The Ultimate Guide To Tipping In Awkward Situations


Photo: whateversuitsme/

You know the tipping rule for restaurants (15 to 20 per cent, duh!) and for hotel maid service ($1 to $2 per night).But the opportunity and obligation to offer gratuity abounds, and you may be surprised to learn that you’re tipping all wrong. In fact, many people don’t even understand the full equation when it comes to gratuity, says Jodi R. R. Smith, an etiquette consultant and author of The Etiquette Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Manners, $19.28 at Books-A-Million. (Get Books-A-Million coupons.)

“Most people tip because they want to reward a job well done—and that is certainly part of the process,” Smith says. “But tips are also to ensure that the service provider is adequately compensated for their time and efforts. And most people don’t also realise that tips are an insurance policy on good service going forward.”

For example, generously tip the pizza delivery guy on Thursdays (a popular family pizza night) and you’re buying insurance that you’ll likely get speedy service the following Thursday.

We asked Smith to give the skinny on various scenarios in which tipping rules may elude the average customer.

Restaurant where you order at the counter or get food to go

Airport curbside baggage handler

Salon stylists

Hotel housekeeping

Guy who fixes your car's flat in the rain for which his shop charges $5

Guy who buffs up your car at the car wash

General rules: Tips are supposed to be divvied up among all workers on the shift. Either give money to the person in charge or put it in the tip box.

How much: $5

Insider tip: In any situation, feel free to give extra to someone who goes out of his or her way. In this case, if someone hoses off a mat covered with your child's vomit, tip accordingly.

Taxi driver

General rules: Tip a percentage of the fare, similar to that at a restaurant.

How much: 10 to 15 per cent of the fare. For anything under $10, there is a $2 minimum.

Insider tip: Friendly service, help with luggage and the absence of constant cell phone conversation warrant an extra buck or two.

Bartender when you're sitting at the bar


General rules: Base it on the general price range of the salon--the pricier the joint, the more the tip.

How much: $1 to $5. Less if you are at an inexpensive salon like Great Clips or more for a high-end location.

Insider tip: Give a nice big tip for a scalp massage. (Get Great Clips coupons.)

Tip jars

Tattoo artist

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at