Proper Tipping Etiquette

Proper tipping is gesture of appreciation for services rendered. But figuring what gratuity is appropriate can be complex. Find out the etiquette for what is appropriate in certain situations.

Tipping is gesture of appreciation for services rendered. But figuring out how much to tip can be very complex. While standard tip amounts that may read on those handy tipping-guideline plastic cards may tell you to offer 10% for a specific service, good patronage may tell you to offer another amount.

Take for example, getting your hair cut. This is an ordinary experience that we all do on a fairly regular basis. If you're at a low budget chain haircutter, you may offer up only the standard 10%, but wait, will you be back next month? Next year? Yep, think again. That 10% may not be enough, especially if you want to be remembered by the people whom you frequent for this haircutting service. And if you're a regular patron at an upscale hair salon, you may have to shell out 20% frequently, as well as remembering that stylist at Christmas and other times of the year. 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. Given all these factors are positive, 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 best 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 back 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 you're 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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