Tipping Etiquette: That’s My 16 Cents!

Tipping is a subject most people feel strongly about, or that’s my experience when bringing it up in conversation. I get super annoyed when I walk to my local Tim Horton’s, pay for my coffee and the people working there don’t even hand back my change, assuming I will be leaving it as a tip. Umm, excuse me, that’s my $0.16…

Here’s my stance.

I have worked in various customer service positions for over 12 years, I’m a stickler for good customer service, I expect it, especially if you’re being paid $10.00+/hour to make and serve me coffee. Let’s be clear, I am NOT belittling jobs such as Tim Horton’s, but why do I need to tip you to do your job?

I work in a health service (dental hygiene) and I don’t get tipped for services rendered, so why should I tip my Massage Therapist, who I see regularly due to neck and back complications from my job? I seek her out as another healthcare professional yet every time I pay, the tip option comes up on the debt machine, which I always avoid, and every time I pay, the look of the receptionist makes me feel like I’m evil, terrible, human being.

I do tip certain services (I’m not a total hard ass), my hairdresser, who I know rents her chair and isn’t paid an hourly rate, always does a fantastic job and always willing to accommodate my crazy schedule. When our daughter starts daycare next year, I fully expect to tip or buy gifts for her provider. If someone goes over and above their job requirements, I’ll likely tip. I have had a few amazing servers at restaurants who did that ‘extra’ little bit or if I reserve a section/table for a big group, I tip. If you’re just doing your job, and I fully expect you to do it with a smile on your face no matter how much you may hate it, why do I have to tip you?

My husband is the exact opposite. He is every service personnel’s dream. He tips to the extreme and it drives me crazy. He tips too much by most people’s standards, not just in my non-tipping point of view.

So that brings me to my question…

What kind of tipper are you?  Do you have a hard set of tipping rules you follow?


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  1. I don’t really have rules for tipping per se (^v^)My friend lives in a country where nobody tips for anything, period. Not because people are poor there, but because as a nation they have decided to not discriminate against which services should get tips and which ones shouldn’t. In Canada and the US the culture is different so in restaurants I usually tip around 15% because I don’t want to appear like a terrible person in front of my friends. To fit in with the local community I have to play by the rules of social etiquette, but I’m cool with that.

  2. I got guilt tripped into tipping my massage therapist – and was annoyed by it because I couldn’t deduct the cash tips from Flex spending or anything like that… But, I also know from friends who work as massage therapists that even though it seems like they charge a lot – therapists in doctors offices actually make very little of that fee, and a good $10 or $15 tip can easily double what they made the hour they spent with you. So I tip…

    My pet peeve is when people don’t tip on pre-coupon or pre-gift card amounts. It’s not the waiter’s fault that you had a BOGO coupon. If they served your party two dinners, they should be tipped for both of them, not just one!
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..How Do You Go From Minimum Wage to $80K In A Year? Part 2My Profile

    • I know that they make very little of the rate charged, if we’re looking at a per client basis, I may bill 200.00 in procedures done in one hour but get paid just over $30.00/hour, needless to say my employer makes a mint of me.

  3. I usually tip 20% in restaurants….but that is just because I used to work in food service many years ago and it SUCKED.

    I probably fall into the overtipping category sometimes but that is just because I am a big sucker for a smiling face….and I know how hard those people work. =)

    However, I rarely ever tip in a tip jar!!!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Professional Sports: The Opiate of the MassesMy Profile

    • My husband tips 20-25% in restuants as well. I go there fully expecting to be plagued by smiles, I have also worked in the food industry and agree it’s anything by glamorous but I would rather tip the cook who made my food if it was extra good, not the server who brought it to my table!

  4. I don’t tip in jars either, and I can’t see the value added by the coffee shop employee doing his/her job handing me an overpriced cup of coffee.

    In France you rarely tip, and if you do, $5 is considered a huge tip, whatever the amount of the bill. I was a waitress in college and it sucked 🙂

    Now I don’t go out much to eat but 10-15% seems like a lot to me, because it is on everything, drinks, dessert, etc. I gave up on my BF when we were in the US he would always overtip so I stopped voicing my disagreement or my lunch would be spoiled.

    I hate the card machine option, or waiters asking for their tips, it should not be a given!
    Pauline recently posted..Obama-ize your life! A valuable lesson of time managementMy Profile

    • People can’t afford to tip in France, it’s too expensive haha! I’ve never had a waiter outright ask for a tip though! I’m not sure what I’d say.

  5. I totally agree with you. I don’t tip in jars either because why do you deserve a tip for simply doing your job. I worked in customer service for years as well and know when I am receiving good service or not. I’ve also learned to empathize for those serving me in that maybe they just might be having a bad day. If I receive good service at a restaurant or somewhere else then I tip good. But, if the service is terrible then my tip will reflect that.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..When is Being Frugal Really Just Being Cheap?My Profile

  6. Starbucks drinks are already expensive enough. I can’t believe they have the nerve to ask for even MORE $ and people actually tip them. If I receive bad service, I will give a lousy tip. If the food is lousy, I understand it’s not their fault, but if they forget about me, forget to bring water, don’t bother checking on us, basically not providing good customer service, I don’t feel obligated to give the 15%.
    MakintheBacon$ recently posted..The Final Day of Civilization Before The TrekMy Profile

  7. I usually tip at least 20% (usually around 25%). However, if the service REALLY sucks, then I leave much less.
    Michelle recently posted..Retiring Abroad?My Profile

  8. I tip the regular approved amount, but I don’t necessarily approve of the norm that has been created in our society. I just don’t want to get spit in my food, I think you’re brave for not tipping!
    Jordann @ My Alternate Life recently posted..The Hidden Latte FactorMy Profile

    • Catherine says:

      They don’t know they don’t get a tip until after my food is served…and they usually get one anyway b/c I’m with my husband haha.

  9. Tipping always makes me uneasy since it’s hard to calculate especially when the bill is split between people or there was a discount involved. I try to tip 15%-20% but I never really feel great about it since I don’t want to rip off the waitress but don’t want to overtip either!
    Shannyn @frugalbeautiful.com recently posted..If Your Blog Hasn’t Changed Your Life You’re Doing It WrongMy Profile

  10. I always tip on good service at 20% as it is the social norm in the U.S. and I have worked jobs where I depended on tips. I tip on the following services: hair, dinner, lawn work (basically anything is a good or service) If I don’t have the money to pay for everything (service and tip) then I don’t use the service. People are trying to make a living! However, if the service is bad I will let the manager know why I am tipping at 10% or not at all.
    Michelle@ShopMyClosetProject recently posted..Thrift Store Shopping the Shop My Closet WayMy Profile

    • Catherine says:

      Service like hair/lawn care etc I would tip for absolutely. If the service is really crappy I almost think it’s better to leave a crappy tip then no tip at all, gets the point across more I think!

  11. I am a server, so I do tend to tip people since it’s how I make my money. I understand that service should be adequate without needing to add something extra, but the fact is I make under minimum wage in hourly rates — a few dollars less than what is an already not a great number. So I rely on tips to actually increase my earnings to at least minimum wage or more, if it’s busy. If restaurants paid servers a better wage and people didn’t tip, it would be absorbed into the prices of the food and drinks; either way you’d be paying it somehow. I actually think it’s great that tipping exists instead of raising prices, because it motivates servers to do a better job and gives people the option of not tipping much for bad service. If they were just paid a flat rate, they definitely wouldn’t think it as necessary to go above and beyond (well the lazy ones at least :P)
    Drop that Debt recently posted..Friday Link LoveMy Profile

  12. We tip pretty well, 20% at restaurants unless the server is just awful, then we do 10%. We have a small child who is pretty messy, so I feel they deserve it. I do tip the hair stylist. I rarely get any other services that would be considered tippable, but I have tipped massage therapists in the past. I never do tip jars unless they do something fantastic. We did recently have an awesome server who discounted our meals because we lived close to the area and they have a local’s discount, even though we weren’t really locals. He was just really on top of things, so he got 30%.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Can’t Take My Eyes Off These Blogs #10-Ed McCaffrey EditionMy Profile

  13. A tip is not obligatory. That’s why it’s called a tip, and not just what it costs. 🙂 Because of that, I tip accordingly. Usually, that means I’m a big tipper! There are times though that I will leave a 10% tip, or none at all if the service is downright awful. Obviously, if they’re apologetic and attempt to make it right, there is a tip, but if someone is downright rude to me, I don’t think that my not giving them 20% makes me cheap.
    Michelle @ See Debt Run recently posted..Shortcuts to Financial FreedomMy Profile

  14. We are identical! I don’t see the point in typing unless they provide me with a service that I can’t do myself or go above and beyond. My bf is like your husband, sometimes he tips up to 20% at restaurants for average service… I’m like WHAT ARE YOU DOING! haha!
    Janine recently posted..So You Want To Buy A CameraMy Profile

    • Catherine says:

      Haha. The funny thing is, is that I’m probably coming across as some hard-ass who is a service-people hater but I’m not at all! Like one of the other commentors mentioned, I wish we lived in a non-tip society!

  15. It is seriously so refreshing to hear (or read, I suppose) that someone else feels the same way I do about this subject!! You took the words right out of my mouth when you asked why we should pay extra for a job they’re already getting paid for. This is my absolute biggest pet peeve! Tip cups at starbucks baffle me. Didn’t I just pay you $3.50 for my latte? And I still need to put in another dollar for you to ring it up??? I still tip, though, at restaurants, mostly because I’m afraid of what my friends will think of me if I don’t. I know they would think I was evil or selfish or something, lol. Kudos to the countries that have not adopted this idea!
    Sharon J. Gilman recently posted..Hands off my Starbucks!My Profile

    • Catherine says:

      haha exactly!! People can think what they want! Though I did recently watch a show on the food network where he way paying his employees $3.50-/hr and they claim tips to top up their salary…where here you don’t get paid less than min wage which is over $10.00/hr.


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