Wednesday, October 3, 2007


This week Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer is hosting her usual Works-For-Me-Wednesday carnival with a twist! She has charged us to ASK for tips rather than give them in honor of Works-For-Me-Wednesday: Backwards Day!

I think it's brilliant!!!

Speaking of tips...
Today what I would REALLY love to know from each of you are your thoughts on correct tipping etiquette. We always wonder ~ especially on vacation ~ if we are tipping too much, or if we aren't tipping enough, and even if we should we be tipping at all for some services? This often leaves us with a feeling of frustration. I have searched high and low for a good guide but have yet to find one. (If you know of a good one, particularly a free one, please pass along the link, or the title!)

So my I guess my questions would be (and not limited to) the following:

  • How much do you tip the security officer that brings a band-aid to your room?
  • How much do you tip the taxi driver that doesn't answer any of your questions, or chooses to text message friends while he is driving?
  • How about the taxi driver that gives you great tips and good conversation?
  • Do you tip the doorman that greets you, the one that takes in your bags, AND the one that carries them to your room?
  • How much do you tip the doorman that hails a cab for you?
  • The concierge?
  • Housekeeping?
  • Do you tip housekeeping daily, or at the end of your trip? (I always worry that the person that has been cleaning our room all week will have the day off on the day we leave!)
  • Salon and spa services in your hotel?
  • And what about salon and spa services in your hometown ~ How much do you tip your hairstylist, the shampoo person, the manicurist, the esthetician?
  • The barber?
  • The shoeshine guy?
  • Car wash attendants?
  • Restaurants? How much? Do you determine the amount depending on the specific restaurant? How about the maitre d'? How about self-service places where someone buses your table?
  • Airports! How much do you tip the guy who unloads your car and the separate guy that checks your bags before you ever actually get into the airport? The parking attendants? The bus drivers for long-term parking?
  • Valet parking attendants?
  • Grocery store baggers and car loaders?
If you provide a service for which you receive tips - even if I didn't mention it above - PLEASE give us a guideline on what is the minimum expected and what is considered generous for a job very well done! Or maybe you travel often or dine out frequently...please share what you know to be a fair tip for these services. And by all means, if you live in a city where you take a taxi...this one ALWAYS baffles me! Please shed some light!

Thanks so much for ANY help you can provide!

Visit Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer to GIVE more Works-For-Me-Wednesday: Backwards Day tips this week!

  • Click here for my second ever Works-For-Me-Wednesday tip. See how I getting my kids (and husband!) to try new vegetables and love them!
  • Click here for my first ever Works-For-Me-Wednesday tip! It's a great tip about making travel easy with kids!
  • Click here to find out what works for us regarding chores and "allowance".
  • Click here to see what easy recipes are working for us.
Have a wonderful Columbus Day weekend!


Beth @ The Natural Mommy said...

Um, yeah. I need to come back here when you've got some answers. Because a lot of those people you mentioned... I didn't even know were supposed to be tipped.

Autumn Daisy Studio said...

I will admit -- we don't really go on vacations, so I'm not help on that kind of thing.

For our beautician, I usually tip around 20%. Our whole family sees her and she owns her own shop. (So, she does any/all of the services in her shop.)

At restaurants, I usually tip between 10% - 20% depending on the service I have received, not based on the type of resturant, but most often 15%. If I had really horrible service, I would not leave any tip at all.

Grocery store baggers -- no, not unless I started tipping the checker too. LOL ;)

Hmmm...other than those, I don't really use other services listed that I can think of.

Activities Coordinator said...

We are a Camp-As-You-Go family so I really have no idea. However, I worked my way through college as a waitress so I have a definite opinion on that subject. Start at 15% of the total bill. Leave 15% or more for good service. Leave 15% or less for less than favorable service. Don't forget that the wait staff cannot always control what goes on in the kitchen. Err on the wait staffs side if there is any doubt.

Scrawny Mommy said...

My sister-in-law was a skycap at the airport. Since we used to travel a lot, I asked her about tipping and she said, "Thank you for asking!! Everyone says a dollar a bag, but we've been getting that for twenty years!" I've since decided that the service is worth more than I was paying for it -- and now pay three times as much! Hope that helps a LITTLE!

Julie said...

As a former waitress I will say this for tipping at restaurants. 1) Be aware that your waiter does not make minimum wage - when I waitressed (granted 14 years ago) we got paid $2.10/hr and then tips made up the rest. 15% is standard but it's been that way for forever. If the service has been good I usually leave 20%. If it's not great then I leave 10-12%. If it's terrible I leave like 5%. I actually think that tipping really low signals to the waiter that the service was bad more than stiffing them. Stiffing a waiter just pisses them off.

Don't tip at a self-service place.

I usually tip the skycap at the airport a minimum of $3 (even if only one bag) up to $5.

I sometimes tip the airport shuttle bus (like a rental car) if the driver has loaded and unloaded my bags for me. Again like $3-5.

I've heard that at a salon if you are getting service from the owner then you shouldn't tip.

I know you're supposed to tip housekeeping, at least according to some, but we don't. And I'm not sure why.

The only other tipping situation I can think of is when we had movers (local move). We tipped each of the guys $20 at the end of the load and unload (2 sep. days).

spaghettipie said...

I can't say I'll be much help, but here's what I've heard or experienced. I'll be looking forward to reading more answers. . .great post!

For people who provide a service to you without making physical contact, minimum 15%. I rarely leave less than 15% for wait staff. The service would have to be really bad, and at that, I wouldn't leave less than 10%. That's enough to signal you were dissatisfied with the service without being rude. I think the worst is when people leave a few pennies rather than nothing at all. I tip as much as 20-25% to wait staff who do an exceptional job.

For services provided to you that require physical contact (hairstylist, manicure, pedicure, massage. . .), minimum 20%. But I usually don't go much higher than that, except for my hairstylist who I've been going to for 10 years. . .

Grocery store baggers - Many grocery stores (at least where I live) have a no tipping policy, and some enforce it to the point of firing if an employee accepts a tip. has some good tipping guidelines.

Robin said...

I'm rather frugal in general - let's see how I'd tip your examples.

# How much do you tip the security officer that brings a band-aid to your room? I have band-aids in our ditty bag - would need to tip because we wouldn't call.

Can't tell you the last time I stayed in a hotel that had those services.

# And what about salon and spa services in your hometown ~ How much do you tip your hairstylist, the shampoo person, the manicurist, the esthetician? 15-20%

# The barber? $1/cut

# The shoeshine guy? Don't need to shine flip flops. ;-)

# Car wash attendants? DH gets a big hug and kiss if he vacuumed it too.
# Restaurants? How much? Do you determine the amount depending on the specific restaurant? How about the maitre d'? How about self-service places where someone buses your table? between 15-20%

# Airports! How much do you tip the guy who unloads your car and the separate guy that checks your bags before you ever actually get into the airport? The parking attendants? The bus drivers for long-term parking? $1/bag for guy that gets bags from car to plane.

# Valet parking attendants? $1

# Grocery store baggers and car loaders? Don't tip.

GREAT question!

Wendylicious said...

As a former Hotel manager, I can help you with Housekeeping.

Most generally, housekeeper pool their tips, so even if that person is off the day you leave, they will still get their portion.

My rule is $1 a day for 3 Star properties or lower unless they really impressed me, $2 a day for nicer places. A small boutique place; I may give more. Remember in a B&B, most usually the owners are giving you the service and no tip is needed.

Marcia said...

Ooooh, I love your question.

I'm passionate about service so I don't tip at all if the service is absolutely pathetic in restaurants, but if just below par, then we tip less. Here in South Africa the standard is 10% (great reason to come visit us - save $$$).

Lots of those other things you mentioned I didn't know to tip for. In fact, I would LOVE to read this whole thread when done because clearly, I haven't a clue!

Organising queen and
Marcia's take charge blog

Milehimama said...

In most of the chain groceries, the bagger is not allowed (or supposed to) accept tips. You might check store policy on that one.

At self service restaurants, I'll tip 10% if they just bus the table, around 15% if they get drinks too.

Lady Why said...

I don't tip a good many of the people you mentioned in hotels but when I tip, it's generally 15%. For our mailman, garbage collectors, and such I give a gift at Christmas which is something I've baked usually. And, I like to take little baked loaves of something when I'm in the hospital having a baby for all the lovely nurses and support staff that take care of us there.

Other than that it's 15%!

Aunt Murry said...

I usually tip 20%, 15% if the service is so so, and a dime if it stinks. As for small gifts, I like to give Sonic gift cards, you'd spend $5- $10 anyway.

Naturemama said...

I wanted to answer all of them so I posted the response on my blog since it's a little long. LOL.

ashley @ twentysixcats said...

Wow these are great questions! I generally leave 15-20% at a restaurant. One of my friends who is a waitress says that she gets offended when people tip under 20% - or don't leave more after "included tip" when in large groups.

I don't tip at fast food or self-service places.

I went to a nice restaurant for a company Christmas banquet last year, and we were told to tip $3-4 for the valet. I am not sure if that is standard or if depends on how upscale the restaurant is.

I think $15-$20 is the standard for a massage therapist or an esthetician. I was given a gift certificate for a spa once, and didn't even think about bringing money for the tip. I felt really bad.

SAHMmy Says said...

For restaurants, I was a waitress for 13 years, so it's an issue dear to my heart! For your typical corporate chain casual dining (Olive Garden) 18% for good service is expected--don't forget that the server has to tip the bartender, hostess, bussers, and kitchen staff. If your kiddos trash the place, an extra $5 directly to the busser would be nice. For fine dining, try for 20-25%. With all the crap I had to put up with while trolling for tips at sit-down restaurants, I just can't bring myself to tip a buck at Starbucks. What's the difference between pushing a button to make my espresso and pushing a button to make my milkshake at McDonald's?

Brandi said...

To keep it short and not reiterate what has already been said I'll just add that at the commissary, where the baggers work for tips only, I tip $1 for a small trip and $2 for a bigger cart. (I've never gone over one cart full of bags so I'd adjust upward from there).

I have no idea if I'm being cheap or not but if we all tip $2 a cart and they are taking at least four carts out an hour their making $8 and hour which is most likely more than the checkers so I don't feel guilty. If they only take out two carts an hour they don't deserve to make more than the cashiers.

Oh, I don't tip baggers at the stores that post signs regarding tipping, that's going against the store's policy and just encourages authority snubbing.

Lindsey said...

What a great questions! I started to reply with my answer, then realized it was getting a little long-winded for a comment, so I made a post about it on my blog. I hope that my answers help!

The Scott Family said...

As a former server and barista, let me reiterate to everyone that many in the food service industry get less than minimum because they receive tips. That said, I always tip 16-20 % minimum at a mid-range restaraunt (Chilis, Red Robin etc.) and more at a nicer place. A good way to figure out your tip at a reg. mid-range restaraunt, (where the server does no more than takeyour order and bring you your food) is to look at the tax and double it, then round up to the next dollar. (If sales tax in your state is at least 8%, which it is here in the West.)
For Starbucks, they do more than push a button. They actually put a lot more work into creating your half-caf, double tall, sugar-free vanilla, light foam latte, than you might think. Starbucks emplyees are taxed on tips, regardless of how much they make...when I was working there as a grad student, the assumption was that we received at least .50/drink, and taxes were pulled out of our paychecks based on that assumption. I assume they are taxing more now, many years later, but I just wanted to put that out there.
As for your other questions, here's a really great site that can help you with tip info:

ornery's wife of Miller Manor said...

We always leave at least 20% at a restaurant. At Sonic, we round up to the next dollar and tell the car-hop to keep the change--it's not much, but it does add up. At an all-you-can-eat-serve-yourself place we leave $1.00 per person at the table. We usually forget about the rest, most of the ones on your list don't apply to our lifestyle. I do round up to the next $10.00 at the salon, but the owner does my hair and it depends on how satisfied with the cut I am.

Jen said...

My thoughts on tipping are nothing to do with percentages. Because if I have lobster & the service is crappy, 10% is more than the guy gets who gets 20% tip on my hamburger & fries.

I might leave a $20 tip for someone who keeps my glass of orange juice full, while I sit & talk to my friends over juice for an hour, and order nothing else.

So for me, tipping has nothing to do with what I order, & everything to do with the service. I do tip a lot more for a waitress that handles a large party well, and doesn't bring my kids food last, and doesn't screw up my kids orders.

If I'm out with 20 people, I could care less whose order you mess up, but don't mess up my kids order or my entire meal will be miserable, and I will want to not just not tip you, but possibly go into a murderous rage. Bring me shrimp instead of pasta, fine, but DO NOT mix up the mac & cheese or substitute bananas for strawberries, because believe me, I'm going to be miserable, so are my kids, and as a result, you will get NO tip. How's that for tipping ettiquette?

Sara said...

Most, if not all, grocery stores have a "do not tip" policy" for their baggers. At least the larger chains that I know of do. However, I am a military wife, and our baggers "only work for tips" so I tip a dollar for every $50 I spend. So at least $1, and up. Are you supposed to tip housekeeping? I am so rude!!!

JIll said...

You have landed upon one of my pet peeves- people who don't leave tips at restaurants for bad service. Usually waitstaff is sharing her tips with others (busboys, food runners, bartenders) and when you punish them, you punish everyone. Also many times they aren't the only people responsible for bad service.

After working as a waitress, I believe 10% is the minimum. For good service 20%. If you have bad service, let someone know so they can deal with the server, don't punish everyone.

Salon-15 to 20%
Valet, bag person, bell hop- 2 to 3 dollars
Hotel housekeeping- 1 to 2 dollars a day

If in doubt as to whether you should tip someone ask. I usually just say, "Is is customary that you get a tip" Usually people will tell you honestly what happens. Then you know for the future.

Leigh said...

Mrs Brownstone, thanks so much for your kind comment on my blog. All of you are an inspiration to me!

What a great discussion on tips, btw!

carrie said...

Mrs. B,

Thanks for leaving a tip on portable DVD players on my post yesterday.

Here's a great link to a comprehensive tipping guide:,21861,1066441,00.html?cid=fsr2

jen at Conversations said...

Just adding to everyone else's adivce by saying that the teens that I know say that grocery store baggers and Sonic car hops are not supposed to take tips. If they do recieve tips, they are supposed to turn them in to their manager. None of them seem to know where the tips go from there. . .

I never knew that it was customary to tip housekeeping at a hotel. . .

Candace said...

I tip 20% for my hair and brow wax and usually 20% for dinner. I used to be a waitress way back in the day and 15% was for average service. When we eat out - we also tip on the before tax price. That may be something that everyone already knows, but we just discovered this so I wanted to pass it out. It really can save a few bucks if you're bill is high.

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