Tip jar with British currency and label saying thank you

All one has to do is go into any establishment that offers food and beverages and you will see the “tip” jar. It seems everyone from Starbucks to Dunkin Donuts to the local pizza shop has jumped on this new trend. But is it really necessary?

I did a little research to see where the idea of tipping actually came from. According to Wikepedia, “The practice of tipping began in Tudor England. By the 17th century, it was expected that overnight guests to private homes would provide sums of money, known as vails, to the host’s servants. Soon afterwards, customers began tipping in London coffeehouses and other commercial establishments.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratuity)

While in college I worked as a waitress, and really depended on my tips, they help offset my paid wage of $2.90 an hour, so I fully support people tipping their wait staff. What I am a little confused by as many Americans are it seems, is who else do you tip? Recently I noticed when I use my credit card to pick up my pizza there is a line for a tip. Do they deserve a tip for making my pizza?  Yes if they deliver it to my home, they deserve a tip, they have gone out of their way to service me.

Starbucks has for years talked about the coffee baristas and the skill it takes to make your Vente Espresso Macchiato Half Calf or your Dark Chocolate Melted Truffle Mocha, these same employees make considerably more than the wage of a restaurant server. In fact Starbucks proudly proclaims how they pay their staff a higher wage. With this in mind, why must we tip them as well? To take it a step further now the cashiers at Dunkin Donuts would like a tip for placing your donut in a bag. They proudly have the rather large “tip’ jar with a cute saying, “If we have made your day, kindly leave us a tip to show us.”

The real question becomes who do you tip and how much. I found on Trip advisor, (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g191-s606/United-States:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html)

  • $1-2/bag for skycaps, bellhops, doormen, and parking valets if they handle bags, $1 per coat for coatroom attendants, $1 per diner to 10 percent of the pre-tax bill at buffets, $2-5 per night for housekeeper, $5-10 for concierge (only if they arranged tickets or reservations), $1-3 per bag for grocery loaders (not in all areas of the US).  Doormen who merely open doors are not tipped, unless they call a cab or provide another service.  Parking valets are paid upon pick-up $3-5, depending upon much effort is required to retrieve a vehicle.
  • For waiters at sit-down restaurants, bartenders, barbers/hairdressers/attendants at beauty salons, taxi drivers, tour guides, and food delivery folks, the tip should be calculated as a percentage of your total bill as follows: 10% usually means you aren’t totally happy, 15% usually means all was acceptable, 20% for excellent, over 20% for outstanding.  15-20 percent is considered standard in most communities.
  • For ski instructors, tipping 15 percent for adult groups and 10 percent for private clients is pretty standard.

I would like to add to this list, that once a year you should tip your postal carrier, and your sanitary collectors. They come out each day or week, rain or shine, be kind to them and offer them a small thank you.

The question is do you tip the people who are not on the list. In my personal opinion, I think you need to look at each individual situation and ask yourself, “Did the service provider go above and beyond what they are being paid to do?” “Were they friendly and helpful?” If you say yes, then feel free to give them the change from your order, or a few dollars. If you do not feel this happen, then you don’t have to feel guilty, they will receive a paycheck on Friday for the work they have done.