to go to a restaurant, then you can also extend your wallet a bit for the waiters and service crew.


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