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Cover Story July 2nd, 2009

  Untitled Document


lyle e davis

Do you tip a person who makes $130,000 a year?

I don’t.

It’s the time of year when thousand of us board planes, trains, buses and cruise ships to find adventure in travel . . . whether to visit family and friends, or to discover far off exotic places. At every port of call, however, you’re going to find one constant . . .the outstretched hand, palm up, begging for money.

Who deserves tips? Who doesn’t?

Here’s a look at how you may wish to plan this summer’s vacation plans . . . and when to tip, when not to, and how much should you decide to dig down deep into that cobweb encrusted purse of yours and parcel out your hard earned cash to those who provide service.

First off, most of us have to decide whether to tip the skycaps at the airport or not.


Many of the baggage handlers - Skycaps - who handle your luggage make $100,000 a year, most of it in cash. At many major airports, in addition to their average salary of $30,000 a year, peak earners take in $300 a day in tips. That amounts to a $2 tip from 18 travelers per hour. Many tip much higher. Most skycaps are cordial, some are indifferent, knowing passengers don't want to check their baggage at the counter.

Skycap perks: No liability for sending your luggage to the wrong destination, no personal accountability or liability, no refunds. Education requirements. None.

To add insult to injury, back in August of 2005, many airlines added a fee to your ticket amounting to $2 per bag. The skycaps won’t tell you this, of course. They’d just as soon have you continue to contribute to their cash income.

United, along with other airlines, instituted a $2 per bag fee back in August of 2005. The skycaps are always quick to remind you that they don't get the $2 and you need to tip more. Some are pretty open and agressive about it.

A CNN.com article from December 9, 2003, stated:"Most skycaps have held their jobs for years because the money is so good," said Dave Clayton, chief executive officer of Andy Frain Services, an Illinois company that provides skycaps to airlines throughout the United States. A good skycap at a busy airport can make between $75,000 and $100,000 a year, and most of that money comes in tips.

That was the good old days. Now you have to pay the $2 fee, to the airlines plus, the skycaps hope, the guilt tip money. Now, however, instead of working for tips, they work for a salary, benefits and bonuses from bag fees they collect.

“They're well paid,” says Al Johnson, President of Atlanta-based Premium Services Management, which serves United Airlines customers at eight U.S. Airports. "If someone refuses to provide service (or solicits a tip), that's ground for termination"...Any skycap who retaliates by sending a nontipper's luggage astray can be traced by his or her ID number, which must be entered to check in a bag. Based on that, I would say all the United curbside guys should have been fired months ago. I'm sure the other airlines are the same way.”

Johnson says he knows that United Airlines and American Airlines includes a baggage service charge. He believes Delta does not, but he knows mostly those airlines with whom he contracts.

“There’s an old saying,” chuckles Johnson. “Skycaps will die at the curb before they’ll quit their job. The money is just too good. We’ve got skycaps out there who are 75 and 80 years old . . . they ain’t gonna quit.”

Johnson also points out that the larger airport skycaps, such as LAX and San Francisco, make more money than smaller to medium size airports in the midwest and south. The larger airport skycaps may have a larger base salary while those in the midwest may be lower.

Source: Avjobs.com

As you would expect, skycaps put up a howl of protest when United, followed by many other airlines, decided to charge travelers $2 a bag for skycap services. Those services had traditionally been free, though travelers customarily had tipped skycaps for their help with luggage and flight check-in.

Under the fee system, a vendor collects the $2 fee and distributes an undisclosed portion to the skycaps along with an undisclosed increased hourly wage.

Source: August 17th, 2005, http://www.skyscrapercity.com/archive/index.php/t-158392.html

The Ins and Outs of Tipping

It seems to us a little common sense should help in determining who to tip and how much to tip. Still, there are those who seek to make up our minds for us by calling themselves “etiquette experts.”

Personally, I don’t buy a lot of their recommendations.

If you are a business traveler you might justify frequent and sometimes exorbitant tipping by rationalizing . . . “the company is paying the expense account. Not me.” To my way of thinking that is simply irresponsible thinking. To my mind, one should look at spending the company’s money just as though it was their own money. That is a responsible employee.

When it comes to the ins and outs of tipping, even seasoned business travelers can find that they're not clear on all the rules. The customary 15-20% restaurant gratuity is familiar to just about everyone - but a business traveler comes into contact with dozens of service people over the course of a normal trip. There's the skycap at the airport, which we have already addressed, the driver of the hotel shuttle, the concierge and the bellman at the hotel - and what about the wine steward at the restaurant? Whom should we tip, and how much?

Kathleen Ameche claims to be one of those etiquette experts. She’s a corporate executive/20-plus-year business traveler/author and shares her thoughts throughout her book The Woman Road Warrior: A Woman's Guide to Business Travel (Agate Publishing, May 2005.) You may choose to accept her recommendations, or reject them. As always, exercise a full measure of common sense.

"While every situation is different, there are, fortunately, a number of sensible guidelines to follow," she says.

At the airport, prior to the airlines including the $2 per bag charge for luggage, it used to be one to two dollars per bag for the skycap and/or baggage handler (the one who takes your luggage at curbside for your flight or from the claim area to your taxi or limousine.)

Nowhere in the car-rental process is tipping required or expected, but taxi and limousine drivers receive 15-20% of the fare. The driver of the hotel or airport shuttle is normally tipped a dollar or two per piece of luggage but, here again, use some common sense. If the airport shuttle drives you a minimal distance I seldom tip. In contrast, we recently had what was supposed to be a two and a half hour airport shuttle trip (from SEATAC airport to Anacortes, Washington) that lasted four and a half hours due to a major, and fatal, accident on I-5. I tipped that driver because he had gone above and beyond the call of duty, because he kept his cool in what could have been a high pressure situation, and because of the length of time he was with us. He had earned it, in my judgment. A couple days later, the same airport shuttle bus took us, maybe, 10 miles. I did not tip that driver, nor the subsequent bus that took us to the airport. Nor did any of the other passengers.

A parking valet is tipped a dollar or two when your car is brought to you.

Hotels are another story. "Staying at a hotel normally means lots of tipping," says Ameche. The doorman receives $1-$2 for luggage assistance, $1 for hailing a cab. The bellman is tipped $2-$5, depending on his services (bringing bags to the room, bringing ice, dealing with multiple bags.) The hotel staffer who delivers anything to your room, be it a package, an extra pillow, or a room service meal, receives $1-$2. Housekeeping staff should be tipped $1-$3 per night. (Editor’s Note: I don’t tip housekeeping staff. I also don’t tip a bellman as much as Ms. Ameche suggests. Probably no more than a dollar a bag . . . staff room delivery service I tip, at most, $1).

And then there's the all-important concierge, whose recommendations and other services can mean the difference between a so-so stay and a wonderful trip. The concierge should be tipped anywhere from $2-$5 (for making dinner reservations or checking on your travel status) to $20 (for getting you tickets to that sold-out musical.)

For restaurants, Ameche advocates tipping the customary 15-20% of the bill, excluding alcohol and tax. The headwaiter is only tipped if he's given exceptional service, e.g., getting you a table in a crowded restaurant. And the wine steward? Give him/her 10% of the wine bill. (Editor’s Note: Sadly, I can no longer drink wine . . . but if I were to, I would likely not tip a wine steward.)

Your Best Friend On the Road

"With the assistance of a concierge, I have been able to get into restaurants that were full and secure tickets to events that were sold out … [From concierges I've also received] recommendations on solutions to the most mundane, yet immediate, problems that have arisen during my business travels." One hotel concierge, Ameche recalls, sent her to a local tailor who made emergency alterations to a suit while Ameche took her lunch break. The best way to make a "best friend" of this indispensable hotel staffer, according to Ameche, is to "communicate your needs to the concierge as precisely as possible … Concierges are busy; the time they can spend with you is limited."

In other words, don't expect to spend a leisurely half-hour shooting the breeze with the concierge. Friendliness is indeed a bridge-builder, and a pleasant demeanor can't do anything but help. At the same time, both parties are best off if you make known what you need quickly and efficiently.

Ameche, who states in The Woman Road Warrior that she is on a first-name basis with hotel concierges across the country, also notes in her book, "Concierges who know their area and have experience with the restaurants, stores, theaters, and other venues or neighborhoods are worth their weight in gold. Don't forget that a concierge who makes a reservation or gives a suggestion has a vested interest in making sure you're happy."

If you travel only occasionally, hotel tipping etiquette can be a real mystery.

Some outfit on the Internet that calls themselves FindaLink.net offers tipping etiquette guidelines. Some of which I agree with . . . many of which I don’t.

This brief guide covers most tipping opportunities. Remember that tipping is discretionary. If you don't think tipping is necessary in a particular circumstance, then don't tip. This is a guide for people who are planning to tip and want to know the appropriate amount. If you think tipping in general is stupid, then don't tip.

(Editor’s Note: What frosts me is rude wait staff . . . or other service personnel. Maybe your waiter is a little absent-minded because his mother is sick in the hospital. One etiquette guide suggests “instead of skipping the tip, talk to the manager about poor service.” First off, if you’re in a service industry you need to leave your problems at home. Or stay at home. Better yet, visit your sick mother in the hospital. You cannot take it out on your clients. To me, it also depends on how rude and inattentive the wait person was. There are some individuals I would simply refuse to tip. I most certainly would speak to the manager about poor service.)

Coupons and gift certificates

If you received a coupon or gift certificate, how do you calculate the tip? Tipping is always based upon the normal price of the good or service. If you get a coupon for 20% off, then tip on the original price. The amount of work done by the server is not less because you paid less. If you have a coupon for a free entree, then tip based upon the regular price of the entree.

Many gift certificates today act more like a debit card. A $50 card is the equivalent to $50 cash, but it can only be used at the named store or restaurant. In that case, you can use the card to pay for the tip as well as the food or service. If you have a gift certificate for a free meal or spa treatment, call the manager before you go and ask if the gratuity is included. If it is not, ask for the estimated value of the gift certificate, and then tip in cash based upon that amount.

At the Airport

Skycap: Addressed earlier, but if you arrive late and he helps you get to your flight on time, tip an extra $5.
Wheelchair pusher - If they are just pushing you down the ramp from the gate to the plane (or in reverse), then nothing. If it is from the ticket counter to the gate/plane or from the gate/plane to the luggage carousel, then $5 is appropriate. Tip more if they help you with your luggage ($1-2 per bag) or if they help you to your car. If they are pushing you from one terminal to another (long distances), then $10 would be appropriate plus extra for luggage. Tip less, or not at all, if they are unpleasant or rude (and ask to speak to their supervisor. If the supervisor doesn’t know something’s wrong, s/he can’t fix it.)
Flight attendant or other in-flight personnel - Nothing .
Charter pilot - Nothing. It is not necessary to tip pilots unless they provide extra services. Then it is whatever you deem appropriate for the service.

Tipping on Amtrak

Tipping on trains can be very confusing because most people don't travel by train often and the situations can be confusing. For instance, sometimes the meal is included, sometimes it isn't.
Dining car waiters, stewards and bar car waiters: 15 percent of bill (or estimated cost of meal when included)
Red caps, or porters: $1 per bag
Sleeping car attendant: $5 per passenger per day. (Editor’s Note: I would not tip for this service).

Ground transportation

Taxi, limo, paid shuttle, or van driver - 15% of the total fare. Up to 20% if the driver helps with the bags or makes extra stops. No less than $1. If someone else is picking up the tab, they are responsible for tipping also.
Driver of courtesy shuttle - $1-$2 per bag if he helps with the bags. (Editor’s Note: This is very much discretionary. In my case I make a judgment on distance traveled, amount of luggage, and amount of service delivered. If it is all pretty much routine and the driver merely drove the bus, I probably would not tip.)
Auto dealership shuttle driver - Nothing.

At the Hotel

Before you arrive at a nicer hotel or resort, inquire as to whether gratuities are included in the price of the room. Some hotels are now charging a daily fee that covers all tipping for hotel services. If there is not a daily fee, these rates are appropriate:
Valet or parking attendant - $1 is appropriate for parking or returning the car. It is not necessary to tip for parking, but always for returning the car.
Doorman - If he hails you a cab, $1. If he helps you with your bags in or out of the car, $0.50-1 a bag. Use $1-2 per bag if he carries them all the way to the room. If he just opens the door, nothing. If he is exceptionally helpful with directions or restaurant recommendations, same as concierge.
Bellman - When he helps you with your bags, tip $1-2 per bag. Give him the tip when he shows you your room. If he just carries the bags to the front desk and then disappears, save it for the person who carries the bags to your room. Upon checkout, tip a bellman who helps with your bags. Tip more for additional services.
Concierge - $5-10 for help with hard-to-get dinner reservations or theater tickets. Tipping is optional for just plain advice. Tipping can be done at the end of the trip or at the time of service, just keep is straight so that you are fair.
Room Service - If gratuity is included, add nothing or $1. Otherwise add 15-20% to the total charge.
Delivery of special items - If you request extra pillows or an iron, tip $1 per item received, minimum $2. (Editor’s Note: I totally disagree with this.)
Maid service - $1-5 per day typically, up to $10 per day depending upon how much mess you make. Tip daily because there might be a different maid each day. Leave the tip on your pillow. Err on the side of being generous, and tip on the last day also. (Editor’s Note: I disagree here as well.)
Swimming pool or gym attendant - Nothing, unless you require special services such as extra seating or inflating pool toys; then it is $2-5. If you want the same deck chairs every day, then tip $2-3 per chair beginning the first day. (Editor’s Note: Flat out ridiculous!)
Hotel maintenance staff - Nothing to replace a light bulb, fix the air conditioning, etc.

Tipping at a Bed and Breakfast (B&B)
Many, if not most B&Bs have a no-tipping policy in the US and Canada.

Tour Guides

Check ahead. If the tip is not already included, give 10-15% of the tour price. No less than $1-2 for a half-day tour, $3-4 for a full-day tour, and $5-10 for a week-long tour. This is a per-person rate. Tip private tour guides more. If the bus driver is particularly helpful with bags, then tip $1-2 per bag.
Boat trip - If the trip is over 3 hours, tip $10-$75 depending upon the cost of the excursion and the quality of service. (Editor’s Note: $75?! What on earth are you smoking?)
Outdoor guides (fly fishing, horseback riding, river rafting, etc.) - 15% of the cost of the service. Some companies have a no-tipping policy. Check when you book the trip.
Private Yacht Charter - Tip the crew 10-20% of the charter fee based upon the quality of service. Hand the gratuity to the Captain for distribution to the crew. (Editor’s Note: Having never been in the rarified financial air where I could afford to charter a yacht I can’t comment on this other than. . . seems awfully damned high to me.)

Cruise Ships

Many cruise ships have a no-tipping policy. Find out in advance. If you are supposed to tip, find out if it is done at the end of the trip or at the time of service. Oftentimes, at the end of the cruise you are provided envelopes with suggested tip amounts. If you are supposed to tip, budget about $20 per day.
Waiter - $3 per day per person.
Cabin steward - $3 per day per person.
Bus boy - $1.5 per day per person.
Maitre d' - Not necessary unless special services provided.
Bar steward - Usually, 15% is automatically added to bill.

Restaurants or Bars

If you get awful service, talk to the manager. The manager cannot correct the situation if he doesn't know about it. Skipping the tip will not accomplish anything, and the next poor customer who gets that server will get the same service you did.

If you are buying the meal and someone offers to get the tip, tell them they can buy next time, and you pay the whole thing. This prevents any uneasiness about them seeing the amount of the bill or worrying that they will be stingy on the tip.

Restaurants report a percentage (around 12%) of the gross sales for food and beverage to the IRS for their staff. This means that if you have a $200 food bill and $200 wine bill, the restaurant will report 12% of $400 or $48 as income to the server. In other words, the server has to pay tax on it whether you tip it or not. If the restaurants do not report it accurately, the restaurant and the wait staff get audited by the IRS.

Food server - 15-20%.
Counter service - 15-20%.
Cocktail server - 15-20%. For free drinks in Vegas, tip $1-2 per round.
Bartender - 15-20% or $1 per drink. If at the bar before a meal, settle up with the bartender before you go to your table.
If a bar has a cover charge, you do not tip on it.
Busboys - Nothing, unless he did something extra special like cleaning up a huge mess. Then give him $1-2.
Maitre d' - Nothing, unless he gets you a special table or the restaurant is full and you had no reservation. Then give $5 or more.
Coat check - $1
Restroom attendant - $1 (Editor’s Note: I not only have never agreed with this I take offense at it. I don’t need someone to help me in the restroom. I’m quite capable.)
Musician in lounge - $1-5 (Editor’s Note: What?! No way!)
Musician that visits table - $2-3 if you make a special request. Optional if he just stops by and plays.
Takeout - If you get good service, in other words, the waiter gets and packages the food, then at your choice you can tip $1-2 or up to 10%. Nothing is really necessary.
Drive through - Nothing.
Self-service restaurant or buffet - Nothing unless there is some service. Tip 10% if the server delivers all or part of your meal or keeps your drinks refilled.

Barbers, salons, spas

Barber - $2-3
Hair Stylist or Color Specialist - 10-20%. $3-5 extra for last-minute service.
Hair extensions - 10-20%, regardless of the cost of the service.
Shampoo or other assistant - $2-5 for each person. Hand the tip directly to the person providing the service.
Manicure or Facial - 15%
Massage therapist - No tip if at doctor's office. 10-15% otherwise. If they come to your home or hotel room, find out in advance whether a tip is included in the price.
Electrologist, laser hair removal - Nothing.
Salon or spa package - Determine in advance whether a service charge is included. If none is included, then 10-20% split among the service providers. You can ask for it to be divided, pay each person at the time of service, or leave it in envelopes available at the front desk. If the salon messed up your service, and you return for a re-do, do not tip again.

Country club

At many golf or country clubs, tips are included in your monthly bill. 57% of country clubs have a no tipping policy. It is worthwhile to look it up or check with your club first.
Shoe shine - $2 per pair.
Golf cart girls - 15%, minumum of $1-2. Round it.
Small errands - $5. What's a small errand? Running to the store, sending a fax, calling a cab.
Bag guy - $1-2 per bag.
Large errands - $10-20. For concierge-type services of ordering flowers, obtaining hard-to-get theater tickets, etc.
Golf caddies - $15-25 above any fee for the cabby.
Golf or tennis pro lessons - Nothing.


Many contracted services for weddings include tips in the final bill. Make sure you read your contract carefully so that you are not double tipping. As always, if you receive service above and beyond what you expected, extra tipping is recommended.
Civil ceremony officials - $50 - $75, more if travel involved
Wedding planner - Nothing.
Minister, priest, rabbi - Minimum of $100, more if travel involved. Give the gratuity to the best man who will in turn give it to the officiant following the ceremony.
Coat check - 50 cents per guest.
Limo driver - 15% of the total fare. Make sure the tip is not included already in the bill.
Florists - Only necessary when service is beyond expectations, up to 15%
Photographers - Only necessary when service is beyond expectations, up to 15%
Bakers - Only necessary when service is beyond expectations, up to 15%
Reception Musicians or DJs - Only necessary when service is beyond expectations, up to 15% or $25-50 per person.
Open bar at receptions - There are two views on this. Some say tip $1 for each visit to the bar. Other's contend that the tax and tip are included in the cost of the open bar, and that the guest should only tip if it is a cash bar. I lean toward the latter view, but it never hurts to be generous. If you are the host of the event, make sure it is not included. If it is not included, the tip is 15-20%.
Catering hall wedding coordinator - $50 for the coordinator, and something less for the assistant ($25). Make sure it is not included in the price of the event.
Banquet captain - $20-100.
Wedding organist, musician or soloist - First check whether or not the gratuity is included in the rental of the church. If not, $50 per person or $75 per person for close friends.

Funeral Etiquette

The tip or gratuity for the clergyman who performs a funeral service is called the honorarium. The amount of the honorarium is typically $50-200. The amount is personal and varies based upon many factors:
How much of the service does the clergyman perform, and does it include a graveside service?
How many ministers are speaking at the service.
How well do you know the minister?
How good of a job does he do?
What is customary for the area?
How much can you afford?

You do not tip a funeral director.

Tipping Caterers

Tipping Caterers can be a real mystery. The best thing to do is to talk to the caterer in advance. Most caterers have a service charge that is included in the bill and is distributed to the cooks, driver and wait staff. If there is no service charge or it is not for the people doing the work, then tipping 15% of the entire bill is appropriate. This amount should be divided among the servers by the on-site manager. If it is included, you don't need to tip any more.

Tipping Movers

Tipping, if any, occurs at the completion of the job. Consider providing lunch if the move extends over lunch, and always provide beverages for the movers.
One mover - limited move - 1-10 items and nothing over 20 pounds - $10-20
One mover - difficult move - The degree of difficulty changes based upon stairs, narrow passages, small elevators, large or heavy items, appliances, etc. - $20-50.
Multiple movers - Basically tip each mover the same as above, but lower it by $5-10 for each mover. Feel free to pool the tip and give it to the supervisor for distribution, but don't lower the amount because you combined it. The problem with combining the tip is that you cannot reward people based upon their individual performances.

Emergency Roadside Service

Consider the level of danger. Tip an additional amount if it is roadside service versus in a parking lot.
Towing service - $5 - $20 depending upon circumstances and your desperation.
Jump start - $3 - $5
Tire change - $4 - $5
Locked out of car - $5 - $10

Miscellaneous services

Accountants - Nothing.
Appliance repairman - Nothing.
Auto mechanic - Not necessary.
Bagger at grocery store - Check in advance to see if the store has a no tipping policy. Most have one.
Car detailing - 15%
Car salesman - Nothing.
Car wash - If there is a tip jar, leave your tip there. It will be split among the workers. Otherwise, tip the person(s) who did the cleanup after the wash.
Carpet cleaners - Nothing.
Clown at children's party - $15-25 depending upon the quality of the performance and the heat level of the day. Others say 15-20% of the performers fee.
Contractors, installers, and home remodelers - Nothing. Offer a cool drink instead.
Cosmetologist at makeup counter - Nothing.
Makeover specialist at department store - Nothing.
Electricians and plumbers - Nothing. Offer a cool drink instead.
Farriers or horse haulers - Nothing.
Financial planners - Nothing.
Graphic designer - Nothing.
Interior designer - Nothing.
Mortgage loan officer - Nothing.
Nurses - Nothing.
Painters (house) - Nothing. Offer them a cool drink instead.
Pet groomers - Most pet groomers are paid based upon a commission, not a regular salary or hourly wage. Typically your tip should be 15% of the bill or $2 per dog, whichever is greater. If your dog is difficult, then tip more. Obviously, don't tip if the quality is poor.
Pet sitters - Tipping is not required, but most pet sitters will appreciate a tip. 15% is appropriate if you want to tip.
Physical therapist - Nothing.
Piano tuner - Nothing.
Realtors® or real estate agents - Nothing. The best way to say thanks is to refer people to them.
Swimming lesson instructor - Nothing.
Tailor or seamstress - Nothing.
Telephone, security, cable, satellite, internet installers or repairmen - Nothing.
Tree removal service - Nothing.
Weekly lawn or landscaping service - Nothing.
Window tinting service - Nothing.
Window washer - Nothing.

Tipping for Deliveries

Grocery delivery - Usually included in the fee.
Pharmacy deliveries - Nothing. If you insist, $2-3 per delivery, not per prescription.
Flower deliveries - $2-5 for normal deliveries and $5-10 for large ones.
UPS/Fed Ex - None.
Dry Cleaning or Laundry Delivery - Nothing. Most services instruct drivers not to accept gratuities.
Liquor delivery - 10-15%.
Pizza deliveries or other food deliveries - 15%, but not less than $2.
Delivering a big box like a TV to your car - Nothing. Most stores prohibit employees from receiving tips, and the employee may be subject to discipline for doing so.

Casino Tipping

Before we talk about casino tipping, let's discuss a budget. Before you go to a casino, you should determine how much you are willing to lose before you call it quits. Gambling is fine for entertainment, but it is not a good means of wealth accumulation. If the odds weren't in the house's favor, casinos would not make as much money as they do. Gambling without a budget is poor stewardship of your money.

Casino workers are a part of the service industry and make 2/3 of their income from tips. Without tips, they are grossly underpaid.

One general rule for tipping at a table is that you tip when you are winning, not losing.
Craps or blackjack dealer - $5+ chip per session. At a $5 table, the tip would be a $1 chip. At a $25 table, use a $5 chip.
Poker dealers - $5+ chip per session. You may tip 10% of your winnings, but not to exceed $25.
Roulette dealers - $5+ chip per session.
Keno writers/runners - $1+ for first ticket. If you play a lot, tip more. 5% if you win.
Drinks waiter - $1+ chip per drink. Remember that you are getting free drinks because alcohol lowers your inhibitions and you will gamble more.

Tip Jars

They're showing up everywhere -- tip jars. Most people hate them. Is it appropriate to leave a tip in a tip jar? We don’t think so. If you get the idea that tip jars are inappropriate at any food-service establishment that does not actually bring the food to your table and keep your drinks refilled, then you are correct.

Laundry service - Nothing.

Changing a Culture

We Americans are responsible for a lot of things, good and bad, when it comes to different cultures.

In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, one of my favorite ports, it was and is the policy to NOT tip cab drivers. However, we big-hearted Americans tend to tip both coming from the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the airport. Going home the rationale is . . . “well, I can’t used these Mexican coins anyway; might as well give them to the driver.” Everytime you do that you add to the culture change . . . and not for the better.

In the end, it all comes down to using your own discretion. A lot of the so-called tipping etiquette guides are just plain dumb. I have deleted a number that I thought were downright silly. I have commented on others.

I’m really not that much of a curmudgeon. I’m generally a fairly generous guy . . . but I’m also a realist and believe in rewarding extra effort, not just routinely handing out the coin of the realm.

You may feel differently . . . and that is what makes for horse races.

In any event . . . have a wonderful summer, have safe and sane travels . . . and use these tipping guides . . . or not. It’s all your decision anyway, isn’t it?






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