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Are You Tipping Enough?

Tipping etiquette eludes many a modern consumer; don’t be one of them!

  • Mark Peterson/Redux

    New Times, New Manners

    En español | With tip jars beckoning patrons of even take-out joints these days, confusion surrounds the question of how much money you should leave behind — and when — in order to reward good service. So let our expert, Kitty Bean Yancey, walk you through some tipping scenarios designed to explain “new manners for new times.”

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  • Mark Peterson/Redux

    In a Restaurant

    “Only about two-thirds of people know it’s customary to tip 15 to 20 percent in a restaurant,” says William Lynn, a professor at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. Experts such as Peter Post (great-grandson of Emily) agree the new standard is 20 percent for good service, especially in urban areas and upscale establishments.            

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  • Mark Peterson/Redux

    Deserving Servers

    Think 20 percent is excessive? Many waiters and bartenders receive far less than minimum wage: The Department of Labor allows businesses to pay tipped employees as low as $2.13 per hour. “Walk a mile in a server’s shoes,” says Thomas P. Farley, an etiquette expert known as Mister Manners, “and you quickly see all they have to put up with.”

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  • Mark Peterson/Redux

    At the Hair Salon

    “Never tip the owner” is outdated advice, says Farley: It’s now customary for clients to tip the salon owner 15 to 20 percent, just as they would any stylist. (If staffers other than the stylist shampoo and color your hair, divide the tip among all three.) Unsure of tipping practices at a salon? Farley’s recommendation: “Just ask.”

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  • Mark Peterson/Redux

    During a Hotel Stay

    Bellmen typically get $1 to $2 a bag, doormen $1 for hailing a cab. Room service is tricky, so read the fine print; even when a delivery fee is included, it often goes to the hotel. And don’t forget the staffers with the toughest job: Leave $2 to $5 daily — not at the end of your stay, given shift changes — for housekeeping, preferably in a thank-you note under the pillow.

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  • Mark Peterson/Redux

    At the Valet Stand

    It’s standard to fork over $2 when a valet parker returns your car. But aptly named ex-valet Ed Ryder says tip at drop-off if you care about your wheels: “With a minimum tip of $2 on arrival, your car will be treated better,” says Ryder. “And a $5 preemptive tip ups your odds of a safer parking place with a lower chance of dings.”

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  • Mark Peterson/Redux

    At the Spa

    Leaving a 15 to 20 percent gratuity for any personal service rendered — be it a facial, a mani-pedi or a massage — is considered customary.

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  • Mark Peterson/Redux

    On the High Seas

    To guarantee that yeoman staffers such as stewards and waiters get tipped on a cruise, more and more oceangoing lines are adding “automatic tips” to your bill. Be aware that you can adjust these totals at reception or at the purser’s office. To evade them, so to speak, choose to cruise on a line whose fares include gratuities: Azamara Club Cruises or Silversea, for example.

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  • Mark Peterson/Redux

    In a Casino

    Not everyone knows that dealers generally rely on tips. That’s why savvy gamers chip in a chip every so often, or make the occasional bet on behalf of a dealer. “Place your bet in the circle and the bet for the dealer above that,” recommends former professional gambler Anthony Curtis. “Making one to three $1 bets for the dealer per hour is fine.”

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  • Mark Peterson/Redux

    Everywhere You Go

    As for those ever-present tip jars, you’re under no obligation to feed them, say both Tom “Mister Manners” Farley and the Emily Post Institute. But if you can afford a daily latte, it probably won’t kill you to toss in a small bill or some pocket change. As with any tipping conundrum, however, “This is a voluntary situation,” says Farley. “You should tip from respect, not guilt.”

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