Critique of Tipping System

I was raised with a certain perspective regarding the treatment of those that do for a living things that you aren’t willing to do on your own – those that serve us food, cut our hair, pump our gas, or pour our drinks. They don’t get paid much, because their jobs aren’t that glamorous, and because they are essentially lowering themselves to wait upon us, they deserve an extra gratuity. It’s called tipping, and if any of this sounds foreign to you, like something you’ve never heard of before, or were unaware of then you are a horrible customer, and deserve horrible service.

It’s essentially a matter of thanking someone for doing a demeaning task that you’re too lazy to do yourself. It’s not quite as crass as that, but if you think in those terms it’s easy to see why you should float an extra 15-20% to the person serving you.

But it’s hard some times to know exactly how much should go out. What are the rules? Here are a few good things to remember when you’re looking at the check and wondering how much more you need to add on.


The standard is 15%. You should tip this much no matter what, unless your server was a complete jerk to you and your guests. They don’t make much. Your tip money is a part of their income and they work hard for it. Don’t however, tip in fast food restaurants or carry out. First off, they can’t take your tip money, so it’s a waste and you might get them in trouble. Second, they’re not doing anything extra. There’s no special service or ordering assistance. It’s assembly line eating.

Hair Dressers

You only get your hair cut every now and then. Tip well. You owe them that much. Theirs is a job of precision and skill and if they screw up you look like a julienned carrot, so make sure you properly show your appreciation of that skill. This means tipping a little more. I usually round up to the nearest bill, but you should at least tip 20% in these instances. However, if they mutilate your hair and anger you openly, don’t feel obligated to pay them that much extra money for failing at their job.


The delivery guy gets tipped because he drove around in circles for five minutes finding your apartment and you’re too lazy to go get your own pizza. However, the service is minimal and the attitude usually matches, so tip the minimum.

Bell Boys

You’re staying in a fancy enough hotel to have your things carried up stairs; that means pay the fellow a decent tip. He hefted your wrinkled suits and dumbbells down three hallways and into your room, so give him a couple dollars. There’s no percentage here, but make sure not to stiff here. Room service too. You’ll be staying in their place for at least a day and they work together. You want to show your appreciation or you’ll receive subpar service on top of shorting someone who gets paid very little for hefting other people’s stuff around

Bar tender

This is a selfish one almost. The bar tender isn’t doing all that much, but the key here is the atmosphere and the future of your drinks. If you don’t tip the bar tender, count on watered down drinks and slow service. They may “accidentally” forget your drink order a couple of times. If you tip well though, you might find an extra splash in your drink and they’ll come to you when you need another. I usually tip $1 per drink under $4. If it’s a double, $2, etc. It’s easy that way, and usually makes it an even $5 per drink – easy to keep track of when you’ve been drinking.

The key to getting good service is to reward good service. If we just expect it, especially in this country in this day and age, you’ll be a little disappointed. You need to show appreciation for that extra bit of kindness these people offer every day as part of their job.