We eat out. A lot. But when there are two Thai restaurants that I can skip to (not like I’d actually do that) from our apartment, and a whole city of an endless supply of restaurants, it is hard to practice self-restraint. A necessary expense when going out to eat is the tip. There’s an older, but still interesting, article over at Forbes that claims that a person’s personality can be inferred by his tipping behavior.
I am a chronic over-tipper. She has questioned my tip amount more than once, but I am always the one to stand firm. Like many other money behaviors, I learned this when I was younger. I worked at a car wash, drying down newly washed cars, eventually working my way up to detail them. We did get paid minimum wage, but the real money was in tips. Some days we walked away with over $100 in tips – that’s a lot of money when you’re 17. Of course, we would fight over who worked on the good tippers’ cars, and fight over who didn’t want to work on the bad tippers’ cars. Even worse are the patrons who did not tip. After getting stiffed a bunch of times for hard work, I promised to myself that I’d never be a bad tipper, or even worse, a non-tipper.
Tipping is a very important in the business world as well – we even had a lunch and learn at my job to discuss the finer points of tipping including how to give a tip, how much to give, and who to give it to. Many of us travel on business quite frequently to do things for our client. We were taught that our client is our #1 priority, and if they aren’t happy we have to go leaps and bounds to make them happy. That usually involves getting people to do our (their) bidding, using a little cash as a motivator. When tipping on business, I know that I am going to get reimbursed for everything, so I tip often and I tip well. Of course I can’t do that when it comes to my personal expenses because I’d be very broke very quickly.
When it comes to personal situations, I do not tip as many people who I would normally tip on business because I don’t encounter the same situations. For example, I never speak with hotel concierges on personal trips, but I depend on them on business trips. Some people I know tip everyone, even the oil change guy.
Here’s my short list of who I tip, and how much I usually give. I’ll even break it down to personal vs. business.
Food Delivery: $1-$2
Bartender: $1-$2 per order of drinks
Salon: $10 per haircut
Hotel concierge: $5-$20, depending on the level of interaction
Hotel turnover staff: $1-$2/night
Hotel busboy: $1-$2
Maitre d’: $5-$10, depending on if they pulled through with a specific request
Sommelier: $5-$10 depending on wine choice
Who do you tip and how much?