A tip (or gratuity) is defined as a sum of money tendered to certain service workers for a service performed.  A tip is seldom required and its amount is usually at the discretion of the patron being served.

It may not be required, but tipping is certainly expected.  I recently got a haircut and added a tip to the price.  I like my hairstylist and gave her a generous tip for her good service, but also to ensure she doesn’t massacre my hair on my next visit. 🙂

Related: What’s Happening To The Service Industry?

People tip, even for bad service, because they don’t want to be thought of as cheap or ignorant.

Tipping Guidelines

The Emily Post Institute provides this guide to customary gratuities for various services:

  • Barber, hairstylist, or pet groomer – 15 to 20% of the bill.
  • Waiter/ess – 15% of the bill for adequate service, 20% for very good service and no less than 10% for poor service.
  • Bartender – 15 to 20% of the tab, minimum $1 per alcoholic drink
  • Pizza delivery person – 15 to 20%, minimum of $2 per pizza
  • Taxi driver – 15%
  • Hotel housekeeper – $2 to $5 per night
  • Furniture delivery person – $3 to $5 per piece
  • Movers – $10 to $20 each
  • Tip Jar – Zip, unless you want to

It’s not always clear, but if in doubt, the general rule of thumb looks to be about 15%.

Who Made The Rules?

Many workers depend on this money to support themselves.  But why do we tip some service workers but not others?  Who made the rules?

Related: What I Learned From Working Retail

I’ve always wondered why do we tip:

  • The hair stylist but not the shoe salesperson?
  • The liquor delivery person but not the grocery deliverer?
  • The newspaper deliverer but not the mail carrier?
  • The furniture assembler but not the appliance repair person?
  • Servers in restaurants but not in fast food joints?
  • The auto detailer but not the gas bar attendant?

There are a lot of people that serve the public in various capacities that are pleasant to deal with, sometimes take a certain amount of abuse, work hard at their jobs and are paid little more than minimum wage.  Why do we tip some people even if they give terrible service just because it’s expected, and withhold our monetary appreciation to those who help us just because it’s their job?

Related: Good Customer Service – Finish What You Start

My Final Thoughts

Just because tipping is considered optional doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.

However, I think we should go back to the original intention of tipping – as a reward for good service.  It lets someone who has done you a service know how much you appreciate their work.

What do you think about the art of tipping?


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