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Tips on Tipping
Tipping for services rendered can be a very confusing thing. Is there a set rate? How much does it depend on the quality of the service? What about people like your barista or the guy who hands you your takeout order?
First, experts say, remember that tipping is generally considered to be discretionary – although restaurants and some other places include a gratuity charge, especially for large parties. And tipping expectations usually are higher in urban areas than in more rural ones.
Also, tipping reflects the quality – and the complexity – of the service. This means, for example, that if a furniture delivery person has to carry a couch up three flights of stairs and then assemble it, you should give that person a healthy tip – especially if the person is pleasant while doing it. If a restaurant squeezes you in and then serves you a magnificent meal, the tip should be bigger than it would be if it were a routine dining experience.
Of course, if you want to know what constitutes a big tip, you have to have a starting point. Bankrate offers the following guidelines for common tip questions:
Porter who carries your bags: $2 to $3 per bag.
Room service: $2 if the server sets up the meal and if there is a gratuity already on the bill. If there is no gratuity, 20 percent of the charge.
Delivery of towels or toiletries: $2.
Doorman who hails a cab: $1 to $5.
Concierge: Little or nothing for routine tasks, like handing you a map. Up to $25 for things like scoring you rare theater tickets or a reservation at a hot new restaurant.
Housekeeping: $1 to $5 per day. Pay daily, because the same person might not clean your room every day.
Waitstaff: 13 percent to 20 percent of the bill. More if you and your party sit around talking long after the meal is finished.
Takeout: You don’t need to tip anything if the person just hands you your order. If he or she brings it to your car, then up to 10 percent. And of course, you can always toss your change in the tip jar.
Baristas and other counter workers: You don’t need to tip, although again, you could drop some change in the tip jar. And if you always see the same barista who remembers your name and your morning latte order, you might feel moved to tip more formally.
Cruise personnel. Generally, cruise companies are very upfront about the tip they expect.
Airport curbside check-in: $2 to $3 a bag. More if a bag is extra large or awkward to handle.
Airport shuttle drivers: $2 to $3.
Taxi drivers: 15 percent of the fare.
Limo drivers: 10 percent to 20 percent of the fare.
Roadside assistance: No tip necessary. But if someone changes your tire in the pouring rain or freezing cold, you might offer him some cash and tell him to have a drink on you.
Massage therapist: 10 percent to 20 percent of the charge.
Hairstylist: 10 percent to 20 percent of the charge.
Barber: $2 or $3.
Manicure or facial: 15 percent.
Finally, you also should tip your pet groomer: 10 percent for short-haired, well-behaved dogs; 15 percent for long-haired well-behaved dogs; and at least 20 percent if your dog is not well-behaved.