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January 09, 2008

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Anyone who has waited tables always tips, period.

As a former waitress, I have failed to tip only once. That waitress refused to talk to my dining mate because of her clothing, which obviously showed her religion.

Other than that, I always tip. We've all had bad days on the job. Can you imagine having to walk home because you have no bus fare because of that? I can; I did it.

First, let me say that i am not against tipping. That said, i really dont understand why everyone says that it should be 15%. Who came up with this and what is the logic behind it? Why is it that people argue about tipping as if it is the law and it is mandatory? To be frank, i dont think that i am under any obligation to tip. I have read some bad comments when people question the concept of tipping. I lived in the UK before and there is no rule there that tipping has to be 15% and people over there tip what they want.

Having said that, i usually tip a reasonable amount even though i dont really calculate whether it is 15% or 20% of the total bill.

Dog --

These two statements contradict each other:

"Anyone who has waited tables always tips, period."

"As a former waitress, I have failed to tip only once."

I engage in a tip "rollover" policy. Simply put, my default tip is 15% rounded up to the dollar. If I get poor service (especially poor attitude), the waiter will get a lower or even zero tip.

But that's not because I'm a stingy jerk. The next time I get good service somewhere, the tip dollars that the previous bad waiter missed out on are added to the good waiter's tip.

For example -- let's say I spent $50 on dinner for my family 3 weeks in a row. 15% = $8.00. If I get extremely poor service / poor attitude the first two weeks, and good service the third week, I might tip $0 in week one, $0 in week two, and $24 (=7.50*3) in the third week.

I picked this system because:
(1) It rewards good service like I think a tip should, as an incentive system.
(2) It takes my "stingy" moneysaving reflex out of the equation. I know that I'm going to spend $X on tip eventually no matter what, so nobody can rightfully say that I withheld their tip because I'm greedy. I withheld it because I'd rather give it to somebody who earned it.

This system has caused me to notice that some waiters / restaurants provide consistantly good service. I am not too shy to ask for a specific waiter at some of my regular places, and I've found that gets me better service. For my "regular" waiters, I always tip above 15% even if my "rollover" account is empty.

I just figure that a tip is part of the price going in. Sure the average is probably around 15%, but I'm not that strict with it.

Yes, I worked as a waiter during graduate school...

I always tip. Generally I receive good service and I generally tip 20%. I feel no qualms about reducing the tip for bad service. Remember though, if the service was awful, do not simply leave no tip because some people simply do not leave a tip...leave 1% so they know you made a decision to reflect the poor service in the tip.

As for factors that staff can take to save a tip when things beyond their control (kitchen, hostess, etc.) hinder service here are some thoughts:

The best advice to all staff is to not ignore the customer. When you see a table that has been sitting for a while b/c the kitchen messed the order up, the simple thing to do is to not make eye contact with the table and just bring the food when it comes up. Talk to the table. People are generally more understanding than you think they will be. Be honest and let them know you are not ignoring them. Maybe even talk to your manager to maybe obtain a compted nacho or awesome blossum for the customer before talking to them about the "lost" order.

This whole tip issue always draws response from people who say 'well, in Europe they do not tip'. This past summer I travelled across Europe for the first time and now I know why people do not tip or tip a minimum amount in Europe is because the service is AWFUL. Across the continent, no matter the language being spoken, the service was about 1% that of North America. The reason you do not tip in Europe is that they do not deserve it. The Europe analogy is a poor one and I hope to nip it in the bud.

Sorry for rambling, no caffine yet and hence the wheel is still not moving. Have a great day all.

Our standard is usually twice the sales tax and sales tax in my area is usually 6.5-7.5%. So I'm around 15% since I also round up to the nearest dollar.

If I get really good service, I usually do a little more and also make sure to tell the waiter or waitress I appreciated their service. After all, on a $30 meal (usually what we spend if we go out) and extra 5% is only about $2 - which isn't going to change anyone's life. I think hearing they did a good job is sometimes more beneficial. We also try to tell the manager or host if we've had a good experience as I would want someone to do that for me.

I feel tipping is always an option. I personally always leave some sort of tip but the amount can be anywhere from 5% to 25% of the bill depending on quality of the service and the type of meal being served (I usually tip 5%-10% more for inexpensive breakfast or lunches).

If you do decide to leave a poor tip or no tip I think it's very important to verify that the poor service was direct result of a bad server . . . far too often what appears like poor service is a result of kitchen delays, understaffing, etc. and I don't think it's right to punish the server for the mistakes of others.

I would argue that tipping is a requirement, for the simple fact that waiter/waitress are paid way below minimum wage. The majority of my friends who do this sort of work are paid in the 2-$3 an hour range. Tips are their salary. While yes I do tip varying based upon service, I have very rarely given below 15% and generally tip in the 20-30% range, I've even given 50% (not on just 1 or 2$ bills) and above on excellent service. Plus it also makes someones day, getting a $50 tip on a $100 bill goes a long way in telling this person that they did an excellent job. That is capitalism at work, rewarding those who work and who do their job better than most people.

In response to Todd, with regards to Europe, the tip is built into your bill, much like if you go to a restaurant with 8 or more people here in the States. Also you can get great service in Europe, a lot of it depends on how much like a tourist you look like and also where are you visiting.

Unless the service is subpar, I tip 20%. This is how these people get paid. I think even when I'm upset with the service I don't leave less than 10%. So in my view it's an obligation, if you get served you pay for it.

I tipped a penny once when the service was terribly bad. The waiter chased me afterward and threw coins at my car. I never dined at that restaurant again.

Most waiters basically take tips for granted.

My perspective may be a bit different from those posted so far...

1. I don't think it's an obligation. It's a reward for good service. Terrible service doesn't "deserve" a tip automatically.

2. I always tip, and almost all the time it's over 20%. (Poor service may only get 10-15%.) Why? Because I'm a Christian, and I usually pray before my meal. I've heard more than once that servers cringe when they see their table praying before they eat, because Christians tend to be stingy with tips. Or, worst of all, may leave a "tip" of an evangelistic tract or something. I have friends who've worked as servers, and they clued me in to just how much they depend on (and appreciate) good tips.

My usual practice is to figure out 20%, then round up to the nearest dollar or so. I'll also write a "Thanks for a great meal" kind of note on the back of my business card (I'm also a pastor) and leave it with the tip. If I have any $2 bills on me, I'll leave one of those as part of the tip. And if we tie up the table a little longer than usual, I'll stick an extra $2 bill in with it. People get a kick out of $2 bills. :)

God has been insanely generous to us, so why shouldn't I be generous to others? I want to help change the image of Christians in my little sphere of influence.

aa - if someone threw coins at my car I would be throwing fists!!!

If the waiters/waitresses want a tip from me, the main thing is being friendly... It's not that hard and if it is, get a different job!

This sociology is not going to change overnite, but it will change someday, and when it does, I think people will realize that, to make other people depend upon "tips" for their livelihood is a form of degradation, a throwback to the days of serf-like, class rigidity.

I always feel uncomfortable participating in this, having to throw the waiter or waitress "chump change," as if they were menials.

For the record, I would like to note that, in establishments of the higher order, wherein fine service prevails as a matter of course, there is no tipping, and the wait staff are treated as professionals like any others.

Speaking of the "Christian" attitude toward tipping... I have the same philosophy and am generous with my tipping. The only time I didn't leave a tip was when the waitress took our orders, then ignored us for 30 minutes then brought our appetizer and meal at the same time so our meals were cold by the time we ate them. Then she ignored us for another 30 minutes, never brought our check, and we had to pay our bill at the bar before we left.

However, a family member of ours is a pastor, and his philosophy is "I olny give 10% of my money to God, so why should I give more than that to anyone else?" When we eat with them, we always insist on paying or else sneak back in to leave more.

"Tipped workers qualify for a lower statutory minimum wage from the employer, and therefore may supplement deficient pay with tips"

Tips are not an obligation, but our capitalistic legal system has made it so, by allowing employers to pay below minimum wage. It is just another way for the employers to shift the cost to their customers without charging them outright in their menu price.

Having said that, for tax purposes IRS assumes an 8% tip allocation. I usually tip between 10-20% depending on Service and I am very easily pleased, I expect just basic courtesy, order made right or corrected promptly if a mistake is made.

The only time I did not tip was when the waiter left for break and never told us, and never came back to the table. We had to hunt down the manager for our bill. Which is why in my opinion if you leave less than 15% you owe it to the restaurant to tell the manager the service was terrible.

I do thing tipping has gotten out of control, however I always tip for jobs that have less wages because their tips compensate for it: such as a waiter, or hairdresser.

That being said, we recently went to The Melting Pot for New Years Eve only to find 18% gratuity automatically added to our bill (and we were not a group - just 2 people!) There was even an additional line for more tip! I reluctantly paid it, but will not go back there at all. They should have put a note in the menu - at the very least.

I've never worked in food service, but I have a good deal of empathy for those who do. Accordingly, my absolutely lowest tip is 15%. If I received truly terrible service--as I do when I receive terrible food--I'd talk to the manager or write a letter as follow-up. Similarly, if I receive exceptional service, I let the manager know.

Typically, I tip 20%. My husband has tipped as high as 100% for truly exceptional service (by a teenage waiter in Show Low, Arizona, who was just superb--solicitous, bright, and entertaining).

I feel absolutely no obligation to give a tip when dining out. Bad service in my area seems to be the rule rather than the exception. When I get good service, I tip very well; average service equals 10%; bad service equals $0.

"I calculate 15% (it's easy to do -- 10% of the bill, plus half of that again)"

That's the way my dad taught it to me, and it works fine. But there's another easy way to find 15%. Just divide the bill by 7. For every seven dollars the bill comes in at, tip one dollar. It's slightly under 15%, but you can round up. Sometimes I find that easier than the 10% plus have of that again.

LC: Give me your pastor family member's number. I'd be happy to call and straighten him out. :)

But seriously.... pretending to compare 10% of *all his income* with 15-20% of *the cost of his meal* is just ridiculous. If he uses that kind of logic in his sermons, people shouldn't listen to him. He's being dishonest with you and perhaps with himself.

A little context for that... When I was in high school I was arrogant and legalistic, and one of the side effects of that was a strong antipathy toward the whole tipping expectation. "These restaurants should just pay their workers what they're worth instead of guilting us into tipping them!" was typical of my thinking at the time. I'm thankful that I can't remember how many servers I stiffed during that time. (Probably not too many, as I was a kid and didn't eat in those kinds of restaurants too often.) But going through that has caused me to be a bit sensitive toward seeing that kind of arrogance, stubbornness, and being-a-jerk-iness in others.

No one has mentioned that the people that serve tables CHOSE that job. If you don't like it, why do it? Don't give me poor service and expect to get paid. If anyone sucks at their job that person will get fired. If you suck at serving my table you're going to get a penny.

I've never had service so bad that I didn't leave something. For basic service I leave 15%. I don't know if I've ever left less. For good service I leave 20%. For excellent I leave 25%. Sometimes I've left more for amazing service.

I've also lived with waitresses which has helped me learn more about what goes on and what they can and can't control (and how little they get paid). Also I've heard horror stories about patrons who ONLY leave tracts. Worst. Witness. Ever. Tract and big tip, sure that's fine if they want to. Tract and decent tip, eh.

vk hit the nail on the head.

Does anyone know what a waiter/waitress makes an hour -it's roughly $2.37/hr ~ WAY below minimum wage, which in some states is now $8/hr! It's a third world wage for what YOU as a consumer expect for good service.

The pizza delivery boy makes more money per hour and most people tip them a dollar or two.

If servers made a fair and decent wage, I would completely understand the concept of tipping as optional.

To not tip anything to your server is not only cruel it's outrageous and disgraceful.

STAY HOME!

Joshua, many people "choose" to be servers because they need the flexible hours to attend school or perhaps take care of their children. Not too many other professions offer that flexibility unless you're self-employed, in the entertainment industry or a professional athlete.

Not to mention that there are millions of Americans that don't have the education requirement to qualify for a better, higher paying job, regardless of how intelligent they are.

A piece of paper is worth a million - even for those who don't actually earn it.

I usually tip approximately 15% for average service at an average restaurant. That said, for a particularly cheap meal, I may bump up the tip; for a meal with little service such as a buffet, I may go a bit lower; for a particularly expensive meal, I may bump the tip down (why does a waiter/waitress deserve a $20 tip for waiting on two people just because I chose am expensive place instead of Olive Garden when both did the same amount of work?).

I have only left a very miniscule tip to make a point when service was atrocious. For example, once the waitress never came back to take our checks. After waiting 30 minutes and having to hassle the hostess to find her, I didn't think she deserved anything. I simply rounded up to the next dollar. There was some other time that I had bad service and only tipped up to the next dollar and wrote "Better luck next time." on the receipt. They never actually even ran the tip through my debit card. I think that might have been undeserved, but if I recall it was the result of being abandoned without a drink refill for an exorbinant amount of time.

There is no excuse for only leaving a tract. We were discussing in Sunday School last week that waiters hate working Sunday afternoon because many Christians leave the worst tips and expect the best service.

If a waiter ever threw change at me, I'd report him to his manager immediately.

I stopped getting pizza delivery once they started charging a $1.50+ delivery fee and still expect me to tip (though the one time this happened and I honestly did not have enough cash leftover to tip, the driver was really cool about it). We live near a Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, and Dominos so I normally just pick it up. I feel I get it faster this way too.

Undiscussed thing #1: I have known of many waiters and waitresses that do not claim all of their cash tips on their taxes. I know we shouldn't adjust our tip for this necessarily, but if they are doing this they are getting effectively 15% extra bang for their buck.

Undiscussed thing #2: I would not tip exceptionally well even for good service if I found out the restaurant was one of those places that do equal tip sharing. It feels like a waste for it to be spread out among everyone.

My standard tip is 15% rounded up to the next whole dollar. I'm a pretty low-maintenance customer - keep my drink refills coming, don't disappear for long amounts of time, bring the bill quickly, and you'll get a full tip. Gracefully handle my in-laws and their numerous special oder requests, and I'll give you 20-25% for your trouble.

Attitude and attention to detail are the most important qualities in a good waiter/waitress, and neither is dependent on your educational background or financial situation. I won't punish my server for the kitchen screwing up or if the restaurant is clearly understaffed, but I'll leave a dollar if they have a bad attitude or aren't reasonably attentive.

Tipping is, without a doubt, an obligation. Restaurants are one of the few businesses in the US that are allowed to pay employees below minimum wage precisely because they are expected to receive tips. Furthermore, waiters and waitresses are required to declare all tips and pay taxes on them. However, the minimum most waiters or waitresses will every declare is 10% of their receipts, even if they made less than that, because any less will likely earn you an audit by the IRS.

What this means is that if you don't tip your waiter or waitress, their employer is still paying them below minimum wage and they are likely still paying taxes on 10% of your ticket. To me, that means that you have an obligation to tip them at least something. That said, I don't think you have an obligation to tip them a specific amount.

I'd like to point out though to those who think they're somehow informing the waiter of their poor service by leaving a poor tip that when you do that they don't think that they gave you poor service, they just think you're a crappy tipper.

Two things:

1) What is a "tract" you all keep referring to?

2) Should we even discuss tipping at Starbucks (or similar places)?

If the employer believes they should shift the responsibility to pay their employees on the paying customers, as a paying customer I consider myself now in charge of their salary. If they provide good service, they get tipped accordingly. If they provide bad or no service, they get nothing or next-to-nothing. I would never pay any of my employees for not doing their job, so if the waiter/waitress is now my employee they get treated the same.

Don't come whining to me if you choose to be only half-employed by the business you work for. If you choose to work for $2.50 an hour, that's your thing. You can always work elsewhere for more or you can work hard to earn tips, but you MUST earn them.

I think tipping has become an obligation in the US, but I dislike it. I think employers should be obligated to pay for hire, thus at least minimum wage. It wouldn't bother me at all if it was customary to then tip up to 5-10% for exemplary service. But when I order food in a restaurant, I expect the food be served, thus the server works for the restaurant and not me.

In Washington state, minimum wage is around $8 per hour and the restaurant must pay the server the full minimum wage...tips are in addition. Sorry, but no! Dining out then costs significantly higher.

Servers/waiters/waitresses are generally speaking in minimum wage type positions. I think it should be a decent minimum wage, but working at Denny's shouldn't earn you any more than taking care of a roomful of 3 year olds.

Kevin --

A tract is a small evangelistic booklet. Here's what wikipedia says about it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tract_%28literature%29

And here's a company that sells them:

http://www.atstracts.org/

I always tip - about 20% if the service is average, a little more if it's really good, down to about 10% if the service is bad. I am willing to give the server the benefit of the doubt on sub-par service unless I watch them goofing off.

I once went to a diner-type place with a bunch of friends on a Sunday afternoon. We were practically the only people there, and yet we waited over 1/2 hour for our check at the end of the meal. I could SEE our waitress joking with some other staff, but could not manage to get her attention. I don't remember if we left her anything as a tip. I don't think we did.

Collorary: if I am with a group, I try to tip above and beyond, to make sure the tip on the total bill is over 15%. Groups are harder to deal with, especially if separate checks are needed, etc.

I go into the meal planning on a 15% tip. Every time the server refills my drink before it gets empty, I add 1%. Every time my glass sits empty long enough for me to get annoyed by it, I subtract 1%.

This system almost always results in a tip of around 20%, because I drink a lot of water. I like this system because if a server is paying enough attention to refill my drink regularly, he/she is probably paying attention to the other stuff, too. Also, it's a lot easier in this system for the server to gain 1% than to lose 1%, so I think it's fair to them, too.

I always tip.

That said, I rarely eat out. Perhaps only once a month or so, or when I'm on vacation. And even on vacation, we generally buy food to eat for breakfast and will eat out only at lunch or dinner.

I generally receive good service when I eat out. I can only remember one or two bad experiences.

My standard tip is 20%. I will lower to 10% for bad service. I rarely go over 20%.

However, if you are Europe, that is considered VERY high.

I'm not sure where the 15% came from either or even how you choose which professions get tipped. When I was younger my dad never tipped his barber one day, even though there was a tip jar. When we left I asked why no tip. He explained that he just did some construction work for him a while back and he never tipped him. Guess that's logical?

I'm sorry, I don't feel any sympathy for people that take those jobs. Don't cry on my shoulder. How hard is it for you to refill my glass of water. If you can do that you'll probably get at least 18%. If you can't do that get a new profession and expect 1 penny.

One thing to keep in mind with servers is that at restaurants that serve alcohol, they tend to have to "tip out" at the end of the night. The steakhouse I worked at took 3% of our total sales for the host and bar staff.

So, when you receive service that makes you want to leave nothing, ask yourself if the server really did deserve to *pay* for the pleasure of serving you.

We always leave 3%, if nothing else.

I give 0-5% for poor service, 15% for average service, 20% for exceptional, rounded to the next dollar. The purpose of going out to a restaurant is the have an enjoyable time with your husband, friend, guest, family, etc., and you shouldn't pay extra if the experience is miserable.

To oimcherry in response to her STAY HOME comment: If you are providing poor service and don't like fact that I won't tip you for poor service,

STAY AWAY FROM MY TABLE!

I'm always think it's funny to see the amount of comments when a topic is tipping. It's amazing how passionate people are about the topic.

While I do feel that I tip fairly (even though I feel obligated to do so), I do hate to hear the following two arguements for tipping:

(1) "We've all had bad days on the job" or "Haven't you slacked off at work before, and you still get paid" - Yes, I've had bad days on my job, and yes, I've slacked off before, but you know what... when I have a good day, or put in a little extra effort, I still get paid the same. I don't get a bonus for sending out a good email, or turning around a report 10 minutes quicker than expected. I still get paid the same amount. It's true that I MIGHT get a raise if I continue to do that consistantly over a year, but not for each individual task.

(2) "This is how these people get paid" or "that's part of their wages" - Yes, they depend on tips as part of their wages, but why does that make me obligated to pay it? Have you ever had a commissioned sales person try to sell you something? That person's salary is based on commission of their sales. Do you always buy from them? Why not, that's how they get paid. They depend on your sale for their wages.

Susan, perhaps I wasn't all that clear.

I agree that the "amount" of a tip should be reflective of the quality of service, but to leave no tip at all doesn't send a message to the person that their service was poor, unless you actually have a conversation with them to let them know. Not everyone is that bright.

Most will consider you a jerk and not understand that it was their own poor performance that merited no tip.

Everyone's perception and expectations are different, so communication with your server is important regardless of whether they're doing a good or bad job.

While some expect just refilling a water glass is considered good service another might think that wasn't enough.

To tip nothing for any type of service is disrepectful as a human being, especially if you don't at least let he/she know why.

The only case it might be appropriate to tip nothing is if you physically went the the kitchen, garnished and retrieved your own food, then cleaned up the dishes afterward. Don't laugh - I've seen it happen.
THAT service deserves no tip! And oh yes, a conversation not only with the server, but with the manager that allows that type of service to exist in his/her establishment.

I give 10% for acceptable service, 15% for decent service (this is about average), and 20% for exceptional service. Or, if my party and I stay at the table for what would otherwise be an unreasonable length of time, the baseline moves up to 20% and goes up from there.

On one particularly memorable night, my friends and I were at a table for over 3 hours having one of those long arguments you sometimes have with friends...the other folks kicked in 15%, but my tip contribution pushed it up to 48% (all the cash I had in my wallet at the time)...and it was worth every penny, since even though it was obvious we were costing the waitress business, the service stayed exceptional.

A tip below 10% is punitive. It's rare that I get service so bad I'll leave less than 10%. (But then, it's mostly rare because if it happens, we don't ever go back to the place, whereas exceptional service is rewarded even more consistently by return visits than large single tips.)

I always tip at restaurants, cabs, and bellhops.

But my problem is that tip jars are popping up everywhere. You go to a coffee shop where you are paying them $3 for a coffee and you see a tip jar. Then there is the tip jar at the gas station mini marts, at the local Subway, the Baskin Robbins, etc. It just annoys me that people think you should tip for basic service that you are already paying for.

oimcherry,

I can agree with some of what you are saying, but at the same time, I really don't want to be out lecturing and giving someone else's employees performance evaluations while I'm supposed to be out for a relaxing evening.

I have tipped from 25% of the bill to one single red cent.

My brother, a buddy, and myself were snowmobiling and rode our sleds to a nearby supper club. The bar maid recognizing us asked if we were there for the night's special and we said yes so she went into the kitchen and reserved some prime rib for us. It was not too long after that (and before we got our order) they were "out" of prime rib. They got the nice tip for that. Take care of those who take care of you!

OTOH, we were in a place and sat down. We then got up for something and then when we returned there were other people in our seats. Nothing else they did merited anything so I put a penny down.

I work in a salon and have for the last 38 years. We work for our salary but those who tip well are assured the best treatment. TIP means "To Insure Promptness". So it is a form of paying it forward. You can expect the best from your service provider if you pay it forward. I am sad to say most people don't get it. A good tipper is always remembered so if you want your service provider to remember you and what is important to you in your service, you will tip well. Cheap people are a dime a dozen, good tippers are worth their weight in gold. You get what you pay for.

If the service is excellent, then I double the tax, which is 18% with our 9% sales tax. If it's a pricey meal then I won't tip that much...but rather just leave $5-$7.

If they get my order wrong and don't even notice that they did, or don't try to work with the selection to customize my order if I request it, that's an automatic $0.

Why should I feel obgligated to pay for crappy service? Work for your money like everyone else.

@ Susan (apologies for the nitpickiness!)

"TIP means "To Insure Promptness" == noooo.

That should be "ensure", meaning to guarantee or make certain. Not "insure", which is to protect against harm. And people give tips after the service, so the $$ isn't really guaranteeing anything about the current situation.


Sorry, but that's one of my all time teeth-grinders, right up there with "the customer's always right". :)

But I totally agree about being a good tipper! I always tip. If the service is bad, I'll complain to the management or I'll never go back and tell the world. Typically, I round up to the nearest whole dollar and double it. I don't always put in a dollar for the tip jars, but sometimes I do.

It is interesting that this entire thread has focused on wait staff services rather than the whole scheme of the tipping question for the service industry.

I think the facts above (that the IRS assumes 8% and most will need to report 10% to stay away from an audit) makes it clear that one is expected to TIP in the US for restaurant service (as long as it is not by the owner).

The owner issue also applies to your hairdresser - you do not tip them if they are the owner of the salon. How much varies also and I think the etiquette books have covered this quite a bit as well...how much for the person who washes your hair and how much to the one doing the majority of the work. Same for sushi chefs - when do you tip him/her separately from the wait staff? (Usually when you sit right in front of him/her, but can be done anyway - as (Jake?) mentioned - you can ask for your favorite person and if the sushi chef gets to know you, and knows you tip, maybe you move up in the line (back to the old "TIPS stands for To Insure Prompt Service" tho I have heard it does not).

That said, roughly 15% is expected. Calculators are not needed. 20% for really good service. Once we had exceptional service and tipped 30% - but you had to see this to understand why it was so exceptional. 10% if just so-so. But there are other standards I've applied. Breakfast foods are fairly cheap, so I never leave less than $1 for breakfast, and never less than $2 per person for lunch. It's basically the price of a soda (that for the pastor who thinks he spends all his money on food, so g-d should get 10% and the wait staff less than that).

But what about your hotel maid, the valet bringing you your car, etc.? Are these expected? Most likely not the maid, and perhaps not the valet everytime (if you hit him with $5 one time, and normally give $2 for instance, plus you're doing a lot of in and out from a hotel), but then when are they expected to such a degree that if you don't give them, you're considered cheap or ignorant? Or does it depend whether your expense account (work?) allows for these tips to be made? I can see sales folks needing to look generous when they are hosting others...but otherwise, these tips can really add up. Ideas?

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