some tips.

As a former waitress, I've thought alot about gratuities-- and it's always in the back of my mind. This article from the Washington Post yesterday brought it back to the front of my mind.

I think I'm a reasonable tipper. 20% across the board for decent service, and never less than $2. I tip my hairdresser more like 30% (because I know she tips out, and she really takes care of me). But I don't tip the shampoo girl (because I know the hairdressers tip out). And I've NEVER given a holiday tip, so now I feel like a stiff.

In any case, here are my notes on tipping:

  • Generally 20%. Only for really bad, and I mean REALLY BAD service do I leave less. (Too much time as a waitress.)
  • Always before tax.
  • Always round up to the 1/2 dollar amount. None of that .01 bullshit to round out your tab. Give me a break.
  • If your server hooks you up, you hook him/her up. Think Allison at WonderBar or Jesse at the County Grill. I'm talking free drinks, discount, gives you the happy hour price. Whatever. S/he's out on a limb for you. Do the same. Hello: $2.13/hour in the Commonwealth of VA.
  • I'm not one for math, but even I can figure out percentages in my head. Move the decimal point. Multiply. BUT-- it won't hurt if you leave an extra 50ยข or even $1. I promise. Plus it could make the difference between a good and bad shift for your server.
  • In a big party, check your bill for included gratuity. If service was great, leave a couple extra for the hard work. Don't bitch about grat. Big parties are hard to work.
  • None of this applies in Canada or Europe where practices are completely different.
  • When in doubt, ask the manager about standard tipping practices. They are more likely to be completely honest with you.

Yes, you are the customer. But you are also receiving a service. Please keep that in mind.



  • At 12:18 PM, Blogger Valerie said…

    Some people also need to be reminded that these people are your servERS not your servANTS!!!

  • At 7:24 PM, Blogger Michael J. Hercus said…

    Actually, that sounds about right for Canada too. Why would we be any different?

  • At 7:26 AM, Blogger erika said…

    The information I read said Canadian servers were paid a real wage...

  • At 7:49 AM, Blogger Springs1 said…

    "Always before tax."

    I don't agree, because servers have to claim their tips on their taxes, so I have ALWAYS tipped AFTER taxes.

    "Always round up to the 1/2 dollar amount."

    I usually round to the nearest quarter if I feel the service is not so great, but round to the nearst dollar or half dollar if the service was good or great. Rounding to 50 cents is fine, but I don't feel there's anything wrong with leaving cents. Would the server rather not get tipped at all or have some extra cents? I know I'd rather have more cents than less.


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