GMBMFB Readers: How much do you tip?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve written a couple of articles on the etiquette surrounding tipping, and the service industry in general. The first, was “The one where the waitress added in her own tip,” where there was a lot of debate, but the general conclusion was that she was definitely stealing, and probably should have been fired. Then, for Moneyville I wrote “Tips on holiday tipping: how much and to whom?” and a similar type of article called “The etiquette of splitting a restaurant bill.”

I then got flooded with at least a dozen e-mails and Formspring comments all asking the same thing: how much do I personally tip service providers on a day-to-day basis?

So instead of answering each e-mail individually, I’m bringing it to the blog.

If I’m being honest, I hate the idea of tipping. In Canada, all servers have to get paid at least minimum wage (I think in the US sometimes your tips can get built into your wage?). Maybe it’s just me, but why should I pay extra for something that’s supposed to be part of someone’s job? I’ve worked in customer service for over 10 years, and never once got tipped. I helped people pick out music, helped people try on shoes, spent time customizing skin care regiments, and suggesting make-up tips. I had repeat customers. People knew me by name. Is it because I didn’t work in a restaurant? Is it because I’m not touching someone’s scalp? Why do servers get tipped for doing their job, when I get nothing for doing just as good of a job serving customers? I’m getting the same crappy pay as them, but for some reason they also get the tips. Bah!

Anyway, here is a list of people that I encounter on a regular basis, and how much I tip:

Hair cut: 15%. I only get a cut and style – no colour or anything fancy.

Restaurant (sit-down): 15-25%, depending on the service I receive. If it’s exceptional service (or if I’m using a coupon or making a complicated order), I might tip up to 25%. But for most cases, I’ll tip around 15%. That being said, I do believe in leaving less of a tip if the service is below par.

Restaurant (take-out, or coffee shop): Nothing. If I pay by cash, I might throw my change into the tip jar on the counter. But in general, I don’t leave a tip unless something extraordinary happens.

Taxi: 10-15%, but I very very rarely take taxis here in Vancouver. This is usually just for when I travel.

Massage therapist/chiropractor: 10-15%.

Bartender: $1 per drink, if I’m going up to the bar to order myself.

How much do you tip each of these people?

About Krystal Yee

I'm a writer, personal finance blogger, and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I'm a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner's Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I'm not working, you can usually find me running, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.

77 comments

  1. I tip along the same lines, although a bit more for a taxi (15%).

    Along similar lines, I’m starting to think about what’s appropriate for Christmas bonuses/gifts. This year we employed the service of a cleaning lady and I’m not sure how much to leave as a bonus. Her fee is $45 for two hours (every two weeks) and my Mom uses her as well. My Mom typically leaves an extra $20 at Christmas but I read somewhere else that you pay as if there was an extra service ($45). Any idea on this one?

  2. I tip along the same lines, too.

    Hair cut: Usually a solid $3, which is probably about 10%. I don’t get my hair cut anywhere fancy.

    Restaurant (sit-down): I tip 15% for standard service, and more if the server goes above and beyond. I’ll usually only tip less if the service is terrible in a way that the waitress can control. For instance, if my water glass goes without a refill, but I can see the waitress is totally swamped, I’ll cut her a lot of slack. If it’s not refilled and I can see her gabbing with the hostess? Or she’s rude? Then yeah, that’ll lower her tip.

    Restaurant (take-out, or coffee shop): At indie coffee shops, I usually leave some change (maybe 50 cents) in the tip jar, if I have it. If not, I don’t. I never tip on take-out, except at this little mom-and-pop diner across the street from my place. I just like them a lot there and they’re super nice, so when I stop by on my way home from work for take-out, I always leave a couple bucks for a tip, even if I pay by credit card.

    Taxi: I usually round up and then add two or three bucks. I’m more critical with taxis than I am with servers, because I’ve found many of them to be rude and unsafe. If a taxi driver gabs on his cell while driving me, I won’t leave a tip. Another time a rude taxi driver actually left the meter running while he was outside of my apartment, as I was looking for change, and didn’t turn the light on, so it took me even longer! I paid him exactly his inflated fare, and no tip.

    Bartender: Usually a dollar per drink, though I tend to tip a little bit more on the first drink.

  3. Some of these don’t particularly apply to me but some of my normal tips are:

    Sit-down restaurants: 15-20% depending on the service or where it is. When I worked in NYC, 20% is just the norm there regardless of service.

    Take-out restaurants: If they’re super nice and I’m paying with cash, I’ll throw some coins in the tip jar, but I don’t tip with card there.

    Bartender: $1 per drink

  4. It’s good to know that at fast food restaurants and coffee shops you don’t really tip. I feel so awkward when I go to Booster Juice and there’s a tip option on their swipe machines. I always think that they didn’t do anything above and beyond what the requirements of their job is – plus, the bill is usually $4 or under – why should I tip?

    • ” I always think that they didn’t do anything above and beyond what the requirements of their job is”

      Isn’t that the exact same thing as a server or bartender?

      I think it takes a lot more effort to gather ingredients and then blend them (or whatever it is that happens at the juice place you mentioned) than it is to open a bottle of beer, or pour a pint.

      Tipping is silly.
      It enables business owners to pay low wages to employees, and then expect customers to make up the difference, often surprisingly so – I know of a number of bartenders and waitresses who make >$45k a year with a high school education, and who contribute little value to their community/country/world.

      • To the person that said that waiters aren’t really contributing anything to society yet still making a lot of money with a high school education, I hope your a rocket scientist. Waiters and waitresses are still people.

        You’d be surprised what waiters ( and a lot of people) in the tip industry have to go through. Like Girl Makes Cents, they have to tip other people out, deal with rude people and people like the one above that thing their above a waiter with a ” high school education” since obviously their just a waiter and don’t have a “real job”. I understand that you don’t feel like people aren’t doing you a service that anyone else wouldn’t, but I think waiting on you hand and foot, getting you drinks and food is a little bit different, as is a lot of other jobs like hair dressers and other people. Like Deena said, a lot of people don’t feel like they have to tip and a lot don’t. But, in the US a lot of servers make nothing because society thinks everyone else is tipping them and that’s not true at all. Pshew.

        I guess this is just one of those things we’re gonna have to agree to disagree on.

    • As well, how much is a beer where you live? $3-8 here, so how is that any different from a big smoothy or fancy coffee?

      • People get into serving jobs because they know there will be tips. Otherwise if it was a serving wage with no tips I don’t see why ANYONE would want to do that job. Tips are the incentive.

        I have a university education and 2 degrees and I’m a server. I don’t plan on being a server forever but even those I know that have a career in serving contribute to society quite a bit. I don’t know why you would say they don’t.

  5. Hair cut: 20%

    Restaurant (sit-down): Usually 15-20%, but if it’s a place that I go to often where I might have the same waitress/waiter, then I always tip 20-25%

    Restaurant (take-out, or coffee shop): 0%

    Taxi: 15%

    Bartender: 15-20%. The bartenders where I live will literally get you kicked out of the bar if you don’t tip at least 15%. I would just not go to these bars, but nearly every single one is like this.

  6. Haircut: $5
    Sit-down restaurant: 20% unless service is awful
    Take out – food: no tip
    Coffee shop: $1
    Taxi: Round up to the nearest $5
    Bartender: $1/drink

  7. I’m a solid 20% tipper at sit-down restaurants and for haircuts and massages. I don’t have anything fancy done to my hair either, but I know they’re not making big bucks, especially the one I’m using as he rents his booth from the salon. I definitely tip less at sit-down restaurants if the service is crummy. For takeout, I don’t tip anything. Those are the only situations I can think of that I tip. I never take taxis, and I haven’t drank since Christmas 2009 (yikes!).

  8. I used to have a big problem with over-tipping. I felt it was pointless to leave $2 as a tip, even if it was %15, so I’d usually end up leaving up to 50% in tips! The very poor service diner near my house was what finally helped break this habit though, as their service is down right awful.

    Now I tip the fair 15% at restaurants, but will definately tip extra if they had good service. Working in a retaurant and hearing servers talk about how much they spoiled their tables then got a $2 tip on a $100 bill pisses me off, even though it doesn’t affect me.

    All the other services listed I don’t use, but I did leave a very good tip for the guy who did my corset piercings. I payed $450 for them to be done (this includes the $14 cleaning solution). But he was the only piercing in the city that even knew I different way of doing the piercings to make them last months rather than 3 days, and he did a great job and made me very comfortable, so I tipped him $50. He was quite surprised, but thrilled of course.

    I also hate how Booster Juice’s debit machines ask you for a tip. I always hit $0 because I’m sure they aren’t payed server wages, and between the three people it takes to make a drink, I don’t think there’s enough ‘effort’ there to earn a tip on top of my $6 drink.

    • I always find the random take-out places have the tip option on the debit machine. It’s so weird. Why would I tip to carry out my own pizza, or buy a latte, or something from a juice bar? It’s weird. I wonder how many people just tip out of obligation?

  9. I tip….nothing! I hate tipping. Unless something crazy special happens and I really like the person, then I will tip, otherwise you’re not getting an extra dime for me. These people are paid to do what they are doing. I think its crazy that we should feel obligated or guilted into tipping. Sometimes, when I go to dinner with friends and we have extrodinarily bad service, they still tip! Nuts!

    • Clearly you are completely ignorant how hard work waitressing and serving really is, and if you tried working on a minimum wage for just one day – with no right to sit for 8 hours or so, rude customers and ones like you, who somehow think they are superior because someone else is serving them – I bet you wouldn’t dare to say such stupid and ridiculous things.

      Please think before you open your mouth/keyboard or whatever and read Barbara Ehenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed. On (not) getting by in America”. Good covering of the subject of people working their asses off on 2 to 4 $ an hour. Tips are the only thing which allows the to SURVIVE, because employers cut their wage as much as it is possible, making excuses that they get the tips.

      People like you make me sick to my stomach. Complete ignorance and lack of ability to see beyond your narrow horizons.

  10. In the U.S. the servers don’t even get minimum wage. They are paid about $2-4 an hour depending on the state.

    So that’s why I want to tip. Working for such low pay, seems like slavery to me, especially in the food industry where it’s hard work.

  11. At restaurants I usually tip about 20%. But if the service is really good or really bad I vary that accordingly. I’m just lazy at math and 10% is easy to figure out and then double. lol.

    I’m never sure how much to tip for getting my hair done. I usually tip about 15% or so… No idea if that’s good or bad. lol

  12. I usually tip 15% on the after-tax amount as standard, and then go up to 20% or down to 10% depending on service quality. I don’t think I’ve ever had service so bad that I thought of leaving no tip at all.

    Tipping is a social norm followed by almost everyone, and there are other non-monetary costs that would come if you didn’t do so (ie. being seen as cheap by people you’re with), which make it even less worth it to go against the grain. Why certain industries get tipped and other don’t is strange when you think about it the way Krystal has laid it out… Why shouldn’t the clothing salesperson get tipped when they wait on you hand and foot getting new sizes for you, making recommendations? Don’t have a good answer, except that’s the way the industries have evolved I guess?

  13. I work as a server. Personally, when I tip, in Canada I’ll usually tip around 15-20%. When in the US (because in most cases they are paid under min-wage since it’s legal to do that in the US) I’ll tip more. I also find that compared to Canada its also cheaper to dine out in the US.
    This may not apply to all serving jobs, but understand that when you overhear a server bitching about getting a $2 tip on a $100 bill it’s because they still have to tip out. At my place of work we tip out on 3% of our total sales. So if I get a $2 tip on a $100 bill, it just cost me to serve you.
    That being said, I personally agree that servers shouldn’t get tipped. We are paid to do a job, just like the kitchen staff are paid to do a job and the girl at the clothing store is paid to do a job. But that’s not our culture and the way that our industry is now structured, when people don’t tip it costs us money.

  14. I’m from the U.S., where (to my knowledge) waitstaff and bartenders get paid an hourly wage less than the regular minimum wage. That said, my tipping it pretty simple.

    I tip 15-20% on everything (waitstaff, taxis, hair dresser, etc).

    I tip $1 per drink for bartenders

    I don’t tip anyone else that makes an hourly wage above minimum wage (baristas, take-out, etc.)

  15. I’m a server. I tip 15-20% for servers unless they did a really poor job. I will always leave a tip though.

    I live in Canada, in Ontario and I make $8.90 an hour which is $1.30 BELOW minimum wage. So servers definitely rely on tips.

    As a server I also have to TIP-OUT the kitchen staff. For the restaurant I work at it’s 5.3% (which is high for a restaurant) of net sales. So if I sell $100 worth of food and drinks I give $5.30 to the kitchen, and I can keep the rest if they tipped me more than that.

    I also have to tip-out the bus-boy $5 each day regardless of how much I made that day.

    • Well, to be fair, you don’t make below minimum wage – you make minimum wage for a server. That was put forth by the government because of all of the tips that you receive. And I’m willing to bet that after you tip out the kitchen staff and the bus boy, you will make much more than “regular” minimum wage, which isn’t much higher than a server’s minimum wage to begin with.

      Like I said in another comment, I don’t see how a server’s job is anymore valuable than someone else in a customer service role that doesn’t get tipped. Why do we tip out servers and kitchen staff and bus boys for doing their jobs? But we don’t tip the customer service person at The Running Room for helping you choose the perfect pair of runners, or the make-up lady at Sephora for showing you how to put on a new kind of eyeliner, or the customer service agent on the phone who spent an hour with you helping you troubleshoot your phone? I just don’t get it.

      • There are other things that differ with servers – for example, there is no minimum amount of hours for a shift – If you are scheduled for a noon start, and the restaurant isn’t busy, then you might only work for an hour….or not even start at all – and you get nothing. I think that the incentive of the tips is what makes sure there are people to be servers. A restaurant certainly couldn’t afford to pay 8 servers (maybe needed during a noon till 2pm shift) for 4 hours or more at regular minimum wage on a day when they don’t happen to be busy – but the way it is set up now, they can have 8 people on the schedule, and pay them only when needed.

      • If servers made minimum wage without tips I would not be a server. As a server there is a lot to put up with. Rude customers, poor managers, things messing up in the kitchen that make you look bad, etc.

        Also like someone else mentioned we are often cut from work after an hour or so if it is not busy. What a waste of time that is. But the incentive to keep coming back is the tips.

        • @Girl Makes Cents:

          Why is it the customers job to make up for the low wage and bad work hours for servers? the employer should offer a higher wage if their servers are great. If the cost becomes too high, then it should be seen in the product being purchased, not after the bill comes and that awkward moment of “How much should I tip?!” arises.

          I tend to tip 20%, sometimes higher if there is AMAZING service or very low if the server just doesnt care.

          • It would be nice if servers made a decent wage and tipping wasn’t required for servers to make money. Unfortunately for now, we are still not at that point.

            You don’t HAVE to tip. It is polite though!

  16. I have never tipped my chiropractor; it’s a medical service so that has never crossed my mind. Now I’m wondering if I’m a total a-ahole for not doing that!

    • I almost always tip my chiropractor and massage therapist, because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. I saw other people doing it at the office during the first few times that I went, so I did it too. I don’t think you have to though, because now that I think about it – I would never tip my dentist!

      • “because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do.” There is your answer. Who says you can’t tip that shoe salesperson? You can tip them if you wish. You can tip everyone who provides you with good service, I’m sure they would appreciate it. I do.

        • Actually, in some places I’ve worked, we were not allowed to take tips. But even if we were, how many people would tip someone working in a shoe store? I would say the number is close to zero. And for some reason, I don’t see that changing.

          • @Krystal Yee: Don’t forget, though, shoe/clothing store people are usually on commission, whether individual or group based. So they are in fact being “tipped” … even at stores like Lululemon (where I used to work) if we hit our target sales for the month, we started making group commission, based on the number of hours we worked. It could be anywhere from $1-5 extra per hour, which was, at the time, up to a 50% pay increase.

            So I don’t think the argument translates to other service positions … everyone is recompensed in some way, or else they wouldn’t do it.

            That being said, I’m an overtipper. Having (barely) survived as a barista, server, and bartender, I know that unless you have the personality for it, it is soul killing. When the service is good, they deserve compensation for making my evening enjoyable and stress free.

            I tip my hairdresser 20%, because she’s also my friend, and is the cheapest therapist I know.

          • That’s not true that shoe/clothing store people are on commission. I’ve worked in retail for many years (department stores, sports stores, drug stores, independent stores) – never once getting a single dollar in commission or incentives!

      • @Krystal Yee: Thinking about tipping my dentist has me chuckling… can you imagine!? “Here’s $300 for my new retainers + an extra $30 for doing a great job!” hahaha…

  17. I usually lead off with tips like, “don’t drink bathwater” or “stay upwind of the guy peeing.”

    Because that generally is considered less funny by the service industry than it even is here, I actually tip cash.

    I set the bar at 15 percent at restaurants, then go above 20 percent for great service and down to 10 percent for bad service. I’ve only tipped less than 10 percent on one or two occasions, and I think both were because I was short on cash (felt horrible both times).

    I live where nowhere meets “where are we?”, so I don’t take cabs much or have to tip doormen or many other service people. Sadly, because I usually haven’t known how much to tip, I have a simple rule:

    “try not to be THAT GUY.”

  18. “In Canada, all servers have to get paid at least minimum wage “…WRONG!

    Not all provinces have the same minimum wage for servers and non-servers. Like Girl Makes Cents states, in Ontario, “liquor servers” (so pretty much anyone who works in a restaurant/bar) only make 8.90/hr NOT the 10.25/hr that is the standard minimum wage.

    I serve tables part-time in a restaurant and the government counts on me making tips in order to reach the “real” minimum wage.

    All the above comments about the practice of “tipping out” are also valid…the only people who say they never tip are those who have never worked in the restaurant industry and have no idea how warped it is. I don’t have issues with abolishing tipping (although I’m a good server so would make less without tips)…but you better make sure servers are making the actual minimum wage first!!

    • Right, but like you said, it’s not that you’re being paid less than minimum wage, it’s just that a server’s minimum wage is set differently because of the tips you receive. I guarantee that every single server makes more than the regular minimum wage of other workers, since the minimum wage set for a server is generally not that far behind to begin with. And I’m willing to bet that you would take the server’s minimum wage and making tips any day over making a “regular” minimum wage.

      If my job in customer service had the option of making a lower minimum wage in exchange for tips, I would gladly do it. Who wouldn’t?! My point is, I don’t see how servers work any harder than other people in customer service. Why don’t we tip the person who spent the last 30 minutes bringing out tons of different shoes just so you would have the perfect pair to wear to your sister’s wedding? And then we turn around and tip the waitress who brought us out a $10 plate of food? Why? It’s so weird.

      • It’s not quite the same thing, but the only way I can think of to make even a little bit of sense is that there are different types of customer incentive programs in different industries. In the restaurant industry the customer incentive is great service to receive a good tip. In the retail industry in a lot of stores (not all I know), there is a commission customer incentive program to help give incentive to great service (and close the sale). Obviously different industries have different incentive programs depending on the industry (for ex. if two people go into a restaurant and sit down the sale is basically ensured, while in a retail world the sale isn’t guaranteed until the customer makes the purchase, which calls for a different type of incentive program). Does that make sense?

      • You also forgot to mention that servers are required by law to declare their tips at tax time. Tips are also taxed at a higher rate then an hourly salary. So even if tipping puts you ‘on par’ with your peers by allowing you to make the ‘official’ min. wage (as is the case in Ontario), you are being taxed at a higher rate because of your tips and thus coming out further behind then an hourly salary person.

        The system itself is wrong and the gov’t counts on us to take pity on the servers (and yes I was in the industry, not as a server tho, for 5 years) in order to compensate for the gov’t being cheap and not setting the bar properly. The real solution is to change the perception of the public and the gov’t and have the servers and kitchen staff earn proper wages and do away with tipping altogether.

        Its wrong to me that a teenager working at Mickey D’s makes the $10.25 an hour because who tips at McDonalds? But the server at The Keg or Boston Pizza makes $8.25, will probably not work a full shift (or will get cut after 3 hours and 45 min so they dont get a break wither), and if its really slow (like the lunch shift in most places) you might not even clear min. wage.

  19. I hate tipping as a practice – yes I have served. In a sit down restaurant I average 15%-20%. 15% for mediocre service (and lower is the service is terrible) – 20% for excellent service – more than that if you give us things for free :) (Why the tipping practice is bad for business owners.) I hate tipping places where I have to work harder than the person who is pouring my beer – why should I tip someone when I have to fight a large crowd to get to the bar and order and all they have to do is turn around open the cooler and grab a bottle.

    If I can’t tip on my card – I don’t.

    For the most part I have stopped going most places where I get annoyed at the thought of tipping – tipping should be reserved for being incredibly pampered.

  20. I agree with most of your tipping percentages, and am saying the following more to the world at large than to you, so please do not take it that way.

    I live in the U.S., where, as others have said, minimum wage for servers and bartenders is $2 – $3 an hour. I understand your point that a server’s minimum wage does not mean they are making below minimum wage…but any way you slice it, $3 an hour means servers can only count on $120 of guaranteed pre-tax income in a 40-hour work week. That’s crap.

    My rule at restaurants is a 20% tip or $5, whichever is higher. If I go to a restaurant and order a cheap appetizer for my dinner or something, if my bill comes out to $10, I am not going to throw down $1.50 – $2.00. That’s the standard 15 – 20%, but it feels inappropriate to me. If I cannot afford the extra couple of dollars, I will not go out at all.

    I truly take pleasure in being generous. I know from living with my ex (who was a bartender) that it makes his day when he feels his hard work was acknowledged — it is not about the dollar amount as much as it is a signal of appreciation.

    The world is awash with seriously crappy tippers, because there is little incentive to be generous. (Seriously, you’re probably never going to see the waiter again, so what is your motivation to tip at all?!) Because of this, I have found that if you go just that tiny bit beyond what other people do (which seriously means if you’re a 20% person, you are ahead), you genuinely make people’s day. It’s hard to buy that much happiness from someone else for so little money in any other area of life.

    I know this is personal finance and we generally talk about frugality and try to squeeze every dime we can out of a stone, but this is different. It’s one thing to use triple coupons and get 300 rolls of toilet paper for 12 cents from Wal-Mart – it does not hurt the clerk’s livelihood who rings you up. Your savings did not affect their wages directly. However, being a crappy tipper is saving money directly at the expense of another person — a person who, if you are eating out at restaurants with any frequency, is probably not as well-off as you financially.

    Finally, on a lighter note, I want to say that I have learned that tipping bartenders generously almost always pays off, even beyond karma points. Seriously, try it – tip $2 or $3 on your first drink, and then drop back down to the standard $1 after that, and see what a difference those few dollars makes. You will get the bartender to come over to you first in a crowded bar, to make your drink extra special, to remember what you usually like to order when you come in, and to buy you the occasional drink on their own dime.

    I am sure this rant is going to be unpopular, but this is how I felt. Thanks for listening! Great post, Krystal.

    • @Deena Dollars:
      “I know from living with my ex (who was a bartender) that it makes his day when he feels his hard work was acknowledged — it is not about the dollar amount as much as it is a signal of appreciation”

      Would it be ok to leave a 15% tip and write a note of appreciation to acknowledge his hard work?

    • You’re absolutely right, Deena. Tipping your bartender big the first time makes a difference. It tells us that you are a valuable and appreciative customer, one worthy of better-than-average service. We make note of your gesture, and (if you’re a great bartender) pay it forward with faster service or extra attention. It makes a bartender’s day when our hard work is noticed and reciprocated, and there’s nothing a bartender loves more than being treated as a person working hard for your tip, as opposed to a drink dispenser to vent your frustrations at.

  21. Speaking from someone who has worked in the service industry, I tip 20% all the time, except for housekeeping and take-out places. The way I see it is, at the end of my life, I will never regret being too generous, and you never know how a small thing like a good tip can make someone’s day.

  22. I sometimes HATE tipping too because it IS their job but I tip anyway. Sometimes the service will be so bad but I always end up tipping (just 10% at least) because I feel bad. I hate that and need to get out of my mindset. If I have exceptional service, I’ll leave a huge tip with no hesitation though.

    Sometimes we’ll get back a $5 bill and maybe a dollar or two in change, but we don’t have any change on us so we’ll just leave the everything because it’s weird and a hassle to ask for change for $5.

    I know it’s courtesy to tip and does make someone’s day, but as customers, it really adds up!

    … yet I’ll still be tipping.

  23. Just on the using a coupon issue, I hope you tip on the amount before the discount! It’s not the server’s fault that management offered you a discount.

  24. that’s pretty much what I stick to!
    15% is the general rule for restaurants, always leaving a bit more for great service, and a bit less for poor service. this whole idea that tipping should be guaranteed is a big piece of crock in my book. you have to earn it.

    and i’ve worked in environments that were like this

  25. I don’t understand tipping.

    We don’t do it in Australia, so when I spent six months in the US, I only ever tipped when others in my group also did – mainly because I just didn’t think about it!

    Come to think of it, we must have looked pretty funny…an Australian, three Germans, a Korean and a Swede all standing around trying to work out this strange American custom of tipping!

  26. I am another non-believer in tipping but yes I do tip:

    Sit down restaurants: 15-20%
    Taxi 10-12%
    Hair Salon 10-15% (one time I tipped 25% because lady before me tipped nothing and I thought it was outrageous and I felt bad for hairdresser)
    Take out – 0
    Coffee shops – usually whatever loose change I get back. If I use my credit card, then nothing
    House housing/massages/spa are luxuries currently not (was never) in my budget

    Maybe we should have Non-Tipping Movement and it will force restaurants pay their servers more (hopefully the government will jump in to regulate this)! You know, like Australia!

  27. I was confused by the chiropractor and massage therapist tips-the analogy to the dentist is a good one I think. I am a healthcare provider and would be taken aback if someone tried to tip me. Perhaps if it was a spa massage for relaxation (by an esthetician and not a therapist) I would tip similarly to my hairdresser, but not when I go for health reasons.

    • Agreed – I think you might actually be insulting a ‘professional’ by treating them as a ‘service provider’. In general, one doesn’t tip for professional services.

      (A spa would be different.)

  28. Sit down restaurants = 20%
    Taxi = 10 to 15%
    Barber = 20%
    Take Out = 10%
    Coffe Shop = about 10% depending on the change.
    Bartender = $1 per drink which can be 20% or more!

  29. I tip 20 percent or more in every situation except take-out and coffee shops; in those cases I do leave at least a dollar or two in the tip jar, though. BF is a hair stylist and works for tips and I know how it can make or break his week emotionally and financially if he gets one or more bad tippers as clients. He feels like he hasn’t done a good job if people don’t tip 15 percent or more. I agree with Deena Dollars that it’s a great thing to be generous in this area of life.

  30. Hair cut: 30%. I’ve been going to the same person for several years and get amazing service and always get the appointment times I want. I feel like it’s worth the extra.

    Restaurant (sit-down): 20%, even if the service is mediocre. Everyone has “off” days now and then!

    Restaurant (take-out, or coffee shop): Nothing.

    Taxi: 15% to 20%.

    Massage therapist/chiropractor: I’ve never been, unfortunately.

    Bartender: $1 per drink at the bar, standard 20% if being served drinks at a table (e.g. in a lounge-style place).

  31. My “tipping habits” closely resemble yours. I tip a bit more to my hairstylist, and anyone with whom I have an ongoing relationship. I also tend to overtip for good service in a restaurant but that’s because I’ve been a waitress myself. Also, I live in a small town and, many times, you’re going to get the same waitress or pizza delivery guy next time. Personal experience tells me that your pizza will be a little hotter next time if you’re known as “the good tipper.”

  32. Taxi 2$ flat if good service, nothing if service is bad
    Restaurant 10% if service is bad to ok, 12%-15% if service is outstanding (I’ve never left nothing)
    Bar 1$ per drink
    Everybody else: no tip

    Either I am the king of cheap or everybody else who are commenting are lying.

  33. I’m probably being dumb, but a lot of people are saying they tip $1 per drink from a bar, is that a rule that everyone knows?

    I’m only asking, because I’ve never heard about this. I always tip 15-20%, which really stinks because most of the time drinks are at least $10.

  34. Haircut & colourist: 20%. (Even with the tip, they are cheaper than what I used to spend on my hair, so I definitely tip about 20% as their taxes are included in the cost.)

    Restaurant (sit-down): 15%, rarely more.

    Restaurant (take-out, or coffee shop): I don’t tip at coffee shop chains, but if I go to my local coffee shop, I will usually tip a minimum of 50 cents per coffee. I think there’s some effort that goes into crafting a coffee (they also do the latte art), and to support the local shop that may not get as much traffic. My friend and I discussed this, and if the typical tip is $1 per bar drink, a latte can take way more effort.

    Taxi: I round up. So about $1-3 per ride, depending on the distance.

    Massage therapist/chiropractor: None. I have an RMT that doesn’t believe in receiving gratuities. I’ve had other RMTs based in clinics who also didn’t accept tips.

    Bartender: $1 per drink (Many bartender friends say most people don’t.)

  35. Wow, Anonymous 7:17 pm…10 percent? In 2011? You might want to read the book ‘Waiter Rant’, because you’re definitely being discussed in the kitchen. 10 percent was acceptable in the 70s and maybe the 80s but not anymore. Fifteen percent is tolerable, maybe, but like it or not, 18 to 20 percent is basically the new standard.

    • @Anonymous:
      Well prices have increased as well. Our restaurant bills are rarely below 50$, 5$ is a decent amount. I would never pay 20% tiups. That<s crazy. So waiters can rant away…

  36. Also, I’ve been drinking since 1995 and have always left $1 per drink, period. For beer, wine, mixed drinks. BF will often just leave $1 for 2 beers, though.

  37. Question for people – do most people apply these percentages after-tax or before-tax? I generally do things after-tax, but am in the approx. 15% and round up dept (20% if exceptional)

    I lived in the US for a few years, and while they typically tip more than Canadians in general I would say, their taxes are generally in the ~8% range, whereas ours is 13%, so if we are tipping after tax, all things being equal, we’re paying about 5% more than our US counter-parts.

  38. Restaurants: 15-20%
    Taxi: 10-15%
    Hair cuts: 15%

    Chiropractors? I’ve never tipped my chiropractor or RMT.

  39. Unfortunately, your information on servers’ minimum wages is incorrect. Servers in Canada do not get paid minimum wage. They have a separate wage schedule which is lower. They get paid a lower wage because there’s the expectation that the tips will make up for it. Knowing what goes behind Korean restaurants (tips not only get split between the servers and cooks, but the owners take half of the pool), i’m really disappointed when people are so cheap at Asian restaurants.

    I usually tip cab drivers 15-20%, depending on the fare.

    Also, why would you tip at a chiropractor’s office? While i understand tipping RMTs at spas/hotels, i despite tipping at massage clinics, especially if you’re going in for an injury.

  40. Wow, I honestly never thought to tip taxi’s!
    I round up, but not really tip …But I guess if they were SUPER friendly I would tip them. They arn’t relying on my tip to get by so I don’t feel guilty :p

    But I am totally against retail stores asking for tips on their debit machine. At booster juice I always press NO.

    I also hate HOTELS that ask for tips at the front desk because then the customers don’t leave a tip for the housekeepers & thats not fair! They work TWICE as hard to make sure you like your room. They might not be in charge of checking you in/out but if you don’t like your room your not gonna stay there.

  41. Taxi drivers absolutely DO rely on their tips. Without the tips it is a very crappy job. I always tip cabbies (not that I use the services very often).

  42. for the takeout stuff. This happens at random places, but I’ve seen it happen.

    In some places, the servers are the ones that packs the bag and what not. Their name goes on the receipt. Thus they’re taxed on a tip assumption on that receipt.
    Since there’s an assumption of 15% tip on each bill, the server is stuck with $0 tip on a takeout bill but they’re taxed. I check with restaurants when I do takeout.

    No I don’t think you should have to tip a bunch on takeout, a buck or 2 or something. But no way should the server be hosed because someone ordered takeout.

  43. Why has nobody mentioned that as a rule Canadians are horrible tippers? I’ve been a server in New Orleans for over two decades. My Heart sinks when I am speaking to perfectly charming and polite patrons, and the word Canada is spoken. I still do my job to the fullest. Yet I pretty much know that in the end I’ll get a tip that would seem to indicate they had one of the worst dining experiences ever.

  44. It’s important for everyone here to realize, since it wasn’t discussed, that pizza delivery drivers in Ontario and probably the rest of Canada (and probably the USA too) often make BELOW minimum wage. Even WAY below, which is much less than restaurant servers, who get minimum wage or slightly less if they serve alcohol ($8.90 in Ontario) serve many more customers per hour, and don’t have to pay for their gas to drive a car to each customer.

    I’ve worked as a driver at a pizza chain where we were paid $6/hour and we used our own cars and paid for our own gas. We got $1 per delivery, but there are only about 1-3 deliveries per hours. This is in a province where the minimum wage is $10.25/hour. So if you don’t tip the pizza drivers they will definitely make much less than minimum wage.
    Even if you throw them a dollar, when you consider their gasoline expense they are still making below minimum wage. You should always tip at bare minimum $2 which is still very low and $3 is a more reasonable absolute minimum unless you are dirt poor. (in which case why the hell are you buying a $25 pizza instead of cooking your own dinner for a cost of about $3?) $4 tip is about right to be considered respectable. $5 and up will turn the driver’s frown upside down and they will remember you.

    No matter the size of your order, it cost the pizza driver the same amount of time and gasoline, so tipping 15% on a small pizza is really not going to help the driver get up to minimum wage. You should still tip $3 no matter how small your order. Similarly, a $40 order is no more work for the driver than a $20 order, so don’t feel like you need to tip above $5, unless you want to make the driver’s night.

    You should also realize that the “delivery fee” you may be charged at the time of order goes to the store, NOT the driver. Also, the $1.50 transaction fee for using your debit card is completely your fault, so if you don’t like it, use your brain and pay cash, and don’t take out your stupidity on the driver. Plan ahead and don’t drain your physical cash pool down to zero.

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