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Tipping In USA?

Chocaholic

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  • Added on: June 25th, 2010
Hello, everyone still looking forward to our trip, we are driving from San Francisco to LA and anywhere else we can manage to fit in, we have 14 days!! Anyway my question is how much do we tip people, don't want to offend, but we are not made of money either, so how much to taxi drivers, waiters, porters, bar staff etc? I know it is part of their pay in the USA so I want to be fair.

Thanks. :D
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  • Added on: June 25th, 2010
For meals at restaurants 15-20 % tip is pretty standard for good service. If service is sub-par max. 10% is just fine.

$1/drink is fine at bars (maybe a little more if you order an expensive cocktail)

For taxis (although I rarely take them)- 10% seems okay to me. For porters a couple of bucks should do the trick.

Maestra LE

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  • Added on: June 30th, 2010
A good rule of thumb for tipping porters is $1 per bag. 15% is the standard tip for waiters, but you can adjust that if the service was particularly good or particularly bad.

KathrynD

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  • Added on: July 1st, 2010
You should really go higher for taxi's. I say 15%. And more if you have a lot of bags - which I imagine no one on this forum does.

El Viajero

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  • Added on: July 1st, 2010
15% at restaurants for mediocre or average service, 20% for good service. Less if the service is particularly bad. I always try to be fair and assess how busy the restaurant is to how my service is. if the waiter/waitress is rude or neglectful and it's not that busy, well he/she just earned a 10% tip. Sometimes I might even tip 25% it it's a beautiful waitress and she knows how to flirt or if the server is exceptionally good

At bars I'll tip about 15% if I'm paying with my card, if i'm paying with cash, then i'll just tip a dollar or two for the whole night, regardless of how many drinks I buy. Put it to you this way, if I'm short on cash, and I can only afford to tip a few dollars, well then i could stay home and not buy any of their drinks and they would have never had my business. It's better for the bar that I go and buy a few drinks and tip just a dollar or two, if that's all I can afford, than if I had never went at all. What are they gonna do, refuse to serve you?

As far as taxis go, 15%.

Scritch

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  • Added on: July 2nd, 2010
El Viajero wrote:
At bars I'll tip about 15% if I'm paying with my card, if i'm paying with cash, then i'll just tip a dollar or two for the whole night, regardless of how many drinks I buy. Put it to you this way, if I'm short on cash, and I can only afford to tip a few dollars, well then i could stay home and not buy any of their drinks and they would have never had my business. It's better for the bar that I go and buy a few drinks and tip just a dollar or two, if that's all I can afford, than if I had never went at all. What are they gonna do, refuse to serve you?


This in't much of an argument. The whole reason we're discussing tipping is because in service industries that's how the worker makes their living. Tipping $2 on a night of drinking is pretty insulting, and if you did that at any of our local bars you'd be liable to get dirty looks at a minimum, and less-than-expedient service guaranteed. Otherwise, you could expand that erroneous logic to any tipping industry: taxis, restaurants, bars, whatever.

So while the bar might be making money off those beers, the server/bartender isn't. Which means they might just be better off if you stayed home. It's a bar. Their business model normally doesn't depend on a single non-tipping patron.

If you can afford to drink in a bar, you can afford to tip. If money's that tight, then you shouldn't be spending your money on going out and drinking, or you should just drink less.

KathrynD wrote:You should really go higher for taxi's. I say 15%. And more if you have a lot of bags - which I imagine no one on this forum does.


Taxis and pizza delivery can actually be pretty high risk jobs. They both involve lots of cash and sometimes travel into dangerous neighborhoods at night. Easy pickings for being robbed. So I agree, show your appreciation.

ScottBurnham

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  • Added on: July 10th, 2010
I'd like to point out that you should never feel like you are required to tip anyone. I tip based on service. If the service is above-and-beyond, I have tipped up to 20% , then again if I have horrible service I will not tip. I used to work as a bartender so I like to think I have a bit of insight to the industry. I have know people to make a lot of cash in the service industry so they are definitely not going poor if you do not tip. It gets ridicules when people expect to be tipped. I was refuse service in a bar once because I did not tip on my first drink. My response to the bartender was that he did nothing to deserve a tip at that time. Pouring a bit of rum in to a glass of coke while chatting with your co-workers about weekend plans does not deserve a tip, lol.
That being said. Tipping can also work for you or at least show appreciation. If you rent a hotel room and leave a big mess for house keeping to pick up. Leave them a good tip. If your at a restaurant and you receive amazing service that goes beyond what is expected, show some love with a good tip. In most restaurants, the waiter/waitress has to give a percentage of there tips to cooks/security/etc..

If your on vacation, be sure to have fun!!! Tip what you feel comfortable tipping. 8-)

Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: July 10th, 2010
Refusal to tip for adequate service in the US is somewhat sociopathic. It can be likened to someone who refuses to remove his or her shoes upon entering someone's house in Korea or Japan, because they "don't believe in it".

ScottBurnham

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  • Added on: July 10th, 2010
Felix the Hat wrote:Refusal to tip for adequate service in the US is somewhat sociopathic. It can be likened to someone who refuses to remove his or her shoes upon entering someone's house in Korea or Japan, because they "don't believe in it".


I would not go as far to call it sociopathic or even compare it removing your shoes when entering a home in some Asian countries. But, I would feel awkward if I did not leave a tip and had decent service. I live in Oregon where people in the service industry make the state minimum wage. Some state do it different and people make around $2.00 a hour because tips are considered part of there wages. Beside, IF you can afford to leave a couple extra dollars, maybe you should just stay home :D

Liforce

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  • Added on: July 11th, 2010
Good advice so far. Standard tips are $1 per bag for porters, $1 per drink for bartenders and baristas, 10% for cab drivers. Less if they are rude or negligient of their duties, more if they are extra helpful or go above the usual call of duty. If the cab driver handles your bags and gives you a little tour along the way, you should tip extra, like 15%. For waitstaff in a restaurant, 15% is perfectly appropriate for good service, 20% for above average, 10% if it was just mediocre, 5% if it was really bad. No matter how bad the service, leave something; it sends a message.

Also, if you are paying for things with a card, the sales slip you are given to sign will sometimes have a spot to fill in a tip, and it's not always appropriate to the situation. Don't feel like it's required if you're feeling unsure. An example is if you order food from behind a counter at a market or cafe and then seat yourself. You wouldn't tip in that situation unless they are actively preparing your food for you, and in that case 5-10% is sufficient. If they're grabbing a muffin from a display case and handing it to you, no tip is necessary. In a fast food situation, no tip is expected.

howefortunate

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  • Added on: August 2nd, 2010
A friend who is a waiter advised me to always pay the tip in cash. She suggested writing "cash" on the line where you leave a tip when paying by credit card and then writing the total of the bill again on the bottom line.

Tips left by credit card do not always make it to the server according to my friend.

Hideo

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  • Added on: August 3rd, 2010
15% tip for mediocre or sub-standard service?!! Crikey...if this is part of their pay why don't you make them earn it by paying nothing if the service is sub-standard?

That said, I've usually experienced far better service in the US than in Europe, which I guess is down to the fact that they need the tips, but it does seem like a screwed up way of paying your staff to me, but that's a whole other argument.

It obviously has its advantages if it encourages excellent service, but if it reaches the point of being expected no matter how good or bad the service, or if a refusal to tip sufficently (like in the bar example someone gave above) causes bad service, then it seems a bit stupid.

But then I've not grown up in a culture where tipping is required, so it's all a bit strange to me
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Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: August 3rd, 2010
Hideo wrote:It obviously has its advantages if it encourages excellent service, but if it reaches the point of being expected no matter how good or bad the service, or if a refusal to tip sufficently (like in the bar example someone gave above) causes bad service, then it seems a bit stupid.


Why is it strange? It is generally far cheaper to dine in restaurants in the US than the UK (or elsewhere in Western Europe), and service is far superior at the same time.

Hideo

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  • Added on: August 4th, 2010
It's strange to me, because in the countries that I have lived in tipping is only given for excellent service because the staff don't have to rely on tips to make enough money - they are paid properly in the first place. That's why it's strange to me.

I agree that the service in the US is often far better than in Europe, and dining out is relatively cheap, but not so cheap when the tip is added to the cost of the meal - it's the same as the sales tax thing....why not just say up front what something will cost? Staff salaries are included in the price of meals in other countries, hence the higher cost, but apparently not in the US.

I'm not necessarily criticising since you get good food and good service, it's just an odd concept to me.

Another country I have lived in, Japan, gives service far superior to that in the US in my experience (and therefore vastly better than in Europe!), and dining out can be extremely cheap, and yet nobody would ever dream of tipping, so it doesn't necessarily follow that tipping means better service.

The tipping culture leads to false platitudes from the staff to my cynical European eye - and that may not matter since they are of course giving excellent service, but I'd rather genuine good service of the likes in Japan personally.

That is why it's strange to me - it's an alien concept to me but is part and parcel of visiting the US and I certainly do tip when I'm there, although it's a bit confusing to know who you're meant to tip and how much as the OP was saying. You don't tip every service provider, so either some are deemed more worthy than others, or some perhaps are paid better in the first place so you don't tip them?
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halfnine

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  • Added on: August 4th, 2010
Another country I have lived in, Japan, gives service far superior to that in the US in my experience (and therefore vastly better than in Europe!)


I have lived in Japan, America and Europe and I don't entirely agree with that. While the service in Japan is in every way superior to that of Europe, overall it isn't as good as what you get in the USA.

and dining out can be extremely cheap


Maybe in your Ootoyas, Yoshinoyas, Hanamasas, or generic noodle shops but not in most places. Although, in fairness, in those cheap places yes you are likely to get better service than in equivalent places in the USA. But, generally, the same types of places you generally just order at the counter and therefore don't tip in the USA either.


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