Gyp or Tip?

Despite being a fairly capable gal, I’d never attempt to cut my own hair. Living in the city without a car sometimes forces me to rely on the professional assistance of a taxi driver. And while I am completely competent in the kitchen and proficient at painting my toenails, sometimes I simply don’t feel like doing either.

When dining out, having my dog groomed or grabbing a cab home on a rainy day, I’m of the view that I’m paying for the service, not so much the product. I’m paying for a service that, for one reason or another, I choose not to do on my own. And if it so happens that said service is above par or entirely phenomenal, I never hesitate to tack on a generous tip.

Photo: dooq on Flickr

On our recent vacation, Rebecca and I almost never tipped below 20%. It seems as though 15-18% is an acceptable standard, while tipping 10% or less can be likened to spelling out “TIP” in pennies. What I found most surprising on our trip was that, in chatting with friends in NYC that work as restaurant servers or bartenders, Canadians are notoriously “cheap” tippers, generally hovering around the 10% mark at best.

I started thinking about the practice of tipping and how much it varies around the globe. It’s never something I take issue with because, most often, service and expectations are in sync with each other. However, adding a gratuity onto any service can be a tricky and sticky process, so how do you determine if and how much you tip?

And further…

  • How do you feel about dining cheques with gratuity automatically included?
  • Do you tip various services, such as your hair stylist/barber, taxi drivers, barista or your neighbourhood dog groomer?
  • What’s your tip style when dining in vs. having food delivered vs. take-out?

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11 Comments on “Gyp or Tip?

  1. Having worked in the service industry for many years… the rule is 10% for adequate service
    and anything that makes you go wow, or you remember the server’s name.. should be
    15% and above. I liked to make my customers feel better than at home,
    remembering names even if I just met them, to being prompt with refills
    and clean clean clean… never leaving behind a dirty anything even if it’s a napkin.
    I could walk away with more than the meal was in some cases.

  2. Yes, I have found that among all my friends in NYC, 20% seems to be the standard, with 15% for “not very good” service. Everywhere else I’ve lived (Vancouver, Philly, Toronto, San Francisco..) – 15% was kind of the standard, going higher for very good service (in Toronto going to 10% for not great service was common, but that was also over 10 years ago).

    Dining cheques with tip included is cool for parties of 6 or more.

    ALWAYS tip my barber, well. Taxi driver yes unless it’s a gypsy cap. Barista at least $1.

    Generally tip slightly less if there’s a delivery fee, more if there isn’t.

  3. Why do people tip on “not good service”? Isn’t the point of a tip is to “reward” service you thought deserved it?

    I tip 15-20% depending on the mood I am in, how good the service was.

    I also hate when businesses have a ‘included’ tip on the bill, which to me, makes the whole process of tipping pointless. What effort is the waiter/ess going to give if they know they are already getting a tip?

    If they expect a tip, why not just tack it on the end of the price of service itself?

  4. I agree with Tyler…15 to 20% is the norm for me. It also angers me if the tip is included in the bill…I should be the one to determine the amount depending on the service. In the past I have not tipped a few times for obvious reasons…remember Crown Isle?

  5. hm. at restaurants i always tip 20% unless i receive terrible service and feel the need to make a point. at bars i tip $1 per drink, whether it’s a $2 beer or a $10 cocktail.

    when it comes to other services, i feel there is more leniency. i mean a lot of people tip their hair dresser or massage person, but i feel like that is not absolutely necessary. i dunno….i often get discounted services b/c i know people, so i will end up tipping nicely. but i’m not sure what i’d tip if i had to pay full price.

  6. I tip 10% for poor service. 15% for good service and 20% for great service at a restaurant. I don’t tip for take-away food (isn’t the point that you’re not making someone wait on your table for the same price as the food you just bought?). I usually tip a few dollars on a haircut. I don’t tip for coffee to go but I do tip if I’ve sat in the cafe and am leaving behind a mug and a table that needs to be cleaned.

    In the Netherlands the tip is always included so you just round up to the next euro for your “tip.” While the prices for eating out are higher it is nice to not have to worry about the tip percentage all the time.

  7. I like that you did a post about this seeing as how it comes up in conversation a lot. I’ve always been a generous tipper and ALWAYS tip for any service, be it a waiter/waitress, taxi, or hairdresser. Hairdresser’s I tip particularly well though because I know that if they’re still relatively new then they are likely on hourly wages at 8-9 bucks an hour which doesn’t make much for a paycheque. I also know that hairdressers (who are good and love what they do) pay a very ridiculous amount of money for their schooling and tools (a good pair of shears can cost upwards of 2 grand,) not to mention their continued education throughout the rest of their careers that runs at about 100-1000 bucks for 1-5 day courses.)

    I sometimes get a little irritated with gratuity being added onto bills, but at the same time I can understand why it would be. If you have a party of 10 or more people, taking care of that table along with the rest you’re working on can be pretty hectic and demanding. However, the only time I have the issue with it is if the waiter or waitress does not point out that the gratuity will be included beforehand. I just feel that is sneaky behaviour or carelessness.

    That being said, I always tip a minimum of 15- 20% unless I’m too drunk to do the math correctly. 15% if it’s absolutely terrible service. But at least 20% or more otherwise.

  8. Ahh.. tipping. The subject I could go on for hours about. I’ve beena server for over 3 years, and as the time goes by, the more of a disgruntled waitress I become. I work in a sports bar-type place, where minors are allowed until 8. Some nights I feel like there is no end in sight to the white trash tables and d-bag 19 year olds. What makes someone think it’s ok to rack up a $100, $200 tab and not tip is beyond me. One time it was $440. Yes, that’s just my life.

    My favourite excuse is “I don’t make tips at my job, thats why I don’t tip”. Yes, I get tips. You know what I also get? No health benefits, no paid overtime, 9 hour shifts on my feet, minimum wage, and a broken body. Wow, I am a lucky girl!

    Enough with the ranting, I clearly tip huge when I am at a restaurant or bar. I tip everyone else possible, basically. Cab driver, massage therapist, at a hair cut, if I get my nails done, etc. I am one of these people who survives on tips… so I pay it forward.

  9. When I tip, I usually leave a generous amount. I bar-tended and served for 3 years and can tell if a server is having a bad night in the weeds and it isn’t their fault that service was poor or, if they are just plain lazy. If it is the latter and everything from the food to the experience was dismal, I don’t tip. I have no shame in saying that BUT I’ll also leave a quick comment card (if offered) to explain why the lack luster tip. You do have to work for it and it is your choice to be working in a tipping industry.

  10. I always find this a funny discussion and there are a lot of biased opinions. I worked in the service industry for 5 years and I got tipped only twice the entire time. Once was a loonie, and the second was half a 6 pack. I busted my balls outside in a lumberyard loading things up to 75 lbs concrete blocks (that was half my weight at the time btw) and various lumber into full sized truck beds. One friend passed out at work 3 times from heat exhaustion.

    Why didn’t we deserve tips? We served people, got paid minimum wage w/o benefits, if people were rude we wouldn’t go out of my way to make sure their lumber was free of checks, wain, crooks or knots.

    I think 10% is a fine tip.

  11. I used to work at a salon and would get asked a lot by clients about tipping. Some were under the impression that seeing as how prices have gone up through the years, 20% seems more standard. Then again, there are those who’ll leave a couple of bucks.

    Personally, I always tip 20%, whether it’s a restaurant, or getting my hair cut (assuming all is good service). At a pub, either $1-2 per drink. If I’m getting take out and am waiting for my food while in the restaurant and am brought water or such, I’ll leave a buck or so. Taxis, I tip around 15%. Which I’ve been thinking about seeing as how I take a cab when I have far too many groceries, and for the most part, they do not help unless I ask, in which they will slowly bring one bag out. That reduces whatever tip they are getting. After all, you don’t tip your bus driver. Besides that, I don’t skimp on tipping.

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