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Who do you Tip?

This was written a long while ago. The tipping world continues to evolve. Giving someone extra money for a job well done is fine by me. I do hear the commentary of the implied need to tip in restaurant situations, as your servers “work for tips.” Whenever I hear that, I wonder how this business model can continue. Do you expect your customers to subsidize your meagre pay? To me, this seems to be a flawed business model.

A couple of days ago we took delivery of a stove (the old one was dying and we couldn’t bake with it), which had “free” delivery included in the price. When the delivery folk showed up, they hauled away the old stove, put the new stove in place, and I tipped them $10 with the statement, “get yourselves some coffee on your break” (if I had given them a $20, I would have said get a beer after work). Tipping them is just being courteous (and they did a good job, and frankly, they did something I didn’t want to do (i.e. move around heavy appliances)). I am wondering whether folks think this is out of line or wrong.

Customary Tipping?

I know that it is customary in North American society to tip servers in restaurants. Many servers work for tips only, so that seems normal. When I did paper delivery as a young lad, there were a few distinct groups when it came to tipping:

  • Those who tipped 10% on the weekly charge (that I collected from the door weekly)
  • Those who didn’t tip weekly but gave me a Christmas tip
  • Those who didn’t tip at all. Sometimes their papers ended up in a puddle.

I feel that a gratuity is something you should want to pay for a service you think was done well or to thank someone for doing it.

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Countless other professions seem to have gratuities associated with them:

  • Delivery folks in general (flowers, pizza delivery, etc.,)
  • Door-persons  (the term doorman appears to be passé)
  • Bouncers at certain clubs (some might call the ballet?)
  • Maitre D’s at restaurants
  • Food delivery folk

Sometimes I get miffed at having to tip folks all over the place to get simple service, but sometimes I like to say thanks as well.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I tip restaurant staff since they are paid a lower minimum wage than the rest of the world and hairdressers because they can share with lower paid helpers. Other than that I figure I am paying for a service so shouldn’t have to tip. As an accountant I provide a service but don’t get tipped so why should other service providers. I have received gift cards with a thank you card which is more in keeping with rewarding exceptional service. And I HATE how suddenly at Christmas time the paper delivery person is concerned that I am happy with my service and leaves an envelope conveniently pre addressed.

  2. I see no point in tipping anyone. They are earning a wage to do a job. Why should I have to pay twice for them to do the job they were hired to do in the first place?

  3. I live in Australia we don’t tip but then the minimum wage is $16.50 USD so they don’t really need it anyway

  4. I find tipping to be a bit over the top these days. We have decided to firm up who and when we tip. We’ve even broken it down to how much we’ll give for bad, so-so, good and superb levels of service.

  5. I didn’t know I was supposed to tip barbers and hairdressers until I dated a hairdresser. Now I do it regularly.

  6. Tipping is taken for granted. I see stores like Starbucks have tip jars on the counter. I don’t mind tipping, but I feel it should be for good service. To automatically tip because they person receives low pay is wrong.

  7. In theory, tipping serves two distinct purposes. It should be for exceeding service expectations, which is why a flat 15% gratuity seems to make little sense.

    But it is also a way of buying influence, and always has been. The bouncer is paid to keep riff-raff out; you want him to be paid to let you in. Is this even moral? Or is it a conflict of interest? What if it was a government official taking the tip?

  8. I did the same thing. When I got a new washer and dryer I gave them $10 bucks figuring..there was lunch. Things like that I’m never sure if they are expecting a tip or not, but for great service I don’t mind giving them a few bucks.

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