How much do you tip?
How much do you tip waiters, bartenders, delivery guys, haircutters, manicurists, taxi drivers, etc.?

I know that the food service industry pays very little, so most of the income is generated by tips. In fact, there have been numerous strikes by deliverypersons all over the city because management was only paying them $1-$2 an hour!

But what about manicurists? I usually tip 10%. I assume that’s a tip, like a “thanks here’s something extra”. But one time after I had gotten a mani-pedi combo, I realized that I didn’t have any cash. I asked the lady if I could tip by credit card and she said no. So I shrugged my shoulders, thinking that the $3 wasn’t going to add much to her life anyway. I was mistaken. She gave me the dirtiest look I have ever seen in my life as I walked out. Honestly, is that okay?

5 Comments so far

  1. Kathleen (unregistered) on October 5th, 2007 @ 12:13 am

    The amount of money doesn’t matter, it’s the principle. Did you explain to her that you didn’t have any cash with you? Usually people who expect or live off tips are much more accepting if you explain that to them.

  2. mike (unregistered) on October 5th, 2007 @ 3:47 pm

    I dunno, Kathleen, as someone who has worked a ton in the service industry, if someone is like “I don’t have money for a tip,” I usually think, “then go get some money from the ATM, you are abusing the system by coming in with nothing.” If they seem more accepting, its because they are being polite.

    I’m a pretty straight 20% guy–restaurants, taxis, delivery.

  3. Kathleen (unregistered) on October 6th, 2007 @ 4:12 pm

    I see your point, Mike – I guess what I was trying to say is that it’s better to at least explain than to just not leave a tip at all.

    Anyway, to answer the question, I pretty much tip 20-25% across the board.

  4. irina (unregistered) on October 6th, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

    I explained that I didn’t have cash, and that I would come back later with the money. That’s when she grimaced, and made me never want to come back. I used to be a waitress for a long time, and I preferred honesty and kindness to people just stiffing me. But I would never have allowed myself to act like she did.

  5. Noah (unregistered) on October 8th, 2007 @ 2:04 pm

    I posted about this a while back too. It is a very awkward thing, because there is no set guideline.

    When I first got to NYC, I thought a $1 tip on all food deliveries was sufficient. Now, I never tip less than $3, AT A MINIMUM!

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