10 People You Need To Tip

  • Tipping as an investment

    Jim Wang over at Bargaineering.com recently wrote an intriguing post on why “tipping is the best investment ever.” We don’t know if it’s the best investment, but it can certainly be a darn good one. The right tip can set you apart from the crowd, lead to better service (now and in the future), and make you look like the refined gentleman or lady that you are. Successful people know how to tip. It’s a part of social life. Those with Serious Tipping Issues, as well as those who aren’t quite sure who needs the $5 handshake and who doesn’t, should read through this. It won’t take long, and this article is one service you won’t have to sweeten with a contribution to the tip jar (news tips are appreciated, however). Photo Credit: Getty Images
  • Bartenders

    Let’s start with the obvious one. As someone who spent some of his formative years in dark pubs and lounges, and who is friends with a few career bartenders, I can attest to the powers of a good tip. Bartenders remember you if you tip reasonably. They will also remember you—in a different way, of course—if you regularly stiff them. I want a stiff drink at the end of the day, not a bartender who remembers getting stiffed. Especially if you plan on staying for a few rounds, a nice tip on the first drink (20%, no less) and a smile will guarantee you attentive service even as the crowd picks up. When you’re out with friends, at a business meeting, or on a date, it can look lethally lame to be the guy vying for the bartender’s attention, unable to get the order fulfilled. So this one is a no-brainer in my book. You can rent respect. Photo Credit: Getty Images
  • Movers

    Few people can make a day worse, or better, than your movers. Don’t tip before the move is complete—whatever you give will seem insufficient when they’re struggling to hoist your huge ugly futon up the stairs—but let them know a tip is on the other side. You don’t have to be untoward. Just say, “Don’t go anywhere afterward, I need to track down my wallet.” They’ll get the message, and they will avoid scraping your walls or dropping your fragile boxes too often. $20 per mover is often sufficient, though some recommend 20% of the total cost of the move. Photo Credit: Getty Images
  • Masseuses

    15-20% is standard at a day spa or physical therapy center. Even if your massage seems like it already costs plenty, keep in mind half of this amount (or more) goes directly to the spa—it doesn’t all go to the therapist. Plus, a good tip often means that you may get a few extra minutes the next time you’re on the table. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Barbers & Hairdressers
  • Barbers & Hairdressers

    Again, 15-20% is standard fare. I always tip well when I get a great cut, and the standard 15 if the haircut makes me look like an irritating 15-year-old. It makes sense to tip well, especially if you see the same barber or hairstylist every time. You may be able to get an appointment on shorter notice, and at whatever time works best for you. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Cab drivers
  • Cab drivers

    Typically 15-20%, although I take a stand with my wallet and leave absolutely no tip for a driver who is rude or makes passengers uncomfortable (refuses to roll down the windows or turn down the volume, heat, etc). A safe and pleasant journey, however, should always be rewarded. Most of those guys work hard. Photo Credit: Diego 3336
    Mail Carriers
  • Mail Carriers

    Your mailman or mailwoman doesn’t need to be tipped per se, as Uncle Sam looks out for them. And they are legally required to deliver your mail. It’s not as if no tip means your service will be cut off. But it’s nice to include a holiday card in your mailbox at the end of the year. Stuff it with $20 or a nice gift certificate. They will deliver your mail and packages with a smile for the next six months. It’s worth it. Photo Credit: stu spivack
    Waiters & Waitresses
  • Waiters & Waitresses

    15% if service is acceptable, 20% or more if service is great. Waiters and waitresses make below minimum wage before tips, so don’t look at this as optional: you are “stealing” the waiter’s time if you don’t leave a tip. It’s bad for your karma, and it makes you look like one of those Capital One barbarians. Of course, if the service is truly atrocious, maybe you should employ a bit of social Darwinism and not tip at all. They’ll move along to another field, sooner or later. But this is a harsh treatment to be reserved for only the meanest and most incompetent wait staff. For hosts and hostesses, also consider the power of a discreetly folded $20 bill, a power Tom Chiarella can attest to -- it may not get you the best table in the whole restaurant, but it will certainly guarantee you don’t get seated directly across from the men’s room. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Delivery people
  • Delivery people

    He brought your pizza to you in the middle of a thunderstorm, blizzard, or general populace riot. You ordered delivery for a reason, right? He deserves a tip for his valor: 15-20% is standard, although there is evidently an unwritten rule in NYC that “$1 per bag” or box is acceptable as an alternate metric. Photo Credit: Tracy Hunter
  • Valets

    $2 tip when receiving your car from the valet is standard fare in the U.S., according to some manners experts. I tend to agree with this. Also, you might consider giving $2 or $3 when they take the car. Sure, it’s a bit more, but if it causes them to treat my car with greater care, it seems entirely worth it. And let’s be honest: if you can’t afford that extra two bucks, maybe you shouldn’t be eating at a restaurant or staying at a hotel with valet service. Don’t give them change. It’s just plain gauche to shove half a pound of copper and nickel into someone’s palm. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Coffee baristas
  • Coffee baristas

    Tossing a dollar or two into that tip jar will earn you smiles, respect, and a better brew. Coffee shop pay is hardly great—often at or just above minimum wage—so those few extra dollars will go a long way. Many coffee shops divide the jar amongst all employees for that shift, so it’s not as if the sunny barista serving you will see anywhere near all of that jackpot anyway. Make sure they notice you adding to the tip jar, without being too deliberate or patronizing about it. You’re giving a dollar, not knighting someone in your magnificent court. Add to the tip jar regularly, though. It won’t be long before they have your name, and your morning drink, committed to memory, sire. Photo Credit: David Sifry
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