Saturday, June 27, 2009

Proper Tipping Etiquette

"The manner of giving is worth more than the gift".
-Pierre Corneille

Tipping is gesture of appreciation for services rendered. But figuring out how much to tip can be very complex. Some businesses may provide a handy tipping-guideline plastic card that may tell you to offer 10% for a specific service, but good patronage may tell you to offer another amount. Different tipping percentages are standard for a range of services. Read on for more hints on how to be gratuity savvy.

At a salon: The standard amount for salon gratuity is 15% to 20% depending on the extent of the services, the skill of the stylist and whether or not you intend to frequent the establishment and the stylist again. Taking all of this under consideration, you'll want to offer a tip in the 20% range. Don't overlook the people who shampoo your hair and those who get you coffee and magazines--they get at least a dollar for their services.

At a restaurant: Offer up 15% to 20% of your total bill. Keep in mind that the amount you tip reflects the total price before any coupons, gift certificates, etc. Just because you get a discount, does not mean that your server did not serve up the full order. If you are part of a party of more than 8 people, you should offer an amount closer to the 20% marker, if not more, depending on the needs of the guests in your party. If, for example, one of your guests insists on getting the salad dressing on the side, extra bread, more water and no avocado, then you definitely want to compensate the server who extended service to include these extras.

At a club or bar: Tip the bartender between 10% and 15% depending on the complication of your drink order. If you just order a beer in a bottle, there's not too much effort involved in providing the service, but if you order a mixed drink that takes time and includes a lot of ingredients, then offer up a more sizable tip, somewhere closer to the 15% range.

Transportation: Whether you hail a cab or take a limousine, you should offer a gratuity between 10% to 15% of the fare. If the drivers are particularly rude or unhelpful, give them the minimum. But if they are attentive to your travel needs and help you in any way beyond the norm, remember and thank them with a 15% or larger gratuity. If you use valet service at a hotel, restaurant or shopping area, offer the driver 10% for the service, but never give change. Another guideline is simply offering the attendant a buck or two for the parking and retrieval of your car. And if you're traveling through an airport, and utilizing the aid of skycaps, offer a dollar per bag and up that amount if the bags are particularly heavy or large.

At a Hotel: It is standard to leave the maid a few bucks for tidying your room. If you have additional needs such as more towels, soap, an extra toothbrush, etc., thank the maid with an additional dollar or two. When checking in and out of a hotel, remember the bellhop with a gratuity of a dollar per bag, unless, once again, you have particularly large or heavy bags.

Overall, think before you tip. You don't want to regret the decision to be stingy at a later date. Like when your hair's a mess and you really need the stylist to squeeze you in for an appointment, but you left such a small tip last time, that she won't make the time to make you look amazing this time.

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