Tag Archives: tipping

The Tipping Epidemic

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Have you noticed that wherever you go to make a purchase either in person or online, somebody expects a tip? Pre-Covid we all had a pretty good handle on the process. We knew whom to tip and how much. Sometime during Covid, the lid blew off tipping. What happened?

Let’s consider the history and the reason for tipping. Traditionally, we tipped restaurant workers. We did so because these hard-working people were not paid minimum wage. Tipping was a way of increasing their income.

We tipped people like bellhops who carried our luggage and hairdressers who made us look good. We tipped people who along the way performed extra services for us. We did so as an act of personal gratitude and recognition.

In today’s world of tipflation, tip creep and tip invasion, we can’t get away from tipping. Tips are added to services even before we receive them. Take for example, grocery delivery services. Before my order arrives, I am expected to add an online tip. I have no choice.  When I pick up my pizza, I am shown a touch screen device which prompts me to choose a tip. While there is a choice of “no tip”, I feel uncomfortable clicking that option, particularly when the cashier is staring at me. I wonder whom I am tipping and for what. I am the actual delivery person!

At restaurants, the server now presents your bill on a handheld device and watches while you choose an amount. How awkward is that? And by the way, have you noticed that the amount suggested on the device is often more than you had in mind? That’s where tip creep comes in. Tips keep creeping up.

For me , the crowning blow came when I went online to order an item and was asked how much I wanted to tip. Who in the world was I tipping and for what? Needless to say, I backed out of that order as quickly as I could.

So how should you handle tip invasion in your daily life? I suggest doing what is fair and reasonable for the service provided. Because of inflation, you probably need to increase the amount you tip but keep it within your own budget.

Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty about not tipping when you can’t figure out the who or the why. Guilt tipping should not be your guide.

Travel Tips for The Tipping Traveler

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HousekeeperEarlier this week A Woman’s Nation (AWN), together with Marriott International announced that Marriott International will be the first partner in AWN’s The Envelope Please™ initiative. The plan is to leave clearly marked gratuity envelopes in guest rooms each day to remind people that some hard-working person, who probably doesn’t get paid very much, cleaned their room.

For the most part, these room attendants go unnoticed. Hotel guests may never encounter or even lay eyes on the housekeeper assigned to clean their room. For that reason, these dedicated souls are often overlooked when it comes to tipping.

As one who travels often to offer my programs on business etiquette to individuals and organizations, I try to be thoughtful and aware of those who work to make my days and nights away from home more pleasant.

Tipping can be challenging and confusing. The first thing for people to do when they are on the road or in the air is to have a sufficient number of one-dollar bills to handle the tipping process. I check that before I leave home—it is on my traveling and packing to-do list. Then I keep an eye on how the flow is going. If I am running low, I get change for larger bills in a gift shop or at the hotel desk.

If my system fails me, as it sometimes does in spite of the best intentions, I get the name of the bellman or other service individual. When I have the correct change, I leave my tip in an envelope with the person’s name on it at the front desk.

The next thing to do is to be clear on how much and whom to tip along the way. For that reason I have compiled a short list of those people. Keep in mind that in upscale environments and urban areas, tip at the higher level.

Let’s start with the housekeeper. I like to leave the tip, given that an envelope is not already provided by the hotel, on the bed or on the bathroom counter with a note addressed to the housekeeper saying, “Thank you for cleaning my room.” Occasionally there is a card in the room with the attendant’s name on it so I can personalize my message. I prefer to do this each day since the same person may not be cleaning my room every time.

How much should you tip the housekeeper? The amount may vary depending on your length of stay. Generally speaking, you should tip in the $2-$3 range per day. When you follow this practice, you might sleep better and so will the housekeeper who just made a few extra dollars.

Other people to consider tipping and the amounts are:

The doorman who takes your bags from the curb to the lobby – $1-$2 per bag

The bellman who takes your bags from the lobby to your room – $1-$2 per bag (If he offers to get you ice, he deserves another dollar or two.)

The concierge who goes out of the way to provide extra help or special service – $10

Room service – the tip is usually already added to your bill. If not, 15% of the total is standard. (You can always tip more if you are inclined.)

Others to tip during your travels are the skycap who checks your bags, the taxi driver who delivers you to and from the airport. The skycap gets the usual $1-$2 per bag. The standard for taxi drivers is 10-15% of the fare.

Now you know why I say to keep lots of one-dollar bills in your pocket at all times. If you feel that all you do on your travels is reach for your wallet day and night, you might be right; but these hard-working people who make your trip more pleasant deserve a show of gratitude.

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Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

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.