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Fistful of Dollars: Tipping Etiquette

tipping ettiquette

It is widely believed that tipping was started by a pub owner in the UK as a means To Insure Promptitude. Whether or not it is true, we do know that the custom quickly spread in the area as a means to get the best service and show gratitude.

In America, we did not embrace this practice until the early 1900s. These days, tipping is not only acceptable but nearly expected for many service industries.

There are varying opinions about who should and should not be tipped… and how much. Much of our opinion is based on our role models as we grow. Many young people are not taught the etiquette of tipping and must endure an embarrassing situation to learn this valuable life lesson. Here we have included some general guidelines and tips to help you or help you guide someone else.

savourservice with a smile


Things to consider:

In some cases, timing may be important. Tipping a concierge upfront may ensure good service throughout your stay provide the tip is good enough. If you think you may need to leave in a hurry, you might consider tipping the valet well upfront and asking him to park the car near the front for quick retrieval. 

Keep plenty of bills handy while traveling. Keep them folded in an accessible pocket. A suave tipper never has to dig through their wallet or bank money envelope to fish out a tip.

Never, never ask for change. That’s not a tip; it’s a chore.

Some hotels have instituted a ‘no tipping’ policy. Be aware as they generally add gratuity to your check. If you are unsure about the tipping policy, ask.

It is generally accepted that business owners are not given tips. Tipping at a bed and breakfast, then, is not customary. Ask upfront if you are unsure.

Tipping is not ever required. Use your discretion and give appropriately. Do not feel obligated to give tips when your service is below standard. But if it is great, consider tipping generously to encourage great service in the future.

These are general guidelines for the US. Tipping etiquette varies worldwide. Be sure to research tipping etiquette if traveling globally.

Tip on full price excluding taxes and discounts. If your meal is comped, tip appropriately for service, unless poor service is the reason the meal was comped.

Interesting facts:

Studies show women generally tip men better than other women and vice versa. 

Tipping goes higher in warm weather than cold weather.

Attractive women earn higher tips. Attractive men make higher tips as long as they don’t make mistakes.

Here are some general guidelines for tipping amounts:

  • Shuttle driver                          $1-2 per person or $4-5 per party
  • Taxi or Limo                           15-20% plus $1-2 extra for each bag they handle
  • Porter or Doorman                 $1-2 per bag, $1 for hailing cab
  • Bell staff                                  $1-2 per bag they take to room. Set up / tour = $5 total
  • Room service                          10-15% if not already included.
  • Housekeeping                         $1-5 per night
  • Special request at hotel         $2 for one item, $1 for each item over 2 
  • Valet                                      $1-2 for retrieving car. Tipping when parking is optional.
  • Restaurant wait staff              15-20% of bill excluding tax and expensive wine
  • Wine steward/ sommelier     10-20% of wine bill only
  • Buffet servers                          $1-2 per person dining
  • Bartender                                10-15% of total tab
  • Concierge                                $2-5 for simple requests, $10-15 for extra
  • Hairstylist                               15% of bill
  • Shampoo                                 $2-5
  • Manicurist                               10-15% of bill
  • Massage therapist                    10-15% of bill
  • Pool attendant                         $1-2 for special requests only
  • Tour guide                               $1 for half-day, $2 for full-day, more for private tour
  • Maitre d’                                  $5-10 if he gets you table
  • Coat check                               $1
  • Restroom attendant                 $1
  • Car wash                                 $3-5 for main guy
  • Tattoo artist                             15-20%
  • Pizza (meal) delivery             $2-5 depending on weather
  • Movers                                     $15-20 per mover
  • Blackjack dealer                     $5 (chip ok)
  • Shoe shine                               $2 per pair of shoes
  • Grocery store attendant        $1-3 depending on number of bags
  • Handyman                                none
  • Gas attendant                           none


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